Do you read your bible out loud? Do you use an app to have someone else read it out loud to you? Is reading aloud allowed at all? If it is, does God give us any indication of its importance or lack there of? Consider some of my loose reflections:
Ps 49:3 (NIV) My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding. – It is impossible for ‘my heart’ to ‘give you understanding’ if it never comes through ‘my mouth.’ What if this link went both ways? What if speaking the Word of God, trained our hearts also?
Ps 119:103 (NIV) How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! – The comparison is between two things that are ‘in my mouth.’ How can God’s words be sweet like that if they are only in my mind? I think we may have missed this little distinction. God commands in Ex 13:9 (NASB) that the people use ‘signs’ & ‘reminders’ on their hands & foreheads so that “the law of the Lord may be in your mouth.” One comment I read said, “It puts the Word in greater proximity to your senses and your soul.”
Even the great commandment (love God with your heart, soul…) from Dt 30:11-14 (NASB) is said to be “not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach…” precisely because it’s “…in your mouth & in your heart, that you may observe it.” God is expressing a METHOD of practicing this great command – speak the Word of God with & in your mouth!
When Joshua took over the leadership of Israel, he also linked this directly with success: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day & night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, & then you will have success” (Josh 1:8 NASB). That sounds a lot like, ‘read your bible out loud & God will teach you the secret to success – then you will be able do it!’
Indeed, the Newer Testament also lends to such thinking. Paul quotes the verse above (Dt 30) and then comments further, “But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH & IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Rom 10:8-10 NASB). I don’t want to err on the side of being literal or too simple minded, but that sounds a lot like:
Heart = Behavior; Mouth = Salvation!
So I ask again, how important is it to Speak & Listen to the Word of God out loud? What if reading out loud was like ‘living out loud’ in that our thoughts are materialized & practiced with? Not that God is commanding us to ONLY read out loud…that would be unfounded, but who decided that meditating on the word silently was the same as speaking it out loud? The only sure thing is that the entire 4000 years of meditating history so far has always been out loud! When & Why did it change, & did we lose something?
Let me leave you with one last quotation from the end of Paul’s dialog above, “So faith comes from hearing, & hearing by the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17).
Deep Thoughts by me☺
I love you,