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When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!

 
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04/22/2012 01:06 AM
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When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
The scriptures are full of examples of commanding all "believers" to "HEAR" from God.

It is a indication that the person hearing truly has a relationship with Christ.

IF YOU DON'T HEAR, You may want to check if your Christianity is valid..

SEE the article below and if you can refute the truth there I would love to hear from you!



John 5:37-40
You have neither heard the Father's voice nor seen his form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.

Here Jesus makes a clear distinction between the word of God, and the Scriptures.
Jesus speaks of His word abiding in you. The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart. Rom 10:8

Daniel 9:2
In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

As seen above, the scriptures and the word of the Lord are different.
The word of God is living and active, Heb 10:12
Jesus said, the words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:63

2 Peter 3:15-17
And consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
as also in all his [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
(Peter also categorizes Paul's epistles as scriptures.)

Matthew 21:42
Jesus saith unto them, did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

Matthew 22:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, you do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Matthew 26:54
But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

Matthew 26:56
But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Mark 12:24
And Jesus answering said unto them, do you not therefore err, because you do know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?

Mark 14:49
I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.

Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:32
And they said one to another; did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Luke 24:45
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

Acts 17:2
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 18:24
And a certain jewish named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Acts 18:28
For he mightily convinced the jewish people, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Romans 1:2
(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,)

Romans 15:4
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Romans 16:26
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:15
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.

Scriptural Evidence that the WORD OF GOD is not the Bible and concerning what the Word of God is
by Jenny Duskey 1975

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Gen. 1:1-3)

God created the heaven and the earth by speaking, and what he spoke, as his Spirit moved upon the face of the waters, was his Word. John wrote later:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (Jn. 1:1- 3)

All things were made by the Word. (See also Ps. 33:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:5-7). They were not made by the scriptures, which were not there in the beginning but were themselves written later by people.

Moses spoke of the Word of God when he said to the people of Israel:

"For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." (Deut. 30:11-14)

Moses was not speaking of the scriptures, for even the Old Testament had not yet been compiled; he did not mean only the words he himself had just spoken, for he knew that he was soon to die, and that his spoken words would not long be near the people. He did not even mean the tablets of the commandments kept in the ark, because stone tablets could not be in the hearts and mouths of the people. Moses meant the eternal Word of God, through which all things were created, which had come to him on Mt. Sinai, and which he now said was in the hearts of all the people of Israel as he urged them to hear it and do it.

The Word of God, what God speaks, has come to people in various ways (Heb. 1:1). The Word which was with God in the beginning and by which all things were created, of which Moses spoke, is the same Word which God spoke to Abraham, telling him to leave his home, to the other patriarchs, and to all the prophets, who prophesied only by the Word (Is. 2:1; Jer. 1:2; Ezek. 1:3; Micah 1:1; Hag. 1:1; and others).

John continues:

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (Jn. 1:10- 14)

This same Word, which was with God from the beginning, which Moses said was in the heart and mouth of the people of Israel, which was spoken to the prophets, was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. (See also Heb. 1:1- 3.) Jesus taught "as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mt. 7:29), who taught the scriptures. He had in his very person the authority carried only by the Word of God.

When he spoke his teaching was the Word of God in him, the good news of the Kingdom which God had sent him to proclaim and which he embodied (Lk. 4:43). When "the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God" (Lk. 5:1) it was to hear this message he preached, not just the scriptures, which they could hear read in the synagogues every sabbath day. The seed which he was sowing and which his disciples are to sow and which will grow in the hearts of those who keep it is the Word of God (Lk. 8:11-15).

Jesus does not use the phrase "word of God" to refer to the scriptures. Usually, he says, "as it is written," or an equivalent phrase, when he is quoting scripture (Mt. 4:1-11; 11:10; 21:13; 26:31; Mk. 7:6; 11:17; 14:27; and others). Sometimes he says as it was "spoken of by the prophet" (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14), or refers to "all that the prophets have spoken" (Lk. 24:25). Sometimes he simply uses the word "scriptures" (Mt. 21:42; 22:29; 26:56; Mk. 12:10, 24; etc.)

