Wise Ears

A wise man listens and learns.

April 29, 2019

"The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise."

Proverbs 15:31

“The ear that heareth.”
Many times, in the Word of God we are told to listen with our ears.  The idea is that we hear what is being said and pay attention, taking the wise words to heart.  The command to listen is given several ways.

“Incline your ear,” (Isaiah 55:3)

“He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches…,” (Revelation 2:7, and repeated in 2:11, 17, 29; 3:13, 22).  “If any man have an ear, let him hear,” (Revelation 13:9).

Many times the Word uses the phrase to “give ear,” (Job 34:2; Psalm 49:1; Isaiah 28:23; Jeremiah 13:15; Joel 1:2; etc. Thirty-two times in all.).

The implication in our verse for today is that the wise man is one who is quick to listen.

“The reproof of life.”
The wise man is listening to “the reproof of life.”  On the surface, it appears that this means the man is listening to and learning from the hard lessons in his life.  Everyone faces hard circumstances from time to time.  And as life beats on us, we should learn what it’s trying to teach us.  As believers, we understand that “God never wastes an experience.”1  And we need to be learning from each experience He gives us.  But, while we should be learning from these experiences in our lives, that is not what this text is saying here.

“The reproof of life – i. e., The reproof that leads to, or gives life, rather than that which comes from life and its experience,”2 (Barnes).

The Scriptures give us instructions that lead to life.  The most exceptional example of the kind of reproof that leads to life is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It points to our sin, and our inability to do anything about it by ourselves.  It introduces Jesus as the only hope for our forgiveness and cleansing from sin.  It shows that Jesus is the Sin Bearer as He bore our sin on Calvary’s cross, and died in our place.  It teaches that the Father accepted the sacrifice of His Son as He raised Jesus from the dead so we could be justified!  And the Word says that all who believe this Gospel will be saved.  Indeed, these are wonderful words that lead to life.  Wise is the man who listens to this reproof!

“Sweetly echo the gospel call,
wonderful words of life;
offer pardon and peace to all,
wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior,
sanctify forever,

Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life.”3

“Abideth among the wise.”
The man who listens to words that lead to life is found living with the wise.  He is “counted among them.”

Friend, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, the wisest thing you can do in all of your life is to trust Him and ask Him to save you.




1.  Marty Herron.
2.  Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.
3. “Wonderful Words of Life,” by Philip P. Bliss (1874).  Copyright Status, Public Domain.  This is the third verse and the refrain.