Every Dream in the Bible

Is God communicating with me through a dream?
Jacob’s Dream by José de Ribera

Jeffrey Kranz at OverviewBible.com has designed a helpful graphic compiling all the dreams in the Bible.

 There are many reasons this is helpful and interesting but here’s what stuck out to me: In the entire sweep of biblical history covering hundreds of people and thousands of years, there are only 21 times God used dreams to communicate something. All but 6 of those times are in the Old Testament. Among those in the New Testament, 4 of 6 were to Joseph regarding his role with and protection of the Christ child.

Also, the majority of the dreams (perhaps all, depending on how you look at it) are given to move forward the history of redemption culminating in Christ. After the dream of Pilate’s wife, just prior to Christ’s crucifixion, no further examples of this kind of communication from God exist in scripture.

So what do we make of this?

One thing is, if I think God is communicating with me directly via a dream, I’m probably wrong. The instances of God communicating this way are so infrequent in scripture as to be statistically insignificant and seem to be reserved for those with a special role in God’s outworking of redemptive history. Dreams are never given just to convey information about personal life decisions or even for the purpose of evangelism.

However, there is one sure fire way to be sure we’re hearing from God and that is to be a student of His Word. The truth is we don’t need dreams or other extra-biblical communication from God in order to know and do His will. There is nothing we need to know to live a life pleasing to God that is not contained within the pages of the Bible.

 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – II Timothy 3:16-17

Spring in Atlanta, 1958

Spring in Atlanta, 1958
My grandfather working in his garden, spring, 1958.

Some time in late 1957 or early 1958 my father bought an Argus C3 Rangefinder camera. This began a life-long love affair with photography.  His father loved gardening. He grew beautiful flowers and plants. I remember him having nursery beds behind their house. These were frames he built out of lumber and then filled with coffee cans. Each can had a cutting he’d taken from a plant that was being prepared either to plant in the yard or give away to family and friends.

I enjoy both of these things. I love to take pictures and I love to garden. I guess I come by them honestly from my father and grandfather.

So, when I began looking at slides dad made with his new camera in the spring of 1958, I was excited to see these two passions intersect. Though faded with time, here are some pictures of my grandfather’s flowers that year:

Spring in Atlanta, 1958 Spring in Atlanta, 1958 Spring in Atlanta, 1958 Spring in Atlanta, 1958 Spring in Atlanta, 1958