Here are seven Bible verses about listening from the Bible.
Proverbs 1:5 “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”
Solomon wrote a lot of the wisdom literature but some have asked, “Why didn’t he listen to his own words?” Good question. 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. 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.
James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
I know that sometimes we get this verse reversed and are quick to speak but slow to listen…and then we’re fast to anger because of it. We can easily jump the gun and make assumptions about people but unless we have all the facts, we can be wrong. The Bible teaches that love believes all things (1st Cor 13:6), which certainly means we give people the benefit of the doubt. When I’ve not done that, I’ve often been wrong and regretted it so as Solomon writes, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame” (Prov 18:13) so to avoid that pitfall, be slow to speak and quick to hear.
Proverbs 25:12 “Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.”
This precious commodity of gold is very much like someone who reproves or corrects whoever has their ears open and that’s seen as having done their friend a favor…and it is, however instruction and correction only help those who will listen. The Proverb says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov 27:6). Wouldn’t you rather be corrected than incorrect? The greatest act of love and friendship you could ever show is telling your friends the truth, even if it offends them, but that friend should also see it this way when his friend corrects him.
Matthew 11:15 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
What is Jesus talking about? Everyone has ears except those who have no hearing or are hearing-impaired but that’s not what Jesus is speaking about. He addresses the crowd that had gathered around Him and tells them about John the Baptist (Matt 11:7). John the Baptist was actually the very last of the Old Testament prophets and Jesus was trying to explain to them “all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matt 11:13-14). After telling this to the crowd, that’s when He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” or “You’ve really got to listen to what I’m saying.”
Proverbs 1:8-9 “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.”
These two verses are probably not children’s favorites Bible verses to memorize, but if they knew that it was in their best interests to listen to their parents, they would take these to heart early in life. Only later in life can we see that in many things, are parents were right and we were wrong. We didn’t have the experience like our parents did. They’ve accumulated a lot more “trial and error” and learning from their own mistakes than children have. By the way, this advice has no expiration date.
John 8:47 “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
It wasn’t that the Jewish leaders had a hearing problem. Their problem was in the heart. They listened but they didn’t really hear because they didn’t want to hear. They only heard what they wanted to hear and that was their own tradition. They certainly didn’t want to hear anything Jesus said because His words had authority. In their heart, they knew He was from God (John 3:2) because they delivered Jesus up to Pilate because of envy (Matt 27:18). They had nothing on Him and so they had to produce false witnesses to convict him at a mock trial. Jesus says the reason they couldn’t hear was because they were not of God.
Proverbs 19:20 “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
This proverb actually looks into the future welfare of the person reading this or hearing godly wisdom. Of course, the wisdom of the world is not what Solomon is writing about because this world’s wisdom is foolishness to God (1st Cor 3:19), so a brighter future begins with listening to advice and then to accepting that advice. Only then can you gain a proper wisdom for a better future. It is simply cause and effect. Good instruction leads to a better tomorrow; especially an eternal one (John 3:16).
The Proverbs says a lot about hearing and it’s not talking about whether we can hear well or not or whether we have a hearing problem. It’s not an ear problem but a heart problem. Listening is a choice one has to make. We can choose to listen and then act upon that which is heard or we can listen but not really hear. It is a selective hearing loss of sorts. Proverbs 19:27 warns if we “Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.