Voice of God — Can every Christian hear the voice of God?
Often the question is asked, “Who can hear the voice of God?” Some Christians want to know if every Christian should be able to hear the voice of God. Others want to know how a Christian can hear the voice of God. Therefore, our answer has three parts: a) “Who can hear the Voice of God?” b) “What is the Voice of God?” and c) “How to hear the Voice of God.”
Who Can Hear the Voice of God?
The first person who heard the audible voice of God was the first man, Adam. Genesis 2:16 records the words that God spoke to him.
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17 (NASB)
Eve was the second person to hear the voice of God (Genesis 3:8-13). Cain, their first son, was the next person recorded to hear the voice of God (Genesis 4:1-2, 9). Other individuals named in the book of Genesis heard the voice of God also. Among the more significant persons in Genesis to hear God’s voice were Noah (Genesis 6:13), Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), Issac (Genesis 26:24), and Jacob (Genesis 28:13). Other Old Testament saints who heard the voice of God include Moses, King David, King Solomon, Daniel, and the prophets. The apostles in the New Testament obviously heard the voice of God. They walked and talked with Jesus! We will not name all of the individuals who heard the voice of God since the list would be too long.
The false prophet Balaam (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11) heard the voice of God, according to Numbers 22:9-12; 20:20. In 2 Kings 18:19-25. we learn that Yahweh had told Rabshakeh to invade Judah and defeat it. These two examples reveal that God spoke audibly to unbelievers on a few occasions, but this was not normal.
We should notice there is no record of many Old and New Testament believers hearing the voice of God. There is no record that God appeared to Abraham’s wife Sarah, even though she appears in Hebrews 11 among the saints who were examples of faith. Scripture does not tell us that Esau or the twelve sons of Jacob heard the voice of God. In the New Testament, there is no record that those listed in Romans 16 heard the voice of God. There is no record that Timothy, Titus, Aquila, Prisca, Epaphrodites, Euodia, Syntyche, Archippus, Nypha, Eubulus, Pudens, Linus or Claudia ever heard the voice of God. Yet, they were believers.
In summary, only a small number of saints have heard God audibly speak directly to them. God does not speak directly to every believer. There is no promise in Scripture that all believers will hear the audible voice of God.
What Is the Voice of God?
So far, we have assumed that the voice of God is the audible voice of God — a sound from God that can be heard with the ear. But the most obvious way God speaks to us today is through the Word of God. All of Scripture is the word of God. As we read Scripture, we hear the voice of God. That is the message of 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB)
Later in Revelation 19:13, we are told that the name of Jesus is the “Word of God.” What He spoke is Scripture.
Another important example is 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which tells us that the Bible or Scripture is inspired.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)
The Greek word for “inspired” means “God breathed.” That is, all of Scripture has been breathed by God. When we desire to speak, we expel air from our lungs through our vocal cords producing sounds which we understand as language. That is, all Scripture is the spoken words of God. Therefore when we read Scripture, we are hearing the very words of God. We hear the voice of God.
Another example is Hebrews 1:2, which says that God has spoken to us in His Son, Jesus Christ.
. . . in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. Hebrews 1:2 (NASB)
That is, God the Father spoke to us through Jesus Christ. That is, when Jesus spoke, those who heard Him heard God the Father speak. This helps us understand that God the Father speaks to us in different ways.
How To Hear the Voice of God
Now, how can we hear God’s voice? How can we discern the voice of God? The answer has two parts.
My Sheep Hear My Voice
First, Jesus told us in John 10:27 that those who are His sheep hear His voice.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them . . . John 10:27-28 (NASB)
Who are Jesus’ sheep? They are the elect, who were chosen before the foundation of the world (Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:3-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:1-2). The elect will hear Jesus’ voice from the pages of Scripture. They will actively believe in Jesus, confess their sins and Jesus will give them eternal life. In John 3:16, we are told that those who believe in Jesus have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)
Therefore, only the elect will hear the voice of God. Only the elect will respond to God. 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 tells us that the Holy Spirit only helps believers understand Scripture. Therefore, in order to hear the voice of God day-to-day, a person must be a believer. This is the first important step to hearing the voice of God. Even though God the Father selected those who would believe, He still calls people to place their faith in Him and believe. He calls the elect to believe in Christ. For a greater understanding of this biblical truth, visit these two links:
We must believe in Jesus Christ. For more information, visit Searching For God in order to learn how to become a Christian.
Study the Bible
Second, Christians must also read and study the Word of God or the Bible. The more a Christian studies the Bible, the more they will learn and understand. As we read the Bible and study it, we hear His voice—not His audible voice but His voice from the pages of Scripture, the printed pages of the Bible. Christians should read the Bible every day. The ultimate goal of studying the word of God is to know God—not to be a Bible scholar. In Jeremiah 9:23-24 God speaks to us.
Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NASB)
Hebrews 5:11-14 and 1 John 2:12-14 tell us that every Christian grows spiritually as they learn more and more about the truths that are written in the Bible.
It has been rare for anyone other than the elect or believers to hear the voice of God. When believers hear the voice of God, today it comes from the written pages of the Bible. God wrote the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21). To unbelievers, the Bible is meaningless and difficult to understand. Discover how to become a Christian by reading Searching For God.
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