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- “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.
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.
This is part of the Hebrew Word Studies series.