When Jesus uses the phrase "word of God" to refer to something in the scriptures, it is clear from the context that he means the word God spoke to someone, not the entire collection of scriptures. For example, when he accuses the Pharisees of "making the word of God of none effect" (Mk. 7:13) the word of God means the specific commandment God spoke to Moses: "Honour thy father and thy mother," which Jesus has just quoted.

When Jesus says, "Have ye not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?" (Mt. 22:31-32) he is referring to the words God spoke to Moses (Ex. 3:6) and which Moses passed on to the people of Israel and later to the descendants of his contemporaries in the written account of the incident.

He does not mean that the entire body of the scriptures was spoken by God; over and over he says that they were written by Moses or by the prophets, as the case may be (Lk. 5:14; 20:37; 20:42; 24:44; Mt. 8:4; 19:3-9; Jn. 7:22). Even in the other two accounts of this saying (Lk. 20:27-40; Mk. 12:18-27) Jesus credits Moses with having written of what God told him.

Jesus warned that the scriptures are not sufficient to assure the presence of God's Word:

"And The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (Jn. 5:37-40)

There is no evidence that after the end of his life in the flesh Jesus Christ ceased to be the Word of God personified and became instead merely an interpreter of the scripture, or someone who spoke only through the apostles and prophets.

Hebrews 13:8 states "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." It is true that Jesus interpreted the Scriptures to his followers after his resurrection (Lk. 24:27, 45), but he also spoke to them in other ways.

He dealt with their needs on a personal basis, comforting Mary Magdalene, who was afraid (Mt. 28:10; Jn. 20:15-18), proving that he was alive to Thomas, who doubted (Jn. 20:26-29), telling Peter not to be jealous of the beloved disciple who was to live longer (Jn. 21:21-22).

He gave a specific commandment to some of his disciples who were fishing, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find" (Jn. 21:6).

He carried on a rather lengthy conversation with Peter in which he told him of future events and admonished Peter to follow him (Jn. 21:15-19). He told his disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Mt. 28:18), and he reassured them by saying "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Mt. 28:20).

Christ's power was not diminished after his resurrection. From the time of the resurrection (Jn. 20:22) or at least from the day of Pentecost, until and including the present time, the Word which is Christ has lived in the hearts of his disciples, who hear him speak, the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah:

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:33-34)

On the day of Pentecost Peter said:

"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy." (Acts 2:16-18)

It is said over and over in the New Testament that the Word of God lives in God's people. 1 John develops this concept: ". . . and the word of God abideth in you . . ." 1 Jn. 2:14). "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us" (1 Jn. 3:24). "Hereby we know that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit" (1 Jn. 4:13). The Word of God which lives in Christ's followers is none other than Christ and his Spirit. Many passages confirm that Christ lives in Spirit in his disciples (2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 12:3; Gal. 4:6; 3:27; Eph. 3:17, 20; Phil. 2:13; Col. 3:11).

The word is said to have powers which clearly belong to Christ and his Spirit. Paul says to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Paul says to the Colossians, "I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God" (Col. 1:25). He goes on to say that the word of God is "the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints" (Col. 1:26), and that this mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach" (Col. 1:27-28). Later in the same letter Paul says "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16). To the Ephesians Paul says "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17). The letter to the Hebrews says:

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

Here the word clearly means Christ, for the next verse says, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:13, emphasis mine) and it is Christ, not the scripture, who is a person to be referred to by the pronouns "him" and "whom." The book of Hebrews is harsh with those who have fallen into apostasy after having acknowledged the power of the Word which is Christ:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (Heb. 6:4-6)

James writes of "the en-grafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). It is written in the book of 1 Peter, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23; see also James 1:18). We are born again of the Spirit of Christ, not of the scriptures (Jn. 3:1-8)

In the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the phrase "word of God" is sometimes used to mean the good news about God's kingdom which Jesus was sent to preach. In the other New Testament books, especially Acts, it is used in a similar way, to refer to the same good news which the disciples were now preaching as they told of the resurrection, as well as to refer to Christ who was commanding them to preach it. Acts 5 tells how the disciples were beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus. Acts 5:42 says "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Then when they were resolving the problem of how to distribute food to the Grecian widows, they said, "It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables" (Acts 6:2), and "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4). In these verses "the word" is the news of Christ's resurrection. We have just been told that the disciples "ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ," and it would make no sense for "the word" to mean the scriptures. Acts 6:7 tells us "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly." This does not mean that the scriptures increased, but that many heard and believed the gospel being preached. There are many other examples: "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them" (Acts 8:4-5).

