How Does God Speak To Us Today?

A question was submitted to me online.  “How does God talk to us?  Is it only through the Bible?”  It’s a very good question.  The Bible reveals many people who came to know God without reading Scripture.  In fact, we have no inspired record of any written communication from God to man until He gave the Ten Commandments to Israel at Mount Sinai and then inspired Moses to write for Israel the Pentateuch, which consists of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (Exodus 20:1-17; 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Numbers 33:1-2; Deuteronomy 31:9-11).

However, that is not to say that God did not communicate to man in any way before Moses.  Before Israel received God’s written law at Sinai, Genesis records God speaking directly to various patriarchs, people and kings (Genesis 1:28-30; 4:9-15; 6:13-22; 12:1-3; 20:3-7; 21:17-18; 25:22-23; 26:1-5; 28:10-15).  He also spoke indirectly to people through miraculous prophetic interpretation (Genesis 40:1-23; 41:1-39).  We also read in Genesis of God-fearing people from families, countries and backgrounds different from those to whom we read that God directly spoke.  This implies that God also directly communicated with these people even though we have no specific record of Him doing so (Genesis 14:18-20; cf. Joshua 2:9-13).  This divine, miraculous communication outside of inspired Scripture would continue at certain times with certain people both during and even after inspired men started writing the Old Testament (Numbers 22-24; Joshua 1:1-9; Judges 6:11-27; etc.)

It would also continue during the time when the New Testament was being written.  Men who already had inspired Scripture from God in the form of the completed Old Testament still received communication from Deity during the days of Jesus, sometimes without knowing so (Matthew 1:20-25; 2:12-15, 19-20; 3:16-17; Luke 1:67-79; 2:8-14, 25-38; 9:34-36; John 11:49-52; 12:28-30).  Jesus would tell His apostles that the Holy Spirit would directly communicate with them after He had gone (John 14:16-17, 25-26; 15:26-27; 16:12-15).  This the Spirit did, starting on the day of Pentecost and continuing from then (Acts 2:1-4; cf. 4:31; 5:1-10).  Later, the apostles through the laying on of their hands would give other Christians like Stephen and Philip the ability to miraculously receive communication from the Holy Spirit, resulting in them miraculously prophesying (Acts 6:5-6, 8-10; 7:55; 8:18, 26-29).  Around this same time, some of these apostles and prophets were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the Scriptures which would become the New Testament (1 Corinthians 2:10-13; Ephesians 3:3-5; 2 Peter 1:19-21; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

However, does God communicate to us directly today?  Scripture teaches while God spoke to the Hebrew patriarchs in various ways at various times, He now speaks to us through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2; cf. John 15:15), who is, interestingly, referred to as “the Word” (John 1:1, 14).  Christ told the future writers of the New Testament that they would be inspired by the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17, 25-26; 15:26-27; 16:12-15), and that He would only communicate to them what Jesus and the Father told Him (John 16:12-15).  These men would then write the New Testament under inspiration of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-13; Ephesians 3:3-5; 2 Peter 1:19-21; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

Therefore, the Scriptures they wrote under inspiration came from God’s Son (1 Corinthians 14:37).  This means that whenever we read our Bibles, we read a message from God’s Son…who is the only way God communicates to us today (Hebrews 1:1-2).  Any other method of communication is cursed and forbidden (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Revelation 22:18-19), and would not equip us for any truly good work since it is not Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

This is why we know that God would not, as some hypothesize, whisper in our ear while we read our Bibles, drive our cars, walk the dog, or sleep.  God has already told us how He communicates with us today.  He has already directed us to go to His Word for guidance in doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.  He has already condemned everything else.  He does not lie (Titus 1:2), so we can be confident that all we need to do is go to His Word and “rightly handle” it in order to be on the right path (2 Timothy 2:15).

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