Calvin community praises new Bible app

Halfway through the semester, students and faculty alike have been using the Dwell app to connect with scripture. “We now have the opportunity to engage with God’s word in a way that requires us to slow down and truly invest in its content,” reflects Discipleship Assistant Hannah Cockrill on the value of listening to scripture through the Dwell app. 

The Dwell app offers scripture-reading as well as listening plans and playlists. This fall’s 2019 campuswide Bible study has focused on the public reading of scripture by using Dwell’s listening plan “The New Covenant” which takes students through the entire New Testament in 90 days. 

Many have found listening to scripture to be unique from simply reading passages. “There’s something in the spoken word that’s just more inspiring than reading it in your head.” says Barnabas Andrew Prezioso, a sophomore civil and environmental engineering major. University Pastor Rev. Mary Hulst reflected on her personal experience with the app, saying, “I find that when I listen to scripture, I hear things that I may have glossed over while reading. Certain things strike me afresh, which I really love.” 

Pastor Matt Postma, Calvin University’s pastor for discipleship, explained that the idea for this year’s focus came from just observing people on campus, saying, “We’ve noticed that more and more people enjoy listening to music or podcasts… and we wondered if people might engage more with scripture by hearing it.” This new way of engaging with scripture, Pastor Matt explains, is actually an ancient way — the way God’s people engaged with scripture in biblical times. 

Discipleship Assistant Chelsea Veldkamp, a junior special elementary education major, has found that the Dwell app to be particularly valuable. “It is sometimes hard to find time to sit down and read the Bible for an extended amount of time,” she said. The Dwell app has offered her a remedy to that. She’s also found that listening to the Dwell app has helped lead to further discussions of the scripture and “finding other’s perspectives and interpretations that you wouldn’t have found by just reading the Bible on your own.” She continued,“It’s been something that I have really appreciated having over the course of this semester, and I plan on continuing to use it in the future.” 

For Discipleship Assistant Anne Vanderwell, a junior studying elementary education and language arts, the Dwell app offers her a valuable way to engage with scripture while doing everyday life. “I really appreciate that I can listen to scripture while I do other things like getting ready in the morning.” she stated about her experience with the app.

The app offers many ways to individualize it: multiple, diverse voices, the choice of background music and volume, slowing or quickening the reading itself, as well as tools to help track your progress and push notifications to set daily reminders. 

A free year-long subscription to the Dwell app is available to anyone with a or email address. You can activate your subscription by going to If you wish to upgrade to a lifetime subscription of the Dwell app, email [email protected] for more information.