I once heard a story about a man who entered a room to discover another man looking at some words on a page. But he wasn’t saying anything.
“What are you doing?” he asked. “I’m reading,” he replied.
I don’t know how old the story is, but apparently at that time in history (perhaps the Middle Ages) it was unheard of to read silently. Up to that point, as far as anyone could tell in that part of the world, reading was something you did out loud. It was the audible sound created by someone who could understand and vocalize letter combinations on a two-dimensional page.
When it comes to the Bible, there is something special about reading it out loud—not only in a public worship setting, but also privately. I’m not saying you have to do this, or that silent reading isn’t real reading. It is. But reading the holy word out loud literally speaks it’s message and power into both our physical and spiritual surroundings.
Recently I was reading Revelation 1:3: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
People may debate how exactly to translate that phrase, but there are other places which highlight the importance of both speaking and hearing the biblical message.
Personally, when I need extra fortification or focus, I read the Bible aloud, even when I’m by myself. It forces me to slow down, I digest it more thoroughly, and I even see and hear details I would otherwise miss.
It also communicates to the forces of this dark world to stand back! After all, you have taken up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
Are you struggling to loosen the straightjacket of blurriness, apathy, fatigue, or encroaching darkness?
Read the Bible out loud.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.