Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Proverbs 9:9 NIV
One of the greatest attributes a person (or a group of people) can have is a teachable spirit. There is nothing better for a teacher than to be with a group that is eager to learn, valuing the preparation and experience of a skilled instructor; it makes for a dynamic learning environment.
It would almost seem a given, therefore, that people would strive to cultivate learning and increase in wisdom, but it is not the case. The history of the nation of Israel seems to point the other direction, as prophets are warned that their words will fall on deaf ears. Jesus would often preface His teaching with the phrase "let the one who has ears to hear, let them hear." It seems that when it came to their spiritual hearing, the people were often hard at hearing, or even stone-cold deaf.
So how do we increase our teach ability or capacity to hear and grow in the things of the Lord? The verse that follows this declaration mirrors Proverbs 1:7, and says:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10 NIV
This speaks to me on a couple of levels, both as a person that is a life-long learner, and also as a teacher. Cultivating a teachable spirit starts with humility that understands that the fear of the Lord, and it is multiplied when we are able to put it into practice. That's why the Proverbs are full of some "rubber meets the road" sayings; it is applied knowledge that transforms a person's heart and produces godly character. On one hand it starts with a teacher who has experienced this for themselves, but it also depends on "hearers who have ears to hear."
My prayer for myself and for our church is that the Lord give us a heart to know Him, and then the ability to make Him known through our lives and through our words.