Last Update: April 2010
Note: The listing of an online store below is NOT an endorsement by me. I simply found these sites using Internet searches and list them for your convenience. Please research any shops before making any purchases.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Listening to
the Bible is wonderful, and can be done while driving and walking,
making valuable use of time that is sometimes wasted otherwise.
Audio versions of the Holy Bible have been available for quite some time on cassette tape and more recently on CD-ROM. These Bibles are relatively expensive, with the entire Bible costing anywhere from around $75 to over $100. This cost is justified partially by the sheer number of CD's used and for the case that usually comes with it to carry all these CDs.
Today, however, audio Bibles are available in other formats as well.
Hardware MP3-style players can be purchased with the Bible audio
pre-loaded on them. I have a comparison chart of several models here: Electronic Audio Bibles.
You can also purchase an Audio Bible in MP3 format on CD, which
allows you to copy the files to your own MP3 player.
With the MP3 format, the entire Bible can now be put on 2 or 3
CD's, or a single DVD, using a decent MP3 bit-rate that still provides
good listening quality. This brings the costs down greatly over the
While the MP3 format CDs won't play in many older
home or auto CD players, many newer players now support MP3-format CDs.
In addition, as mentioned above, the MP3 can be copied (using a
computer) to MP3 players such as the Apple iPod, and of course can be
listened to on any computer or laptop (whether Windows, MacIntosh, or
Linux based). Also, most DVD players support the playing of MP3-format
CDs (though the video will be blank, of course).
Factors for a Good Audio Bible:
There are a number of MP3 Bibles out there, but deciding which one
get has been quite a chore, as the choices are not always clear. Some
web-sites give great information, such as providing an audio download
of a sample Scripture and stating the bit-rate of the recording. Others
don't say much more than "Finally, the Bible on MP3!".
1. Bit-Rate: Since
MP3 is a "lossy" format, it can be important to know what bit-rate the
MP3 files have been saved at. MP3 files saved at a low bit-rate can
sound distorted and can be irritating to listen to. Sadly, most
web-sites don't provide this information. If you can at least hear a
sample of the recording, this can be very helpful. If the entire Bible
fits on one CD-ROM disk, then it is probably recorded at a low bit rate
since a CD only provides about 700 Megabytes of storage. A decent
recording of the entire Bible will typically take anywhere from about
1-2 Gigabytes in the MP3 format.
2. Style of Reading:
styles of reading include Spoken
word only, Music background,
The spoken word audio bibles are simply the Bible read word-for-word with no music or other distractions. Music background versions add a subtle "music" background to the reading in an attempt to give the reading some feeling, and ambiance. Dramatized versions use a variety of speakers, music, and sometimes even sound effects to provide a more dramatic reading.
Personally, I don't care for most of the "music background" versions
that I've heard. I usually find the music distracting, almost to the
point of irritating, and overall it just makes
it harder to pay attention to the word. In general, I prefer the plain
"vocal only" versions as they deliver the pure Word of God with no
disctractions. The dramatized versions are interesting and can
sometimes keep your attention better, but I also shy away from these.
the Scriptures are dramatically read, the reader is adding what he or
she thinks the tone of the verse should
be. That is, the reader may use
an angry tone in a passage,
where another reader might see that verse as simply being stern and not angry. Since the
Bible doesn't give us these clues (other than contextually), I'd prefer
not to have them.
3. Speed of Reading:
area I hadn't thought about too much before hearing several
different audio Bibles was the speed of the reading. Stephen Johnston,
for example, has narrated several audio bibles, and has at least one
version in which he speaks very quickly. I actually felt stressed after
listening to portions of this version as the speed was so fast! Again,
hearing a sample of the recording can be very helpful before you
4. Bible Version: An obvious factor is the version of the Bible that is read. I prefer the Authorized Version / King James Version of the Bible.
5. Media Format: Be sure you have the proper reader depending on the
Media you purchase. Some Audio Bibles come on DVD, since the audio
files take up so much space. Since most computers have DVD readers in
them, this isn't usually a problem, but don't expect to play the DVD in
your MP3 compatible CD plyer! Just make sure the media format matches
the device you intend to use to play the audio.
