Does God Speak to Us?

Sunday I addressed the issue of whether God speaks to us today as he did in the Old and New Testaments. I spent significant time showing that many passages people assume apply to every believer today (e.g., Samuel, Elijah, the Apostles) do not actually apply to all believers in every situation. While it may have sounded as if I were saying that God does not speak to us today at all, that is not the case. I do believe God speaks, responds, answers, moves, etc. However, the way we use the language of "speaking"  (i.e., "God told me...") can be dangerous if we are not clear about what we mean by it. Though I am sure that what I share here may not answer all questions regarding this issue, I am hopeful this portion of an article by Greg Koukl will be helpful in clarifying further what I believe the Bible teaches on this matter for Christians:
"I’m convinced God is a very present help in times of trouble, confusion, and distress (Ps. 46:1). He’s not merely a source of comfort, but also a source of understanding, creativity, or sudden awareness of answers to hard questions or insight on difficult problems.

"I’ve often prayed when stymied by a computer malfunction, stonewalled on a writing assignment, or vexed by lost keys (and found them soon after praying). Countless times I’ve trusted the Spirit for skill in clarifying difficult concepts for an audience or maneuvering in a tricky conversation. A friend tells how prayer even brought a flash of insight into a plumbing problem. God sometimes responds to such prayers subtly, sometimes dramatically. Clearly, God is at work.

"One way God works is to give wisdom, which He promises to those who ask, especially in the midst of trying situations (James 1:5). Some think, however, this means God simply tells them what to do. God speaks; they listen. This is not wisdom, though, because even a fool can follow directions.

"Wisdom is skill at living. It’s an insight into the way the world works. Merely following orders requires no discernment, no deliberation, no knowledge, no reflection, no understanding—in short, no wisdom.

"There’s a difference between receiving a revelation of some sort (“God told me…”) and growing in wisdom, or gaining insight to unravel a problem, or getting creative “inspiration,” or experiencing the outworking of a spiritual gift. Special revelation is extremely rare and carries with it a unique authority. By contrast, creative inspiration or insight is common, especially for the Christian actively depending on God and leaning on Him for help (Prov. 3:5–6).
"Since God is directly involved in both, but through different means, I think it’s best to use different language for each. There’s a distinction between “God gave me this song” or “God told me how to fix my sink,” and “My ability or inspiration or insight comes from the Lord.” If God really gave the song, we’re not free to rewrite it, partly because they’re God’s words, not ours, partly because improving God’s song seems like a contradiction in terms.

"However, if we see God as the spiritual force behind our gifts and accomplishments, we can pray for wisdom, help, inspiration, and creative solutions to vexing problems expecting Him to respond without being committed to saying God gave me this song or told me where to find my keys, or God spoke to me about how to fix my plumbing.

"Does the Holy Spirit speak to us? That depends entirely on what one means by “speak.”
"Scripture identifies different ways the Holy Spirit subjectively works in us. The Spirit teaches, convicts, comforts, and leads us out of sin. The Spirit renews us, giving us godly desires. I believe God even gives us ideas we have the freedom to act on. There is also the ineffable way God communicates giving solace, wisdom, insight, and understanding.

"None of these involve personal revelation, though, which is what we normally mean by the word “speak.” I wouldn’t say my wife “speaks” to me when she hugs me, though I may infer from this she loves me. When she talks, there is propositional content. When she hugs, there is comfort. The two are different, so we should keep these concepts distinct, as Scripture does." (Does God Whisper? Part 3; found at

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