We’ve spent the last week or so exploring the first three strategies (Read more here: One, Two, Three) for keeping our mind focused when we read our Bibles. All of them had to do with weaving prayer into various points in the process. Making our reading conversational and relational – not informational.
Strategy #4 is something I discovered when I was internalizing the Gospel of John back in 2004. It’s simple and doesn’t take extra time:
Read out loud.
That’s it. Just turn the volume up on your vocal chords. Here are a few of the benefits I discovered when I started reading out loud.
When I read out loud I naturally read with more emotion. Think of the last time you read Curious George © to a 5-year-old. Did the Man with the Yellow Hat, the zookeeper, and the grumpy neighbor all sound the same. Of course not. You naturally gave them voices. You naturally read with emotion. You naturally changed the volume and tone of your voice to fit the character or scene. The same can happen when we read the Bible. The scenes, emotions, and characters are all different. (Remind your voice of that.)
When I read out loud I get lost in the story. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous benefit. When I read with more emotion I start to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel the story. When that happens, the time flies by. I might set aside 20 minutes to read, only to glance up at the clock to find that 30-40 minutes have passed. Beautiful.
When I read out loud I remember more. Any time we add another sense to our intake of information the amount we remember skyrockets. If you just read silently, you’ll remember a little. If you read out loud, you’ll remember way more. I have even found great benefit to walking around my house while I’m reading out loud. I use my hands to “put” people, objects, etc. in different places. As I recreate the scene – with my words, sounds, and body – I find myself internalizing God’s Word. Not to mention I think about it quite a bit more as I go through my day.
One quick note: If you’ve never tried reading the Bible out loud, it’ll feel pretty weird the first few times. You’ll wish you were reading Curious George © to a 5-year-old. Stick with it. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that once they started reading out loud, they never went back to reading silently. I totally agree. I believe so strongly in this, that the only time I don’t read out loud is if I am in a situation where I would be bothering somebody…in a coffee shop or on an airplane.
Of course, I once spoke about this in a workshop and one of the people in the room said You SHOULD read out loud on an airplane. Captive audience. What are they gonna do?
Hmmm…maybe next time…
[reminder]Have you ever tried reading the Bible out loud? What was your experience?[/reminder]
Photo Credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net – Ohmega1982