Paul told Timothy to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13) “That’s a passage about preaching,” notes author Tim Challies, “but it’s also a passage about just plain reading the Bible out loud.”* Here are a number of practical reasons why reading the Bible aloud is a beneficial habit to adopt:
Reading aloud is multisensory—Outside worship services, our engagement with Scripture tends to involve only one of our five senses—sight. When we add hearing to seeing, we stimulate different areas of our brain, providing a multisensory experience that can help us have a more meaningful experience with the Word of God.
Reading aloud improves retention—When we read aloud, the words we speak are translated into speech, giving us two types of memories—the knowledge of producing the spoken words as well as the memory of hearing them. This makes our memory for the spoken word more distinct from the verses we read silently.**
Reading aloud slows us down—Our eyes and brains are faster than our mouths. When we read silently we see and process the words rapidly. Reading aloud forces us to read more slowly, which gives us more time to process what we’re reading and broadens our opportunity to hear God speak through Scripture.
It is also valuable to read aloud to several individuals and groups. Here are some tips for making reading aloud part of your routine.
You and your family—It might feel odd at first, but try reading aloud to yourself regularly during your individual Bible reading sessions. Or add reading aloud to your family night or family devotional time.
The young and the old—Offer to read to children who might only hear about God during Sunday school class. Or perhaps volunteer to read to the elderly, who because of infirmity or advanced age might no longer be able to read the Bible for themselves. Every believer, whether young or old, benefits from being frequently engaged with Scripture.
PRACTICAL TAKEAWAY: Reading Scripture aloud can help us—as individuals and as a community—to better hear and connect with God’s Word.
* Tim Challies, “A Cost of All This Preaching?” Challies.com, April 21, 2014, http://www. challies.com/articles/a-cost-of-all-this-preaching.
** Art Markman, “Say it loud: I’m creating a distinctive memory,” Psychology Today, May 11, 2010, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201005/say-it-loud-i-m-creating-distinctive-memory.
Taken from NIV Lifehacks Bible