Brenton Brown (of Worship Leader fame) tweeted this a few months ago:
the single biggest impact on my spiritual life this year has been, without a doubt, the audio bible on my iphone.
That’s quite a statement. The only problem is that you need an iPhone and pay some money to be blessed like Brenton. I’m not sure which version of the Bible Brenton has on his iPhone, but even if you’re fortunate enough to own an iPhone, it’s only the King James version that’s cheap and that’s mainly due the lack of copyright restrictions; the other versions cost quite a bit. However there is way of getting a modern version of the Bible onto your iPhone, regular iPod or other mp3 player… for free.
One great addition to the Bible world in the last 10 years has been the ESV (English Standard Version). Endorsed by people such as John Piper, Mark Driscoll et al, the ESV aims to be accurate and modern – bringing together the best of modern evangelical scholarship.
One great thing the people behind the ESV have done (The Standard Bible Society) is to produce an online audio version of the ESV, which means you can listen to any passage of the Bible read by numerous professional actors/readers for free on your computer. But they’ve also introduced a rather nifty feature that not many people know about that lets you download each chapter as an MP3 file. This means that with a little bit of effort, you can download a Bible book and have it on your iPhone/iPod/generic MP3 player in no time at all. Here are the simple steps to getting the book of Philippians onto your iPod. You can click on any of the images below to see a larger version if you can’t quite read the text.
Step 1. Go to the site. The url is: http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/
Step 2. Enter the book/passage you’re looking for (e.g. Phil for Philippians) into the search box or select the browse tab to browse for it. You’ll see a small Listen link next to the chapter. By default clicking this runs the little flash player and you get to hear the chapter read out.
Step 3. To change that and be able to download the chapter, you need to select the Options (beta) link on the top right of the page.
Step 4. The Audio Options are what we’re interested in. Select MP3 (David Cochran Heath, complete Bible) and click ‘Save‘ at the bottom of the page. You can select any of the MP3 options. If you’re not keen on David Cochran you can choose to listen to Max McLean. Max sounds a little bit like Tom Baker who played Dr Who (UK sci-fi programme). I think Max might be one of the guys who does the Bible readings at Tim Keller’s church in New York actually.
Step 5. Now when you browse or search again for the passage you’re interested in the link has changed (It’s now a little bigger and links to the mp3 file for the chapter). To get the mp3 file, right click the Listen link and select ‘Save File As/Download File‘ (the precise wording depends on which browser you’re running) and then you can save the file to your computer. To get the other chapters, just click the next chapter link and repeat step 5 again.
It’s worth saying that I haven’t tested this on every browser, but have managed to get it to work on Safari for the Mac and I’m sure it works on Internet Explorer in its various incarnations. One browser I had trouble with Firefox 3.5 – so I’d stick with Internet Explorer or Safari if you’re going to download the mp3 files. Update: Works fine on ie7.
Step 6. To get the files onto your iPod open up iTunes (download iTunes if you don’t have it) and import the MP3 file you’ve just saved (Add to Library is the menu option). Then just drag the file onto your iPod/iPhone. Here’s my iTunes after downloading the book of Acts.
If you don’t have an iPod/iPhone you can drag them from your desktop onto your mp3 player or use whatever software your mp3 player comes with and you have the Bible on the go for free! You too can be as blessed as Brenton Brown.
Popularity: 53% [?]
When reading the Bible, if you struggle to read large amounts of text on paper, there’s a very helpful website I’ve found which has the entire Bible on audio available to listen to on-line. It’s in the ESV version (English Standard Version) and is available here. Search for the passage you want and click the ‘Listen’ link. The voice isn’t computerised, it’s a real person reading the Bible with all the right intonations in all the right places. In the options you can even choose between different people to read the Bible. So if you don’t like the default you can get a voice you prefer (although one does sound a little bit too much like Dr Who for my liking).
Another very cool idea from the people behind the ESV version of the Bible (Crossway), is the ESV Study Bible. You may be thinking, “Another study Bible, blah, blah, blah“, but this one is different for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s a study Bible. “How does that make it different?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s not one of these study Bibles that’s not really a study Bible:
- The Daily Study Bible for Women
- The Life Application Study Bible
- The Surfers Study Bible?
A study Bible should be a study Bible in my opinion and that’s what I want it to help me with – study. Secondly, it’s got some great articles, colour maps and a neat one column layout. Thirdly and most impressively in my opinion is the pioneering on-line version. If you buy a copy of the study Bible, go to their website, enter a special code you get with your study Bible, you get all the the study Bible features online as well. Print out the articles for your Bible Study group, search for phrases and passages etc…
I encourage you to take a look at the ESV Study Bible. It’s a little on the weighty side (physically) but if you can’t be bothered to lug it around you can always just use the online version instead.
Popularity: 17% [?]