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

2 Replies to “Every Dream in the Bible”

  1. Thanks for the post. I feel God mostly communicates to us through scripture and those around us. Through scripture God communicates to us directly. God also often stirs the hearts of people around us to say things of use to us. It isn’t always the people we would expect. Sometimes the right message can be delivered to us if we are willing to listen even if the messenger is not being fair or may be saying something partly untrue. Jonah is a good example of this where Nineveh got the right message when Jonah only delivered half of the message to the city [he told them of the impending doom for their ways but did not give the possibility of mercy]

  2. Thanks, Danny. That’s certainly been true in my life as well. God has often used the insight of Christian brothers and sisters to help me see things about myself, His word, etc. that I was not seeing on my own. A good reminder that we are not sanctified in isolation but in community. Thanks for the comment!

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