When I was a school boy I quickly learned how imperative it was to listen to my teacher. Yes, I could read and learn, but I would have to read everything not knowing what the teacher specifically wanted me to absorb. If I listened to fellow students, no matter how smart they were, I could be lead wrong. Just by listening to the teacher I quickly discovered how easy learning was in school. It was secret to success in school and it became my secret to success in life. Accumulative knowledge can only occur by listening to those who possess knowledge and are willing to share it.
Hearing is very important to God as well, insomuch that it is the first step of salvation. The apostle Paul wrote, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Faith depends on the message of God penetrating the heart, or mind, of the receiver. The significance of faith can be seen in that without it it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).
The non-hearer are the ones who will sit in an audience and can neither agree nor disagree with what is said. They are either voluntarily or involuntarily inattentive. They do not know what is being said at any given time. They are not worshiping even though they are physically present. They are among those who laugh to themselves, play with babies, sleep, stare, day-dream, write notes and/or talk etc. They need to discipline themselves into a proper disposition to worship God (Jn. 4:24).
The ones who hear without absorbing do not reason with the speaker. At times they even have their minds on distant things. However, were you to ask them a sudden question, they could repeat your last few words. These listen with divided attention.
The one who will think on the subject as the speaker presents it is the one who is being taught. He listens with interest and wants to learn and know the truth. He will eventually grow in the faith and will become a teacher, a preacher, elder or deacon (2 Pet 3:18).
Christ taught that men should take heed “how” and “what” they hear (Mark 4:24 f; Lk. 8:18). We should all listen intently to those who preach the gospel of Christ (Rom 10:10 f; Acts 2:38) and continue in the doctrine of Christ and his apostles (2 Jn 9 f; 2 Tim 2:2). Upon which level do you listen? Are you among the “non-hearing,” the “hearing without absorbing,” or, “the thinking”?