Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tulsa Bible Church October 2017 Connection Questions

CONNECTION Discussion Questions
2 Timothy 3:1-4:8
October 1, 2017
Discussion Questions
2 Timothy 2:14-26 -- "The Gospel ministry is one of hope, remembering the real enemy."
1.     What three-word pictures does Paul use to describe Timothy’s ministry?  What do these metaphors picture about Christian ministry?
2.     What are the characteristics of a clean vessel?  What characteristics should be demonstrated by the Lord’s servant? (compare to Galatians 5:22-23)  How do they help accomplish the goal in verse twenty-five?
2 Timothy 3:1-9:  “Paul warns against perilous times and people that Timothy would encounter in his ministry.”
3.     What loves that do the sins in 3:1-4 reveal?  Do you see any categories or progression in the list?
4.     What are the characteristics of people the false teachers take advantage of?  How do we guard against being like them?
2 Timothy 3:10-17 – “For spiritual stamina remember those who followed God authentically and continue in the Word.”
5.     What were the nine marks of Paul’s life and ministry?  What can all who live godly expect?  Is that still true today?
6.     What are the Scriptures able to do for us?  How does belief in verse 16a effect our attitudes toward the Bible?
2 Timothy 4:1-8 -- "This passage is not just for the preacher, but for the whole church."
7.     What does Paul call Timothy to do?  How and why is he to do those things?  How do those admonitions apply to the “person in the pew?”
8.     What does your culture consider a life well lived?  How does that compare with Paul’s evaluation of his life? 
(Leader, you do not have to complete all the questions.  You may prefer to pick four or five that you think will be most relevant to your group.)
Key Verses
2. 

Galatians 5:22-24  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

“From Ranch hand to Ruler” (1 Samuel 9-10) / 170917PM@TulsaBibleChurch for God's Glory

