Does God Audibly Speak to Us?

Like me, you probably grew up being taught to listen for God’s voice as guidance to you in your life. You may have heard stories given by pastors where they talk about a situation in their life and they said “but then the Lord said to me”. Maybe you’ve had friends in life that profess to have heard from God to do certain things. But does scripture show us that God audibly speaks to us in this way? Let’s find out.

Did God speak audibly to people?

I think a good first and probably easy question to ask and answer would be, are there instances where God has communicated to people audibly at all? Without even pulling up a verse, I’m sure we can all recall many instances that people heard God speaking to them throughout the Old Testament. The first instance was of course Adam and Eve. God instructed them on what to do on the land that He created for them, what food they could eat, and many other things you can find in the beginning of Genesis. We continue through the Old Testament there are many other people such as Abraham, Moses, Job, and on and on throughout the Old Testament that God audibly spoke to. Not only did He audibly speak to these people, but the people He spoke with were actually able to converse back with Him and have an actual conversation. I personally find that quite astonishing.

So we can factually say yes, God has audibly spoken to people before as recorded throughout Scripture. Still though, we don’t have the answer to whether God audibly speaks to Christians. Now in the Old Testament we can find many instances of God audibly speaking to people, but it’s interesting when we choose to observe the New Testament. Of the instances which I can recall the spiritual speaking audibly to humans in the New Testament, there was an angel that spoke to both Mary and Joseph, God spoke audibly after Jesus was baptized proclaiming Him to be His son that He was well pleased with, and Jesus spoke to Paul twice, first when he was blinded, and second when he was in a trance.

There was also the revelation that John got from an angel which gave us the Book of Revelation, and I suppose you could also include the Resurrected Christ speaking to the disciples as well as an example of the spiritual speaking with humans. Anyone can add to this list if there’s something I’ve missed. Looking at these instances, only one instance is recorded where God (the father) audibly spoke on the earth to people around in the New Testament, and that was when Jesus was baptized. So factually speaking, we have no recorded account in Scripture of God communicating audibly to a Christian.

Whoa whoa whoa, what about prophesy?

Don’t worry, I’m going to get to that. But in this section of the post, we’re actually going to talk about prayer for a moment. You were probably raised with the belief to listen for God’s voice in prayer. But interesting to consider if there is such an occurrence or teaching of God speaking to people in prayer. We’ve seen there appears to be no recorded account in explicit detail of God audibly speaking to Christians, but what about a teaching? In all of the teachings of the Apostles and Jesus, to my humble knowledge there’s no instance they ever teach to listen for God’s voice in prayer. It seems more often the emphasis is on recalling their teachings and listening to the letters of the Apostles. Even when Jesus prayed to God before He was taken away to eventually be crucified, it was just Him expressing his desires to God, but God not talking back to Him.

How can I receive guidance?

Now with challenging that common teaching, you might be asking me, “Well how do I receive guidance from God if I don’t hear Him in prayer or if there’s not much evidence of Him audibly speaking to Christians?” Let’s reflect on how Scripture is described in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” So here we have it factually stated, that the text we have is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. It perhaps sounds a lot like everything we’d ever need to know from God. Now you might ask me, “why do I conclude that it sounds like that?” Well, if you look at the types of things that God ever did audibly speak to people, that seemed to be why He generally spoke. He wanted His people to know righteousness, to reprove them when they were doing wrong, and being instructed of the things that they needed to know to do to show love and honor for Him. They didn’t necessarily have all of this text available to know truthful things that we’re blessed to know now through the Scripture.

I think we can all possibly agree that we can absolutely never go wrong by following what God says in His Word, in comparison to a history of people past the Apostolic Era who have proclaimed to have heard some new revelation from God that have been wrong frequently. This brings me to one other extra point before I begin to close. Anytime someone in the Bible ever said they had received a message from God to people, they almost always proved it with a miracle (Moses turning a stick into a snake, Jesus healing people, Apostles performing miracles etc.) If this is the standard these men of God held themselves to, it would seem it should be the expected standard that all professed audible hearers of God should hold themselves to as well, by displaying their miraculous abilities and thus proving their words they claim to have heard from God as truth. It doesn’t seem these things are ever evidenced by merely a strong feeling of one believing they’ve had or are having such an occurrence based on subjective perception.

