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Experience of God

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Scripture stresses the importance and also the possibility of a true experience of the living God. This is contrasted with the more academic knowledge about him. Experiential knowledge of God comes through personal encounter, through the witness of the Holy Spirit, through reflection on his past goodness and through the shared experiences of others.

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Personal experience of God

Contrasted with academic knowledge

Job 42:5 NIV
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
See also ; ; ;

Experience of God’s blessing

Psalm 34:8 NIV
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
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Experiencing God through Scripture

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Knowing God through the Spirit

Romans 8:15–16 NIV
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
See also ; ; ; ;

Examples of personal encounter with God

Deuteronomy 11:2–7 NIV
Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea as they were pursuing you, and how the Lord brought lasting ruin on them. It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the wilderness until you arrived at this place, and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done.
See also ; Jacob; Moses; Isaiah; Saul of Tarsus; Paul; John

Sharing experience of God

Experience of God through his people

Zechariah 8:23 NIV
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’ ”
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Leaders with experience of God

Joshua 24:31 NIV
Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.
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Speaking to future generations

Deuteronomy 4:9–10 NIV
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
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Speaking from personal experience: OT

Deuteronomy 7:18–19 NIV
But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.
See also David’s experience teaches him to trust God.

The exiles’ confidence is based upon God’s deliverance in the past:

Jeremiah 16:14–15 NIV
“However, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.

Speaking from personal experience: NT

John 3:11 NIV
Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.
See also ; ;
John 9:25 NIV
He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
See also ;

Confidence based on past experience

The disciples’ experience of Jesus Christ’s provision should have taught them not to worry about food;
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