“From Ranch hand to Ruler” (1 Samuel 9-10)
“On the one side Saul was a man hunting for donkeys who instead found a kingdom; and on the other side there was Samuel, who was looking for a suitable king and found a young man of remarkable political unawareness.”—David Pain p.45
…their [Israel’s] national failings and the inmost defect of their religious life: that of combining zeal for the religion of Jehovah, and outward conformity to it, with utter want of real heart submission to the Lord, and of true devotedness to Him.  -- Alfred Edershiem
The people obtained precisely what they wanted … In truth, the history of Saul is a summary and a reflection of that of Israel. -- Alfred Edershiem
SETTING  9:1-14
Introductions
·       Kish (1)
“Traditionally translations have identified Kish as a “valiant warrior,” but the niv “man of standing” is probably a better choice”  -- IVPBBC
Kish, the father of Saul, was a man of wealth. The last phrase hardly does justice to the Hebrew, gibbôr hāyîl, which implies much more: ‘a mighty man of power’ (av). His long genealogy testifies to a family of importance in Benjamin, and his son Saul had the added advantage of unusually tall stature and extra good looks.   --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
The tribe of Benjamin was descended from the youngest son of Jacob. Its more recent history was disreputable in that it had been nearly exterminated in a civil war during the Judges period (Judges 20–21). Its tribal allotment was small but strategically placed between the powerful tribes of Judah and Ephraim. Jerusalem, not yet in Israelite control but destined for greatness, was in Benjaminite territory. -- IVPBBC
·       Kish, the father of Saul, and Ner, the father of Abner, were brothers, the sons of Abiel.( Comp. 1 Sam. 14:51.)  The former is described in the text as “a hero of might,” by which, as in the case of Boaz, who is similarly designated (Ruth 2:1), were meant in those times men stalwart, strong, and true, worthy representatives and, if need were, defenders of their national rights and of their national religion.  -- Alfred Edershiem
·       Saul (2)
Even after kingship evolved into a permanent institution, the king who carried the aura of a great champion was the pride of his people. IVPBBC
In chapters 9—11 the writer painted Saul as the ideal man to serve as king from the human viewpoint.  –Thomas Constable
No mention is here made of his wisdom or virtue, his learning or piety, or any of the accomplishments of his mind, but that he was a tall, proper, handsome man, that had a good face, a good shape, and a good presence, graceful and well proportioned: Among all the children of Israel there was not a goodlier person than he…  --Matthew Henry
·       Servant (3)
·       Samuel (6)
It is intriguing that Saul, who lives only a stone’s throw away from Samuel’s hometown and within the circuit of Samuel’s territory, appears ignorant of this nationally renowned figure. IVPBBC
One puzzling, often-noted feature of the story is Saul’s ignorance of Samuel, but that may be to misinterpret the writer’s intention. What he wants to convey is rather Saul’s lack of awareness of the future.   --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
These holy men were supported by the gifts of the villages they served and would have been consulted on any number of minor personal matters.  -- IVPBBC
Mundane Events (3-8)
·     Donkeys lost / Fruitless Search (4-5)
And yet there was exquisite simplicity about the family-life of these great, strong men. Kish had lost his she-asses—a loss of some consequence in times of such poverty that a man would consider “the fourth part of a shekel,” or a sus—about 61½d. of our money—as quite an adequate gift to offer a “seer” in return for consulting him (1 Sam. 9:8).  -- Alfred Edershiem
Saul’s concern for his father’s peace of mind was commendable. It shows a sensitivity that would have been an asset in a king (v. 5). Likewise his desire to give Samuel a present for his help was praiseworthy (v. 7; cf. 1 Kings 14:3; 2 Kings 8:8-9).  –Thomas Constable
But his obedience to his father in it was very commendable. Seest thou a man diligent in his business, and dutiful to his superiors, willing to stoop and willing to take pains? he does as Saul stand fair for preferment.  –Matthew Henry
·     Inquiry of the Seer (6-14)
Most people would rather be told their fortune than told their duty, how to be rich than how to be saved.  --Matthew Henry
A quarter of a shekel of silver would have been the equivalent of a week or so of wages for the ordinary working man. This would be appropriate considering the value of the donkeys that had been lost. IVPBBC
The fact that Saul arrived just at the appropriate time to meet Samuel is another sign of providential overruling. This impression is strengthened when, as Saul and his servant enter the city gate, Samuel is just coming out.   --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
For, amidst the guests gathered there, the two strangers could have little expectation of finding access to the president of the feast…  -- Alfred Edershiem
APPLICATION:  All the use they would make of the man of God was to be advised by him whether they should return home, or, if there were any hopes of finding the asses, which way they must go next—a poor business to employ a prophet about! Had they said, “Let us give up the asses for lost, and, now that we are so near the man of God, let us go and learn from him the good knowledge of God,…  Note, Most people would rather be told their fortune than told their duty, how to be rich than how to be saved.   --Matthew Henry

