1 May 2009

Listening time

Earlier this year I bought myself an mp3 player with some money given to me for my birthday. It wasn't the most expensive piece of technology I've ever bought. The rechargeable batteries I bought with it were almost the same price. But it has been one of the most useful gifts I've ever received.

Initially I thought I'd use it mainly for listening to music while I was on holiday, and it served that purpose very well. Not only did I avoid having to cart around CD's in fragile cases, but I could also listen to the music I enjoy without inflicting it on anyone else. (My taste in music is, of course, impeccable, but not necessarily the best backdrop to the news or a football game on TV.)

Since then, I've found that I'm using the mp3 player more for listening to words than to music. I've already mentioned the lectures on the Veritas Forum site. I've also discovered and downloaded the New Testament in audio form from the ESV Bible online at Crossways (for a fee that seems quite reasonable, but free if you listen online.)

Listening to several chapters, or even a whole book, being read by a skilled actor (David Cochran Heath) is quite a different experience to reading the text silently from the page. It's slower, obviously, but that means that there's more time to savour what's being said, and less chance of skimming over verses because they look familiar.

The absence of verse numbers gives it a continuity that allows for a better grasp of the overall picture and flow of the story. In the gospels, for instance, the contrast between the authority of Jesus and the confusion of his disciples seems more apparent. Listening, I've become more aware of the uniqueness of Jesus as a personality, as a human being, and not just as a god-man 'phenomenon'.

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