You're sitting around the dinner table and you want to close with a reading from "Our Daily Bread", or "Tabletalk", or one of many other devotionals. Usually, the reading lists a Scripture passage that the mediation is based on, and so we usually pull out our phones and start searching for the text to read. You may also have a family Bible near the table, and there may be some ceremony involved in opening it and reading Scripture. I don't mean to take away from that, so by all means continue that if that is comfortable. But we have access to Scripture in so many different ways and formats, I'd like to introduce another one we've just discovered that will definitely enhance our devotions after mealtime.
More and more smart devices are becoming part of our lives, and we have ended up with both Alexa and Google devices in the house. Google Home was a Christmas gift from the kids a year ago, and Alexa snuck into our home inside of a smart thermostat on the living room wall. I've tried in the past to get either one of them to lend a helping hand and read Scripture, but neither was willing to comply. Google tells us "I'm sorry, I can't help with that", and Alexa tries to fix us up by offering to give us the complete King James Audio Bible as part of their Audible app. No thanks, Alexa. I don't speak that language, and was looking for a specific range of verses, not the entire Bible.
Well, to my great excitement, I discovered that YouVersion works with both Google Home and Alexa! This means that while sitting around the dining table, I can just ask for Genesis 12 to be read, and sit back and listen while one of my digital assistants plays the audio reading of the text in my favorite version of the Bible. I'm only disappointed that it seems this capability has been there for a couple years already--I just didn't know the magic words.
Google itself doesn't return Scripture, you have to pass through to YouVersion by naming it. So to get Google to read Scripture, you have to say something like:
…tell YouVersion I want to hear Esther chapter 4.”
…tell YouVersion I want to listen to First Corinthians chapter 13.”
…ask YouVersion to give me John chapter 3, verse 16.”
…ask YouVersion to tell me Romans chapter 8, verse 28.”
If you want to just speak to the YouVersion Assistant, you can say, "OK Google, Ask YouVersion what it can do."
Alexa needs to be set up with the Bible skill in order to respond. Just say, "Alexa, Enable the Bible skill". Now, with the new skill enabled, you can say commands like:
Alexa, ask the Bible App to read Psalm 23
Fortunately, you have a selection of five different audio versions that you can choose from: ESV, KJV, NIV, NLT, and the Message. All of these feature audio recorded by professional narrators. Just say:
“Ok Google, ask YouVersion to switch to the…
"Alexa, ask the Bible app to switch to the...
…English Standard Version.”
…King James Version.”
…New International Version.”
…New Living Translation.”
I hope that you are blessed by this and are encouraged to make God's Word a more integrated part of your life. Because "...people do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes fromthe mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4 NLT).