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How Can You Know God Personally?

The Bible’s answer

You can get to know God personally by learning about him and taking steps to please him. God will then “draw close to you.” (James 4:8) The Bible assures us that “he is not far off from each one of us.”—Acts 17:27.

 Steps to knowing God

Read the Bible

  • What the Bible says: “All Scripture is inspired of God.”—2 Timothy 3:16.

  • Meaning: God is the Author of the Bible. He put his thoughts into the minds of the Bible writers. By means of this unique book, God has revealed his will for us. He has also revealed facets of his personality, including his love, justice, and mercy.—Exodus 34:6; Deuteronomy 32:4.

  • What you can do: Read the Bible daily. (Joshua 1:8) Reflect on what you read, asking yourself: ‘What does this teach me about God as a Person?’—Psalm 77:12.

    As an example, read Jeremiah 29:11, and then ask yourself: ‘What does God want for me—peace or calamity? Is he a vengeful God, or does he want me to have a good future?’

Observe creation

  • What the Bible says: “[God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made.”—Romans 1:20.

  • Meaning: God’s physical creations reveal aspects of his personality, just as a work of art can reveal much about the artist or a complex machine can say much about the inventor. To illustrate, the capacity and complexity of the human brain reveal God’s wisdom, and the controlled energy in the sun and other stars demonstrates his power.—Psalm 104:24; Isaiah 40:26.

  • What you can do: Take time to observe and learn about our natural world. As you do, ask yourself, ‘What do the amazing designs manifest in nature reveal about God?’ * Of course, there are many things that nature cannot tell us about our Creator. That is why he gave us the Bible.

Use God’s name

  • What the Bible says: “I will protect him because he knows my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him.”—Psalm 91:14, 15.

  • Meaning: God, whose name is Jehovah, gives special attention to those who know his name and use it respectfully. * (Psalm 83:18; Malachi 3:16) By telling us his personal name, God has introduced himself to us. “I am Jehovah. That is my name,” he says.—Isaiah 42:8.

  • What you can do: Use Jehovah’s name when referring to him.

Talk to Jehovah in prayer

  • What the Bible says: “Jehovah is near to all those calling on him.”—Psalm 145:18.

  • Meaning: Jehovah draws close to those who pray to him in faith. Prayer is an aspect of worship that shows our deep respect for God.

  • What you can do: Pray to God often. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Tell him your concerns and how you feel.—Psalm 62:8. *

Build faith in God

  • What the Bible says: “Without faith it is impossible to please God well.”—Hebrews 11:6.

  • Meaning: To draw close to God, we must have faith in him. In the Bible, having faith means more than simply believing that God exists. It also means having complete trust in him, including his promises and standards. Trust is crucial to a good relationship.

  • What you can do: Genuine faith is based on knowledge. (Romans 10:17) So study the Bible and prove to yourself that you can trust God and his advice. Jehovah’s Witnesses would be happy to study the Bible with you. *

Do what pleases God

  • What the Bible says: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments.”—1 John 5:3.

  • Meaning: Jehovah is close to those who show their love for him by doing their best to obey his commandments.

  • What you can do: As you study the Bible, note what God likes and dislikes. Ask yourself, ‘What adjustments can I make in order to please my Creator?’—1 Thessalonians 4:1.

Experience God’s care by applying his advice

  • What the Bible says: “By experience you will see that [God] is good.”—Psalm 34:8, The Bible in Basic English.

  • Meaning: God invites you to see for yourself how good he is. When you experience his love and support, you will want to draw close to him.

  • What you can do: As you read the Bible, apply God’s advice and experience the benefits this brings. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) Also observe real-life examples of individuals who, with God’s help, overcame challenges, improved their lives and the lives of their families, and found true happiness. *

 Misconceptions about knowing God

Misconception: God is too powerful and important to want to be close to us.

Fact: Even though God is the most powerful and important Being in all existence, he invites us to draw close to him. The Bible contains many examples of men and women who became his close friends.—Acts 13:22; James 2:23.

Misconception: We cannot know God because he is a mystery.

Fact: Some things about God are difficult to comprehend, such as his being an invisible Spirit. Still, we can get to know God. In fact, the Bible says that we need to know him in order to gain everlasting life. (John 17:3) In terms we can understand, the Bible tells us about our Creator, revealing his personality, his purpose for mankind and for the earth, and his standards. (Isaiah 45:18, 19; 1 Timothy 2:4) And as mentioned, the Bible also reveals God’s name. (Psalm 83:18) We can thus not only know God but also draw close to him.—James 4:8.

^ par. 10 For examples of God’s wisdom as revealed in nature, see the series “Was It Designed?

^ par. 13 The name Jehovah is understood by many to mean “He Causes to Become.” By revealing his name to us, God is saying, in effect: ‘I will cause my will and purpose to be realized. I always fulfill my word.’

^ par. 22 For more information, watch the video What Happens at a Bible Study?

^ par. 30 See the series “The Bible Changes Lives.”