Some Available MP3 Audio Bibles
The number of Audio Bibles available has increased greatly since
this article was first written in 2006, so the following should only be
considered a sample. Try to explore the factors above in making any
It was difficult
to "sort" audio Bibles as in most cases the websites didn't provide
information on who
actually produced the CD. Thus, rather than sorting these by
manufacturer, I've had to base the products on the Speaker.
has made it more difficult to provide strong recommendations, because
it appears that the same reader has worked on multiple different
projects. Thus, to recommend Stephen Johnston's reading, for example,
would depend on which version of his reading you are talking about. As
I mentioned above, there is at least one product with Stephen Johnston
reading that is way too fast for my tastes, but he has other readings
that are much better. Again, I recommend that you try to hear an
example of a product if possible, as most of them are not returnable
once opened since the sellers need to protect against people just
copying the MP3 files off and returning the CDs for a refund.
1. Stephen Johnston [from Hendrickson Publishers site (www.hendrickson.com)]: "Stephen Johnston, with his clear, expressive baritone voice, is one of the foremost narrators of the Bible. He has been involved in many facets of the radio and television industries and has won numerous awards, including an Emmy and a Film Critics Award." See also Stephen's own site at: http://www.thestephencompany.com/
Hendrickson Publishers KJV Bible on MP3 (ISBN: 1565639502) lists for $29.95. It comes on 3 CDs, which indicates to me they probably use a decent MP3 bit-rate rate, although they don't give the details. The narrator is Stephen Johnston, who has a good voice. "Soothing Music" is played in the background. Sadly, as one reviewer posted on the www.Amazon.com site, the narration is spoken at such a rapid pace that it is tiring to listen to! I actually felt stressed after listening to this hurried recording, which is certainly not the result I want from hearing Scriptures. There are almost 72 hours on the 3 disks: Disc 1 - Genesis–Kings; Disc 2 - 2 Kings–Jeremiah; and Disc 3 - Lamentations–Revelation.
Hendrickson Publishers KJV Bible on MP3 (ISBN-13 9781598561357) lists for $19.95. Voice only with
narration by Stephen Johnston. I don't know the speed of the speech.
2. Alexander Scourby: [From
Hendrickson Publishers]: "Alexander Scourby’s dramatic and moving
narration of the Bible has touched and inspired the hearts of millions.
Best known for his magnificent voice, Scourby was a noted Broadway
Shakespearean actor, a radio and movie actor, and narrator of classic
TV documentaries. One of his greatest achievements, however, was
narrating the Bible—a recording project that took over one year to
complete." See also an Alexander Scourby website at: http://www.scourby.com
Hendrickson Publishers Scourby King James Version Audio Bible
(ISBN-13 9781598563597) lists for $24.95. On
CD, but no other details are provided. I used to have Mr.
Scourby's version on cassette tape some years ago, and his voice is
great, but I don't remember any details. Hendrickson doesn't provide
any listening samples.
AMG KJV Alexander Scourby Bible on Audio CDs
(ISBN 9780899575957). Six CDs, 128kbs, 2.9GB, over 70 hours.
Casscom Media: Holy Bible Platinum Edition with Alexander Scourby
(ISBN-13 978-1-930034-29-7) lists for $49.99. Comes on 6 CDs.
3. Willard Waggoner: former
missionary to India.I liked
Mr. Waggoner's voice, but my wife found it not expressive enough. A
downloadable sample is available so you can listen for yourself.
eBible Productions (http://www.ebibleproductions.com) offers a variety of audio Bibles featuring Williard Waggoner as narrator. There are versions featuring Bible readings, Devotionals, and Memorization, among others. The Bible package features over 75 hours of audio, which is recorded at 128kbps. .
5. George Vafiadis. I have never heard George Vafiadis' voice, so I can't remark on the quality. Mr. Vafiadis is a Shakespearean actor, and I've read a good review of this disk set.
The Bible in MP3 with George Vafiadis (ISBN 1584723629) lists for
$34.95. Seven MP3-CD-ROMs that are tracked by
books and chapters. 84 hours.
