Want to know how to get the Bible's message? Try listening

I have to be honest. I am terrible at keeping New Year's resolutions. This is partly because, for me, they are so often about food. Many is the year when my resolve has crumbled inside the first day.

So for some years I have decided not to bother with a resolution. That is fine, but I always get that slight sense of guilt. So this year I took matters in hand and decided to follow The Bible in One Year. I have to say I was encouraged to do this when I saw a post at the end of December from my former training vicar and good friend Steve Newbold. Steve announced that he had just finished his year and I thought if ge could do it, so can I.

Listening to the Bible being read is a great way to hear its message.Pixabay

I chose the HTB version, largely because I could download an ap with it on. And I have to say, friends, the whole experience is revolutionising my Bible reading.

The big thing for me is that I listen to the Bible reading on my phone and Nicky Gumbel's (and Pippa's) commentary. After a month in the company of them both I find myself longing for their cosy good cheer each day. They are tremendous company. Whatever the reading, even the tricky parts, I come away feeling positive and seeing something that I can apply.

I also find myself listening out for the way Mr Gumbel pronounces certain words. I like it when he gets a bit carried away in his enthusiasm. And I love the actor who reads the actual Bible parts. He has a voice that sounds marinated in tobacco and dare I say, whisky. He has a special voice he uses for God and another for lament. It is priceless and wonderful and I look forward to it each day.

What has surprised me most is how listening to Old Testament has brought it alive. Listening stops me from hurrying passages and as I relax into listening I have begun to love so much about it. The Old Testament was meant to be heard and by hearing it in the comfort of my study it has begun to speak deeply to me.

For a start the story is a gripping family drama. For all of us with dysfunctional families there are enough points of connection to keep us interested. It is also a kind of travelogue with exotic places and names. When reading it I find the constant repetitions in the Old Testament a bit hard work – but hearing the words roll off the tongue of the narrator they are much more palatable.

Perhaps above all it has given me a deep sense of God. Hearing the words somehow clarifies what God goes though and how he acts and reacts. I find myself feeling sorry for all he has to put up with.

So it's not too late. If you don't do so already check out HTB's Bible in One Year. It is a tremendous gift to the church and a great investment in us by Nicky, Pippa and team. You will find yourself longing for your daily fix.

Steve Morris is the parish priest of St Cuthbert's North Wembley. Before being a priest he was a writer and ran a brand agency. In the 1980s he tried to become a pop star. Follow him on Twitter @SteveMorris214