When Adam and Eve hid themselves in the Garden of Eden, God immediately called out ‘Where are you?’ (Genesis 3:8-9). This is because he valued his relationship with them, and relationships rely on communication.
In the Bible, we read that God communicates with people in many different ways. As we study and discuss God’s word, the Holy Spirit helps us to understand the deep desire of God to connect with us and make himself known.
The splendour and complexity of creation shows God’s creativity in communication (Psalm 19:1-4). This is why Paul wrote that the truth about God is something that is readily accessible for everyone. ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made’ (Romans 1:20).
Signs and wonders
God communicates directly with people ‘at many times and in various ways’ (Hebrews 1:1). For example, the Old Testament records God speaking through a burning bush (Exodus 3), a thick cloud (Exodus 19:9) and in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). The Holy Spirit also communicates with people through dreams, visions, words of knowledge and prophecies (Joel 2:28; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
The ultimate way that God communicates with us is through his son, Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-2). God knew that there was no better way for us to understand the depth of his purpose for us than by becoming human and living among us.
During his time on earth, Jesus demonstrated both verbal and non-verbal communication as God intends it to be, full of grace and truth (John 1:14):
- he listened carefully to what people were saying and asked many questions (eg John 5:6)
- by teaching in parables and stories, he showed how truth is revealed in both mystery and simplicity (eg Matthew 13)
- by reaching out his hand to heal and bless, he demonstrated his compassion in ways that would not have been possible using words alone (eg Matthew 8:3; Mark 10:16)
- by weeping over the death of his friend he revealed how much he values relationship (John 11:35)
- by spending time with people on the edges of society, he emphasised that the gospel is for everyone (eg Matthew 9:10)
- by not letting people go home hungry, he illustrated that speech and action go together (eg Mark 6:30-44)
- by bending down to wash his disciples’ feet, he displayed humility and servanthood (John 13:5)
- by willingly suffering on the cross, he showed how love is revealed through our actions (1 John 3:16)
- by being victorious over death, Jesus made it clear that there is hope for the future (1 Peter 1:3).