RISING ACTION  9:15-10:16
The fact that Saul arrived just at the appropriate time to meet Samuel is another sign of providential overruling. This impression is strengthened when, as Saul and his servant enter the city gate, Samuel is just coming out.  --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
Now we hear the secret of what Yahweh is doing.  “I will send you a man.””  That puts an entirely different face on matters!  --Dale Ralph Davis  1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart
Saul thought he was looking for donkeys.  His father thought he had sent him on an errand.  His servant had suggested a plan.  But God was working through all these people.  --Africa Bible Commentary
However, we might ask: Does Yahweh’s providence only operate in the affairs of major figures in salvation history (Saul in the case) or does his (mostly) invisible wisdom follow my path as well?  Prov. 16:9; 20:24  --Dale Ralph Davis  1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart
The Hints  (19-24)
·     Donkeys found (20a)
·     Mysterious Complements (20b-21)
The lack of ancestry could label one as an imposter or pretender.
It may also have been considered good manners to play down one’s social standing, especially in the presence of God’s prophet or messenger, but in Saul’s case there seems to have been a modesty that was combined with a shy temperament (cf. 1 Sam. 10:22).  --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
Astounded, Saul could only reply that he was unworthy of this high honor (v. 21). The transparency and humility of Saul are evident at this stage of his career.  -- Eugene H. Merrill in BKC
·     Honored Position at the Feast (22-24)
The portions of meat that were to be eaten by the priests and the worshipers were at times required to the premises (for example, Lev 7:6). Since feasting was an important part of sacrifice and worship, be eaten on sanctuaries provided rooms for that activity.  – IVPBBC
When God makes a plan for you, your seat is reserved.  You need not take another man’s place.  .  --Africa Bible Commentary
·     Rooftop Guest (25-27)
Second stories (rooms on the roof) were desirable for family activities and sleeping because they offered better ventilation.  -- IVPBBC
The rsv’s a bed was spread for Saul follows the lxx here, while the av and niv keep to the Hebrew, ‘he [Samuel], talked with Saul’, which makes good sense.
The Word of God / The Anointing / The Kiss  (9:27-10:1)
In the Old Testament anointing with oil symbolized the setting apart of a person or even an object for divine service (Ex. 30:23–33).  -- Eugene H. Merrill in BKC
Samuel explained that the reason he was anointing Saul was because the Lord has anointed you commander over his inheritance (10:1b).  Israel was God’s inheritance, and he wanted Saul to know this from the very start.  Anointing would not make him the owner of God’s people, but would only make him a trustee who must care for them.  When God makes a plan for you, your seat is reserved.  You need not take another man’s place.  .  --Africa Bible Commentary   (We should always remember that we are God’s trustees, not owners.)
Saul received the anointing that set him apart from all his contemporaries and symbolized the Lord’s endowment of him to fulfil the role of prince (Heb. nāgîd) over his people Israel. The rsv has again followed the lxx; the Hebrew has instead of people, ‘inheritance’, which more usually refers to the land of Canaan, but nevertheless is also used of God’s people (e.g. 1 Kgs 8:53; 2 Kgs 21:14; Isa. 19:25).  --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
In Egypt the pharaoh was not anointed, but he anointed his officials and his vassals. His anointing of them established their subordinate relationship to him and indicated his protection of them. This model would fit the idea of Saul being anointed as a vassal to God.  – IVPBBC
These sacred unctions, then used, pointed at the great Messiah, or anointed one, the king of the church, and high priest of our profession, who was anointed with the oil of the Spirit, not by measure, but without measure, and above all the priests and princes of the Jewish church.  --Mathew Henry
It was likewise a kiss of homage and allegiance; hereby he not only owns him to be king, but his king, and in this sense we are commanded to kiss the Son, Ps. 2:12.  --Mathew Henry
Again the obvious verb, ‘rule’ (despite the rsv), is avoided, and a verb which usually means ‘restrain’ (Heb. ʿāṣar) is used instead, indicating a special form of rule, under the kingship of the Lord.  --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC

