Swift to Hear, Slow to Action

“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”

(James 1:19 NKJV)

To be swift to hear and slow to speak is a message that many of us are familiar with today. It is commonly interpreted to be swift to hear what someone has to say and slow to speak in response. Jesus when faced with the problem of an adulterous woman in John 8 did likewise. He was quick to hear the problem, but slow to respond and took time thinking about what he was going to say.

However, this passage can be further interpreted. Being swift to hear and slow to action can also be applied to how we receive the word of God. When studying the bible, we should be swift to hear the word of God, but slow to action, meaning that we should take time to read carefully so we have time to digest the word of God. James describes in verse 25 that as believers, we need to look into and continue in the word in order to be blessed. To look into the word means to spend more time looking deep into the word rather than skimming the surface, and this is only achievable by slowing down and reading carefully, and to continue in the word means to live by God’s word, and in order to do this, we need to make sure that we spend time to digest the word that we just received before we carry it out in our lives. Because if we are swift to hear and swift to action, we may not have a full understanding of what we are supposed to do and will easily forget what we have just heard.

James reminds us how we ought to receive the word with meekness. We need to be humble enough to realize that we need to study the word of God in a different way than we do when studying other works and need to be humble enough to realize that we need to rely on the wisdom from God rather than the wisdom from the world. As children of God we need to not only be swift to hear His words but also meditate on them to store them in our hearts, so this way, as described by Elder James in verse 25, we may be blessed in what we do. 

Leave a Reply