Many folks yearn, if they believe that God is real, for him to truly speak to them — not just through the words of the Bible but personally and directly. One popular devotional writer has stated, “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.” Alan Miller on CNN’s Belief Blog "I’m-Spiritual-Not-Religious" wrote “(This) attitude fits with the message we are receiving more and more that 'feeling' something somehow is more pure and perhaps, more ‘true’ than having to fit in with the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us."
The great Bible teacher James Montgomery Boice, late pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church and author of many books about the Bible, wrote that the great issue of our day would not be the authority of the Bible, but its sufficiency. Would we trust the Scriptures to be all that we as Christians need for life and godliness, or would believers turn to other revelation and experiences?
When we read the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, we are not just reading a dusty manuscript of what God said in the past. God is actually speaking to us right now, today. That is what the writer of Hebrews is trying to get across when he says, “the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Do you hear that? God’s Word is living. As Martin Luther once said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”
This word is personal. It is living. It brings life and refreshment, guidance and help. You and I hear the voice of God speaking to us — clearly, convincingly, and personally — when we read, hear, study, and meditate on the Scriptures. We don’t have to doubt or wonder, “Is this God speaking? Or is just my imagination? Is it his voice or is it someone else?”
We sincerely long for God to guide us. We sincerely long for a personal word from God, a supernatural experience with God — to truly hear his voice. What we have failed to understand is that as we read, meditate upon and hear God’s Word taught, it truly is a personal word from God. Because the Scriptures are “living and active,” God's speaking to us through them is a personal, supernatural experience.
Christian author Nancy Pearcy rightfully reminds us, “God has spoken and is, in fact, still speaking to us through the Scriptures. We don't need any more special revelation. What we need is illumination, and this is exactly what Jesus has promised the Holy Spirit will give to us as his word abides in us. The Holy Spirit of God works through the Word of God to counsel and comfort and convict (John 16:7-15). Through the Scriptures we hear God teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Word of God transforms us by renewing our minds so that we think more like him and less like the world. Instead of needing God to dictate to us what to do, we become increasingly able to “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).”
I appreciate the way pastor/author John Piper describes how God speaks to him personally through the Bible. “God talks to me no other way, but don't get this wrong, he talks to me very personally. I open my Bible in the morning to meet my friend, my savior, my creator, my sustainer. I meet him and he talks to me .... I'm not denying providence, not denying circumstances, not denying people, I'm just saying that the only authoritative communion I have with God with any certainty comes through the words of this book.”
Do you want to hear God’s voice? Do you long for personal guidance and direction from your Father in heaven? Do you long for a direct word from Jesus? Open your Bible. Prayerfully read. He is speaking, and he is speaking to you today.
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.He is speaking, and He is speaking to you today.