Where in the Bible Is Listening Mentioned?
“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (Proverbs 1:5).
Listening requires more than the audible detection of sound. Those who are deaf listen by seeing, lip reading, and sign language, proving there is a depth to listening beyond just noise.
Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs. In the verse above, listen, which in the New American Translation of the Bible is the word, hear, means: to hear, listen, obey. “We can deceive ourselves so easily, so to avoid that, he suggests we listen to increase our learning and how to apply that learning, called wisdom,” Jack Wellman explains. “That’s the best guidance you’ll ever get. Listen. Perhaps this is why God gave us two ears and one mouth in the hopes that we’d listen twice as often as we speak.” This type of listening assumes a reaction. We can hear something passively, but when we listen, we are engaged. Matthew wrote:
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11:27).
Faith in Christ is an active decision. Many hear of Christ Jesus, but not all listen. Scripture is not mere words on a page. It isn’t a collection of stories for us to hear. It’s the alive and active Word of the Living God. When we listen to the Word of God, it suggests we are tuned in to the Spirit’s work in our lives. The apostle John wrote:
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:17-18).
It is only through Jesus that we come to the Father, and not by hearing, but by turning to listen. Our faith requires active obedience, not just a good feeling of fleeting happiness. The assurance of our faith is built upon the firm foundation of the Living Word of God. Jesus is the Word. Listening to His call on our lives leads us to the “more than we can ever ask for or imagine” plans God has for our lives.
The apostle James wrote, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20).
When we hear something which unsettles our souls, we often find ourselves in a fight for the peace and joy we have in Christ Jesus! We turn over words in our minds, and allow downward spiraling thoughts to spin. In those moments, James is cautioning, we have a choice as to what to do with what our ears are hearing. We can allow our initial reactions to spew forth, which will often result in thunderclouds of anger, some flashes of rage, and then a mess of regret and hurt to clean up in the aftermath of the storm.
Listening requires us to be “slow to speak and slow to become angry.” It’s human to have this immediate reaction, but living our lives within the love of Christ allows us the power of pause. We can back down from our natural human reaction of offense, defense, anger, and stormy emotions, and allow the peace that surpasses all understanding to activate in our lives. There are moments in my personal life when my soul is unsettled, I simply say the name of Jesus out loud until my soul calms down!
We have the power to listen within us. Like James says, human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. But listening – being slow to speak and slow to anger – produces the good fruit of the Holy Spirit.
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