The Difference Between Reading God's Word & Hearing His Voice

I still remember the feeling of God's voice penetrating deep into my heart the day I became a Christian. It was a wonderful feeling that I held on to tightly for several years after that day. I grasped those words tightly in my fists, afraid that it was a once in a lifetime moment that I would not get again. My fists held closely to my heart, I hoped that I wouldn't forget the sound of His voice. Today, my arms are stretched out in front of me, hands loose (except for a gentle grasping of my pen), and bible laid out on my lap as I soak in the sound of that familiar voice--the voice I open my bible and my heart for almost every day.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
— Acts 2:1-4

When Christ ascended up to heaven, He promised His disciples that He would send them a helper. We understand this helper to be the Holy Spirit--an integral, but often overlooked, part of the Trinity.

When I became a Christian, I understood God the Father and Jesus Christ and the role they played in my creation, salvation, and eternal destination, but I did not give much thought to how the Holy Spirit fit into my life. This unfortunate ignorance kept me from an intimate relationship with God and it kept me from growing as a Christian.

One of the greatest transformations of my life came as a result of a program called Freedom Session and one of the most transformational aspects of the program was learning to engage in a conversation with God through the Holy Spirit in my daily bible reading.

I don't believe it's enough to just read the words in our bible; we must engage in a conversation with God that allows us to hear His Word as it speaks into our lives.

(You can read more about how I read my bible here.)

What makes this way of reading my bible different?

I notice four main differences between when I simply read the words in my bible and when I actively listen for His voice during my bible reading:

  1. God applies the underlying truth I read to a specific situation in my life.
  2. God uses our conversation to give me next steps or a vision for my future.
  3. What God speaks to me has no obvious link to the bible verse I read.
  4. I read only a few verses at a time or a small section.

It's easy to get caught up in the idea that we need to study the bible and read it through every year--and there's actually nothing wrong with that... unless we neglect to engage in our reading. It's an amazing feeling to know that God is speaking to you and has the Word you need to hear that day.

Information + Application = Transformation

Learning to hear God's voice has allowed me to apply what I'm reading at a level that I have never been able to before. It's because of this that I have experienced the greatest transformation in my life, in my attitudes, in my actions, and in my relationships with God and others.

I encourage you to shift the way you read your bible in order that it may become a life-changing, intimate time talking to God through the Holy Spirit.