Prophesy

Okay, now we’re ready to talk about prophesy as it relates to audible communication from God. To my humble knowledge of scripture, this would be the only exception to the overall evidence that God generally does not speak audibly to Christians within scripture. Now we don’t see a verse that illustrates an example of when a prophesy was occurring stating “God spoke to this person and the person gave this prophetic revelation saying,”. Though having said that, the secrets of the heart of an unbeliever could not come from any other place other than God, so one could perhaps presume God is audibly speaking to the prophets in the moment of the prophesy. But interestingly, it tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:29 that judgment be passed on the prophecy, suggesting caution in anyone accepting someone’s statement as words from God.

Does your stance limit God?

I certainly wouldn’t intend to do such a thing. God is God, and He can choose to do things in any way He wants to. But on the flip side of the coin, is it possible one can equally be guilty of magnifying God to their own perceptions over the specific perceptions given to us in the Word. Is it important that in seeking to be true followers of Christ we continually do our best to humble ourselves into desiring to experience God on His terms alone? It’s something to all think about.

Conclusion

Ultimately, I don’t mind if one believes God audibly speaks to them if what they think they heard doesn’t go against anything in scripture. Myself personally, if God does audibly speak to Christians, I would conclude it to be a very rare occurrence on the basis of what scripture shows us. But it’s fascinating to ponder this spiritual experience that’s so often been a wonder of many generations of believers.

Peace to all those who are in Christ.

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23 thoughts on “Does God Audibly Speak to Us?

  1. Very good post. It would be a courtesy to leave your name…I cannot find it and have forgotten who is connected with Fact Based Truth.

    You did miss a few examples in the New Testament where humans heard the voice of God…at the transfiguration of Jesus (Mt. 17:5)…the voice of God in John 12:28-29…Paul at Damascus (Acts 9:4-6) and in Acts 23:11. There are probably a few more places that I am also missing…but your point is well taken that God speaking to people with an audible voice is very rare…in both the Old and New Testaments…and should not be confused with the very real capacity for Christians to hear God according to: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (Jn. 10:27) and John 16:13 which implies that we have the capacity to hear God…otherwise how could the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth.

    I agree that if someone heard the audible voice of God…it would involve something very important and would have some form of divine confirmation through and unmistakable anointing of the Holy Spirit or the sign of a miracle.

    I have never heard anyone claim to have heard the audible voice of God in terms of guidance…or regarding anything else…and I would certainly question the veracity of such a claim.

    But hearing God’s voice in the Spirit is supposed to be the normal experience of every Spirit-born Christian.

    Again, let us know who you are somewhere on your website/blog.

    • Hi Barton. Thank you for your comment. I’ll look into to possibly doing that in the future 😉 But if you click on my profile name I give a little background information about myself. And thanks for including more examples.

      With regards to John 10:27, looking at the surrounding verses the context seems to be about believing Jesus is the Christ and having eternal life through him. The sheep part appears to be an illustration more than a direct instruction per-se, since in referring to His people as sheep, we’re not literally sheep of course.

      I think the statement in John 16:13 was more specifically directed to the Apostles. I think since Holy Spirit authored the Word, we can always have truthful guidance through reading the Word. But I understand the fascination with wanting to hear the voice of God.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  2. Fact Based Truth,
    This blog stated truths throughout scripture but I would like to add that God audibly speaking is accounted all through the old and new testiments.
    When God spoke audibly in scripture it was to those he was in relationship with him. Jesus tell us that his sheep meaning believers will hear his voice and follow him. So again in relationship with the Father through the son. We know that he speaks to us. Not all believers experience the audible voice of God but all believers come to know his voice. Just as a child knows the voice of their father and mother. All believers have the abitlity to hear and know Gods voice and that come with spending time with the Father in relationship.

    • Hi mylivinglifesite. Thank you for your comment. I’m curious, how do you square your conclusion in Christians hearing the audible voice of God with there being no detailed recorded account of a Christian in scripture hearing the voice of God?

      • factbasedtruth,
        Isn’t the burning bush in the old testament a fact of Gods audible voice? also the transfiguration in the new testament didn’t God speak audibly? Plus I have experienced Gods audible voice. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The two accounts are only two, I know there are more accounts in the scriptures, I will have to research.

      • Yes, you’ve cited instances in scripture where God audibly spoke, but what we’re specifically talking about is an instance where God audibly spoke to a Christian. Do you find such an account in scripture, and if you do not, how does that fit with your belief that God communicates audibly to you?

