New American Standard Bible Audio

By Narrated by Stephen Johnson
Peabody, Mass. : Hendrickson Publishers (2008). 58 CDs Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Greg Harris
19.2 (Fall 2008) : 277-278

Hendrickson Publishing has released the updated New American Standard Bible on audio CD. For those who desire to listen to the Bible being read while traveling or working out, this is a helpful product. The quality and clarity of the CDs are pretty much on a par with those of other CDs. The CDs are arranged in the same order as a written Bible, making it easy to find the book and chapter one seeks. It will take anyone hundreds of hours to listen to the entire Bible being read. To have the technology available to do so is a blessing for those who live today.

It should be understood that listening to someone read the Bible is somewhat similar to listening to someone sing a song: some will thoroughly enjoy it; others will not. This will be somewhat like “beauty is in the ear of the beholder.” The reading by Stephen Johnson is not a natural reading but rather is a somewhat dramatized one, and the potential purchaser needs to understand this before purchasing the series. People who will listen to these books of the Bible being read will most likely love it or hate it, but probably very few of those will be in the in-between category. Again realizing that a lot of this will be along the lines of personal preference, I did not enjoy listening to this (as any other professor will have those who greatly like his classes and those who do not); so my criticisms are not meant as a harsh or hateful attack. Often it seems that the focus was on the reader and how it was being read rather than the content of what was being read. To me, it was almost like having a fairy tale read rather than the holy Word of God. That being said, I am sure you would have other people listen to this audio Bible, thoroughly enjoy how it is done, and would thus benefit accordingly. I recommend listening to a CD (perhaps from the Hendrickson website) before purchasing the entire set to see in which category you belong.

Not many options are available for those who desire to listen to NASB on CD, especially the 1977 version. Much to my delight, I was able to find a used and no longer being released 1977 OT NASB read by E. W. “Red” Jeffries on (I had previously purchased the NT by the same reader as a separate set.) For those interested in obtaining this, they may want to see what is available online.

Either way, or with other versions recorded and made available, listening to the Bible being read is a helpful way to saturate oneself with the Word of God. It also puts us back in the Bible world, as most of the original recipients had the Word of God read aloud while in the assembled congregation.