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Book Review

Expository Listening - by Ramey, Ken.

The Woodlands, TX: Kress Biblical Resources, 2010. 144 pp.
Reviewed by Missy Mehringer, wife of TMS Director of Admissions Ray Mehringer

There are many sayings about listening. Wives and mothers often say “Honey, are you listening?” or “Kids, listen up!” to capture the full attention of their loved ones. If you are a working gal, you probably listen well when your boss gives you direction, and all of us appreciate having friends who are good listeners. As relational women, we are often better known as talkers than as listeners. TMS graduate and pastor Ken Ramey has an excellent new book that looks at our responsibility to be expository listeners as God’s Word is taught.

Ramey sees an important link between spiritual growth and the way believers listen to and apply the Sunday sermon. Listening and applying THE Word will change our hearts, point out sin and help us grow. Being an “expository listener” is about developing a deep heart conviction of what God wants to teach us through His Word. Therefore, listening needs to be active not passive. The author likens the relationship of the pastor and the listener to that of a pitcher and a catcher: as the pastor delivers the clear teaching of God’s Word, the listener in the pew receives.

The author gives us practical steps to prepare our hearts for listening:

• Read the Bible and meditate daily. Confess personal sin so that nothing will block your ability to hear the truth.

• View Sunday as the most important day of the week and make plans for it. Limit media intake and Saturday night events or consider ending Saturday events early. You will then be better prepared to listen well.

• A long with praying for the teaching pastors, ask God for a receptive heart as you listen to His Word.

• Be faithful in your attendance. When necessary, listen to the missed sermon on line.

• Come to hear God’s Word with a humble and teachable heart. Jay Adams gives this charge: “When you go hear a sermon, you must be concerned about one thing—what does God have to say to me?” Focus on God. See preaching as a transaction not merely between you and the preacher but between you and God.

• Be careful of distractions. Pray continually throughout the Sunday service. Meditate on the Bible verses read and lyrics sung to hymns.

In Luke 11:28 we hear Jesus’ words, “. . . blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it.” Ken Ramey’s book offers practical help to those desiring to do regular “hearing checks” so that they will have ears ready to hear the Word of God.

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