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22. The Hand Illustration - First Finger: Hearing

Purpose: The purpose of this session is to better understand the Bible through the use of “The Hand” analogy. The first step is to learn how to listen.


1. The disciple will look at their hand and use it as a visual reminder of how to better grasp an understanding of the Bible.

2. The disciple will retain more of what they hear of the Word of God.

Scripture Memory

Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.

Romans 10:17


1. Mutual prayer and sharing.

2. Discuss the readings.

3. Review Scripture Memory.

How do we learn about God, His truths, His will, His way? In these sessions we will use a physical metaphor for firmly grasping God’s Word: The Hand. The first finger, hearing, will prepare us for improved recollection of Scripture.

The “Hand” shows us the five methods of learning from the Bible. Each of these methods is important.

Copyright ©1976 The Navigators, re-printed with permission from The Navigators, all rights reserved and define the Illustration as the Word Hand Illustration.


Hearing the Word from godly pastors and teachers provides us insight into others’ study of the Scriptures and stimulates our own appetites for the Word.


Reading the Bible gives us an overall picture of God’s Word. Many find a daily reading program helpful to take them systematically through the Bible.


Studying the Scriptures leads us into personal discoveries of God’s truths. Writing down these discoveries helps us organize and remember them better.


Memorizing God’s Word enables us to use the Sword of the Spirit to overcome Satan and temptations, to have it readily available for witnessing or helping others with a “word in season.”


Meditation is the thumb of the Hand, for it is used in conjunction with each of the other four methods. Only as we meditate on God’s Word — thinking of its meaning and application to our lives — will we discover its transforming power at work in us.

Hearing — The First Finger

Three Problems of Hearers  

There are problems related to hearing. These are well known to us all. We do not listen to our children, spouses, or to our friends. The simple matter of listening is a crucial problem in society today. Yet we are urged in Revelation to listen if we have ears to hear. Perhaps in listening to God we should play like we are a big ear. We should “open the pores of our skin” and listen. Yet we are simply poor listeners. How different this should be in relation to Scripture. We need to be ready and able to hear everything our Father would have us hear.

1. We remember only one half of what we hear immediately after hearing.

2. We remember less than 25% in a week.

3. The mind can think four times faster than we can speak. Therefore there is much leisure time and this contributes to the difficulty of being a good listener.

The Word makes the difference between mediocrity and productivity in the life. From the Book revival is born! Babies are made adults by the milk and meat of the Word.

Concerns in Handling the Word

1. Hearing the Word and not being a doer, James 1:22-25. Understand that hearing brings great responsibility for action. Study this passage carefully and prayerfully.

2. Studying and not rightly dividing, 2 Timothy 2:15. It is important to learn to interpret Scripture as correctly as possible, and not simply to pull out passages to support a pet theory.

3. Handling the Word of God deceitfully, 2 Corinthians 4:2 (without honesty).

Get, and make what you get to be your own. You will grow in terms of what you put into your life and being. Only what is yours will be significant.

Becoming a Good Listener

Here are some ideas for being a good listener.

1. Anticipate points. What is the speaker saying to you?

2. Weigh evidence for accuracy.

3. Listen between the lines.

4. Summarize what is said.

5. Listening is an active process—not passive. It is much different from watching television or looking at pictures. Your mind must be aggressive and active if you are to listen well. Make it aggressive!


Hearing is the first way we begin to get a grasp of the Word. Scripture related to hearing includes the following verses. What do they say?

Romans 10:17

James 1:22

Revelation 1:3

Revelation 3:6, 20

James 1:19

Analyze each of the previous verses and indicate in your own words the importance they attach to hearing the Word of God.

Summary and Key Concepts

In “The Hand” we learned a framework for personally gripping God’s Word: Hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on Scripture. In “Hearing” we found that involving ourselves actively in listening best prepares us to understand the Bible, and then to be obedient and “show you my faith by my works,” James 2:18.

Life Application

Outline the sermon and Sunday School lessons you hear this coming Sunday. Practice some of the ideas we have suggested in this session. Immediately following the sermon and lesson, see if you can write a summary in your own words of what has been said. Try to get together with someone and discuss the learning.

Related Topics: Discipleship

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