12/11/2012 7:58:17 AM
What's the "Word"?
What’s the “Word”?
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I believe the Bible! Although many men held the pen, the Author of the Scriptures is God alone. 2 Peter 1:20-21 teaches, “Above all, you must understand that no prophesy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
The Scriptures are God’s testimony to man concerning Himself, and they are God’s inspired guide for successful living. Paul taught Timothy that “the holy Scriptures… are able to make you wise for salvation in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15) Paul continues in v.16 & 17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The Scriptures are entirely true and without error in all that God communicates to us through them, although the correct interpretation and understanding of them depends on the insight given by God through his Holy Spirit. (1Corinthians 2:12-14)
I suppose if were granted the lifespan of Methuselah I would never be able to contrive sufficient superlatives to adequately describe the beauty and majesty of the words of the Bible! However… is it appropriate to refer to the Bible as the “Word of God”? My answer is an unequivocal “No!”
John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word…” When God created the earth, the Word was present; the Bible was not. The Hebrew Bible was given incrementally over the course of centuries; the books of the New Testament were not formally “canonized” until the Synod of Carthage in A.D. 397. And yet the Word “was” in the beginning – “living and active…” (Hebrews 4:12)!
This word “was” is reminiscent of God’s name, “I Am.” (Exodus 3:13-14) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John is plainly teaching that the “Word” is God! And God does not change (Malachi 3:6) - He is, “the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8; also Hebrews 1:10-12; James 1:16) The Scriptures, on the other hand, exhibit variation. There are numerous translations in the English language alone, the product of intense research and interpretation by scholars, and yet the actual words used differ! In fact, some versions contain verses which others do not, e.g. John 5:3b-4; Mark 16:9-20, and some Bibles contain books which others omit, e.g. the Apocrypha of the Roman Catholic Bible.
The “Word” is God, not the Bible; and the Scriptures are not God! Jesus stressed this distinction in John 5:39-40. To the Jews who were seeking to kill him, Jesus said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made which has been made.” (John 1:1-3) Here we see the “Word” revealed as a Person of the triune God: “he; him” – Jesus Christ, God’s personal, creative “Word” through whom he Spoke all things into being. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (v.3) When God spoke, the “Word” was Jesus! This is the testimony of John 1:3.
And this truth is revealed in several other passages of Scripture: 1Corinthians 8:6 teaches, “… there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” Colossians 1:15-16 tells us, “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Hebrews 1:2 concurs, employing language evocative of the thesis of this conversation: “… but in these last days he (God) has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”
Thank God for his Holy Scriptures! They testify to us of Jesus Christ, the “Word” of God, by whom the Father has spoken to us in these last days, and through whom we live unto God. By the Scriptures and through the Holy Spirit we understand God’s invitation to come to Jesus, that we might have life! Jesus is the “Word” the Father speaks to us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29) “All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John6:37) “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63)
God has spoken his “Word” to us - an Invitation to life and eternal fellowship with him. What’s your answer? RSVP!
It’s something to think about…
This is a very "chewy" blog indeed! I was looking up the Greek that is used in John to describe Jesus as the Word: "Logos," which can be translanted as: word, discourse, or (interestingly) reason. This set me onto another thought...
We must remember that He is the reason as well as the goal... the beginning and the end...and also the Way there.
I have a hard time starting to study something, because invariably, I end up getting on a rabbit trail. :)
Back to the original post, I do remember talking about this before with you, but hadn't seen it put together like this before. It's good to see it put this way, because I think it can get confusing sometimes, and hard to straighten out. We are a culture that often bandies words and has issued with semantics. It is good to get back to the core of what it is we believe! "In the beginning was the Word...."