Three signs (2-6)
In order to assure Saul of the Divine agency in all this, Samuel gave him three signs.  -- Alfred Edershiem
Samuel gave Saul an amazingly detailed prophecy of what whould happen on his way home (10:2-7)  When this prophecy was fulfilled in every detail (10:9-11), Saul must have been convinced that God was indeed calling and anointing him through Samuel. When God makes a plan for you, your seat is reserved.  You need not take another man’s place.  .  --Africa Bible Commentary
The first of these would have strengthened Saul’s confidence in God’s ability to control the people under his authority (v. 2). The second would have helped Saul realize that the people would accept him and make sacrifices for him (vv. 3-4). The third would have assured him that he did indeed possess supernatural enablement from God (vv. 5-6).  –Thomas Constable
v. 8  You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show yoe what you should do.  (nasb)  The Spirit and the Word must nnever be separated.  What right have we to think we can enjoy the Lord’s power and presence when we deny His Lordship by trampling on His word (Luke 6:46)?    --Dale Ralph Davis  1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart
·     2 Men Close to Rachel’s Tomb / Good News about the Donkeys  (2)
There he would meet two men who would inform him of the finding of the she-asses and of his father’s anxiety on his account. This, as confirming Samuel’s words, would be a pledge that it was likewise by God’s appointment he had been anointed king.   --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
Thus the first sign would convey that his royalty was of God.  -- Alfred Edershiem
·     3 Men Going up to God / Goats, Bread, and Wine  (3-4)
As the Lord’s anointed he is a sacred person, and qualifies to eat ‘holy’ bread, as did David (1 Sam. 21:6).  --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
By receiving consecrated bread, Saul is again being treated as a priest (see comment on 9:23) and being recognized as an honored personage.  -- IVPBBC
If, as seems likely, these three men belonged to “the sons of the prophets,” the act was even more significant. It meant homage on the part of the godly in Israel, yet such as did not supersede nor swallow up the higher homage due to God—only two loaves out of all the sacrificial gifts being presented to Saul. To Saul this, then, would indicate royalty in subordination to God.  -- Alfred Edershiem
·     A Group of Prophets / Is Saul Among the Prophets?  (6, 10-13)
We should probably not interpret the reference to God changing Saul’s heart (v. 9) to mean that at this time Saul experienced personal salvation. This always takes place when a person believes God’s promise, and there is no indication in the context that Saul did that at this time. Probably it means that God gave him a different viewpoint on things since he had received the Holy Spirit. …  In Hebrew psychology the heart was the seat of the intellect, emotions, and will.  –Thomas Constable
The obvious import of this “sign,” in combination with the others, would be: royalty not only from God and under God, but with God. And all the more significant would it appear, that Gibeah, the home of Saul, where all knew him and could mark the change…  -- Alfred Edershiem
But this “prophesying” must not be considered as in all cases prediction. In the present instance it certainly was not such, but, as that of the “elders” in the time of Moses (Num. 11:25), an ecstatic state of a religious character, in which men unreservedly poured forth their feelings.  -- Alfred Edershiem
In the case of the prophets at Gibeah and in that of Saul, this ecstatic state was under the influence of the “Spirit of Elohim.” (Samuel speaks of “the Spirit of Jehovah,” while in the actual narrative we read of the “Spirit of Elohim.” Can the change of term have been intentional?)  -- Alfred Edershiem
The spirit of the Lord would cause Saul to prophesy, and he would be turned into another man (lit. ‘overturned’, ‘transformed’). These signs will be proof that the Lord is with him, but he for his part must fulfil all that the Lord directs him to do. In the context, this appears to be the meaning of the idiom whatever your hand finds to do.  --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
Further evidence that Saul did not actually become a prophet lies in the stem of the Hebrew verb here. He joined in their prophesying means literally, “He acted like a prophet among them,” that is, to all outward appearances he was a prophet because he was able to enter into their activities.  –Thomas Constable
Yet before long Saul would be opposing the prophet Samuel, hence the irony behind the remark, Is Saul also among the prophets?, which became proverbial for an incongruous alliance.  --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
The one the niv translates “lyre” is a ten-stringed instrument, while the one translated “harp” is thought to have had fewer strings. Both are hand-held with frames made of wood. The tambourine has been identified in archaeological reliefs as the tambour, a small drum (leather stretched over a hoop) that would not have the tinny rattle sound of modern tambourines. The instrument translated as flute is likely a double pipe made of either bronze or reed.  -- IVPBBC
Music played an important role in inducing a trancelike state (ecstasy) that was seen as making one receptive to a divine message.  -- IVPBBC
Kings in the ancient Near East were often considered to have prophetic gifts. This was especially true in Egypt, where the pharaoh was the representative of the gods and spoke for them. Civil leadership in Israel up to this time has also often combined authority for ruling with prophetic activity (Moses, Deborah, Samuel).  – IVPBBC
And is He limited? Cannot he make Saul a prophet, as well as any of them, if he please?” …  --Mathew Henry
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In light of all this secrecy it is interesting to observe that the verb mᾱşᾱ’, (to find) occurs twelve times in our section.  Saul and his servant did not find the asses (9:4, twice); the servant “found” the prophet’s fee (9:8), Saul and his servant find (i.e., meet) girls going out of town to draw water (9:11), sho urge them to hurry so that they can find (=meet) the seer(9:13, twice).  Smuel assures Saul that the asses have been found (9:20), as do the two men Sal “finds” near Rachel’s grave (10:2; hence twice).  Three men will find )meet) Saul near the oak of Tabor (10:3).  With God’s power upon him Saul will “find” opportunities, presumably to put down Israel’s enemies (10&).  Then the word for uncle: Samuel told us the asses had been found (10:16).
Now mᾱşᾱ’ is a rather common verb, so I do not want to press this point.  But it does strike me as ironic to see the repeated us of this verb in a story about a secret. … Yahweh is actively at work but few see what it is he is doing.    --Dale Ralph Davis  1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart
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APPLICATION:  Though the advancement of Saul would be the deposing of Samuel, yet that good prophet was so far from envying him, or bearing him any ill-will for it…  --Mathew Henry

