How to be Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger


In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of our own thoughts and opinions. We are constantly bombarded with information, making it difficult to be present and truly listen to others. As Evangelical Christians, we can turn to the wisdom of the Bible to help us navigate these challenges. In James 1:19 (NKJV), we find the powerful exhortation: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” By examining these words, we can learn how to better embody the virtues of patience, humility, and empathy in our daily lives.

In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, using examples from the Bible to guide our understanding. We will explore practical tips for applying these principles in our daily lives, allowing us to grow in our faith and improve our relationships with others. In doing so, we hope to bring glory to God and promote unity within the body of Christ.

uiib0bavwfs 1 How to be Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger

The Importance of Being Quick to Listen

Listening as an Act of Love

The first part of James’ instruction is to be “swift to hear.” Being a good listener is an essential aspect of loving our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). When we truly listen to others, we show that we value their thoughts and feelings, fostering deeper connections and understanding.

Examples from Scripture

Throughout the Bible, we see the importance of attentive listening. In the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42), Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teachings. By doing so, she demonstrates the value of setting aside distractions and focusing on the words of the Lord. Additionally, in the account of Samuel’s calling (1 Samuel 3), the young prophet learns to listen carefully to God’s voice and obey His instructions.

The Importance of Being Slow to Speak

Words Carry Power

Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV) says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Our words have the potential to build up or tear down those around us. By being slow to speak, we give ourselves time to weigh our words carefully and ensure that they align with God’s will and wisdom.

Examples from Scripture

The book of Proverbs is filled with counsel on the power of words and the importance of using them wisely. Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV) states, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Jesus Himself exemplified the wisdom of being slow to speak when He faced accusations from the religious leaders of His day. In Matthew 26:63, Jesus remained silent in the face of false accusations, demonstrating the strength and wisdom that comes from knowing when to speak and when to hold our tongues.

The Importance of Being Slow to Anger

Patience as a Fruit of the Spirit

Anger can cloud our judgment and lead to actions that we later regret. By being slow to anger, we cultivate patience, one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. This patience helps us to maintain a Christ-like demeanor, even in the face of provocation.

Examples from Scripture

Throughout the Bible, we find examples of the dangers of anger and the wisdom of patience. In Genesis 4, Cain’s anger towards his brother Abel leads to the first murder in human history. Conversely, in the story of David and Saul (1 Samuel 24), David demonstrates restraint and patience when given the opportunity to take vengeance on his enemy.

Practical Tips for Applying These Principles in Our Lives

Cultivating a Listening Heart

To become better listeners, we can practice active listening techniques, such as maintaining eye contact, nodding to show understanding, and asking open-ended questions. In our quiet time with God, we can also develop our ability to listen for His voice through prayer, Scripture reading, and meditation.

Practicing Thoughtful Speech

Before speaking, take a moment to pause and consider your words. Ask yourself whether your intended message aligns with the principles of love, kindness, and truth. You can also pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in helping you to speak wisely and graciously.

Developing Patience and Emotional Control

To become slow to anger, we can work on building emotional intelligence and self-awareness. This includes identifying triggers that may cause us to react with anger and developing healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress and frustration. Prayer and regular time spent in God’s presence can also help us grow in patience and self-control.

The Role of Humility in Our Interactions

Embracing the Mindset of a Servant

One key aspect of being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger is cultivating humility in our hearts. Jesus exemplified humility throughout His ministry, teaching us to have the mindset of a servant (Philippians 2:5-8). By humbling ourselves and considering others’ needs and perspectives, we can more effectively demonstrate the love of Christ in our interactions.

Examples from Scripture

The Bible provides many examples of humility in action. In John 13, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, illustrating the importance of humble service to others. Additionally, the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:3 (NKJV) not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but to think soberly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.

Building Empathy and Compassion

Understanding the Feelings of Others

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. By developing empathy, we can better relate to those around us and respond with compassion to their needs. This helps us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, as we consider the emotional experiences of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Examples from Scripture

The Bible is filled with examples of empathy and compassion in action. Jesus Himself demonstrated great empathy for those He encountered during His earthly ministry, such as when He wept with Mary and Martha over the death of their brother Lazarus (John 11:32-36). Additionally, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), we see an example of empathy driving compassionate action as the Samaritan cares for the injured man.


In conclusion, by striving to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, we can follow the wisdom of James 1:19 and grow in our Christian walk. These principles not only help us develop stronger relationships with others but also draw us closer to the heart of God. As we learn to listen attentively, speak wisely, practice patience, cultivate humility, and build empathy, we become more like Jesus, our ultimate example.

As Evangelical Christians, we have a responsibility to reflect Christ’s love in our interactions with others. By being intentional in our efforts to embody these virtues, we can foster a spirit of unity within the body of Christ and be a shining example to the world. May we continually seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our journey to become better listeners, thoughtful speakers, patient individuals, humble servants, and empathetic believers, for the glory of God and the edification of His church.

Finally, let us remember the words of Colossians 4:6 (NKJV), “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” May our words and actions be a testimony to the transformative power of God’s love in our lives, as we seek to honor Him in all that we do.

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