Whose voice is featured on the daily Bible readings?
I’m Barry Hays, a follower of Jesus Christ in Katy, Texas. My wife of over 50 years and I read through the Bible each year, and we’re always amazed that every time we do, we gain fresh insights into passages we’ve read many times before.
As I entered retirement, I wanted to find a special way to give our 9 grandchildren the most precious gift in the world…the Word of God. So, I built out a small studio in my home and began recording. As I did, it occurred to me that others might like to listen as well.
I launched Listen to God’s Word on January 1, 2022, and over time, listeners in 166 countries have downloaded the podcast. Our prayer is that God will bless the reading of His Word in the lives of all who hear it.
Why the Berean Standard Bible?
There are many sound English translations of the Bible, but I chose the BSB for the Listen to God’s Word podcast for a number of reasons.
As you may know, Bible translations tend to be categorized as Literal, that is “word for word,” Dynamic or “thought for thought,” and Restatement or “paraphrase.” Translations fall across this spectrum from literal to paraphrase. For example, the King James is more literal, the New International Version is more Dynamic, and the Message is a paraphrase.
On this spectrum, the Berean Standard Bible falls between Literal and Dynamic. It’s a bit more dynamic than the English Standard Version, but more literal than the New International Version. Overall, it leans slightly toward literality, but it’s also very readable.
Another reason I chose the Berean Standard Bible for this podcast is that the publishers are committed to making it available free of copyright restrictions. Free downloads of the BSB are available in various formats at their website.
The Berean Standard Bible is just one element of an extensive translation effort undertaken by the organization that is responsible for the website biblehub.com. You can find more information and download links at www.bereanbible.com.
How do you know how to pronounce all of those names and places?
Yes, it’s a challenge to know how to pronounce the about 3,400 names of individuals and 1,100 place names in the Old and New Testaments! For this Bible recording project, I turned to a book that is now out of print, That’s Easy for You to Say: Your Quick Guide to Pronouncing Bible Names, by W. Murray Severance. The book is a phonetic guide to pronouncing the names of every person and place in the Bible.
I’m no expert in this area, and I can’t promise that every pronunciation is accurate. (I’m not sure anyone can be certain how certain names were pronounced 4,000 years ago.) However, I’m very grateful for the guidance this little book provides.
I get bogged down in the genealogies in Scripture. What’s the point in reading through them?
At various points in Scripture, we encounter lengthy genealogies. Take a moment to look at 1 Chronicles 1-8. It’s eight chapters packed with unfamiliar names. Frequently, we’re tempted to skip over these lists of names that are so difficult to pronounce. It’s understandable that people ask, “Why should I care about the genealogies?”
Well, the genealogies were clearly important to God. After all, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, these genealogies were included in the holy, inerrant word of God. We believe that all scripture is “…God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” That’s what we’re told in 2 Timothy 3:16.
If we believe that, then what’s the value of reading these genealogies?
First, these passages reinforce the historicity of the Bible. They are not just storybook tales. They’re about real flesh and blood people like you and me….people who had families of their own, who had joys and sorrows, who lived and died in times long before we were born, but occupied a very specific place in history.
Second, some of the people we read about in these genealogies are your ancestors. Even if you’re not of Jewish ancestry, the genealogies in 1 Chronicles go all the way back to Adam, and they include Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
So no matter who you are or where you were born, you’re a direct descendant of one of these three men and of others in their family trees. These aren’t just names; they’re your very own ancestors.
Third, God knew each of them. He remembered them and recorded their names and their times. Nothing in their lives escaped His attention. He knew each one of them, just as He knows each of us. Though our names aren’t recorded in God’s Word, we are known to Him, and we’re known intimately, because God knows our hearts even better than we know ourselves.
So in the genealogies we have this reminder of the importance of each and every human being and of the details of everyone’s life in God’s economy. You can feel confident that God values you and knows you, and He doesn’t overlook you.
Fourth, the genealogies show us the importance of family to God. According to His plan, the family unit has been the foundation of human society since the Garden of Eden. The importance of the family is emphasized in each generation that we see mentioned in these genealogies.
And finally, biblical genealogies are important because they connect the story of redemption from one generation to the next. God didn’t forget His promise in the Garden to redeem fallen man through the One who would come and crush the head of Satan through a willing and costly sacrifice.
His eternal plan of redemption unfolds for us within the pages of the Bible, and the genealogies are a critical part of that plan. In them we see the lineage of the Savior, the Son of David, who brings salvation to fallen man.
Please keep these things in mind as we go through these lengthy genealogies from time to time in our reading through the Bible and don’t just skip over them. As with all of God’s Word, there’s value in the genealogies.
What is the value of the Old Testament Law to Christians?
As we’ve noted before, all of God’s Word is “…God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Nothing in the Bible is unimportant to believers in Christ. There’s much to be said about the importance of the Old Testament law. In fact, entire books have been written on the subject, but one of the best summaries of this topic comes from a brief article by Pastor Costi Hinn.