        Peace in Christ. 🙂

    • Hi CLEvangelism. Thank you for passing along the video. While the pastor made points unrelated to hearing the voice of God that I found to be accurate, the whole sermon is built on a presumption that does not appear to exist in scripture. The pastor never pointed to a verse that explicitly states in one way or another, “God audibly communicates to Christians” or pointed to a detailed account of God audibly communicating to a Christian. So I would say the characteristics the pastor lists of God’s voice are not only not explicitly stated in scripture, but built on a presumption that doesn’t seem to exist in scripture to begin with. On a side note, I do appreciate that the pastor took the time to answer people’s questions at least.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

      • As Crosswalk said, “‘[H]earing God speak’ may mean different things to different people.” I think you and I are talking about two different things. He didn’t say (nor did I mean to imply by sharing the video) that God **audibly** speaks to Christians. (In fact, either he or another pastor I watch said he’d be scared if God did. As you can imagine, that’d be a little frightening.)

        Pastor Jenkins based his sermon on Hebrews 5:12-14 and said, by a certain point in your walk with God, you should be able to discern God’s voice — i.e., right from wrong, good decision from bad decision.

        [The following points are more for readers who don’t want to watch the video than for argument’s sake.]

        Characteristic 1: God’s word brings peace (Colossians 3:15)
        God doesn’t govern by tension or stress.
        When he speaks, it brings peace.
        When God gives you peace, it gives you an internal calmness even when all hell is breaking loose around you (He mentions Mark 4:35-41).
        God’s peace is not the same as our peace. You may have peace about getting a divorce, but God didn’t give you that peace.

        Characteristic 2: When God talks, he doesn’t use fear to motivate you. (2 Timothy 1:7)
        Fear does not come from God.
        (As you know, “do not be afraid/fear not” is the most repeated command in the Bible.)

        Characteristic 3: God doesn’t make you act hastily. (Isaiah 28:16 and Isaiah 52:12)
        If you have to decide today, it isn’t God because God isn’t governed by time.

        Characteristic 4: When God speaks, he speaks good things. (Philippians 4:8)
        When he has to say something bad, he says it in a positive way (2 Chronicles 7:14 – if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.)

        Characteristic 5, which brings the sermon full circle: When God speaks, it will always align with what the Bible says, it won’t contradict scripture. (2 Timothy 3:15-17 – and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.)

        If these are presumptions, they’re at least safer, smarter, and more biblical presumptions than most Christians are making.

      • Hmm. As I was listening I wasn’t quite getting the impression he was meaning hearing a voice figuratively, but if he was, then I suppose I misunderstood what he was trying to express. But I do agree in a sense with the last characteristic given, that it’s important to stay aligned with scripture in our understanding of God, and that as long as we stick to scripture in the way we think and the way we live our lives, we’ll always be following God’s direction.

        Peace in Christ. 🙂

  3. Hey Fact,

    Nice one. I, of course, agree that God does not audibly speak, but outside of the logical argumentation from scripture that you use, it also seems to stand in the face of free will. If God were to speak audibly to an individual, that would override any faith or belief that person had been holding onto, because it would give an unconditional sign of God’s existence. That person would no longer have a choice of whether or not to believe in God. It is plausible that they have the choice to believe they are insane or to kill themselves, I suppose, but those seem like extreme examples. I think most people would accept the voice and become “believers” in God.

    I am of the opinion that whenever scripture mentions God speaking, it is a human interpretation of their impression of God’s will for them. Much like the angry and spiteful God who puts babies on spikes, what we are hearing is not God but humans interpreting God as what they want to hear Him. I think God is intimately involved in each of our lives and is certainly speaking to us to attempt to guide our lives, but to actively and audibly speak seems counter to everything the world presents God to be. A God that leaves it entirely up to us to believe in Him, and to listen. A God who allows us to be entirely free of pressure, but not persuasion. There are simply too many cases in which God audibly speaking would have prevented what it seems God would want to prevent for it to be something that God does.

    Reasonably, it seems improbable but not impossible. As you said, God can do what He wants, but what He seems to want is to give us space, and quiet time, to choose Him.