"Now they which were scattered abroad upon to Christ, many of them believed the word, but the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the jewish people only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus" (Acts 11:19-20). "But the word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts 12:24). "And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the jewish people" (Acts 13:5. In Acts 13 it is after the customary reading of the law and the prophets, the scripture, that Paul preached the word of God which the whole city gathered to hear again the next sabbath (Acts 13:15-16, 44). "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:20).

In Acts 17:11 a clear distinction is made between the scriptures and the word of God. The jewish people at Berea are said to have received the word (which Paul and Silas brought them) eagerly, searching the scriptures (the Old Testament which they had had long before Paul and Silas had come) daily to see whether or not it testified to the word. Since the scriptures, including the Old Testament, do testify the word is not identified with the scriptures.

The letters to Timothy were written at a late date. They give more importance to the scriptures than do earlier New Testament books (2 Tim. 3:15-16). Even in these books and in the similar letter to Titus, however, the scriptures are not called the Word of God. Given the way the phrase is used elsewhere in the Bible, there is no reason to assume that the exhortation "Preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2), the statement that God "hath in due times manifested his word through preaching" (Tit. 1:3), and the description of the bishop as "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught" (Tit. 1:9) are based on any meaning for "word" besides Christ and the gospel preached about him by his disciples. Nor is there any reason to propose a different meaning when Titus is admonished to speak "the things which become sound doctrine . . . that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Tit. 2:1, 5).

The book of Revelation continues to use the phrase "Word of God" in the way that the other New Testament books have used it. John has been exiled to Patmos because of "the word of God" (Rev. 1:9), that is, for preaching Christ. Later John says of the symbolic figure of Christ on the white horse, ". . . and his name is called The Word of God" (Rev. 19:13).

God's Word was, is, and always shall be with God. God created all things through his Word. His Word was spoken to the patriarchs. Moses said that the Word of God was in the hearts and mouths of the people of Israel; this same Word came to the prophets. God sent his Word to earth in the human form of his Son, Jesus Christ, who preached that Word and personified it, who lived in the flesh and died on the cross and was raised to life. That same Word of God now sits on the right hand of God and speaks in the hearts of Christ's followers and will judge all things. There is no scriptural basis for the claim that the Bible is the Word of God, for the scriptures do not exalt themselves, but they testify to Christ. From time immemorial people have tried to fit God into forms that they could touch, hold, study, classify, and finally control. People are still trying to do this by clinging to the unscriptural view that the Word of God is a book.

THE REVELATION

I was sitting in church one Sunday morning, probably 20 or so years ago, when the pastor invited those in need of prayer to come to the front. I saw an elderly lady go forward for prayer and two elders layed hands on her and started to pray. An amazing thing happened at that point. It was like God somehow opened my eyes to the supernatural and I could see what was happening in the spiritual.

As I looked in amazement God said to me "This woman's needs are not being met." I felt compassion flow through me for the woman and cried out "Why Lord?" He said to me "Because there is a deception in the church that is very subtle, but is robbing the church of its power." I cried out "Lord, what can this deception be?" He replied "They have called the Bible the word of God, but that name has been given to the One who is from the beginning."

I felt excited about what the Lord had shown me and couldn't wait to go home and search the Scriptures.

I should point out at this stage that when God mentioned the church, He was talking about the church as a whole. I am very aware of the fact that many, or even most, big time evangelists call the Bible the word of God and have very successful ministries. God's grace and purpose will always be there for mankind, but often times He "winks", that is to say that He will overlook things in order to achieve a purpose, but there is a better way.



SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES

As I started reading through Scripture it was obvious that Jesus was and is The Word of God. I am sure no-one would disagree with this. It is interesting to note that He is THE Word of God. The word THE is singular, meaning there is only one.

My study took me into Greek and Hebrew lexicons and dictionaries and many times I had to go back to the Lord and ask Him to shed light on things that I did not understand. He always came through with answers that made sense, as you would expect.


LOGOS OR RHEMA?

When I was at Bible College I was taught that the logos was the written word and rhema the quickened word. In John chapter 1 where the Bible so plainly describes Jesus as being The Word of God the Greek word for 'word' is logos.

My studies showed me that in the New Testament that Jesus is The Word (logos) of God. Rhema on the other hand is a revealed or quickened word or message. There is not an instance in all Scripture where the Bible is called The Word (or word) of God.


BIG W OR LITTLE W?

Many people have told me that the word (small w) of God is the Bible and The Word of God is Jesus. When I asked God about this His reply was to forget about the W/w concept and that He would teach me.


JESUS - THE WORD OF GOD

There are many instances in the Bible where The Word of God or The Word of The Lord is mentioned.
A couple that spring to mind immediately are:

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh (Jesus), and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth.

Rev 19:13 And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

The Word of God is the name, identity, title and honor given to Jesus alone. This is who He is. As The Word of God He is the promise of God and the fulfillment of that promise. Because Jesus always was, and always will be The Word of God, the very reputation of God was dependent on Jesus fulfilling the promise of salvation. To call anything else The Word (or word) of God takes this away from Him.

If the Bible is the W/word of God, then God is four, not three. Father, Son (who is the Word Jn 1:14), the Holy Spirit and the W/word (Bible)? I don't think so!! Scripture tells us 1Jo 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.


THE BIBLE - THE WORDS OF GOD

There is no justification for calling the Bible the word of God in the Bible. People have said to me that:
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
and is therefore the word of God.

The Bible says differently:

Joh 3:34 For He whom God has sent speaks the Words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

Rev 17:17 For God gave into their hearts to do His mind, and to act with one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast until the Words of God will be fulfilled.

Rev 22:9 Then he said to me, Behold! See, do not do it! For I am your fellow-servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the Words of this Book. Do worship to God.

Joh 17:8 For I have given to them the Words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me.

Below is a Scripture that is a bit different. Rhema is used for "My Words" which indicates fresh revelation such as you would expect from a living relationship with Jesus. If you hear what He is saying to you and are led and motivated by Him He will do what you ask of Him.

Joh 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.


THE DIFFERENCE

According to Scripture, the Bible contains the words (plural) of God. This does not in any way detract from the title of The Word of God that belongs to Jesus.

The trouble is that because we are so used to calling the Bible The W/word of God we automatically think of the Bible when The W/word of God is mentioned. How often have you heard the preacher or evangelist say "Let us open the word of God to.."

This is scripturally incorrect. Because it is second nature for so many of us to think of the Bible as the W/word of God we often give it the place that Jesus should have. The result is that we become Bible dependent rather than Jesus dependent. We live in accordance with the Scriptures, which is good, but it leads us to depend on the Scriptures rather than the experiential life we should have with Jesus.

Consider the following Scriptures:

Psa 119:105 Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 is interpreted by many as the Bible being the lamp. In fact, Jesus is the One who knows the beginning and the end. He is the Lamp unto my feet.

Eze 20:45 And the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying,
Eze 20:46 Son of man, set your face toward the south, and drop a word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field.
There are numerous instances right throughout the Bible where the Word of God came to various people giving instruction etc. I can assure you it wasn't the Bible that did that!

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I have heard many a sermon using this Scripture to justify calling the Bible the "Living Word". The Bible is however, unable to discern and I can assure you that it IS a book, inspired by God, made by man. Surely it is not hard to see this verse is talking about Jesus.

2Sa 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of Jehovah is tried. He is a shield to all those who seek refuge in Him.
The Word of Jehovah was tried on the cross. Let's not take that away from Him.

These Scriptures all refer to Jesus as The Word of God. There are many more examples like this.


