Our thoughts are one of the most private things that we have as humans. Unless we speak outright about them, there is no way for anyone else to know our thoughts. Often this gives us a sense of security and safety regarding the things we think. However, there is one Person who knows our every thought—the good, the bad, the ugly, the bizarre, and the sinful. He is omniscient, perfect, infinite in knowledge. In Psalm 139:1–2, David tells us: "O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar." There is nothing of which God is unaware.
Does God know our thoughts?
In Isaiah 55:8, the prophet Isaiah speaks to us who are thirsty for God. In part, he writes, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD." God thinks and acts in ways that exceed our human imagination. God does not need to learn or be taught anything, because He is perfect in every single way (Psalm 18:30; 1 John 3:20). God is our teacher and through His Word, we can come to know Him and His ways (John 13:13). He knows the end from the beginning and the answer to all of the whys that we face (Isaiah 46:10). None of our thoughts is too much for God to handle. Also, He is the one who helps transform our thoughts (Romans 12:2).
It may sound frightening to some that God knows everything we think, but God promises us grace and mercy (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 4:16; 1 John 1:9). He is not interested in our thoughts in order to trip us up, but in order to build an intimate relationship with us through Jesus Christ. No matter who we are, what we do, or where we go, God continues to seek our hearts, especially those who proclaim that He is Lord (Deuteronomy 4:39; Proverbs 3:1; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11)!
In the Ten Commandments, God gives two commandments that speak to thoughts. Exodus 20:3 prohibits God's people from worshipping any other gods except the one true God: "You shall have no other gods before me." Worshipping is most often a matter of our hearts (and thoughts). The tenth commandment provides a warning about sinful thoughts: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's" (Exodus 20:17). Wanting what other people have is a sin to God, and again, one most often committed in our thoughts.
In the New Testament, Jesus says that those who lust after someone have committed adultery in their hearts (Matthew 5:27–28). Again, this is a sin of the heart and mind. Jesus also said, "But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person" (Matthew 15:18). James 1:13–15 talks of the progression of sin, which most often starts with us being enticed by our own desires (i.e., in our thoughts). It is clear that God knows our thoughts and that our thoughts matter to Him.
The New Testament also gives us evidence of Jesus knowing the thoughts of people. For example, Luke 5:22 says, "When Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered them, 'Why do you question in your hearts?'" See also Matthew 9:4, 12:25, Luke 9:47, and 11:17 for example. These are a true sign of Jesus' omniscient character.
If we have accepted that we are all sinners, believed that Jesus died and rose again, and confessed our sins before Him, then we should also have an overwhelming comfort that we have a Father who loves us and knows us more than we could ever love or know ourselves. Far from being afraid that God knows our thoughts, we can be comforted at the depth of His knowledge for us and the magnitude of His love for us. First John 3:20 encourages, "for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything."
We can imitate David in Psalm 139:23–24 when we approach God: "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"
God is great! There is nothing He does not know, nowhere that He is not, and nothing that He cannot do (Psalm 139)! We should not fear sharing our thoughts with God because He already knows them (1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 91:15; Ephesians 4:22–32).
Is God omniscient? What does it mean to be omniscient?
Does God care about everything in my life, even the little things?
God is with us – What does that mean?
The attributes of God, what are they?
How do I control my thoughts?
Truth about God