Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thy Word IS Truth - Part 3

The Bible is not the "Word of God"

One reason people say that it is wrong to call the Scriptures the "word of God" is because Jesus Christ bears the title "Word of God" (John 1:1-2; Revelation 19:13).  They claim it is idolatrous to use this phrase in any other way and that Scripture is never referred  to as the "word of God".

While it is true that Jesus is the Word made incarnate, does that mean the phrase "word of God" should not be used when referencing words from God?  Is there any legitimacy to these claims? 

God is not mute. He has a voice; He speaks.  The Scriptures are full of references for people to "Hear the word of the Lord" or with people proclaiming "Thus saith the Lord".

Down through time, God has prepared His people to hear, speak, and document His words, which are often identified with phrases such as the "word of God".  We see similar references to "the word of Moses" (Exodus 8:13, 31; Leviticus 10:7; ), "the word of Samuel" (I Samuel 4:1; ), "the word of Elisha" (II Kings 6:18), "the word of Memucan" (Esther 1:21), and "the word of Jesus" (Matthew 26:75; Acts 19:10).  Likewise, the "word of God" is used to identify the literal words of God and is not used exclusively as a title for Jesus Christ.

Words From God ARE the Word of God

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him." Proverbs 30:5 

Is the above text saying "every [Jesus Christ] is pure"?  Of course not.  It is speaking of the words coming from God as being pure.  While this includes the words of Jesus, the phrase "word of God" here is not a personal reference to Him. 

"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God." Luke 8:11

Is this parable saying that the seed or "word of God" is the personage of Jesus Christ?  No. It is literally a reference to God's words.  Some of the these seeds ("the word of God") fell by the wayside, some on a rock, some among thorns, and some on good ground.

"But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it [the seed/word], and bring forth fruit with patience." Luke 8:15

Jesus is not an "it".  God's literal words are called the "word of God".

"For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." Mark 7:10-13

Is Jesus saying that the Pharisees are making Him of no effect?  No, the "word of God" here refers to God's commandment spoken through Moses that we honor our fathers and mothers. 

Throughout Scripture, phrases like "word of God" or "word of the Lord" are used to identify words coming from God (Exodus 9:18-21; I Samuel 9:27; Jeremiah 7:2; Zechariah 4:6; Luke 4:4, 5:1, 11:28, 22:61; Acts 6:2; Acts 11:16; Ephesians 6:17; I Corinthians 14:36; II Corinthians 2:17, 4:2; Hebrews 13:7; Revelation 1:2, 1:9, 20:4).  It is completely appropriate to use these phrases when referencing God's words.

Are the Scriptures God's Word?

The only way one can claim it is wrong to call Scriptures the "word of God" is to say that the Scriptures are not God's words.What do the Scriptures say in this regard?

"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received IT not as the word of men, but as IT is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." I Thessalonians 2:13

The "word of God" referenced above are literals words of truth the people heard and recognized as being from God Himself. We are given this same assurance about all of the words of Scripture...that they are not from men, but from God.

"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)" Romans 1:1-2

"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." II Timothy 3:15-17

Notice that the Scriptures are "holy" which is the Greek word hieros meaning: sacred, consecrated to God, of divine things.  This is true of "all" Scripture because they are given "by inspiration of God". Being God-breathed, we can be assured that they are profitable for perfecting man in righteousness. 

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that NO prophecy of the scripture is of ANY private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." II Peter 1:19-21

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As HE spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began." Luke 1:68-70

We are assured that what is documented in the Scriptures is not the result of the will of man, but the product of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is able to effectively communicate God's words to men.  He may use the "mouth" of the prophets, but it is still HIM speaking (II Samuel 23:2; Matthew 22:31; Acts 1:16, 3:18, 28:25; Hebrews 3:7, 10:15-17).  He may use the hands of the holy men, but it is HIS words being penned (Romans 3:2; II Timothy 3:16).

Please note that if the Scriptures are merely the words, thoughts, and ideas of men, then they have absolutely NO authority in the life of God's people. 

