The Word of God

The Word of God

 The Word of God

The phrase given by our title occurs about 43 times in the New Testament. It is clear that the writers (and the Holy Spirit) expected that the readers would understand the meaning of this phrase. Example (Hebrews 4:12): "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Synonyms for "the word of God" include: the word of Christ, the gospel, or sometimes just the word. It is credited with the creation of the world and used synonymously with Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3): "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came came into being that has come into being."

Nothing is more powerful than the word of God, which not only brought us into being, but also has the capacity to save us (Romans 1:16): "for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes ..." We dedicate this article to a discussion of the use of this term so that we can get a better grasp of its meaning and significance to us today. 

God's Word

God can express His word in any way that He wants. He could shout it as trumpets of heaven, or he could reveal it individually to each one of us by a still small voice within. The question is not one of capability, it is one of reality. The Hebrews writer addressed this issue quite well as he began his letter (Heb 1:1f): "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." 

We are still in "these last days," and the writer was speaking in the past tense. Other writers indicated that all that was necessary for salvation had already been delivered in the first century (Jude 3, 2 Pet. 1:3). If we trace the way that Jesus "has spoken to us" we find that while on this earth he spoke directly. How can we be sure that we know what he said? In John 14:26 Jesus said: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." 

Jesus was speaking to his apostles, and if we follow the chronology we find that the Holy Spirit came upon them on the Day of Pentecost following the resurrection. The apostles were preaching the word of God (Acts 6:7): "And the word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith." 

The writings of the apostles and first century prophets have the power to save (Rom. 1:16). The apostle John wrote (John 20:30-31): "Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." Paul declared that his writings were of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13), and that they were the commandments of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37). The scriptures given by God have the capacity to "thoroughly furnish us unto every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16). After urging them not to seek for more revelation, Paul stated (Rom. 10:7-8): "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart"-- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching ..."

Ye Often Hear It Said . . .

"Church tradition is as important as the word."

but Jesus said (Matthew 15:6):

"And {thus} you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition."

The word of God in this context was the Law of Moses that taught them to honor their parents, i.e., to take care of them and provide for their needs. Alternatively, their tradition had allowed them to deny their parents this honor provided they gave what they owed their parents to God. Whenever we add to or take away from God's law the result is the invalidation of the word of God. That is, we no longer regard it to be authoritative. 

Those who add to or take away from God's word are placing themselves in a position where they are claiming that they are wiser than God. They proclaim that God did not know what He was doing when He formulated His law, or else that He did not know how to reveal it effectively. John stated (2 John 9): "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." As you study the Bible see that those who acted in this way "received a just recompense of reward ... how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" (Heb. 2:2-3)