Why Doesn't God Speak To Us Audibly?

Dear Pastor Chris,

Sir, I often hear my Pastor and fellow brethren say they heard God speak to them. I have been a christian for almost two years but  have not heard this voice in my experience. Is it automatic to hear him once you become a Christian or does it take time to hear him so audibly?



Dear Andrew,
Yes, God definitely speaks to us. I am convinced that He is saying more to us than we usually hear.

Why don’t we hear God?

 1. Our lives are too busy. We get crowded in our schedules. We don’t make time for God.

2. We are not listening. When we do try to listen, we are easily distracted.

3. We are not sensitive to His “still small voice” His “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:2, KJV, NIV).

How do you listen to God? Set aside a place to meet with Him. Pray. Tell God that you are wanting to hear from Him. Tell Him that you are ready and available to do what He says. Open your Bible. Read a passage. Ask God to reveal the meaning of that passage to you. Compare that passage to other Bible verses on the same subject. Think about what you have just read. Meditate on it. Ask God to show you what these verses meant to the original hearers. Then ask Him what He wants you to do about what you just read. He will prompt your heart to take action on what He has shown you.

You asked about the audible voice of God. The Lord does not speak audibly to most people. He can of course, but it is not His usual way. He did speak audibly to some of the people we read about in the Bible; however, they were the exception. Most people in the days when the Bible was being written never heard the audible voice of God.

Do people sometimes hear the audible voice of God today? Yes. Sometimes.

Why doesn’t God speak audibly more often?

1. God doesn’t need to speak audibly for most of us because He has already done so in the writings of the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word. In the pages of the Bible we find the mind and heart of God. We meet Him there and His Spirit helps us understand what He wants us to know.

2. God doesn’t need to speak audibly because He has given us His best Word in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says in
John 1:1-2, 14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning…

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus is the living Word of God. To know Jesus is to know God. To walk with Jesus is to experience God. Therefore, to study the life of Jesus is to discover what God is like, how He relates to us, and how He acts in history.

Read the Bible. Study it. God speaks through it. Listen.


~Pastor Chris





Are you familiar with the Bible translation The Message? What is your opinion of it?

Question about a Bible translation… {10-5-2009} Topics:

Pastor Chris,

Are you familiar with the Bible translation The Message? What is your opinion of it?
~  Aaron

Aaron, Yes, I am familiar with The Message. It is important to understand that The Message is not a translation of the Bible. It is a paraphrase.

What is the difference between a translation and a paraphrase? A translation tries to bring the writings or spoken words of one language into another language as precisely and literally as possible. A paraphrase puts the text into the writer’s own words. A paraphrase often takes a certain amount of liberties with the text. For example, look at John 5:24 from The Message and then compare it to several translations.

“It’s urgent that you listen carefully to this: Anyone here who believes what I am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has at this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider. This person has taken a giant step from the world of the dead to the world of the living.” (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (King James Version)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (New American Standard)

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (New International Version)

It is easy to see from John 5:24 that The Message adds words to the text (it is two lines longer than the translations). This is not necessarily wrong if an author is trying to add clarity, explain a concept, or communicate a cultural idiom from antiquity that is contained in the text. If an author is intentionally distorting the text then he is guilty of the grave error of misleading the reader.

The good news concerning The Message is that the author, Eugene Peterson, is a reputable Christian scholar whose intention is to make the Bible easily readable and understandable. He is a brilliant communicator who thoroughly understands and embraces the historic Christian faith which teaches that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son, the Savior of the world. As far as I know, there is no heresy or deliberate distortions contained in The Message. There is no doctrine of the Christian faith that is called into question through this paraphrase.

Eugene Peterson has a gift when it comes to the use of words. You will benefit from his work. You will be encouraged by it. It will speak to your heart. Use it. Read it.

Having said all of that, I recommend that you read The Message (or any other paraphrase for that matter) alongside a good, solid translation of the Bible. Do not try to prove a theological point using a paraphrase. A translation is necessary for that.

~ Pastor Chris