Does God speak to us today, and if so, how?

 Q. Does God speak to us today? How does God speak to us? Is it through the Bible or can he speak to us through our thoughts? Nature? Others? Thank you. Any tips of how to hear Him better would be appreciated and helpful. Thank you.

I believe that God does still speak to people today, and I think that in your question you have described several of the ways in which God does that.

God does speak to us through his written word, the Bible, and if we want to hear from God, we should read the Bible regularly, meditate on it (that is, ask what it means in the context of our own lives), memorize it, and discuss it with others.

But I believe that God also speaks to us in other ways. For one thing, as you suggest, God can speak to us through his creation. In the beauty and harmony of creation we experience something of the character of God. As the Bible itself says, “Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” But beyond that, I know many people who have come back from an experience of being out in God’s creation with a better sense of what they should do about something. In a way that I cannot entirely explain, they heard from God. As the old hymn says, “In the rustling grass I hear him pass, he speaks to me everywhere.”

I believe that God also speaks to us internally. This can happen through strong and clear impressions that we realize intuitively are from God. I think this is actually a learned ability. Through experience—from being both right and wrong about this at various times—we learn how to recognize God’s voice. I once preached a sermon entitled, “Can You Hear God When He Whispers?” That is what I’m talking about here.

I believe that God also guides us through the godly desires that he develops in us. I know people who have found on various occasions that a desire for something has grown in them just before an opportunity to do that thing has presented itself. In this case as well we need to develop discernment. We need to be able to tell whether God is indeed using the desire to speak to us and encourage us to take the opportunity. But I think this is nevertheless another means that God uses.

As also you suggest, I believe that God can speak to us through other people. We may go to someone whose godly wisdom we trust and ask their advice. Or someone may simply say something to us that has a certain ring to it, behind which we may discern God speaking.

God even speaks to us through our dreams. While I would say that most dreams are simply our brains processing things that have happened in recent days, in some cases, a dream has a special vividness and immediacy to it that help us recognize that God is speaking to us through it.

I imagine that other means could be listed as well. But for any of these means to work, we need to be able to hear God speaking through them, and that requires being able to recognize his voice. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” By this he meant, “My followers recognize my voice and do what I tell them.” The more readily we obey what we do hear from God, the more able we will become to hear further things from God, in a greater variety of ways.

I think that God will use just about any means to speak to us and give us direction, encouragement, warning, and affection. So we can and should be watching and listening for that. Our part is to cultivate the ability to recognize God’s voice and especially to obey what we hear God telling us.

Author: Christopher R Smith

The Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith is an an ordained minister, a writer, and a biblical scholar. He was active in parish and student ministry for twenty-five years. He was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the New International Version (NIV) that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. His Understanding the Books of the Bible study guide series is keyed to this format. He was also a consultant to Tyndale House for the Immerse Bible, an edition of the New Living Translation (NLT) that similarly presents the Scriptures in their natural literary forms, without chapters and verses or section headings. He has a B.A. from Harvard in English and American Literature and Language, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. in the History of Christian Life and Thought, with a minor concentration in Bible, from Boston College, in the joint program with Andover Newton Theological School.

One thought on “Does God speak to us today, and if so, how?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: