Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Word of God

What do we mean when we use the phrase, "The Word of God?" That is the point of chapter 2 of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology.

What do you think of when you hear the phrase, "The Word of God?" 

My guess is that most people think of the Bible. Am I right? But that is not all. From the very first pages of Scripture, it becomes obvious that God speaks to bring about the creation of this world. Sixteen times in Genesis 1, God records that he communicated with word his purpose and plan for creation. The Psalmist said that God's word is what created the world:
"By the word of the LORD the heavens were made and by the breath of His mouth all their hosts . . . He commanded, and it stood fast." (Psalm 33:6-9; see also Psalm 19:1-6)
God used His words to speak creation into existence. Yet the words of God can also refer to the law that He preached. Quick, when did God first communicate His law to man? If a mountain with tablets of stone with a guy named Moses came to mind, you would be wrong. God's first words of law came when God spoke to Adam telling him not to eat of the fruit of the tree. God adequately and succinctly communicated to mankind the manner in which he would have them live (through His words).

God then did speak to many people. He used words in communicating to Noah to build an ark, to Abram in moving to a new land, to Jacob in taking his family down to Egypt. And eventually to Moses, "God spoke all these words, saying . . ." (Exodus 20:1). Through His Word, God spoke the Law so that we would know we need help. And that help comes in the form of a visible Word to us.
"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." (Hebrews 1:1-2)
We are told through the Apostle John:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)
What can we take or learn from this use of Jesus being called the Word of God? I think God uses this term to say that his ultimate message to mankind is a physical message in the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the living example that God speaks!

So, I have noted that the Word of God can be referred to as His actual words that brought about creation, gave us the Law, and Jesus. But when we think of "The Word of God", we normally think of the Bible. And that is true. God wrote down His words so that we would have them forever. Jay Adams has said that the Bible
"is as much God's Word as if it were spoken audibly from His own mouth. If you were literally to hear God's voice, He would say nothing more, nothing less, and nothing different from what He has said in that Book. It is to be read, heard, and obeyed as fully as any literally breathed out words of God would be." (Jay Adams, How To Help People Change, 26)
Which leads me to this question:

Do You Treat The Bible As God's Word? 

Would you pay more attention if God were to speak audibly to you, as He did in the Bible times, than you do to the Bible today? If so, what does that tell you about your view of the Scriptures?

[much of this blog post comes from pages 3-6 of my book, Helping Johnny Listen]

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