Have you ever wondered what God’s voice would sound like if He were to speak to you personally? Would it be a thundering, booming sound that could be heard miles away? Would you expect His voice to sound like an ordinary human being’s voice? Or would it be discernable only to your ears?
We know that God is a spirit being and therefore is able to manifest His appearance in innumerable ways. He could do likewise with the sound of His voice. But no human being alive today has experienced it.
Yet, God is always available to speak to us if we will give Him the time and opportunity to do so. Are you aware that God can actually speak to you today if you will allow Him? You may wonder what He would say. Do you consider it important enough to listen?
You may ask, “How can we know what He says if we cannot hear His voice?” Certainly, God does not speak to us with an audible voice, like what we experience in a typical conversation. But, nonetheless, He can and does speak to us, not by sound waves, but by His divinely inspired written Word—the Bible.
Many look at the Bible as a religious history book filled with fascinating stories and devotional writings, yet it is much more than that. Have you considered that it is a medium of conversational exchange between God and humanity? The Bible functions much like a direct telephone connection from God to mankind. Look at it this way: When we pray to God, we are speaking to Him; when we study the Bible, He is speaking to us.
In another sense, the Bible serves as an instruction book. Most manufacturers include an instruction manual explaining what their product will do, how to use it efficiently and how to properly maintain it to acquire the longest service life. If we follow the instructions and guidelines as prescribed by the manufacturer, we can expect the most effective return on our investment. Likewise, God has provided an instruction manual for humanity, which is His supreme physical creation. Within it He instructs what we are, our purpose for being and how to live.
The Bible contains foundational knowledge that cannot be obtained anywhere else. So let’s consult that source to see why it is vitally important to allow God to speak to us through His Word. Before beginning, get your Bible, pencil and paper so you can write out the scriptures that answer each question. This will help you to remember the principles that God is teaching, similar to taking notes during a lecture.
(1) God has revealed His will to mankind beginning with Adam and Eve. How did He do it thousands of years ago? Genesis 3:8-10; Genesis 17:1-3. Notice how God communicated with Moses: Exodus 33:11; Deuteronomy 5:1-4 (notice particularly verse 4). Did He also reveal His will through His servants? Hebrews 1:1. How did God later speak to humanity? Hebrews 1:2. How are we to know or be informed of God’s will today? II Timothy 3:16; Romans 1:1-2.
In the days of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets, God often spoke face to face with His servants, who would then speak to others as His representatives. But it was God who spoke directly to the people at Mt. Sinai (Horeb). God’s voice thundered the Ten Commandments to Israel (Exodus 20:1). Imagine the deafening voice of god (described as “exceeding loud”)—booming with enough volume that, without amplification, millions could hear it! What was the Israelites’ reaction to hearing God’s voice (vs. 19)?
Later, Jesus Christ came to earth to further reveal God’s will and plan for humanity. Christ’s message, along with other vital information that God inspired His servants to write, is recorded in the New Testament. These words and instructions come from God as inspired writings by the hand of His servants, preserved and put together in the form of a book, the Holy Bible. Therefore, when you read the Bible you are not only reading inspired writings, but God is speaking directly to you!
(2) Often the Bible is referred to as God’s Word. What are we told about this Word? John 17:17. Can we absolutely depend on what God tells us through the Bible? Titus 1:2; John 10:35. Can any portion of it ever become obsolete or invalid? Is it inexorable? Isaiah 40:8; I Peter 1:25.
God has clearly revealed that He is a God of truth. We can depend upon what He says, whether it is the stating of His laws, or prophesied events or warnings that need to be heeded.
Contained in the Bible are instructions about how to live life as God intended. Even when living in a world filled with anxiety and hopelessness, we can experience a happy, interesting, fulfilling life if we follow the rules and guidelines God gives us. Many of these principles are scattered throughout the Bible, yet there is one area where the basis of those guidelines originates from: Exodus 20:1-17. This is the foundation upon which those instructions are built. You would do well to study, summarize and commit to memory these words, which came directly from the mouth of God.
(3) How are these foundational principles summarized? Matthew 22:36-40.
The Bible reveals a way of life based on the Ten Commandments. Living these commandments produces long-term happiness and the benefits of God’s blessings. God’s Law shows us how to love Him and our neighbor. God expounds upon them throughout the Bible and shows us how to apply them.
(4) If we obey, with respect and awe, God’s words of instruction, how can we expect God to react? Isaiah 66:2. Can we expect things to go well if we seek to learn and do as God says? Psalm 1:1-3 (notice particularly the last part of verse 3); Luke 11:28.