    • Hi Turtle! That’s intriguing. I never actually pondered the logical side of it outside of scripture. I think I would be inclined to agree that perhaps it would defeat the point of making a choice to belief with absolute proof in hearing the voice of God. Perhaps even the empirical evidence of so many who’ve never claimed to hear the voice of God would seem to follow with your space, quite time to choose Him conclusion. Interesting thoughts to ponder.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  4. Factbasedtruth…well, you have opened up a good discussion in this post. This is one of the benefits of participating in these discussions…it sharpens our own understanding and thinking.

    First, I think there is a huge misunderstanding here. In your opening paragraphs you accurately described what we all have heard from several/many preachers, teachers, missionaries, and people in all sorts of ministries about how they heard from God. If asked to be more specific…at least in my experience and perception…all of the people I have heard say this were not referring to audible speech from God…rather rather the unique way in the Spirit that God can “speak” to believers who are Spirit-born.

    I came across another blog the same day I read yours…saying the same thing…so I have been thinking what is the problem or issue we are analyzing here.

    If the question is that the Bible is a book of rules, laws, and precepts that we follow…this can create a religious reality similar to the Pharisees and scribes in the first century that is based on self-performance to the “Law.”

    The central theme running throughout the Bible…starting at the very beginning in Genesis…is that faith in the Old and New Testaments is a living, dynamic experience. God-composed journey of faith life-scripts are not all the same…and they all have goals and outcomes that are unattainable or solvable by humanistic efforts…the promised birth of Isaac being the first example right out of the gate.

    Joseph becoming governor, Moses parting the Red Sea, David the youngest son of Jesse becoming King, Daniel surviving the night in a den of lions, Peter becoming the leader of the early church in Jerusalem, and Paul becoming the premier missionary evangelist to the Greco-Roman world…are all things beyond our reach by God’s purposeful design.

    If Jesus calls us into a dynamic adventure of faith in the huge number of possible areas of service and mission today…Jesus is still the Word and whatever He calls us to do will always conform to the Bible.

    Adventures of faith invented by God are an inseparable part of the Bible. Reducing our experience to just studying the Bible and then applying it to our lives…without hearing the leading of Jesus…to me leaves the whole of Christian experience up to us.

    When someone says show me in the Bible God speaking to people…I would answer they are missing the forest because of the trees that are in the way. Every adventure of faith from Abraham “the father of faith” all the way to the apostles and disciples…if their inspired stories tell us anything it is that God can and does “speak” to people…otherwise the distinctive journeys of faith that rise above worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…which are apologetic evidences for divine origin that could not come from humanistic literary invention…how did they come into being before the scriptures were complete. No human writer would or could ever invent the story of Joseph…yet the Hebrew Bible was not started until hundreds of years after Joseph.

    Sorry for the long-winded reply. I think this is a fundamental issue.

    • Thanks for your response. I appreciate all the thoughts you can potentially provide for increasing of thought and understanding. As I understood your response, you see God speaking to people as not something related to audible noise, but more so just kind of a knowing of some truth that one needs to understand or fulfill in one’s journey through life. Am I gathering accurately from your statements you conclude audible communication between God and man is at least rare at best?

      But it’s interesting what you lay out in your understanding of connection and communication with God, if I’m understanding your perspective accurately. It’s one I’ve seen layed out by other pastors/preachers speaking on this. That the journey of faith is one of individual growth God takes a person on with situations that speak to them to do something or consistent patterns that people infer to be God speaking to them on something they need to fix in their life.

      While I find the concept fascinating, I question the reality of such a specific illustration provides to Christians in example or teaching in scripture. It seems like there are numerous instances where the Apostles encourage Christians to simple to turn to the scripture for the experience of faith.

      In Acts 2 it says the four things the first saved people devoted themselves to was breaking of bread, prayer, fellowship, and the apostles teachings. To me that seems to suggest the central connection with God and our faith comes through understanding and living scripture, spending time with God in prayer, and sharing in faith with one another through the breaking of bread and fellowship.

      Interestingly, I find it seems with all the lists of groups (Moses and the Israelites, Jesus and the Apostles, the Church of Christ) throughout the scripture, faith is less of an individualistic journey of growth God takes one on, but perhaps a more of a group oriented human connection with God.

      But anyway, I think I’m starting to ramble as well. But juts throwing some different thoughts out for pondering.

      Peace in Christ. 🙂

  5. I read the text by FACTBASEDTRUTH and I was a little bit confused, it speaks of something that many possibly wonder about, but for being so pertinent among us, children of God; Christians; it should be well studied and presented, so to bring clarity and not confusion.

