Wondering How to Listen to God?


Many people want to know how to listen to God. Some are seeking direction. Others want to know his will. Yet other people desire words of assurance, comfort, and hope. How can a person position themselves to hear from God?

The primary way God speaks to people today is through the Bible, whose writings are inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God also speaks to people through prayer. Yet what a person hears in prayer won’t contradict what is revealed in Scripture because the Spirit won’t refute himself.

Why is the Bible the primary way God speaks to people today? What are some examples of people listening to God in Scripture? What are some powerful Bible verses about listening to God? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.

Also see How Does God Speak To Us? to learn more.

listening to God
What does it mean that the Bible is infallible? See below

The Bible is the primary way that people can hear from God today

The Bible is God’s Spirit-inspired communication to people in written form. It is his special revelation to people. Because of this, the Bible teaches that people should read it daily (Ps. 1:2, Acts 17:11), diligently (Deut. 29:9, 1 Tim. 2:15), and in the context of a community of believers (2 Pet. 1:20).

  • The Bible is inspired: 2 Timothy 3:16 reads, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Inspiration extends to the words of Scripture themselves (1 Cor. 2:13) as well as to every word (Rom. 15:4, 2 Tim. 3:1), letter (Matt. 5:17-18), and tense (Matt. 22:23-33).
  • The Bible is inerrant: The term “inerrant” means “without error.” Some Christians firmly believe and defend the concept of inerrancy. Others don’t believe in inerrancy at all. Some others don’t like the term “inerrancy” but agree with some of its implications. Inerrancy isn’t just a statement about what isn’t true of Scripture (that it has errors), but it’s an affirmation that what it teaches about theology, science, history, and geography (Matt. 4:4, John 10:34-35) are truthful.
  • The Bible is infallibility: Infallibility means that Scripture doesn’t lead readers astray in matters of faith and Godly living unable to lead readers astray in matters of faith and Godly living (Isa. 55:11, Matt. 24:35) and completely truthful in all it affirms (Ps. 12:6; 19:7, 119:89, Prov. 30:5). Like the term inerrancy, not all Christians believe in infallibility or use the term.
  • The Bible is sufficient: One theologian writes, “The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contains all the words of God He intended His people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting Him perfectly, and for obeying Him perfectly.” [1]

Luke 11:28 reads, “But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'”

Also see How To Find God to learn more.

Other biblical examples of how people have heard from God

While the Bible is the primary way that people can hear from God today, he has spoken to people in others in the past.

ModeExample
PrayerJeremiah 33:3
NatureRomans 1:18-20
AngelsMatt. 1:20-21
DreamsDan. 7:1-14
Direct speechGen. 12:1-3
Historical eventsExod. 14:21-31
ProphecyActs 3:18
VisionsEzek. 2:9
The Holy SpiritJohn 15:26

“I have convenanted with my Lord that he should not send me visions or dreams or even angels. I am content with this gift of the Scriptures, which teaches and supplies all that is necessary, both for this life and that which is to come.” ~ German theologian Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Also see Does God Forgive Suicide? to learn more.

hearing from God
Is a person’s “inner voice” God? See below

12 Bible Verses on Listening to God

  • John 8:47, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
  • Mark 4:24, “And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.”
  • Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
  • Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
  • Hebrews 4:7, “Again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
  • James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
  • James 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
  • Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
  • Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
  • Proverbs 19:20, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
  • 1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
  • Luke 8:18, “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

Also see How To Hear From God to learn more.

Discerning God’s voice

Pastor James Montgomery Boice once wrote,

“Some think they can discover God by listening to a so-called ‘inner voice.’ But the voice is often nothing more than an expression of their own inner desires. Quite a few think that spiritual truths can be verified by supernatural events or miracles.”

Boice continues: “But the Bible everywhere teaches that even miracles will not lead men and women to understand and receive God’s truth unless they themselves are illuminated by the Bible (see Luke 16:31). I believe that we can state categorically that there is no knowledge apart from Jesus Christ and that there is no knowledge of Jesus Christ apart from a knowledge of the Bible.”

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