(5) How did God characterize King David, whom He made King over Israel? Acts 13:22. What may have caused God to speak of King David in such a way? Could it be because David treasured God’s Word? Psalm 119:72, 162. David spoke from experience, which taught him that God’s Word is a priceless storehouse of wisdom and understanding!
(6) Was David one who would allow God to speak to him through the Bible? Psalm 119:9-10. Did David consider how it might apply in his life? Psalm 119:97. What were the results of his following through on what he had learned? Read and summarize verses 98 to 105.
Certainly, David did not have the whole Bible as we do. Although there was no New Testament at that time, he diligently studied what was available to him. Regardless of where he was, David continually thought about God’s Law and how he could apply it. Because he willingly listened to God’s instructions, David was exceedingly blessed as a result. He spoke of becoming wiser than his enemies and having more understanding than his teachers. David tested God’s Word to see if it were true by putting it into practice in his life.
(7) Are we expected to do the same—to prove whether God’s Word is true? I Thessalonians 5:21. How can we be convinced it is true unless we put it to the test? What does God expect us to do with the precious knowledge He conveys to us? James 1:22. Just what kind of life is it that God wants us to experience? John 10:10 (last part); III John 2.
Does this not describe what most are looking for—a happy, successful life? God has given us His instruction book to provide us with directions down the path that leads to a fulfilling life. In His Word, God wisely counsels us on many life issues, such as work, money, marriage, sex, how to handle our relationships with others and what our priorities should be. The resulting blessings will be directly proportional to how well we prove God’s Word to be true and applying what we have learned.
(8) If we begin to apply what we learn, will this have an affect on how well we understand His Word? Psalm 111:10.
Here is another vital key to understanding the Bible. If we read God’s Word with the attitude of actually applying it, our understanding will be deeper and broader.
(9) Can the Bible be used as a tool for correction and reproof—for showing us where we are wrong and how to change? II Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12.
God wants us to avoid the pitfalls that lead to unhappiness. These are quite often caused by bad habits that we have developed early on. By allowing God to instruct us in His Word, we then discover the harmful practices and attitudes in our lives and learn how to correct them. The lives of God’s servants are recorded in the Scriptures for our admonition. When we are able to learn and apply the lessons they learned the hard way, we should be able to avoid those ditches in our lives; therefore, we profit from their experiences (Romans 15:4; I Corinthians 10:6, 11).
(10) What important example did King David set for us? Did He look to God and request help in understanding His Word and its application to his life? Psalm 119:18, 33-34.
There’s an important key to be learned here. Before reading and studying the Bible, you would glean most from God’s Word if you first went to Him on your knees and asked for help in understanding its true meaning. Ask for guidance in understanding, as well as how it relates to your personal life. Then, when you begin your study, take time to meditate and think about how you can apply what you are learning. To start a program of regular Bible study, where is a good place to begin? One way to begin your study is to gain a broad overview by reading from Genesis to Revelation.
(11) Another way to seek God’s answers is to study Scripture by subject. But this presents another matter. Can we find all information on a given subject in one location? Isaiah 28:9-10.
God has purposely caused the Bible to be written so that the truth of any one subject is dispersed and sprinkled throughout. Why would He do that? Because He knows if we are sincerely seeking Him for answers, we will search His Word for it. This encourages us to study the whole Bible and not just one specific area. To do this, you will need a Bible concordance, which will list all Scripture that contains specific words or subjects such as “faith,” “fear,” “blessings,” “promises,” etc. Another good Bible aid is a topical Bible. It is exciting to find out what God has to say about subjects that may be troubling you, or about which you have questions.
(12) When we search God’s Word, how does it affect our relationship with Him? II Timothy 2:15.
(13) Much of what you learn today from God, if you allow Him to instruct you, will put you on the path toward your incredible future. Will this knowledge of God be spread throughout the world in the soon-coming world tomorrow? Isaiah 2:2-3, 11:9.
God has made available to us, by His written Word, knowledge spoken by the mouth of His servants (prophets and others) regarding life in the future. God’s kingdom will be a utopian paradise of peace, happiness and joy that will endlessly expand. Everyone will have the knowledge of the truth and will understand and practice it as a way of life. Once they learn and practice God’s Way, and begin to reap the blessings of living it, they will see the benefits of obeying Him. In due time, the whole world will be listening to and applying God’s instructions to mankind. Now is the time to allow God to talk to you. Begin tapping the priceless knowledge that will help you to experience a successful, happy, rewarding life—now and in the future!