Do you remember the age-old adage, “It’s not what you said, but how you said it that really matters”? Researchers agree that somewhere between 35 and 40% of our communication is not through the words that we use but through the tone, inflection and speed of our voices. Every child knows the difference between hearing his/her name called affectionately and hearing it spoken when his/her father’s patience has come to an end. Intuitively we all listen for the pauses, the words that are emphasized and the intensity of the speaker’s voice. The feelings and emotions that are conveyed through our voices influences greatly how the listener interprets the words. Would you agree that the volume, or lack or it, also either enhances the preciseness of the thoughts that are being spoken or may even totally distract from the desired intent?
It is fascinating to consider the kind of voice that Jesus may have used when He was talking to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Was it a voice that conveyed pity or a touch of anger or frustration or something else? How did his words sound when He was responding to the women with the demon-possessed child or the mute man or the blind man? Even more personally, have you considered what it might have been like to hear Jesus talk about His own future, about the fact that He knew He would be killed and would rise again in 3 days? Was it a pensive and thoughtful announcement? The only clue that Scripture gives us is that He spoke plainly or openly to both His disciples and the crowd that was there. What was His tone of voice when he rebuked Peter and then went on to tell them what it would mean if they were serious about following Him? What was it like for the disciples to hear Him describe what it would mean to follow Him in the days ahead?
There is no doubt that the way that we “hear” His voice today greatly impacts our response. How carefully do you “listen” to the words that you read in your Bible?