A Bible podcast started by a woman in Dallas, Texas, now has 13 million downloads from listeners throughout the world. Because many find the Bible to be unapproachable, Tara-Leigh Cobble started The Bible Recap podcast to help people, not just understand Scripture, but to love reading it—and to love God better as a result.
“When you love something, you want everyone to love it and see how great it is,” Cobble told NBC DFW News. “There is nothing I would rather give my time to than this. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, probably the best thing I’ll ever do.”
Launched in 2019, The Bible Recap is a brief, daily podcast that follows a chronological Bible reading plan. Listeners read the Bible passage of the day and then listen to the podcast episode, in which Cobble summarizes key points from the passage and what it reveals about the nature of God.
Cobble recorded The Bible Recap from her Dallas apartment using about $200 worth of equipment and spending about six hours per day researching, writing and recording the Bible podcast. Before she started the project, Cobble checked to see if anyone had done something similar, but no one had. And once she began, she realized why: “It was so much work.”
Why a Bible Podcast?
Cobble recorded several episodes where she preps listeners for what to expect in The Bible Recap. In the first prep episode, she says, “If you’ve ever closed your Bible and thought, ‘What did I just read?’ The Bible Recap is for you. And the good news is, you’re not alone. Lots of people struggle in their relationship with Scripture.”
When faced with the strangeness of the Bible, people often jump around, avoiding sections that make them uncomfortable and only reading books they find appealing, such as the Psalms or Proverbs. Or they stay in the New Testament because they like Jesus, but don’t understand the Old Testament. Some people give up reading the Bible altogether and instead just read devotionals. Others who have stumbled across Cobble’s Bible podcast might not even be sure that God is real or that Christianity is true. “Regardless of where you’re coming from,” says Cobble, “The Bible Recap is here to help.”
In the second prep episode, Cobble explains that even though she became a Christian at a young age, grew up in a Christian home, and was doing ministry as an adult, she had never actually read the Bible from beginning to end. When a friend challenged her to do so, she found the experience difficult and off-putting. Cobble says it wasn’t hard to understand what the Bible was saying about God. What was hard for her was accepting what it said. She was actually more bothered by what the New Testament said about who God was than she was by what the Old Testament said. But a mentor encouraged her to keep wrestling through what was bothering her. So she read through the Bible again with that mindset, praying that God would help her to see him for who he is. And he did.
The second time around, says Cobble, “I found him. And I fell in love with him. I began to see, not just what he was doing, but why he was doing it, what his heart was behind it. And he answered that prayer to teach me about himself in such a way that I felt like I was learning a whole different God than I’d heard about in church.”
How Does Cobble’s Bible Podcast Work?
If you would like to read through the Bible using Cobble’s plan, you can search for The Bible Recap under “Plans” in the YouVersion Bible App. If you have not yet done so, you will need to sign into the Bible App through Facebook or create your own login. The Bible Recap follows a particular chronological reading plan, so Cobble advises people not to buy a chronological Bible because it will not line up with the podcast.
Once you start the plan, you will read the assigned passage for the day, which Cobble says typically takes about 12 minutes. Then you will listen to the podcast episode for the day, which is usually around eight minutes long. In each episode, Cobble shares a few insights on the passage she has gained through years of reading through the Bible in its entirety. Because she has read through the Bible at least 10 times by this point, she is able to evaluate specific portions of Scripture with the metanarrative of the Bible in mind.
Cobble notes that she is not an academic or a scholar and that she has never gone to seminary. The episodes, she says, are more like an overview or a highlight reel than they are a scholarly commentary. More than focusing on theological terms or historical details, she is concerned about highlighting God’s character. Each episode concludes with a section she calls “The God Shot,” a summary of what each passage shows us about who God is.
Scripture Changes Lives
One listener who completed The Bible Recap told NBC DFW that she saw a shift in her own heart and the hearts of her children as they read through the Bible and listened to the podcast. One result of that change was her family ended up fostering and eventually adopting a little girl.
Says Cobble, “If all you gain from this is one new insight about God, that might legitimately change the rest of your life and your relationship with him.”