CLIMAX 10:17-24
Israel Presents themselves to Receive a King(17-19)
Samuel takes as his text words of the Lord that echo the first words of Decalogue (Exod. 20:2; Deut. 5:6), the foundation for Israel’s covenant commitment.  --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
1. He shows them (v. 18) how happy they had been under the divine government; Could the mightiest man of valour do that for them which the Almighty God had done?  –Mathew Henry
2. He likewise shows them (v. 19) what an affront they had put upon God   Those that can live better by sense than by faith, that stay themselves upon an arm of flesh rather than upon the almighty arm, forsake a fountain of living waters for broken cisterns.  –Mathew Henry
The assembly at Mizpah was a special, formal occasion for selecting or discerning who was to be king over Israel.  It was a historic moment.  Why did Samuel kick it off on such a negative note?  Why sour the hour?  ...sometimes the truth must come before propriety. --Dale Ralph Davis  1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart
Lot’s Cast for Saul  (20-23)
The lot (v. 20) showed all Israel that Saul was God’s choice, not Samuel’s (cf. Josh. 7:14-18)--Thomas Constable
It is interesting to see the whole procedure of the lots being cast to discern among all the tribes, families, and individual to see who would be king when Samuel had already anointed Saul king earlier.  –Phil Martin
“If Saul had been an ambitious person, he would have been at the center of activity; and, even if he had been only an average person, he would at least have been available on the fringes of the crowd. Saul, however, had hidden himself, so that he would not be found.”  --Wood, Israel’s United . . ., p. 81.
When the tribe of Benjamin was taken, they might easily foresee that they were setting up a family that would soon be put down again; for dying Jacob had, by the spirit of prophecy, entailed the dominion upon Judah. Judah is the tribe that must rule as a lion; Benjamin shall only ravin as a wolf, Gen. 49:10, 27.  –Mathew Henry
King Proclaimed  (24)
Undoubtedly the scroll included the Mosaic regulations for kingship found in Deuteronomy 17:14–17. Interestingly valiant men were immediately attracted to Saul in Gibeah (see comments on 1 Sam. 9:1: Though a son of Kish, a man of some influence (1 Sam. 9:1), Saul had little to commend him to the high position of king except his physical impressiveness (9:2).).[1]
There is nothing in this chapter that actually depicts Saul as being crowned; he is merely acclaimed as the one that has been selected (see comment on 11:15).  – IVPBBC
“Saul’s rise to kingship over Israel took place in three distinct stages: He was (1) anointed by Samuel (9:1—10:16), (2) chosen by lot (10:17-27), and (3) confirmed by public acclamation (11:1-15).  —Youngblood p.623
APPLICATION:
Throughout these verses Saul behaved in an exemplary fashion. However notice that the writer made no reference to his regard for God or God’s Word.  –Thomas Constable
RESOLUTION 10:25-27
Samuel Sends Them Home  (25-26a)
Two Responses / Valiant and Worthless Men  (26b-27)
It may be to Saul’s credit that he turned a deaf ear, but the reader feels unsure how this new king is going to deal with the opposition, and pioneer a style of kingship in accord with Samuel’s charter. As yet he still has to prove in action that he has what it takes to lead Israel into battle, and an opportunity to do so quickly presents itself.  --Joyce Baldwin in TOTC
Thus differently are men affected to our exalted Redeemer.
There is a remnant that submit to him, rejoice in him, bring him presents, and follow him wherever he goes…
But there are others who despise him, who ask, How shall this man save us?
 –Mathew Henry

