Two Ears and One Mouth

a mural on the side of a building

It’s stuck with me all these years later. The well-known theologian began his talk with the words, “I’ve written more about the Greek word for head than any other scholar.” The talk was about biblical complementarianism and the speaker was none other than Wayne Grudem. He went on to say, “Yet it took me a lifetime to understand the head has two ears and only one mouth.” His point was, in spite all of his study, it took him far too long to listen well to his wife even in the midst of writing about his leadership role as a husband.

Debates about biblical roles of leadership aside, Grudem’s point about listening is well stated. We spend far too much time talking. We spend precious little time seeking to understand. In the new series in Philosophy Now magazine, writer Massimo Pigliucci summarizes historical teachings about the art of listening. We do well to listen to these ancient philosophers, or, better yet, to heed the Proverb, “To answer before listening— that is folly and shame” (Prof. 18:13).