Dear friend,

I can understand your frustration when people around you seem to be hearing God’s voice and yet you don’t seem to be. It’s a good desire to want to hear His voice. But many times we make it out to be a lot more mysterious and harder than it should be, because we look to the wrong places for God’s voice.

It is actually very simple. The Bible is where God’s voice can be heard. 2 Peter 1:21 tells us that the Bible’s words ultimately came from God himself, even though he makes use of human authors. 2 Tim 3:16-17 tells us that the Bible is ‘God-breathed’ i.e. that the words has a divine origin. Jesus himself treated the whole Old Testament as God’s word (eg Mt 12:1-14, 19:4, 5:17-20). As for the New Testament, the apostles, whose witness is what brings us to faith in Jesus (John 20:30-31), made it clear that their words carry the authority as God’s words and are regarded as Scripture (2 Pet 3:16, Eph 2:20). Their authority comes from the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, 15:26, 20:22).

So if you want to listen to God’s voice, then you need to read God’s word. One of my friends put it in a great way when he commented on his quiet time one morning. He said"I was praying, talking to God and then I opened my Bible and God won’t stop talking to me!"

And it flows on that if we can hear God’s voice in the Bible, the Bible is also the place to turn to know God’s will for us. And the Bible is packed full of what God tells us about his will for us. His will for us is to be a ‘holy people’ who sings his praises (2 Pet 2:9-10), to throw off sin (Heb 12:1-2), to love one another (Rom 12:8-10), to be assured that he will bring us to the finish line (Rom 8:28-30) etc etc! God’s will for us is everywhere in the Bible, there’s no way to list it all! We might not find advice in the Bible about whether we should work as a dentist or go to Africa. So that probably means that it doesn’t really matter to God except that when we work, we work with sincerity and diligence (Col 3:22-25), and when we make decisions, we make them because we ‘live for him who died for us’ (2 Cor 5:15).

And God’s voice in the Bible is all we need. It is completely sufficient. It contains all we need to be saved and live a godly life (2 Tim 3:14-17). That means that if we want to know God, his will for us and how to live, the Bible will let us know what we need to know. So we don’t have to try and listen to God’s voice from other quarters - these other ‘avenues’ are normally unreliable, commonly false and ultimately unnecessary!

Part of the confusion about hearing God’s voice arises because people talk about “hearing God’s voice” and “knowing his will” without actually explaining what they mean by that. Personally God doesn’t “talk” to me in words that I hear or in a way that makes it clear what God wants me to do (I sometime wish he would!!). Rather he “talks” to me as I grapple with his Word and as I pray to him and work through in my own mind what I need to do in a particular situation. I don’t talk about this process as “God talking to me” but rather as “grappling with God’s word” or “seeking to apply God’s word” but they all mean the same thing.

I hope that eases your burden in wanting to ‘hear God’s voice’. The wonderful news is that we can, anytime! Just grab your Bible, open it and God won’t stop talking to you!