Does God speak audibly to people?
It is God’s deepest desire to speak to His children. He said, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know'” (Jeremiah 33:3). In both the old and New Testaments, we have examples where God speaks audibly to men (Exodus 3:14; Joshua 1:1; 1 Samuel 3:11; Jeremiah 1:7; Acts 8:26; 9:15…etc.). And, even today, He may choose to speak audibly to some. However, speaking audibly is the exception and not the rule.
The primary mode that God uses to speak to humans
It is God’s will that His people get to know Him through the Scriptures not by hearing His audible voice. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
The Bible is the very thought of God communicated to men. “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Thus, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Second Peter 1:3).
If everyone that needed an answer to a question relied on hearing God’s voice audibly, no one would be motivated to study His Word and learn the whole truth. Studying the Scriptures is very necessary for the spiritual growth. God ordained that the Bible would be man’s manual for salvation (Psalms 119:105). And He wants people to be well acquainted with His manual so that they don’t lose their path (Psalms 119:11).
Some people don’t hear God’s voice through the Word clearly because there is sin in their lives. The Lord declared, “your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Also, unbelief and doubt serve as a barrier between man and God. Every time Jesus blessed a person miraculously, He said your faith made that possible (Mark 5:34; Luke 17:19).
Secondary modes that God uses to speak to humans
In addition to hearing God’s voice through the Scriptures, the Lord may use one of the following modes to speak to His children:
A mental impression – “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13 also Acts 8:29).
The inner voice of the Holy Spirit – “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Romans 10:8).
God’s creation – “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…” (Romans 1:20).
Visions and dreams – “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).
Circumstances/open and closed doors – “For a wide door for effective work has opened to me” (1 Corinthians 16:9 also Acts 14:27; Revelation 3:7-13).
Godly people – “but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). But the council of the godly people should also be compared and tested by the Word of God to make sure it is in harmony with it (Isaiah 8:20).
God speaks to His people today mainly through His Word and secondary through other ways. And His communication with men is powerful and fully effective. He declares, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
In His service,