God Speaks To Everyone In General and His Children In Special Ways
Communication has changed significantly within my lifetime. When I was born the options were rotary dial landline telephones, written letters, telegrams and telex. Yep, that was it. It was a simpler time.
I remember the fascination I felt when the fax machine and mobile phones came along. Then with the onset of computers and the internet, communication quickly expanded. Soon there was email, online bulletin boards, online chat rooms, instant messaging (IM like AOL) and text messages. Now add to that Facebook, Twitter, FaceTime, SnapChat and on and on! Even though I can’t imagine what it will be, I expect to see even more ways to communicate in my lifetime.
Let’s think about how God communicates with us. God has communicated with people in various ways throughout time. We use two terms to describe how God speaks to us, general revelation and special revelation. Here is a definition of each:
- general revelation – God revealing His existence and power to all humanity through nature, the world around us, the planets and stars, the seasons, and the complexity of creation.
- special revelation – the supernatural impartation of truth from God to man of that which man could not otherwise know.
These are quite different from each other. Psalm 19:1-6 and Romans 1:20 are key passages about general revelation. They tell us God reveals Himself to everyone through nature. No one will be able to say at the final judgement they didn’t know God existed!
But general revelation only goes so far. It isn’t enough to tell us what we need to get out of our sinful fallen condition. For that we need special revelation. By means of special revelation God speaks to us to tell us we’re sinners but He loves us and sent His Son Jesus to live, die, be buried and rise again to pay for our sins so we can be saved from eternal death.
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God speaks by nature and the created world in general revelation. God speaks in many different ways as special revelation. Here is a summary of the main ways God speaks in special revelation.
9 Ways God Speaks In Special Revelation
- with an audible voice 1 Samuel 3:1-14
- through angels Genesis 18, Daniel 9:21-27, Luke 2:8-14
- through prophets Acts 11:27-28
- through dreams Genesis 28:10-16 Matthew 1:20
- through visions Acts 9:10-12
- through a “still, small voice” 1 Kings 19:11-12
- through a loud voice like thunder Exodus 19:19
- through Jesus Hebrews 1:1-2
- through the written Word of Scripture: 2 Peter 1:19-21
Which of these different ways is the normal way God speaks? Very few people in the Bible actually heard God’s voice. Only one person heard God’s still small voice. Yep, just one in ALL the Bible.
The normal way God speaks His special revelation is the written word, the Bible. Truthfully the problem is that reading the Bible isn’t sensational or dramatic. No it isn’t but it is the primary way God speaks. Through it we can hear everything God wants to tell us 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
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If you desire to hear God speak read the Bible. He always speaks through it.
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