Friday, May 28, 2010

The Word of God

There is a question that has often gone through my mind: What exactly *is* the Word of God? People answer this question for themselves everytime they speak the phrase, and it has been interesting to me to hear different people's interpretations.

Many people today equate the Bible with the Word of God. In fact, in my Thompson Chain Reference Bible, there is a subject heading in the back entitled "The Bible, The Word of God: Called, The Scriptures, The Law, etc." It then gives many references to places in the Bible that mention the words of God.

The problem I see with this interpretation is that people are so used to calling the Bible the Word of God, that there is no room for any other thought with regard to it. You can read it, study it, memorise it, quote it, meditate on it, love it, cherish it, but all the while you have a physical book in mind. What happens, I think, is that people limit God to what is written in the Bible. The reformation's slogan of "Scripture Alone!" seems to suggest that this idea was in full acceptance back in the sixteenth century.

Another problem is that if the Bible alone is the Word of God, then what are those passages in the Old Testament talking about?

"For ever, O Lord, the Bible is settled in heaven."

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Bible shall stand for ever."

One might argue that these old testament writers were referring to the law of Moses, which, is part of the Bible.

If that's the case, then how can we make sense out of what Job says?

"Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the Law of Moses more than my necessary food."

The problem with this is that Job didn't have the Law of Moses. What Job really says is "words of his mouth". What exactly is he talking about?

Another thought of what the Word of God means is taken from the New Testament.

"In the beginnning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Taken from the Bible, this passage equates the Word of God with Christ Himself. This is a much better thought, I think, because the equivalence is explicitly stated.

"And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God...And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

I see, therefore, no issues with calling the Son of God, the Word of God. It is the truth.

A seeming problem begins when we apply that to old testament passages. Did the old testament writers actually mean Jesus? Is that whom they are referring to? It could be. I am not arguing against that interpretation, however, what are we to do with the following verse in Psalm 105, speaking about Joseph in prison:

"He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him."

To build an entire teaching around one verse is not something I like to do. My question is this though: shouldn't there be some common theme in all these instances of the Word of God? We have the Bible, Christ, the Law of Moses, and, now, what seems to be the trials of Joseph in prison.

My thought is that the commonality is this: the revelation of God to man. Whenever God reveals something of Himself to men, that is His Word. It is true, it is tried, it tests men, and it speaks of Christ.

Surely, the Bible is a revelation of God to man. The Law of Moses was a revelation of God to man, the trials that we go through, though, are they the revelation of God to man? I would say 'yes' to that, for if trials are sent our way to change our hearts, to shape us, to test us, to bring us closer to the way we ought to be, what else can that be but a revelation of God? I have come to greatly appreciate and desire the revelation that comes after I am gone through a trial. God is forever teaching us through the trials He sends our way.

Okay, if the Word of God is the revelation of God to Man, then what else can we call Christ? He was, and still is, the *perfect* revelation of God to us. As part of the Godhead, Christ in His very existence is God's revelation to us on Earth. Not only did He teach us what is right, but what better way can we discover the heart of God, than by looking upon His Son.

God's word is not some stagnant, set-in place words in a book only. His revelation still comes to us if we are willing to listen. Anything He reveals to us today is His word, and will stand forever.

These are my thoughts. God's Word is not something that can be wholly caught and bound up in a book, but is infinitely much greater than that.

I remember listening to a preacher once, who said that he thought heaven was going to be one long Bible study. We would sit at the throne of God, who would be holding a Bible, and God would say to us, "Here, let me show you something in here that you've never seen before." I think this man limits God's Word, much to his hinderance. God is infinite, and therefore the entirety of His Word is infinite.

I feel a lot more comfortable calling Jesus Himself, the Word of God. He is the perfect revelation of God to man. The other, lesser revelations (if you can call them that) are also God's Word, but to get at the true meaning of the phrase, I think we do best by seeing Jesus Christ as the true Word of God, like scripture actually says.

May the Lord bless you all!