The Greatest Sense

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

Deuteronomy 6:4 (KJV)

Hear – Of our five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching), YHWH uses the sense of hearing to transfer His message. This is because in the Hebraic mind, hearing is the greatest sense. When compared to the Greek mind that values the sense of sight above all the others, one might understand why Greeks build statues of all their gods. They had to visually see them. But for the Hebrew, value is in the hearing of God’s word.

You might catch this in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:17

Faith comes by hearing, not by seeing. So were these guys onto something here? Is there any proof to this value of hearing over seeing? Why yes there is. The image below is an explanation of the amount of bits of information that each sense transfers to the brain per second as compared to the amount of bits the conscious brain actually process.


Hearing will take in 100,000 bits per second and process 30 of those. While seeing will take in 10,000,000 bits per second and process only 40 of those. The ratio of what’s understood through hearing is 3,333 to 1 meaning that for every 3,333 bits of information you receive through hearing, your conscious brain processes 1 of those. As opposed to seeing which has a ratio of 250,000 to 1 which means that for every 250,000 bits of information received through seeing, your conscious brain only processes 1 bit. It takes far more bits of information to be received through seeing before you process something than it does through hearing.

Sure the 40 is greater than 30, but look at what’s wasted. Each second, through sight, 9,999,960 bits are lost while through hearing, only 99,970 are lost to the conscious brain. That’s a ratio of 100 to 1. 100 bits are lost through seeing when only 1 bit is lost through hearing.

Ah, but what about the other senses? Well they all are worse than hearing except for taste. But we can’t necessarily taste YHWH or His word, right? But this could have some interesting metaphorical value.

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Psalm 119:103

So next time you long to see God in your life, or desire to see His miraculous wonders, maybe you should listen first. The Hebrew word is shama, and it means much more than just “hear”. It’s the Hebrew equivalent to “obey”. So when you’re hearing the word of God, you should be obeying it. They are the same. It does no good to hear the word without action following.

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