AudioBible: Gospel Observations

I recently bought the entire New Testament from the Bible Experience (oh I love these recordings!) and took the opportunity to listen to the entire books of Matthew & Mark all in one afternoon/evening.  (Matthew took the entire length of my 3 year old's naptime, including the time it took him to fall asleep), and Mark took 90 minutes.

I had a couple of random observations from listening to the gospels in such a intensive format.
  1. The writers shared specific details (5 loaves & 2 fishes for 5000 men plus women and children, 7 loaves for 4000 men plus women and children) because these are real stories-- real events-- not euphemisms or general impressions of how miraculous Jesus was.  
  2. Boy, Jesus really came down hard on the Pharisees.  And really, a lot of both gospels was spent with all the ways they (and the Sadducees & Essenes) plotted and laid traps to try and trip Jesus up in His teachings.  Multiple times yesterday, my heart started praying, "Father, don't let me be like the Pharisees.... seeing, but not understanding, hearing, but not perceiving.  Help me understand.  Let me perceive what You really mean.  Discipline & shape me to be humble and teachable."
  3. Jesus did a lot of healing.  It seems that physical healing is what drove most people to come out and listen to Him, rather than some inward spiritual hungering or thirsting.
  4. The extensive, specific genealogies in both books immediately reminded me of recently beginning a book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman raised as a Muslim in Somalia, and how as a child, she was taught to be able to list out her ancestors, back at least 200 years.  Before she learned almost anything else (practical, religious, or educational) about life, her genealogy was of paramount importance.  We don't do this, so genealogies seem superfluous and dull to us, but to someone who values the heritage and history communicated in the lists of ancestors, this would be an important part of the gospels, and of the authority of Christ.
  5. Jesus laid out the specifics to prepare the disciples for His arrest & death multiple times, "they will hand over the Son of Man to be killed,"  "She is preparing my body for burial," so many times in fact that it is difficult to believe that the Disciples didn't seem prepared.  
  6. I wonder if the title "King of the Jews" came from the Jewish notion that the Messiah would be a military/political leader?  I wonder if He had really been called this by some people, and if certain portions of the population were really trying to thrust him into political power, or if (like I've been told all my life) it WAS solely to mock Him?  I don't know.  =
  7. Stay SPIRITUALLY awake!  Don't fall into a noncommittal, bland, sideline-style faith.  We should always be engaged & prepared for His coming.  
    From Mark 13: "Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.  Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”  
  8. I wondered as I listened to the account of Judas going out to betray Jesus if it was the acceptance of sinners that pushed him right over the edge.  See, the woman known as a prostitute came and poured out her expensive oil on Jesus, and instead of condemning her, He said she was preparing His body, AND that she would be honored for all of time.  From that banquet, apparently right after hearing Jesus say that such a sinful woman would be honored in the Kingdom of God, Judas went out to make his initial plans with the council to kill Jesus.  It made me introspectively consider if I am self-righteously put off when outright sinners are accepted and beloved by God.   I hope that is never the case in my heart... but that is one of the warnings of Judas to us.   

This was such a wonderful, wonderful exercise for me... and I'm so thankful to now own the entire NT  produced by the Bible Experience.  I highly recommend it for those of you who might be able to intentionally use & listen to an audio Bible.  It is dramatically done, and brings vivacity to the text; it enhances rather than distracting.  

I hope to do this regularly, to remind myself of the core teachings and truth of Jesus Christ.


Tammy said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience!
I wish I had the quiet time to sit and listen to something like this.

I'll def keep in on my 'future' list. :D

Kate (a.k.a. Domestikate) said...

Hi Jess,
Every Easter my husband and I try to find a gift for our family that is Christ centered. As I watched the promo video for The Bible Experience, I was deeply moved by the stunning performances of those who have done the readings... Wow! that's all I can say. I also was inspired by your blog post (of which I heartily agree) that this might be great for our family. But, as I looked further I was curious as to what the TNIV translation was. I was a bit surprised by what I found. There are several Bible teachers that I respect that have some concerns about the TNIV. Here is a link to Wayne Grudem's assessment of this translation:

I in no way want to diminish what the Lord is showing you by listening to The Bible Experience. Obviously it has had a big impact. I was just curious of what your thoughts are on the TNIV. :-)

Jess said...

Great question. I do remember (generally) the rumblings about the TNIV. I don't know enough about the translation to comment. I do know that the dramatic nature of hearing the Gospels has enriched my study of Scripture, and obviously each person has to weigh it for themselves. That's a copout I know, but the best I can do right now. I would love for a fully dramatized, lifelike audio version of the ESV to come out. Until then, I think the overarching themes of Scripture gleaned from an audio Bible (as opposed to careful study/word meaning/etc, for which I absolutely prefer the ESV/NASB/KJV, can be beneficial for me. It's similar to how I read the NLT. I like the NLT for getting broad ideas of a particular passage. It's great for understanding the boiled down meaning... it is not great for studying Scripture. That's how I feel about the TNIV, that it's a wonderfully enriching "lens" through which to look at Scripture. It is not something I would use to study (by format or by version).

Thanks for the question. It is something I've considered before but obviously not looked at superdeep because the format (for me) is not meant for studying and therefore, I intake it differently than I do when doing careful study.

Missy @ finding bright spots said...

I read your blog regularly, but rarely have commented. I just wanted to stop in today to tell you how much I appreciate the wisdom you share here! I have five little kids & homeschool and have dwindled the list of blogs I read simply because I don't have much time. I always love reading yours, though, because I feel encouraged, challenged, refreshed, and pointed toward Jesus! Thank you!!

Kacie said...

I forgot that I have downloaded part of the Bible Experience and now I want to hunt for those files! I got it from some promotional thing.

Anyway, I thought the "king of the Jews" sign was originally to mock, but Pilate let it stand. Some Jews complained because try didn't consider Him their king, and wanted to change it to "he said he was ..." since they were charging him with blashphemy.

Pilate said, it says what it says, and it stood. I thInk. Pulling it from memory here.

Thanks for your blog-- I agree, I am encouraged and challenged by your posts. Post as often or infrequently as you like. I subscribe so I wOnt miss it :(