    Perhaps emphasis, or rather lots of emphasis should be put on *audibly* hearing God’s voice in terms of sound, and *discerning* God’s voice spiritually….knowing it is He Who spoke/ SPEAKS even if there is no distinct sound of His voice; only a certainty, a firm belief an assurance that it is Him speaking…

    Now that I write, I think that the word *Christian* here should also be clarified…to mean what it clearly is, a CHRIST FOLLOWER. People began to follow Christ from the moment Christ called some and revealed Himself to be Christ to those that He called. After that there were lots more of Christ followers….Will we consider the disciples to be Christians or not?! If we consider them Christians then we know for sure that they heard God audibly. If they heard him and they were Christians, then we can hear Him audibly too, it depends much on whether He does or doesn’t want to speak to us *audibly*…

    There is a passage in the old testament that makes Our God distinct from the gods the pagans worship or worshiped; saying that Our God speaks…I am not saying that *Factbasedtruth* has said that He doesn’t speak, but we should remember that He speaks; and that yes, He is not obliged to fit into our boxes of how we imagine Him…but we know that He speaks audibly.

    I think that perhaps the title should have the word “today” at the end…” Does God audibly speak to us today? And the arguments or explanations could stream from the experiences and lives of Christians today, and whether they have or have not or can or cannot hear God speaking audibly today…after Christ’s leaving earth and the coming of The Holy Spirit…I think in Acts 13:2 The Holy Spirit is recorded speaking to Christians…or Christ followers. Then also perhaps the definition of God here should be clarified…are we talking about God the Father, God the Son or God the Holy Spirit? Or are we speaking of them all at once? As the Triune God?

    After Christ left earth, The Holy Spirit came, believers heard him audibly in Acts 13:2, or perhaps we have to study which was the original word or verb used there…But God the Father spoke audibly in the old Testament, He also spoke audibly in the New Testament, and today remains the question…Does He speak audibly to us today or not?

    FACTBASEDTRUTH thank you so much for this text, it is wonderful and blessed. May God encourage you more and more for opening up a space where His name can be exalted and worshiped, and His word studied, by His very own children!

    • Hi visions, thank you for your comment. Given the title and content of this post, it’s my respectful view that I did make the audible point meaning sound quite clear, along with some of the other things you mentioned. But I apologize if i didn’t come across as clear as I intended. For the purposes of what I meant by Christian, I’m starting from when the first people (after) Christ were forgiven of their sins, and thus saved, in Acts 2.

      Respectfully, I never stated He doesn’t speak, I note numerous times in the beginning of my post when He did speak. And I also do specify my discussion is on God the father at the end of my did God speak secton.

      Yes, Holy Spirit did audibly speak in that verse. Beyond that, I have views on the Holy Spirit that are a bit different than most views. But that point will side track us, so I’ll just say for the purposes of this article, I’m focusing on God the father.
      As far as speaking audibly today, I offer my conclusion that it’s rare at best, or in reality perhaps non-existent.

      Thank you again for your comment. I know if you were confused others might have been confused as well, so I’m glad I could offer some extended clarity of my post. I appreciate that you enjoyed my diving into this topic.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  6. And also brethren God speaking to man *audibly* does not have to necessarily kill a man…Judges 13:22-23 shows Samson’s father spooked believing they would die, for having seen the “Angel of THE LORD” (Who carried THE LORD’S OWN NAME on him)….but his wife’s (Samson’s father’s) answer was a beautiful response 🙂 I believe God knows how to speak to man without having to spook or scaring him…He remains All-powerful, and All-present and All-knowing, and Awe-inspiring, but He can make it so we handle hearing His voice…God bless you all.

  7. Recently I have been trying to grow deeper in my faith with God. To do this, I started spending a few hours with Him daily.. reading the word, praying, worshiping, checking out other resources, and so on. As I grew more and more intimate with God, I longed to hear God speak to me. Now, God usually speaks to me through dreams, visions, music, and those around me, but this was different. I just wanted to HEAR God’s voice. I wanted to know what it sounds like. I longed and desired to just hear my Father speak to be audibly. I am still praying that if God has something as special as that for me that He would allow it to manifest in HIS time. A devotional to help you get started spending time with God daily is at this link! https://www.createspace.com/6070917

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