How to Listen To Twice As Many Sermons

Generally I don’t think it’s a great idea to do spiritual things exceedingly fast or in high volumes. I’m a big fan of slow, deliberate meditation upon the word of God. I think it’s important to pay close attention to preaching, and not to multi-task while listening to sermons.

But there are times when it’s valuable to quickly read large chunks of the Bible, or read a spiritual book quickly, or listen to a large number of sermons.

But how can you listen to a sermon quickly? It’s actually pretty easy. Follow the steps below:

STEP 1: Download and install the Quicktime audio/video player from Apple. You can download it here.

STEP 2: Download your favorite sermon. Make sure that you know where the file is being saved. For simplicity sake, I always download files to the desktop.

STEP 3: Right click (or control click for Mac users) on the downloaded sermon and click “Open With”. Select Quicktime Player.

STEP 4: Once the sermon has opened in Quicktime, select the “Window” menu, and select “Show A/V Controls” (this may be a bit different in Windows).

STEP 5: In the bottom right hand of the A/V Control Window is a “Playback Speed” slider. Bump the speed from 1x to 2x. Adjust the speed as necessary.

There it is. Simple and awesome. It works for just about any audio file. The human brain can process words much faster than they can be said, and this allows you to listen to sermons at a speed that your brain can handle.

Now you can listen to twice as many sermons!


  • Knight says:

    My iPod will run at 2x speed. The only trouble is I cannot stand listening to R.C. Sproul sound like one of the Chipmunks… :)

  • Tim Challies says:

    I don't know. Aren't sermons better to savor than to rush? This seems like it should be filed with an article titled "How to make love to your wife in half the time!" or something. Even though we can listen and process faster than a person can speak, it doesn't mean we should. It also doesn't mean that we can derive the benefit. Call me a skeptic. :)

  • I would say generally yes. And normally I would listen to a sermon at normal speed and enjoy it. But I think that there's definitely a place for simply taking in information and listening for content. I would say the same thing about many spiritual books. Generally I read them slowly, but not always. Isn't there a place for reading the Bible quickly, and books quickly, and listening quickly? I think it can be very beneficial to take in info in big swaths.

    Come on, you read like 4,000 books a year. Isn't this, at least somewhat similar?

  • As an example, the recent Desiring God conference released approximately 8 sermons from the conference alone. I would like to listen to them, but I don't have eight hours to spare. Hence using double speed on sermons.

  • theresa says:

    Well, that's a big "duh" moment for me! Thanks for the obvious tip that I obviously had not thought of!

  • yitzhaklee says:

    Hahaha! I have been doing this for a long time. My brother even listens to things at 3x speed after he has listened to the sermon/message a few times already.

    I actually think that the difference from 1x to 1.5x is almost indistinguishable, at least in voice quality. But once you get to a certain speed, everything sounds like alvin and the chipmunks.

    In any case, the option to speed playspeed is already built in to most if not all windows media players. No need for quicktime or anything. You just need a mp3 file or something WMP can read.

  • You can also use a free Windows and Mac based program called Audacity. You can increase the ‘tempo’ of the sermon without affecting the person’s voice. Pretty neat.

  • Bob says:

    Does anyone know how to sync mp3 files onto an mp3 player at double speed (my mp3 player doesn't have 2x feature)? I can do what you're saying here Stephen to listen on WMP at the computer, but want to then sync it that way onto my player.

  • @marktdutton says:

    This works great when your pastor is a slow southern speaker… 2x sounds like a normal person still and takes half the time! Thanks Stephen!

  • JackW says:

    I actually suffer from the opposite problem. I’d like to find a way to hit the ½X button when my Pastor preaches. I’ve heard him not finish the last word in a sentence before he is well into the next sentence! Either my brain processes more than most or I’m just a really slow processor.

  • Greg H Jr says:

    " I think it’s important to pay close attention to preaching, and not to multi-task while listening to sermons."

    This is why I am especially appreciative of podcasts. I like to focus on simply listening to the sermon the first time around, letting the Word of God affect my heart, convict, and challenge me, and then I will listen to it a second time on the podcast and take notes. I guess that doesn't help me to listen to twice as many sermons, but I've certainly found it helpful!

  • Megan M. says:

    Wait, aren't you joking? I know my brain would have trouble with that…

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