The human brain is a brilliant, energy-saving instrument. It has a habit of filtering things out which are familiar, so they don’t have to be newly processed every time you see then. Have you ever walked past something and noticed it as if it was new, just to be told it’s been there for months or years? We have all had those embarrassing moments. That is your brain processing efficiently.
When you approach something you know, it takes a quick sweep, determines what new information needs actual attention and then ignores the rest. It’s a great design, except for when you’re trying to study the Word of God. This has been a real problem for me, when I’ve been dissecting the content of the Psalms. My brain says, “yup, got it,” then I miss what I really want to see. It’s made even harder by small details about David’s life being widely scattered.
There is a way of getting around the brain’s energy-saving drive and that is to change how you take in the familiar information. I have found that reading different versions of the Bible, or listening to the Psalms, highlights areas I have kept missing and missing and missing. Here are some of my favourite tricks.
- Get an audio Bible on mp3 or CD-Rom. I found the Psalms on one CD in my local Christian book shop for $7.00AU. I didn’t have to buy the entire, expensive, Bible series. Things now pop out to me I had never heard before, especially as the Psalms are read my a talented actor whose invested a lot of work in his delivery.
- Listen to musicians who sing the Psalms. Ian White and the Sons of Korah are two notable examples. They take chunks of Psalms and highlight the main issues, which is extremely helpful… and on a bad day, very comforting. Links to their work are below.
- Go through your existing music and see what songs are based on various parts of the Bible and put them in a playlist for your mp3 device.
Ian White is a Scottish, Christian Musician.
Sons of Korah are an Australian, Psalms project band.
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