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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Dream

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In everyday life, dreams are often related to matters that a person has been engaged in or been thinking about, and usually have no religious significance (Ecclesiastes 5:3). But the Bible records exceptional cases, where dreams did have religious significance. In circumstances where people had no written Word of God to guide them, or where God had an urgent message to pass on, he sometimes spoke to people directly through dreams (Genesis 20:3; Genesis 31:24; Genesis 46:2-4; 1 Kings 3:5; Matthew 1:20-24; Matthew 2:12). Dreams may have had meaning even when God did not speak directly, though these were rare (Genesis 37:5-11).

Among people who did not know God, a dream with meaning usually required a person who knew God to interpret it (Genesis 40:9-19; Genesis 41:1-32; Daniel 2:1-45; Daniel 4:4-27). Among God’s people, a dream with meaning usually had a fairly obvious interpretation (Genesis 37:5-10; 1 Kings 3:6-9; Acts 16:9-10).

Moses warned people to be careful in believing those who claimed that God had spoken to them through dreams. Such people were often false prophets, who led others astray (Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Jeremiah 23:25; Jeremiah 23:32). Moses was well aware that sometimes God may have spoken to the true prophets through dreams, but the Bible writers usually spoke of such experiences as visions rather than dreams (Numbers 12:6; see VISION).

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Dream'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/bbd/d/dream.html. 2004.

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