Knowing God personally

I am preparing for a personal, spiritual conversation and want to answer this question with full biblical backing: "Can I know God personally?"

It seems that the word “personally” might be an important word in your question. That word is defined as “in person; as a person; for oneself; and, in a personal manner.” Let’s see how those definitions might shape the answer to your question.

Can people meet God “in person”? One of our Communion hymns states: “Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face” (Christian Worship 315:1). Through word and sacrament, God comes to people. In the Sacrament of Holy Communion, Jesus’ body and blood are present in, with and under the bread and wine (Luke 22:19-20). In the pages of Holy Scripture, God himself speaks to readers and listeners (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).

Can people meet God “as a person”? Certainly. God is not an impersonal cosmic force. In the Bible reveals himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). In the Bible God reveals his names and attributes so we can know him in faith.

Can a person meet God “for oneself”? Yes. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Lord promised, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23). Jesus’ love is for every person in the world (John 3:16).

Finally, can people meet God “in a personal manner”? By all means. God does not speak in abstract terms in the Bible. He tells you that your sins are forgiven (Luke 22:20). He promises to hear and answer your prayers (Psalm 50:15). He gives you peace (John 14:27). He promises to be with you always (Matthew 28:20).

When it comes to knowing the God of the Bible, there is of course a great difference between knowledge and saving faith. There can be no faith without knowledge (Romans 10:14), but knowledge of God alone will not save anyone (James 2:19). Saving faith is trust in God and reliance on him for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life (Isaiah 25:9).

I hope these thoughts will be helpful for you. God bless your conversation!