Jesus was not just teaching a subject matter; He was communicating truths about life and eternity. His information was urgent, but all too often his hearers only gave Him halfhearted attention.
The first command in Mark 7:14 is to “continually be listening to me.” This means not just hearing but also giving “special attention to hear with the ear of the mind” (Zodhiates, #191). The elements of the truth must be clear before the dots can be connected.
The second command is to “understand” what He was saying. It means to “put it together, comprehend, assembling individual facts into an organized whole.” What a perfect definition for inductive Bible study! Jesus was amazed at the lack of skill in his disciples.
Jesus said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mark 7:16). When He took His disciples to a place apart, He asked them in amazement, “Then do you also fail to understand?” They were so blinded by their tradition, prejudices, and preconceived ideas that Jesus’s teachings did not fit into any slot in their worldview.
After fifteen or twenty years, the Spirit began to inspire the apostles and prophets to write down Jesus’s teachings. He had promised that they would accurately remember them. (Jn 14:26).
We can examine the text, analyze the meaning of the verb tenses and definitions, and compare similar verses throughout the New Testament and Old Testament to grasp the inductive meaning of the teachings.
It still takes trust and determination to “understand” exactly what Jesus and the apostles meant for us to put into practice. “By faith [i.e., trust] we understand” (Heb 11:3).
His message is understandable, if we are willing to walk His way. “For we do not write you anything other than what you can read and also understand. But I hope that you will understand completely”; 2 Cor 1:13).
Are you a listener who wants to understand the meaning and implications? How much does your Bible study change your attitudes and purpose in life?
“Dear Lord, You have told us all we need to know about this life and about eternity. Help me have ‘ears to hear’ Your message and to be ready to teach others who also want to hear.”