Watch the video above and talk about it with a group or mentor. Learn more.

Do you “listen” to God, or do you just “hear” him?

Key Points:

  • “Shema” is usually translated into English as “hear” or “listen.” It’s a common word in the Hebrew Bible.
  • “Shema” can also mean responding to what we hear (Psalm 27:7).
  • From God’s point of view, “listening” is basically the same as “obeying” and keeping the covenant, which is why many English Bibles translate shema as “obey” rather than “listen” in Exodus 19:5.
  • In Hebrew, listening and doing are two sides of the same coin. When Israel disobeyed God, the prophets would say things like, “The people have ears, but they are not listening.”
  • Listening in the Bible is about doing what is said. Real listening is not just hearing, but exercising effort and action.

Quote This:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NASB) Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

See Also: Bible Interpretation, Christian Living, Old Testament, Theology

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Share about a time when someone “didn’t hear” what you were trying to say. How does your experience relate to this topic?
  3. Share about a time when you prayed for God to “hear” you.
  4. In the OT, we see that God was not merely calling Israel to know his commandments, but to live accordingly. How does this principle translate into the lives of followers of Jesus today?
  5. Read John 14:15. From Jesus’s perspective, what does it mean if we live in constant disobedience to him?
  6. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

This is part of the Hebrew Word Studies series.