In his The Doctrine of the Word of God, John Frame presents what he calls a “thought experiment.”

“Imagine God speaking to you right now, as realistically as you can imagine, perhaps standing at the foot of your bed at night. He speaks to you like your best friend, your parents, or your spouse. In the Bible, God often spoke to people in this way: to Adam and Eve in the garden; to Noah; to Abraham; to Moses. For some reason, these were all fully persuaded that the speaker was God, even when the speaker told them to do things they didn’t understand. Had God asked me to take my son to the mountain to burn him as a sacrifice, as he asked of Abraham in Genesis 22, I would have decided that it wasn’t God and could not be God, because God could never command such a thing. But somehow Abraham didn’t raise that question. He knew, somehow, that God has spoken to him, and he knew what God expected him to do….

“Now imagine that when God speaks to you personally, he gives you some information, or commands you to do something. Will you then be inclined to argue with him? Will you criticize what he says? Will you find something inadequate in his knowledge or in the rightness of his commands? I hope not. For that is the path to disaster. When God speaks, our role is to believe, obey, delight, repent, mourn—whatever he wants us to do. Our response should be without reservation, from the heart. Once we understand (and of course we often misunderstand), you must not hesitate. We may at times find occasion to criticize one another’s words, but God’s words are not subject to criticism….

“God’s personal speech is not an unusual occurrence in Scripture. In fact, it is the main engine propelling the biblical native narrative forward. The thing at issue in the biblical story is always the word of God…. “Noah obeyed God, and God vindicated his faith. Similarly with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David. All these narratives and others begin with God’s personal speech, often saying something hard to believe or commanding something hard to do. The course of the narrative depends on the character’s response, in faith or unbelief. Hebrews 11 summarizes the faithful ones. Faith, in both Testaments, is hearing the word of God and doing it. “That’s the biblical story: the story of God speaking to people personally, people responding appropriately or inappropriately.”—John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God: 2010, 3-5.

Frame forcefully argues that God’s word is personal communication from him to us. He doesn’t mean that we can pretend that everything in the Bible is written directly to us or that we can ignore the difficult task of understanding Scripture’s original context. Frame makes the case (successfully, in my opinion) that the Bible is not simply the work of religious genius, or just the human recollections of divine encounters. No, the Bible is the Word of God, and “God’s speech to man is real speech.”