"If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true...I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? " John 5:31, 43-44

Jesus Christ did not come in His own name, but He came in the name or authority of His Father. When men come in the authority of their own name pertaining to the things of God, then their witness is false and carries no weight (Proverbs 3:5; Jeremiah 17:5; John 8:28, 10:25; Acts 5:36-37, 8:9-11; I Corinthians 2:4-5; Hebrews 5:4-5).

Why then did Jesus continuously refer the Jews back to the Scriptures as the evidence that He had come from the Father?  Did ye never read in the scriptures...Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures...The scriptures must be fulfilled...Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures...Search the scriptures. 

Is Jesus asking the Jews to put their faith in the words of men?  Is He referring them to that which has no Godly authority?  No. We can know that the Scriptures carry authority as God's words - not only because the Scriptures expressly say so - but also because Jesus repeatedly refers the Jews to them as a witness to His coming. 

Thus Saith the Lord...Until It Is Written?

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63

Do words from God stop being God's words because they are written down?  Do they lose spirituality or truth because they are documented?   Do they stop being able to generate life in the hearer because they are put to paper?

No, words from God contain the same power, vitality, and spiritual essence whether spoken or written because they are His words.  This is why Jesus would often remind the Jews "It is written..."  The Jews did not need to have Moses, David, Ezekiel, or any of the prophets around to tell them what the Lord had said; it had been documented in the Scriptures. 

If the words which proceed from God are called the "word of God", and the Scriptures are God's words, then there is nothing unorthodox in referencing them as such.  In fact, Jesus did so Himself.

"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" John 10:34-36

The Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy for making Himself to be God.  Yet, Jesus reminds them of the "word of God" which was written in their "law" and says that the "scripture" cannot be broken.  The "word of God", the "law", and the "scripture" all reference the same thing, namely Psalm 82:6.

In other words, the "Word of God" refers to the "word of God" as being the Scripture.

When the Scriptures are called the "word of God", it does not mean that people are confusing them with Jesus Christ.  It means that the Scriptures are being acknowledged as God's words.

Hopefully this article has helped to show that:
  1. Scripture repeatedly uses the phrase "word of God" and "word of the Lord" to reference words coming from God.
  2. The Scriptures themselves claim to to be a divinely inspired work, and not the mere words of men.
  3. God's words are not deprived of power, influence, or spiritual life simply because they are written.
  4. Jesus noted that the Scriptures are the "word of God" and He commonly referred to them as evidence of truth.

Thy Word IS Truth Series


  1. Thanks, LD. This answered some questions I've been pondering on.

  2. How do you discern "private interpretation"? Especially since it can lead to one's destruction?

  3. Hi Anonymous,

    The Scriptures cannot be understood by the natural mind. The true meaning of the Scriptures can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit. So the first protection against the error of private interpretation is to have a renewed mind (Ephesians 4:23) that can hear from the Spirit of God.

    The individuals who are criticized for wrestling with the Scriptures to their destruction in II Peter 3:16 are called "unlearned" (ignorant) and "unstable" (unsteadfast).

    The religious leaders also considered the disciples to be "unlearned" & "ignorant". Because of this, they marvelled that these men were able to expound the Scriptures so clearly & boldly. They could only conclude then that these men must have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

    So spending dedicated time with Jesus (study, prayer, fasting...) is a protection against "private interpretations".

    If the second issue with those wrestling with the Scriptures were that they were not steadfast, then by contract we must be steadfast. How can we do that? By not wavering and continuing to hold on to the hope of our salvation until the end (Psalm 78:8, 37; I Corinthians 15:68; Hebrews 3:14, 6:19).

    So in being born again and having the Spirit of God (Romans 8:7-9; I Corinthians 2:10-16), we must continue in hope of the faith while spending time with Jesus to learn of Him. This will protect us against private interpretations which lead to destruction.


In an effort to reduce the amount of spam received, Anonymous posts will no longer be accepted. Comments are still moderated and will appear once approved.

If you have a personal message to relay, please use the "Contact Us" form at the top of the blog. Thank you!