How to Know God’s Voice

By Anne Graham Lotz   •   March 15, 2017   •   Topics:

Have you ever been confronted by someone who said something like, “God told me to tell you”? Such statements often are followed by a “word of knowledge” such as, “If you only had more faith, you would be healed.” Or, perhaps, “If you were living right, you would not have lost your job.”

Someone, with compassion clothing his or her words, might even say, “God has told me that He doesn’t mean for you to be unhappy. He would never want you to stay in this miserable marriage; He wants you to be happy.” Or, “God has told me He wants you to be healthy (or wealthy or prosperous or problem-free).”

Such words spoken by sincere people within our circle of Christian friends can put us into a tailspin of emotional devastation and spiritual doubt. It is especially traumatic and confusing when those words are uttered by someone in a position of religious leadership.

How can you and I know which voice speaks the truth, which voice is authentic? Learning to recognize the voice of God is critical, not only for our own peace of mind but also for developing a personal relationship with Him and for living a life pleasing to Him. Yet how can we be sure the voice we hear is His? Jesus answers that question using the illustration of the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep.

Read John 10:1-10


What does God say about the importance of determining which voice is authentic among the cacophony of voices clamoring for our attention? See Deuteronomy 18:18-20 and Galatians 1:6-9.

What event in John 9 revealed that the shepherds, the religious leaders of Israel, spoke with false voices as Jesus describes?

In John 10:1-5, what are some of the criteria that Jesus gave for determining a false shepherd? A true shepherd? Give a practical application for each criterion.


According to John 10:3-4, what is the basis of the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep?

In the parable Jesus gave, who is the Shepherd? Who are the sheep? What is the Shepherd’s voice today? How do we, the sheep, hear His voice? Give an example of a time when you have heard the Shepherd’s voice.

According to John 10:5, why do the sheep run from the false shepherd? Give an example from your own life.

What is absolutely necessary if you and I are to discern between the voices of the true and the false shepherds?

How does the reaction of the religious leaders in verse 6 reveal their identity as false shepherds?


What is the Good Shepherd able to do that the false shepherd cannot? See John 10:7-10.

How does Jesus’ claim disqualify the pluralism of our day? See John 10:7.

Give phrases from the following verses that confirm the uniqueness of Jesus’ claim: John 1:1-3, 9, 14, 18; John 3:2, 15-18; John 14:6; Acts 4:12.

What practical steps will you take to make sure that the voice you are listening to is that of the Good Shepherd?

This article first appeared in the May 2003 issue of Decision Magazine.

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  1. Shane Christiansen says:

    Thank you LORD for sending your servant Billy Graham and BGEA into our lives in this final hour of the church age. I pray all who visit this site are touched by the HOLY SPIRIT to help them in there walk in JESUS name I ask Amen.

    1. janet says:

      Amen to Shane

  2. bienfai says:

    thanks Lord for providing wise men as Billy Graham in our time. Lv u God u are all in all for us

  3. Dora Gifty Enti says:

    it is good to have people like u sharing ur experience in God with us

  4. Joshua says:

    I love this topic

  5. lerlaykler says:

    it is very powerful message for me to understand the word of God and to live as a Christian. because some time we are doubt when we faced with illness, jobs and many things to bring us away from God.

  6. Harold Cain says:

    This message hits the nail on the head. Today their are so many “voices” vying for our attention. So many ways we are lead to believe that what we “see”; “hear”, and feel is the true voice. So what is that true voice?
    When you sit down with someone and start to look into their eyes, listen to the tone of their voice and watch their body movements, you began to see and understand where a person is coming from. You learn over a period of time to put faith in what they say because they prove to you that you can either trust them or should ignore them. We are created in God’s image and that isn’t a physical one. When we sit down (reading the Bible, praying and talking to Him, we acquire the same understanding of who He is). We learn from our senses that we can trust Him, rely on Him and that He is with us each and every moment of the day. We develop a deep and personal relationship with Him and can discern when He is in charge of what we say, see, hear and feel throughout our day.
    He becomes a deep and very loving friend that we cannot live without and must visit daily.

    1. janet says:

      I couldn’t of said it better, that was beautiful Harold, Praise the Lord! Amen

  7. Joe Evans says:

    There are people who sometimes misuse the name of God to say things that are thier opinion but they think if they say “God told me to tell you this”. I don’t know if that classifies them as a false prophet or just an abuser of peoples belief in God. There are people who i believe God talks to and passes messages of encouragement through but not everyone who uses Gods name is doing Gods work.

  8. Don says:

    Is my concsience the lord talking?

  9. Susan says:

    Thank you for the lesson.


    31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”