Are you hearing or listening?

Recently I had a Pastor friend post on Facebook asking if Hearing was different than Listening.

I did not really think too much about it and simply typed back this response:

“I would say for me simply hearing is head knowledge and listening is when it becomes heart knowledge.
We can hear a lot of things; but when we truly listen is when we get it at the deepest heart level.
Hearing can be done without focus and with distractions all around, but listening is more focused hearing when it is quieter and less distractions around.
So listening for me is the quiet focused heart application of hearing.
Only in listening can I hear the Holy Spirit more clearly.”

Then he referenced these verses:

I can guarantee this truth: Many prophets and many of God’s people longed to see what you see but didn’t see it, to hear what you hear but didn’t hear it. ~Matthew 13:17 GWT

Then the people who have God’s approval will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Let the person who has ears listen! ~Matthew 13:43 GWT

Matthew 13:43 refers to Mark 4:9 which says “And he said, “Whoever has ears to hear had better listen!” NET

Some translations say hear while some say listen? They use the two words almost interchangeably, but are they really different? So I dug a little deeper on the hear vs listen idea….

The Pulpit Commentary on Mark 4:9 says:
Verse 9. – And he said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. St. Luke (Luke 8:8) bus a stronger word than (ἔλεγεν) “he said.” He (Luke 8:8) has (ἐφώνει) “he cried.” Our Lord uses this expression, “he that hath ears to hear,” etc, when the subject-matter is figurative or obscure, as though to rouse the attention of his hearers. He has “ears to hear” who diligently attends to the words of Christ, that he may ponder and obey them. Many heard him out of curiosity, that they might bear something new, or learned, or brilliant; not that they might lay to heart the things which they heard, and endeavor to practice them in their lives. And so it is with those who go to hear sermons on account of the fame of the preacher, and not that they may learn to amend their lives; and thus the words of Jehovah to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 33:32) are fulfilled,
“Yes, to them you are like a singer of love songs who has a beautiful voice and plays skillfully on an instrument. They hear your words, but they don’t obey them.” ~ Ezekiel 33:32 HCSB

So lastly I googled and these are a few things I found on the question, Is there a difference between hearing and listening:

“Do you think there is a difference between hearing and listening? You are right, there is! Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences. Listening leads to learning.
Most people tend to be “hard of listening” rather than “hard of hearing.” ~University of Minnesota Duluth

Hearing and listening have quite different meanings. Hearing is a passive occurrence that requires no effort. Listening, on the other hand, is a conscious choice that demands your attention and concentration. ~Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell

So bottom line, I think I was pretty right in my initial thoughts, and there are big differences in the two.

What are your thoughts on this?

Lord, May we all learn to Listen and not simply just Hear.

XXOO, Michelle Bollom


3 thoughts on “Are you hearing or listening?

  1. What comes to mind is how in the Charlie Brown/Peanuts show….the teacher would be blah blah blah blah…you could “hear that sound”…but listening is engaged and active and can respond.. My 2 cents….not as spiritual…but kind of…. WE can know and hear His voice or a friend’s voice but if we choose to remain passive regarding their thoughts or opinion, then we are truly not listening 🙂

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