8. Max McLean
The Listener's Bible website says of Mr. McLean, "As the narrator of the Listener's Bible (available in KJV, NIV and ESV translations) McLean is committed to recapturing the early oral tradition of telling the Bible story with clarity and power. He brings a unique blend of dramatic expression and theological understanding that make listening to the Bible a joyous, rewarding experience. His recordings of the Bible have been nominated for Best Inspirational Audio by the Audio Publisher's Association on two separate occasions."
The Listener's Bible http://www.listenersbible.com.
in ESV, NIV, and KJV. Entire Bible is 2.8GB.
9. Thomas Neslson Word of Promise
Audio Bible (http://www.thewordofpromise.com)
The Word of Promise Audio Bible features an entire cast of
characters. From the website: "Dramatized by an all-star cast of
actors, including Jim Caviezel as Jesus, Richard Dreyfus as Moses, Gary
Sinise as David, Jason Alexander as Joseph, Marisa Tomei, Louis Gossett
Jr., and over 600 actors contributing to this timeless work. This audio
Bible is produced with state of the art audio technology, including
sound effects and an original musical score." Available in multiple
formats, including audio CDs, MP3 CDs, and downloadable.
10. Eric Martin: I really like Eric Martin's narration. He has a good voice, reads at a nice, slower pace, and there is no music or dramatization.Casscom Media: Holy Bible King James Version with Eric Martin (ISBN 9781930034112) lists for $29.99. Comes on 2 CDs (620MB, 652MB). Sample rates on this version are low: 32kbs and a sampling frequency of only 11kHz. However, the sound even at this rate is decent.
I also found Eric Martin's version available as a free download at Ez-Tracks.com. However, the website is far from user friendly and is essentailly just a large advertising site. You have to download each chapter one at a time, and you have to wade through a couple of advertising screens for every single download. So, downloading the whole Bible could take quite a long time! The main advantage I've found is that the files are encoded at 128kbs. Also, don't be mis-led by the site's advertisement for "free" MP3 song downloads. Most of them are NOT the original artists (the site does state this, however), and the few I tried sound pretty horrible as compared with the originals. A few exceptions are the classical pieces and some of the jazz pieces.
Audio Treasure sells audio Bibles, but also provides some for free
KJV Voice Only: NT Only by an unknown speaker. Clear and moderate pace. NT is free download, entire Bible available on CD for $14.95 (can also be found at http://www.biblebible.com/bible-audio/)
KJV Soft Music Background (From Firefighters for Christ, see below): Stephen Johnston fast paced reading with music. Entire Bible available for download. Available on Audio DVD with video text $29.95
Also offers World English Bible, Spanish Reina Valera, Hindi New Testament, and more!
David P. Field's own rendition
of the World English Bible for free
download. Read quickly and designed to "read along" with the text as
you view it. David has a mild British accent. Also has an Audio Greek
New Testament project underway.
Faith Comes by Hearing. Offers
a computer desktop Audio New Testament
Bible download in many different languages.
Fighters for Christ. This is the fast-paced Stephen Johnston
with music.FF4C also offers other great resources and is worth checking
J. Simon's audio project
provides the Bible in Greek, Latin, and now
Hebrew MP3 files.
http://mannabible.org Jesus the
Rock Ministries MP3 Bible project presents an audio Bible in KJV
along with "rock" style music background. Currently only three Bible
Chapters available.128kbps; length will be quite long when project is
completed because of the music.
http://www.allbibles.com All Bibles offers a variety of
Bibles in hardcopy, electronic, and audio versions
http://audiobiblenews.com Audio Bible News / Kings Road Studio
information site for the "Alpha and Omega Audio Bible"
Audio Treasure offers DVDs and
CDs with the Bible in MP3 and Audio.
http://www.biblebible.com Audio Bible offers a wide variety
of Audio Bibles. Same company can be found at http://www.audiobibles.com,
though the website layout isn't as nice.
http://www.thebiblesource.com The Bible Source offers all types of Bibles, including some that are downloadable upon purchase
Skip Heitzig's The Connection
Ministry offers an MP3 CD of the NKJV Audio Bible and a few of his
teachings for any donation amount
Thomas Nelson Publishing site
for The Word of Promise Audio Bible