Sunday, October 10, 2010

Listening (to God) is learnable (1)

The video below is the first of a three part interview with Marty Reiswig, Hobby Chapin and Desi Starr where they are talking about how they learned to hear God's voice. This will also give you a bit of the feel for one of our MRTs (regional apostolic teams) here in Denver.

In this first part, Marty observes that much of his life as a Christian involved a "personal relationship with the Bible" but not much of a "personal relationship with Jesus". The transition to an intimate conversational relationship with Jesus hasn't been easy. Marty shares what has helped him in making this shift.

To think Biblically about this idea of hearing God's voice, compare John the Baptist with the religious leaders in Jesus' day.

In John 1:32-34, John the Baptist reports that the only way he was able to identify that Jesus was the Son of God was that "the one (ie, God) who sent me told me". The quotation marks in verse 33 are very important! John is reporting what he heard from God (and it didn't come through Bible study!).

Now, compare with the Jewish leaders in John 5:33-47. These guys "diligently study the Scriptures" (v. 39) but, according to Jesus, "you have never heard His (the Father's) voice" (v. 37). As a result, they were unable to understand who Jesus was or to come to Him for life.

Our conclusion is not to downgrade Bible study but to upgrade the intimate conversational relationship with Jesus. The Bible remains our "authoritative guide for faith and practice". But, we realize that the primary practice that it points toward is hearing God's voice and obeying.

Learning to do this is the journey we are on.



  1. Believers who also trust "in scripture" for guidance have learned how to hear the Lord speak to them about it as they read. The Bible isn't just a set of principles on which to build a foundation, but rather a letter sent to help us learn what He sounds like.

    You can separate out the time when you read the Bible, and only hear your own thoughts, or you can listen to hear His voice WHILE you read it. This is so much more fun. He keeps saying things thru scripture that are new perspectives, personally relating, and sometimes challenging. Its like an amplifier that turns on ones ears to hear Him.

    If you only hear your own understanding of scripture, you might have a tendency to be contentious about what it says. Some students of theology can be like this, but when you hear the Lord speak, you become more aware that the Bible's application is wide and deep and encompasses the whole of life as we know it.

    The only issue that I have seen with the practise of hearing the Lord this way, is when one's past experience colors the words, so that they are condemning, and one cannot hear his heart. I think the best practise is to listen with the heart when you read, rather than with the mental understanding. This gets past the theological issues, and the religious issues to let the Lord speak about His word to your heart.

  2. John

    As always, thanks for posting this. I love hearing what God is doing in Colorado (and beyond!)


  3. This post and comments were motivating as I go off now to quietly interact with the Lord.