When we talk about God speaking to us, you may expect a “burning bush” kind of experience, like Moses had (see Exodus chapter 3). In fact, God spoke numerous times with an audible voice in the Old Testament and the New Testament. However, the Bible teaches us that He can still use various ways to talk to us today. God is not limited at all in terms of resources. But we need to listen attentively to hear God’s voice among all the noise that surrounds our lives.
Let’s take a look at 20 different ways God still speaks to people today.
1. The Bible
The Holy Bible is God’s Word. We can say that it is God’s primary way of speaking to us. Any other communication must be based and tested by what is taught in Scripture. The Holy Bible is God’s guide for us, so we can reach Him, the only true God, and hear back from Him.
God chose to reveal Himself to us, and no one could force Him into showing Himself to His creatures. Scholars classify the following types of revelation:
General revelation: this is the creation, which is considered an indirect revelation of God. It gives us clues about Him, but not enough to have a relationship with Him. There is more information about this in item 10.
Special revelation: The Bible is a direct revelation. The Holy Spirit inspired human authors who registered the inspired words in written form.
If we want to hear God speaking to us, we must first go to the Bible. It is the best way for any Christian to learn more about God and listen to His voice. It brings us close to Him today, on His terms.
Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. It is not only about us talking to God, but also about listening to Him. Maybe God won’t answer right away, but He will. He may bring to your mind a passage from Scripture that will meet your needs. Or He may use another believer to deliver a message to you. He may answer your prayers in many other ways.
Keep in mind to validate the answers you get with the Bible, to make sure you’ve understood it correctly and that you’re following the will of God and obeying Him. Also, make sure your prayer times are special moments to connect to God and listen to His voice. Avoid distractions and create a habit of seeking Him in prayer every day.
3. Jesus Christ
God the Father has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, in many ways:
The birth of Jesus created a unique bond between God and human beings, for Christ is God incarnated (John 1:1,14; 1 Timothy 3:16).
The gospel, which is the good news of Jesus Christ, was first communicated to us by Him personally (Matthew 4:23).
According to the author of Hebrews, Jesus is our merciful and faithful High Priest (Hebrews 2:17-18) who sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-15). Jesus’s words are God’s words (John 14:10). He revealed the Father to us because of his divine nature (John 10:30, 14:8-9). He revealed the love of the Father for us (John 3:16). Through Him, we have direct communication with God (Ephesians 3:11-12). Jesus is the only way to our Heavenly Father (John 14:6). If today we can listen to the voice of the Lord, it is only because of the work of Jesus Christ.
4. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is the third person of the Holy Trinity. The Bible teaches us about many things the Holy Spirit does for us, including:
He dwells in every true believer (John 14:17; Romans 8:9).
He is the Comforter Jesus promised (John 14:16).
He is that still small voice inside of us that reveals God’s truth to us. That means He guides us to do what pleases the Lord and warns us against doing what doesn’t (John 16:13). He is also the One who gives us access to the Father through Jesus (Ephesians 2:18). He listens to our prayers and intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). The Holy Spirit makes it possible that we have communication with the Father through Jesus Christ.
God uses sermons to communicate to us through the preaching of Scripture. It is not the same as the personal reading. The Holy Spirit uses the preacher to expose the Word of God in a way that we can understand it better and apply that Bible verse or passage to our lives. That allows us to live in a way that pleases the Lord. Bible-based sermons are an essential way that God uses to speak to us through the Bible and His chosen ministers.
Keep in mind that even godly preachers make mistakes, so we need to check if each message is correct by biblical standards. Also, beware of false prophets. They manipulate the Bible to teach heresies. Many of them claim to bring a “new revelation” – some exclusive communication from God that only they have. That’s not true. Beware, because anything that doesn’t conform to the Bible should be tossed away (Galatians 1:8).
6. Godly Teachers
There are other ways you can hear the voice of God in your local church. Godly teachers are people called to minister to the brothers and sisters by teaching them about God (Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit), His Kingdom, Christian life, the History of God’s people, and many other relevant subjects from Scripture. Bible classes taught by godly teachers are an excellent opportunity to listen to God’s voice from Scripture and grow in faith.
If your local church doesn’t have teachers, or if it doesn’t offer systematic Bible classes, you can check with your pastor for alternatives. You can also learn from online resources (make sure they are from trustworthy sources) or participate in classes from other churches or institutions.
7. Wise Counsel
Another common way to hear God’s voice is through other believers. The Lord uses His servants to bless each other. When you need a word of encouragement, guidance, or comfort, you should go to your pastor or a person with more spiritual experience. Then, talk to them, pray with them.
Before you know it, they will say something that will resonate with you, the prophetic truth you need to hear at the right moment. The Lord gives us pastors, elders, spiritual leaders, older men, and women to be our human counselors. You can be a counselor yourself. Listening to wise counsel helps us grow and mature in our faith. It is essential for any believer.
8. The Testimonies of Other Believers
From stories of God’s people in the Bible, in history, and in our communities, the testimonies of other believers are a powerful way that God speaks to us even today. When we read or listen to the amazing things God has done in their lives, our faith is strengthened, and we are encouraged to face our own challenges.
