Biblical Dream Interpretation

There is ample evidence in the Bible when God talked to someone through a dream. In some cases, there was a need for the interpretation of that dream. Maybe the most dramatic example is when Joseph was given a spiritual gift to interpret dreams, which he used with the King. That episode saved many lives and blessed God's people. So as a child of God, it is appropriate to wonder if God might use you in that way and if so, how can you tell and what should you do?

There is no question that over the span of time covered by the Bible, the way He communicates with people has changed. Most of the episodes of God speaking to his people through a dream happened in the Old Testament although not all of them are in that part of the book. But since the coming of the Gospel and the introduction of the new birth along with Christ' teaching that the Holy Spirit will teach us directly, the need for God to talk to his people through dreams has diminished. After all, if you have your morning devotions each day and God can tell you point blank what he wants you to do, why go through all the drama of a dream revelation to accomplish the same goal?

But, as we mentioned, there are New Testament evidences of God talking to someone through a dream. The one that comes to mind is when God gave Peter the vision of the animals being lowered to him to eat in the book of Acts. And we know God talks to us in strange ways all the time. So to rule out dreams being used as communication would be hasty because we cannot limit God in how he might choose to talk to you or I.

There is another approach to a biblical approach to interpreting dreams. That approach is to gauge what God tells you to do against the measuring rod of scripture. If you have a dream and you think God was giving you direction, you must seek to confirm that it was God talking and that what he said "sounds like God." We all have a lot of weird dreams and we cannot run around thinking every time we wake up with a dramatic image in our heads, that must be God's voice.

We need a measure to confirm that the dream was from God. That measure is scripture. God will never contradict himself. So if he gives me directions in the dream, that calling must never go against God's law or come in competition or conflict with the Gospel. If I think God is telling me to pray for my neighbor and the when God opens the door to do so, to share the Gospel with her, that is a perfectly valid dream calling. That is in keeping with the Great Commission and it is in line with scripture. Using the Bible as a measure by which all inspiration from God must conform, you are giving yourself protection from wrong callings or hearing God wrong. And that is a very valid use of the bible in dream interpretation.