Does God know our every thought? Can He read our minds?
The Mind of God
The Apostle Paul asks a rhetorical question which demands “No” for an answer. He asks, “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor” (Rom 11:34), and he also asks, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” (1st Cor 2:16). Obviously, only if we’ve received the Holy Spirit and can have access to “the mind of Christ,” and only then can we ever hope to know the mind of God, but in no way can we ever comprehend the entire mind of God. He is infinite; our minds our finite. The infinite cannot be understood completely by the finite. Yes, we can understand enough to be saved, but beyond what’s written in the Bible, we have no real idea at just how vast the mind of God is. If He can remember every star and name it (and He does), then there is nothing He cannot know. I think that would include ever bit of knowledge there is to know. Think of it this way; nothing has ever occurred to God. God is never informed about something. Nothing ever dawns on God. He is all-knowing (omniscient).
The psalmist was amazed at God’s knowledge about him. He wrote, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4). That means, even before we utter a word, God knows what that word will be, therefore He must know our minds and thoughts completely, even before we think them or say them. Incredible! The Bible also tells us that “no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:13). God’s declaration through the author of the Book of Hebrews is there isn’t anything at all that’s hidden from God. Since God is omniscient (all-knowing), you can be sure He knows what you’re thinking right now, but He also knows what you’ll be thinking in the next minute, and in the next decade! Omniscience means “all-knowing,” and that cuts across the fabric of time. God is not restricted by time, and space like we are. He doesn’t need to “catch up” on things because He already knows all that there is to know, even before it happens.
Where can I Go?
Where could we ever go to hide from God? The answer is very easy; nowhere! Again, we turn to the psalmist for some of his great and godly wisdom. He writes, “If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there” (Psalm 139:8). Now, to stress the omnipresence of God (all-present, everywhere), the psalmist writes in exaggeration, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea” (Psalm 139:9), and even in those extreme locations, the psalmist knows that “even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:10). Of course, he couldn’t descend down to the “uttermost parts of the sea” and live to tell about it. He’d be crushed, and he couldn’t take the greatest heights on “the wings of the morning” unless he wanted to come crashing down and be killed. His point is, there is no place to run, there is no place to hide, and there is no place you can go, to escape the presence of God.
Jesus Knew their Heart
We know that Jesus came down from heaven and was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life by taking on the flesh of a man, and as such, He is both God and Man, so there are clear indications that Jesus knew what the crowds were thinking. We see the obvious point that Jesus is God (and can forgive sins) and that He knows what humans are thinking, when some men brought a paralytic to Him. Jesus healed Him by pronouncing his sins are forgiven. Of course, the angered the scribes “said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming” (Matt 9:3). Notice that the scribes didn’t say anything; they were only “said to themselves…But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts’” (Matt 9:4)? Obviously, Jesus knew what they were thinking without saying it, so there were cases in Jesus’ earthly ministry where He knew what others were thinking. In another case, recorded in Luke chapter 9, Jesus had just told His disciples that He was to go to Jerusalem to be put to death (Luke 9:44), but there they were, selfishly arguing over who would be the greatest in the kingdom (Luke 9:46). “Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him” (Luke 9:47), and told the disciples “the one who is least among you all who is the greatest” (Luke 9:48). So Jesus knew what they were thinking, not based upon what they were saying, but upon were thinking.
I do believe that there is sufficient scriptural evidence to prove that God knows our minds and thoughts better than we do ourselves, but He also knows what we’ll think or say before we even say it, so yes, God knows our every thought. We conclude by once again citing the psalmist’s godly wisdom, that God knows our thoughts. He writes, “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:2), and “You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:3). Truly God is omniscient and knows all that there is to know. He never learns anything new because God is infinite, but still the omnipotent (all-powerful) God has condescended to our level in Jesus Christ Who took upon Himself human flesh, in order that He might save those who repent and believe.