9. Our Own Experience
Our testimonies are also a great way to hear the voice of the Lord through everything He has already done for us. Even if we don’t recall the intricate details, we can remember how God has forgiven, guided, delivered, loved, and protected us. He has also provided for our needs and taken care of us. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives reminds us how we have a loving Father that we can rely upon (Romans 8:15).
10. The Creation
The apostle Paul wrote a long discourse saying that God revealed His invisible qualities to all human beings through His creation (Romans 1:18-32). The magnificent beauty of the Universe shows us some attributes of God, like His amazing power and wisdom. We cannot see God with our physical eyes but, just by observing God’s creation, we can recognize the existence of a mighty Creator. That’s what scholars call “general revelation.” There are no written words, but we can still learn a few things about God from studying nature.
11. Good Books
Good writers have the gift of using the written word to communicate to our souls. When it is a Christian author, that takes a new dimension as they can be used by God to bring us messages of faith, hope, encouragement, comfort, etc. Good books can be a bridge between us and authors whom we couldn’t otherwise meet or talk to. We can connect to them through their writing, and God can use that connection to talk to us too.
12. Good Music
Music has a powerful effect on different people, no matter who they are and which genre they like. Even more so when the music is written and produced to praise and worship the Lord. Music like that compels us to connect to Him. No matter what your circumstances are, you can find a song that identifies with it. Then you can sing out to Him, feel His presence, and hear His quiet voice through the lyrics of that song.
The Bible tells us of a few episodes when God spoke to human beings in their dreams. On some occasions, God revealed future events, like the Pharaoh’s dreams (Genesis 41:1–36) and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:1-45). On other occasions, God gave instructions to be followed (Mateus 1:20-21, 2:13). It is not about having a special gift of dreams. It is God who chooses how He communicates with us.
If you think you had a dream that might be a message from God, pray and talk to your pastor to find out what is the right thing to do about it. Also, make sure that the dream is aligned with the teachings from the Bible before taking any action. If it is not, then dismiss it.
Circumstances are probably the most difficult communication from God to identify and understand. But it is a fact that God sometimes speaks to us through a particular situation.
For example, say you are trying hard to do something you planned, but it seems that everything is conspiring against it. You need to pray about it. It may be God telling you not to do that, or you need to take a different approach. To avoid reading too much into a situation, always pray and seek the counsel of your pastor or a spiritual leader so you can make the right decision about it.
15. Promises Fulfilled
Every promise that God fulfills is a message from Him communicating His faithfulness, reminding us that we can trust Him. In the Bible, there are many promises that God made to individuals, to Israel, and the whole Church. Many of them have already been fulfilled, and some are still valid today. Our hope is based on them. So, when we read about how God fulfilled so many promises before, we are confident that He is a faithful God that will fulfill His promises in our lives as well.
God is in control of everything. He guides us as individuals, and He is in control of what happens to humanity as a whole. When we look at the history of our and other civilizations, we can see in the past God acting to bring everything to pass according to His plans.
There is no doubt that things that may seem like lucky accidents are actually driven by the hand of God. History also shows us how many prophecies made long ago were already fulfilled. It is a big picture of the Lord’s plan for humanity. The past helps us perceive God’s message echoing from the pages of Scripture throughout our entire human history.
17. Our Internal Moral Compass
There are some ways God talks to the believers and non-believers as well. In this case, every one of us has that inner feeling of right and wrong. When we are saved and justified, the Holy Spirit becomes our guide. But even non-saved people have this internal moral compass that gives them some basic guidance as to the things that God approves or not. Humans may choose to ignore it and sin anyway, but God’s small voice is still there.
God speaks to us in different ways, as we’ve already established. But, when we are suffering, sometimes it is harder to listen. However, that’s when He is working deeper in our lives. The same way God uses our circumstances to speak to us, He also allows and uses suffering to accomplish His plans in our lives.
Maybe we were the ones who brought pain into our lives, through sin. But God can still use it to teach us, to discipline us, to bring us close to Him. If you’re suffering, instead of pushing God away, seek Him harder. You will find what you needed the most (Jeremiah 29:13).
The Bible says that every good thing comes from God (James 1:17). So, everything that brings joy to our lives comes from Him. Unfortunately, human beings usually seek joy apart from the joy-giver. So, they pursue money, sex, power, pleasures, anything that makes them happy, even if it is only a temporary satisfaction.
But, when we realize that all these different things come from God, we understand that we need to use them according to His perfect will, so they become blessings in our lives and not idols. We need to find our joy in Him. That way, every good thing that brings us joy becomes a reminder of the goodness of our Loving Father, who gracefully gives us much more than we could ever deserve.
God is love. The ability of any human being (or any creature for that matter) to love is given by God. By His common grace, He enables His creatures to share the love that comes from Him. When we become His children, we are called to love – first God, above everyone and everything else, and then our neighbors as we love ourselves. So, when we are loved by others, let’s remind ourselves that we are receiving from the precious gift that God gave to the world, His own love.
God is not silent. God today still speaks to us in various ways. There isn’t a single way to connect to Him, but we must do everything according to what the Bible teaches us. Keep in mind that you don’t have to jump through the right spiritual hoops to be able to hear His voice. Be grateful to the Lord for talking to you in so many ways, and be open to listening to God’s heart and obeying Him.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.