Before the Bible, how did people know about God?
The Old Testament was completed around 400 BC. The New Testament was completed by AD 100. How did people know about God before this time?
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Romans 1:19 offers one way people had evidence about a Creator God prior to the Bible: "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them." One example of this is the human conscience, which includes a universal sense of right and wrong among all people. Not every person agrees on what is right and wrong, but every person is designed with a sense of morality. This sense of morality points toward a maker of morality—or God.
Romans 1:20 offers another insight into how people would have understood God prior to the writing of the Bible's books. It notes, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." The creation around us offers ample evidence of a Creator (see also Psalm 19:1-4).
The complexity of the universe also points toward a designer. From the exquisite design of a flower to the human body, each detail points toward an ultimate Designer who designed with purpose, care, and wisdom.
In addition to these areas of general revelation available to all people, God has also communicated revelation about Himself through other means than the Bible at times. For example, the Bible speaks of times when people cast lots to determine God's will (Acts 1:21-26; Proverbs 16:33). Urim and Thummin were special types of this lot used by the High Priest (Exodus 28:30).
God also used visions and dreams as ways to communicate to people. These were especially prevalent in Genesis (Genesis 20:3-7; 31:11-13). Prophets often communicated through spoken words to people, including Jonah who spoke to a non-Jewish people to save an entire city. Angels are also often recorded in the Bible as ministering spirits who communicated God's messages to individuals or groups.
While God has spoken clearly and directly through Scripture, He has often communicated through both natural and supernatural means as He has seen fit to share revelation with others. In addition, the Bible shares the message of God communicating directly through Jesus coming to earth to live among us (John 1:1-14) and offering eternal life to all who believe (John 3:16).
Is the Bible really the Word of God?
How is the Bible inspired? What does it mean for the Bible to be inspired?
What is the canon of the Bible and how did we get it?
Is the Bible still relevant today?
How can I come to really know God?
Truth about the Bible