SWIFT TO HEAR, SLOW TO SPEAK
Two weeks ago our “News & Views” essay posed some questions for Christians about the church. Last week we asked some questions concerning New Testament Christianity. The two essays were intended to complement each other and to allow us to check up on ourselves to see just how well acquainted we are with New Testament teaching about the church and the distinctiveness of New Testament Christianity. How did you do on those questions? Continue reading
Nothing like getting it directly from the source. In matters of the spirit, we can be content with nothing else.
Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ, unmediated by human interpretation. A happy result of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman is this word of the townspeople to her: Continue reading
The principle of silence is an important aspect of rightly dividing the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 7:14). Unfortunately it’s a concept that’s hard for many in the religious world to grasp despite the fact that it has a biblical basis. What makes it even more difficult to understand is when an individual fails to first hear what’s spoken, because if you don’t hear the speaking then there’s no way you’ll hear the silence.
A person once told me to show them where the New Testament says that baptism saves us – I showed them 1 Peter 3:21 but it didn’t change anything.
A person once told me that there were no funerals in the New Testament after the day of Pentecost – I told them about Acts 9:36-37 but it didn’t change anything.
A person once told me that Jesus never told anyone to serve him and that he never said he was the Son of God – I showed them John 5:22-23 and John 12:26 but it didn’t change anything.
You see, if a person fails to learn from what the Spirit of God has said concerning the will of God, then the will of God won’t be revealed to that individual when it comes to the Spirit’s silence.
This is why the churches of Christ still strive to speak where the Bible speaks, and to be silent where the Bible is silent; because we believe that the silence of the scriptures can say as much as the speaking.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:9)
I was a bit dismayed to learn that the recent generation’s attention span seemed to be equivalent to the time between commercials. It seems the current generation is down to about six seconds, with the rising popularity of social media sites like VINE, where you are allowed six seconds of video broadcast — and then on to something else — I guess I’d better hurry.
Here is a short, but profound lesson in Psalm 106:13-15:
“They quickly forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
But they craved intensely in the wilderness,
And tempted God in the desert.
So He gave them their request,
But sent a wasting disease among them”
How does that work? They got what they craved (water), but spiritual health did not come with it. We have to wait for His counsel. Got it in 6?
—Oran Burt, Somers Ave. church bulletin “The Observer,” North Little Rock AR
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20, NKJV).
This passage is properly interpreted in relation, of course, to that which James said previously, as well as to what follows. It has been customary to interpret the phrase “swift to hear” in relation to “God’s word.” One can hardly dispute the application of this, or perhaps even the interpretation.
On the other hand, the phrase “swift to hear” might be better suited to a person being swift to hear what another says, just as it is appropriate for one to be slow (and deliberate) to speak, and slow to anger. The Holy Spirit has expressed Himself: “He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Proverbs 17:27-28). RT
What have you heard recently (a subjective adverb) that made you stop and think? Could be a person who spoke it in your ear, or via a public speaker, or a recording or podcast or other mechanically or electronically transmitted message. Not something you’ve read, but heard. Something that really brought you up, gave you a start, froze you in your tracks, grabbed you by both ears. It could be good or bad, sad or joyous, momentous or small potatoes. But it should have elicited a strong response from you.