BIG IDEA/APPLICATION:
Indeed Jesus so much as said that it was his mission to bring division (see Luke 12:51 in context).  And there were those in Esrael who said, “How can this fellow save us?”  “Isn’t this fellow Jesus, the son of Joseph – we know his father andmother; how does he now say ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (John 6:42).  What is so special about him?  --Dale Ralph Davis  1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart



Yet God gave them a man with great personal strengths: wisdom, humility, sensitivity, physical attractiveness, and wealth. His gift of Saul was a good gift, as are all God’s gifts to His people (Luke 11:9-13). God did not give Israel a time bomb just waiting to explode. Saul failed because of the choices he made, not because he lacked the qualities necessary to succeed.  --Thomas Constable

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Convocation, 17
           Accusation, 18-19
                  Selection, 20-21b
                              Frustration, 21c
                                          Revelation, 22
                              Acclamation, 24
                  Discovery, 24
           Direction, 25a
Dismissal, 25b-27
--Dale Ralph Davis  1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart
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av English Authorized (King James) Version, 1611.
rsv American Revised Standard Version: Old Testament, 1952; New Testament, 21971.
lxx The Septuagint (pre-Christian Greek version of the Old Testament).
av English Authorized (King James) Version, 1611.
niv New International Version, 1978.
rsv American Revised Standard Version: Old Testament, 1952; New Testament, 21971.
lxx The Septuagint (pre-Christian Greek version of the Old Testament).
rsv American Revised Standard Version: Old Testament, 1952; New Testament, 21971.
[1] Eugene H. Merrill, “1 Samuel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 440–442.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

John 5:16-47 Sticky Spots

JOHN 5:31—WAS JESUS’ SELF-TESTIMONY TRUE OR FALSE?

PROBLEM: In John 8:14 Jesus said, “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true.” But here in John 5:31 He seems to say just the opposite, namely, “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.”
SOLUTION: There are two ways to understand this verse—hypothetically or actually. On the first interpretation, Jesus is saying in essence, “Even if you don’t accept my testimony about Myself, you should accept that of John the Baptist in whose ministry you rejoiced” (cf. 5:32).
Others take the verse as declarative, not hypothetical, claiming both texts are true, but in different senses. That is, everything Jesus said was actually true, but officially it was only considered true if it was verified by “two or three witnesses” (Deut. 19:15). Since Jesus was “truth” incarnate (John 14:6), everything He said was true. However, since He is trying to establish His claims to the Jews, He notes that they need not accept His words alone, but also the witness of the Scriptures and the Father.  ...

JOHN 5:34—DID JESUS ACCEPT HUMAN TESTIMONY ABOUT WHO HE WAS?

PROBLEM: In this verse Jesus rejected human testimony about Himself, insisting, “I do not receive testimony from man.” But elsewhere He accepted Peter’s testimony that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matt. 16:16–18). In fact, even in this same book (John 15:27) Jesus said to His disciples, “And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
SOLUTION: The difference in these statements is due to the circumstances of the testimony. He did not accept mere human testimony to establish who He was, but He did accept it to propagate who He was. God, by miraculous acts, established who Jesus was (cf. Acts 2:22Heb. 2:3–4), not human beings. On the other hand, once humans discovered what God had disclosed, their testimony was valid. Even after Peter’s great confession, Jesus reminded him that “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you” (Matt. 16:17). 

JOHN 5:37—CAN GOD’S VOICE BE HEARD?

