The author of Hebrews, quoting Psalm 95, writes, “…as the Holy Ghost saith, today, if ye will hear his voice….” (Hebrews 3:7)
Notice he uses “saith”, not “said”. In Scripture, the Holy Ghost speaks – in the present – now – today, however you want to express that. You can pick up a Bible anytime you want and hear the voice of the Holy Ghost, summoning you to faith and new obedience.
Notice also we are told to “hear” His voice, not to read it. This doesn’t diminish the privilege of having the Scriptures in print, readily available to us to read; it does, however, give us some indication of how we should primarily experience the Word of God.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches that our ears are primary in salvation and maturation, not our eyes:
Q: How is the Word Made Effectual to Salvation?
A: The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.
So, what practical encouragement can we derive from this emphasis in Scripture on hearing the Word?
1.) Worship with God’s people each Lord’s Day, submitting yourself to the preaching of God’s Word.
2.) Read Scripture aloud in your home, in the presence of your whole family.
3.) Read Scripture aloud to yourself in private, ensuring you hear the Word as you read it.
4.) Listen to an audio Bible.
5.) Avoid images in worship, even if you feel you aren’t tempted to bow to them.
6.) Sing Scripture, especially the Psalms.
These six ideas aren’t buffet-style suggestions. Rather, each of these practices/principles should find expression somewhere in our lives. After all, one definition of a “Christian” is “one who hears and obeys the Lord”: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…..” (John 10:27)