Dull Of Hearing

W. Terry Varner
January 10, 2016

Did you ever get the feeling that when you were speaking to someone that you were not communicating? Did you ever get the feeling that, though you knew your subject matter, the one listening to you were not tuned to your channel? As a teacher and preacher, sometimes I have had this feeling.

I will admit that sometimes the teacher is the cause of the failure because he does not to communicate properly. Sometimes our vocabulary does not relate because we are using vocabulary over the listener’s ability to grasp. The speaker does not need to parade his vocabulary before the one whom he is addressing. Sometimes the subject matter may be too involved for the one to whom we are speaking; i.e. they know nothing of the basics. Sometimes our delivery fails to communicate our message. With all of this said, the listener may really be at fault because he is “dull of hearing.”

Paul must have had some of these feelings. He speaks of Jesus as being a priest after the order of Melchizedek. When speaking of Jesus, he mentions the supplications Jesus to God while in Gethsemane (Heb. 5:7). He speaks of Jesus’ complete obedience (Heb. 5:8-9). He then concludes with the fact that Jesus is “high priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:10).

Then Paul realizes his readers were not understanding what he was saying and then chides them, “Of whom we have many things to say, and are hard to be uttered seeing you are dull of hearing’ (Heb. 5:11, emp. added). He makes the point that these Christians, some had been Christians for 30+ years (cf. Heb. 5:12, “For . .. you ought to be teachers”), need to digest the meat [deeper] teaching of the Word of God and not constantly demand teaching of milk [basics, elementary] (Heb. 5:12-14).

Are we “dull of hearing” when it comes to the Word of God? In this twenty-first century, place yourself in this setting. Where do you fall when it comes to knowing God’s Word? Are you able to handle the “meat” or are you satisfied with “milk”? Paul is teaching that the babe in Christ needs to go from milk to more mature things. We should have a hunger for knowing God’s Word. We all have had the time and we have the ability to both desire and to learn beyond the basics.

Some indicators of being “dull of hearing.” There are several things that tell us where we as individual Christians are at in our growth in Jesus.

1. A failure to grow intellectually in Bible knowledge. This is Paul’s main point. A Christian cannot teach others if he does not know the principles of Christianity (Heb. 5:12). The sad thing is that this individual is on the edge of being unfaithful.

2. A failure to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Knowing biblical facts avails little if those facts do not permeate life. What good is a doctor’s knowledge of medicine if he does not practice? While we must have knowledge of the Bible, that knowledge will save no one apart from the application of that knowledge, not even ourselves.

3. A failure to interpret Scripture properly. We have those who demand a “law” for every activity in life. Consequently, they become “legalistic” by making laws which God did not make. Thus, matters of opinion become matters of faith. Some disregard God’s law by treating matters of faith as if they were matters of opinion. These are “liberals” who seek to loose where God has bound. Paul describes both, the legalist and the liberal, as “unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” (Heb. 5:13). Consequently, they cannot “by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).

Let none of us be “dull of hearing,” but wise in our use of the Scriptures.