My Question: How did people hear from God in the Middle Ages when it seems that only certain people had the written word?

Hi everyone, thanks for “listening”. This is not just a question that others in the past may have asked me, but something I would be interested in as well.
As far as I understand the scriptures were not widely available to the general population. I also suspect that most could not read anyway and that certain people took it upon themselves to relate or interpret to the masses.
If many did not have the written word or the apostles and that is how God chooses to speak to us what was to keep them from straying off on some bizarre path?
Especially when it comes to the Crusades, Inquisition or flagellation and such.


@Mark2 Great question :slight_smile: Similar to those who have never heard the Gospel around the world, those who were not taught accurate doctrine in the Middle Ages still had a conscience. The law of God is written upon the heart of man and those who have never heard are still aware of the existence of a moral law. Paul is clear that God’s law brings these sometimes vague intuitions into clear focus, but that general revelation does show us God’s power and imbue us with a sense, even if a little muddled, of right and wrong.

For example, many philosophies and religions around the world recognized it is wrong to do to others what you would not want done to you. While this was not the same as ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, many cultures at least had the idea that it was wrong to do to someone else what you would not want done to you - even kids have this innate sense of fairness.

Romans 2:14-15 - Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.

I also believe that all who truly want God find Him. Those who seek shall find, and to those who knock the door shall be opened.

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.” C. S. Lewis

You may find this thread helpful as well. Christ grant you wisdom.

I would answer YES My Shield of the Trinity would be an example as shown below. How the Church communicated the Gospel was through art and stained glass windows and other means of pictorial representation. The Orthodox Church uses Icons and has done so since early Christianity.