PROBLEM: Jesus declared to the Jews, “You have neither heard His [God’s] voice at any time, nor seen His form.” Yet the voice of God was heard many times in the OT (cf. 1 Sam. 3:4–14), and the Father spoke from heaven three times during Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matt. 3:1717:5John 12:28).
SOLUTION: There are a number of interpretations of this passage. First, some claim that Jesus is simply referring to the crowd to whom He is ministering here, thus, not excluding the fact that God’s voice had been heard by others. However, this seems unlikely in view of the sweeping phrase “at any time,” as well as the fact that Jesus seems to be addressing the Jewish nation in general which rejected Him (cf. John 1:10–115:3912:37).
Second, still others believe Jesus is contrasting their state of knowledge with that of the OT prophets who heard God’s voice and saw His form (manifested in theophanies). If so, their inability to understand it was due to the fact that they were “not willing” to respond to God speaking in and through it (John 5:40).
Third, many scholars hold that this refers to their not heeding God’s unique or inner voice speaking to their hearts, since they were not receptive to His Word (cf. 1 Cor. 2:14). This fits with the fact that they could search the Scripture (John 5:39) and still miss its main message, Christ. In addition, the reference to the Father’s testimony of Him (v. 37) may be a reference to the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism, which, like the later voice from heaven (John 12:28), they dismissed as “thunder” (John 12:29).

Has anyone seen God or not?

Exodus 24:9-11, Exodus 33:11, Exodus 6:2-3; and John 1:18

  1. Has seen
    1. (Gen. 17:1), “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless;
    2. (Gen. 18:1) Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.”
    3. (Exodus 6:2-3), "God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am the LORD; 3and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them.”
    4. (Exodus 24:9-11), “Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. 11Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank.”
    5. (Num. 12:6-8), “He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision.  I shall speak with him in a dream. 7"Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; 8With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses ?"
    6. (Acts 7:2), "And he [Stephen] said, 'Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran . . . '"
  2. Has not seen
    1. (Exodus 33:20), “But He [God] said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!"
    2. (John 1:18), “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”
    3. (John 5:37), “"And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.”
    4. (John 6:46), "Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.”
    5. (1 Tim. 6:15-16), “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”
It is evident above that God was seen. But, considering the "can't-see-God" verses, some would understandably argue that there would be a contradiction. One explanation offered is that the people were seeing visions, or dreams, or the Angel of the LORD (Num. 22:22-26Judges 13:1-21) and not really God Himself. But the problem is that the verses cited above do not say vision, dream, or Angel of the LORD. They say that people saw God (Exodus 24:9-11), that God was seen, and that He appeared as God Almighty (Exodus 6:2-3).
At first, this is difficult to understand. God Almighty was seen (Exodus 6:2-3) which means it was not the Angel of the Lord, for an angel is not God Almighty; and at least Moses saw God and not in a vision or dream, as the LORD Himself attests in Num. 12:6-8. If these verses mean what they say, then we naturally assume we have a contradiction. Actually, the contradiction exists in our understanding, not in the Bible, which is always the case with alleged biblical contradictions.
The solution is simple. All you need to do is accept what the Bible says. If the people of the OT were seeing God, the Almighty God, and Jesus said that no one has ever seen the Father (John 6:46), then they were seeing God Almighty but not the Father. It was someone else in the Godhead. I suggest that they were seeing the Word before He became incarnate. In other words, they were seeing Jesus.
If God is a Trinity, then John 1:18 is not a problem either because in John chapter one, John writes about the Word (Jesus) and God (the Father). In verse 14 it says the Word became flesh. In verse 18 it says no one has seen God. Since Jesus is the Word, God then, refers to the Father. This is typically how John writes of God: as a reference to the Father. We see this verified in Jesus' own words in John 6:46 where He said that no one has ever seen the Father. Therefore, Almighty God was seen but not the Father. It was Jesus before His incarnation. There is more than one person in the Godhead, and the doctrine of the Trinity must be true.