top of page


There is a program by that name, one that originated in Holland, and in the U.S., it has been on TV for 23 seasons. I have rarely watched it, but it features competitive singing and other talents by sometimes a whole group of individuals.


There is another “Voice,” and it is the greatest voice of all time—the voice of God, manifested in many dimensions but powerful enough to “speak” the world into existence.


God simply “said” let there be light, water, land, vegetation, living creatures, human beings, and it “happened.” The “big bang” was a big voice, and behind that voice was the power of the creator of the universe.


The world and all that is in it, the universe, and its vastness, all of this came into being (happened) because God spoke. John described it this way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”


John called Jesus the “Word” to help us perceive the essential powerful nature of God: one who speaks and in so doing forms the world and all that is in it. In linguistic terms, the Word is “performative,” an action results when God speaks.


Translators of the various English versions of John 1:1 always use “Word,” to translate the Greek word logos, which has the associated meanings of statement, speech, treatise, reason, message, and more. I had to ponder how this might be translated in Kewa, a language in Papua New Guinea that we studied and learned to speak.


In the English language a dictionary will give up to 12 senses to the form “word,” and we intuitively recognize that words have sounds that communicate meanings. In English we can spell and read “words” and define them. However, the Kewa people (when we first contacted them) had no notion of a book or a linguistic word. They did, of course, have a “word” for speech or language, and it is this form that we used in the translation of its counterpart in the Bible. In other words (an idiomatic pun), the Kewa people said: “In the beginning, there was talk/speech…” and that talk/speech was named Jesus.


The Kewa word used in translation was agaa or agale, depending on the dialect, and Kewa people would commonly refer to their language as the ora agaa “true/real talk.” If I said ora agaa la gialo, it meant “I am telling you the truth,” literally, “I am giving you the real/true talk.”


The word not only means “language/talk” in Kewa, but is also the word for the mouth. This makes perfect sense: we form language sounds in our mouth, we talk with parts of our mouth. I don’t need to say, “I speak with my mouth,” which would be redundant in Kewa.


We read in the Bible that the sound of thunder was often interpreted as God speaking. Note in Psalm 29: 

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;    

the God of glory thunders, 

the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful;    

the voice of the Lord is majestic.


Furthermore, we read in the same Psalm that

the voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,

strikes with flashes of lightning,

shakes the desert, twists the oaks,

and strips the forests bare.

It is indeed a powerful voice.


Moses heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him (Numbers 7:89), and so did Isaiah (6:8), Jeremiah (31:16), Ezekiel (11:13), and John the Baptist. As believers, we will hear the voice of the archangel (1 Thessalonians 4:16) and the voices of the martyrs (Revelation 5:19). We also read in Revelation (4:1) of a voice “speaking to me [John] like a trumpet,” which sounds loud.


The disciples also heard God’s voice on the mountain: “We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain” (2 Peter 1:18).


We can know the voice of our Shepherd and we should therefore follow him: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). The “voice” that Christians are supposed to recognize is that of Jesus. “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…’”


God graciously gives us the ability to hear his voice in the Bible, as well as through the inner communication of the Holy Spirit with our spirit.


There are a multitude of “voices” in heaven, and they are often loud, including beautiful singing, The singing does not necessarily have to be loud and here on earth it can also be done with our spirit and understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15). 


I close with a quote I love: “The sweetest of all sounds is that of the voice of the woman we love.” (Jean de la Bruyere)

Karl Franklin

bottom of page