NRB members Ann White and Phil Cooke have launched the “Courage for Life Audio Bible” – the first audio Bible recorded entirely with women’s voices – in response to a need that went unnoticed until recently.
A few years ago, White, a Bible teacher in Atlanta, asked Cooke’s team at Cooke Media Group to create a strategy for taking her ministry to the next level.
“She had a vision of teaching the Bible to ‘at-risk’ women in jails, prison, rehabilitation centers, and to women trapped in abusive situations,” recalled Cooke in his blog.
Initially, Cooke’s team began by publishing White’s books as well as Bible study resources her teaching teams could use, starting in the Atlanta jail system. But they quickly discovered that many “at-risk” women – particularly those escaping from abusive situations – are unable to carry print Bibles or Bible study resources. Moreover, many were living in shelters or out of a car, and some only had the clothes on their backs.
So Cooke’s team developed the idea of creating an audio Bible featuring White’s teaching commentaries and resources that women could easily access via a mobile device.
And that, Cooke recalled, is when they discovered something that had not occurred to them.
“We learned that when a woman has been abused by men – sometimes for years or decades – the last thing in the world they want to hear is the Bible being read in a man’s voice,” Cooke reported.
“When we work with at-risk women, we find that a woman’s voice does not remind them of their abuser’s voice,” added White, who founded her global ministry, Courage For Life, out of a calling to share with others how God and His Word brought restoration to her life and marriage.
“And according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the domestic violence statistics, we know that gender-specific treatment is important when you’re treating a woman suffering from abuse or trauma or mental health issues,” she continued.
In response, Cooke’s team began producing the “Courage for Life Audio Bible” – the first audio Bible ever recorded entirely with women’s voices. Cooke brought in actor and recording artist Amick Byram – who has performed on hundreds of television programs and musicals, including Dreamwork’s The Prince of Egypt, in which he was the singing voice of Moses – to direct the voice artists. They then cast around a dozen professional women narrators in Hollywood, and started recording in March 2018 after securing the rights from Tyndale House Publishers for the New Living Translation.
Now, the “Courage for Life Audio Bible” app is available in the App Store – first with the New Testament and soon with the Old Testament. Cooke’s team is also in the process of partnering with the LUMO Project, Mega-Voice, YouVersion, and others in order to get this audio Bible in the hands of as many people as possible.
“Our team at Cooke Media Group is incredibly excited and honored to partner with Ann White and Courage for Life Ministries as well as app creator Aspire One to create and produce this amazing project,” Cooke commented. “I’d encourage you to download the app, try it out, and share it with anyone who might benefit. In addition, please rate the app and give us a positive review, which will encourage others to experience it.”
Because of their desire to make the app available to at-risk women at no charge, White’s ministry has been raising the total recording and distribution budget.
To support the project and to help women in challenging circumstances engage the Bible, give to Courage for Life online here.
To download the app, go to courageforlife.org/app.