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Pete Greig – How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People

Hodder and Stoughton

ISBN 978-1529377989

288 Pages

£14.99

“I don’t find it easy to be still.” (Pete Greig)

I am grateful for the opportunity to have half an hour to talk about this book with Pete Greig. This interview and my own reading of the book informs this review. This is Pete Greig’s eighth book, and he describes it as the hardest he has written because:

“This is the single most important thing you will ever learn to do.”

Clearly there is a generous heart beating in the author’s chest; he writes with pastoral sensitivity that is combined with a desire to be theologically rigorous.

Some might be nervous about the title: How to Hear God. The author explains the reasoning: When you google the question to which this book is the answer what do you type? It tends to be: “How do you hear God?”

The book is rooted in a respect for an evangelical approach to the Bible.

Yet readers are reminded of the need to make sure that they read the Bible biblically. This for the author includes using all the usual tools of careful biblical interpretation, but not ending with academic study alone. The Bible needs to be read slowly, with prayerful meditation and faithful imagination.

This book is anchored in the dynamic life-changing encounter between Jesus and the two disciples on the Emmaus Road, as recorded at the conclusion of Luke’s Gospel. This encounter did include an astonishing 2-3-hour Bible study about Jesus being at the heart of Biblical revelation, but it is about more than information-transfer. These two disciples encountered Jesus at multiple levels in their experience on that seven-mile walk.

Pete Greig sees this as a steer towards what he describes as a “big hug”, that involves learning from all the different traditions of the Church by seeing in Scripture, a menu of ways in which God speaks.

The book contains explanations of the ways Scripture describes hearing God.

These include three aspects of the external voice - God’s Word:

The Bible
Prayer through the use of Lectio Divina
Prophecy

Then there are three aspects of the internal voice: “God’s Whisper”

God’s Whisper (based on the experience of the Prophet Elijah
Dreams
Creation, Community and Culture

The final chapter is The Word, the Whisper and the Way. Here the author makes plain that all hearing God has the purpose of helping us to encounter the Living Word: Jesus.

Each chapter contains inspiring stories of people in Christian history who have cultivated the art of hearing God, and concludes with “Listening Exercises” for personal or group use.

Answering the question: “If you could give one piece of advice about hearing God what would it be?” Peter Greig said:

“Do you have ears to hear … the incarnate Son of God can be standing in front of you, performing miracles, teaching the greatest truths the world has ever heard, and it is possible to miss it, because you don’t have spiritual ears.”

Here is something from the book that give every Christian cause to ponder:

‘If every single Christian today – all two billion of us – were to spend tomorrow saying an unconditional “yes” to Jesus, I believe that we would between us write the headlines of the world the day after that.’ (Pete Greig)

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex. He is Director of Training at the School of Preachers in Riga, Latvia

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