Hearing and Obeying

Steps towards emphasizing Godly obedience rather than just biblical knowledge.

I love education. I've dedicated my life to learning. But I must constantly remind myself that learning should never become an end in itself. The end or goal is obeying God's Word, thus giving glory to His name.

The Hebrew word for obey means "to hear." To truly hear God's Words implies obedience as opposed to simply receiving information. James writes, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."(1:22) The Greek phrase for obey literally means to "hear under." The idea of obedience in the New Testament is a hearing that takes place under the authority or influence of the speaker, thus leading to compliance with the teachings.

Jesus asked that his disciples "hear him" to the point of complying to His requests. Often the disciples didn't understand Christ's words or teaching. They failed to grasp the meaning of Christ's death on the cross (Mt. 16:22), their own place in the kingdom (Mk. 9:33-37), and humble service to others (Mt. 20:24). They lacked the finesse and education that characterized the elite of that day. Yet, Jesus must have noticed their humble commitment to trust and obey His teachings.

Jesus never exalted knowledge as an end in itself. In fact, He and His disciples bypassed seminary. They failed to meet the educational and ecclesiastical requirements that would have credentialed them to be priests within Judaism. The early Christian movement exploded and developed without regard to any set-apart priesthood or formal standard of education.

The amount of knowledge the disciples possessed was far less important than what they did with that knowledge. It seemed that Jesus worked under this premise: Additional knowledge is given as a result of obedience to present Biblical truth. ...

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