CONCLUSION

I have heard many good sermons, even excellent sermons, where the speaker has spoken of The Word of God, referring to the Bible. In every instance that I can recall, Jesus would have been glorified and His Name uplifted if the speaker had realized his error.

Try reading the Bible with the mindset that wherever you see The W/word of God mentioned, think "could this possible be referring to Jesus instead of the Bible?" The result will be that the Bible will take on new meaning which will greatly enhance your relationship with the Lord.

I feel that I have not adequately covered this subject, but pray that God will open people's eyes to see His truth so that The Word of God may receive the Honor, Glory and Recognition that belongs to Him alone.

Remember: Every time you call the Bible the W/word of God, you are giving it the honor and place that belongs to Jesus alone.



This comment came from a visitor to this page and is shared with their permission.
Thanks for the clarification on THE WORD OF GOD.

As I was reading John5 2 days ago, verse39-40 I was disturbed but I didn't realize how true what I heard was when I read these verses. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they search the scriptures hoping to find eternal life in them and He said the scriptures only testify of Him.

He showed me that He's not in the scriptures the scriptures are for guidance only; I should come to Him as a whole and not depend on the bible but Him.

I was so relieved when I got to your website by coincidence and saw this. Thank you for this revelation and I thank God that He has now confirmed what my spirit heard.


The Scriptures and the Word of God

Introduction

The phrase the Word of God occurs nearly 50 times in the New Testament, and is used times without number by Christians in books, sermons and ordinary speech. Do Christians use this phrase in the same sense as the Bible does? I believe NO. Does it matter? I believe YES.

It is dangerous to use any phrase or word in a different sense from the Bible. Doing so generally springs from a wrong understanding of spiritual truth, which it in turn perpetuates and reinforces. For example people who use the word priest to mean an ordained member of some denomination, are generally blind to the true nature of priesthood. Those who continually use the word church to refer to a building or a denomination, usually have little idea of the true church of God.

We cannot afford to adapt the meanings of words and phrases used in the Bible to suit our own traditions. It is pointless believing in the inspiration and authority of scripture and then using its words with meanings entirely different from their original.

In common parlance the phrase the Word of God, or often simply the Word, means the Bible. This is standard terminology among almost all who believe in the inspiration and authority of the Bible.

Firstly I hope to show that, in the Bible itself, the phrase the Word of God does not mean the Bible, but has a different meaning; then we will go on to explore the meaning and operation of the Word of God; after that we will seek to rediscover the right place and use of the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit give us understanding as we do so.
'The Word of God' in Scripture

Probably the nearest the Bible ever comes to calling itself the word of God is in Matthew chapter 15, with an almost identical passage in Mark chapter 7. It is worth quoting in full:

Jesus said: 'Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother', and 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother, 'Anything of mine by which you might have been helped has been given to God,' he is (allowed) not to honor his father or mother.' And thus you have invalidated the Word of God for the sake of your tradition.'

At first sight we might construe the Word of God here as meaning the scriptures. However on examination we find that it refers specifically to what God actually said, his words to Moses for all Israel and the world, 'Honor your father and mother'. Jesus was not using the phrase as a general term for the scriptures as a whole.

Against this one verse there are many passages where the Word of God cannot refer to the scriptures. For instance: 'They spoke the word of God with boldness' (Acts 4:31), 'They preached the word of God in the synagogues of Judaea' (Acts 13:5), 'It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken to you first' (Acts 13:46), '... to speak the word of God fearlessly' (Phil 1:14), 'the word of God is not bound' (2 Tim 2:9), and above all, 'The word became flesh and dwelt among us' (John 1:14) and 'his name is called the word of God' (Rev 19:13).

In Acts 17:11, the word and the scriptures occur in the same verse: '... they received the word with all eagerness, daily examining the scriptures whether these things were so'. The 'word' here cannot possibly mean the 'scriptures'.

The Hebrew Old Testament is divided into three parts, the Law (??????? - Torah), the Prophets (???????? - Neviim) and the Writings (???????- Ktuvim). When the New Testament writers speak of the Old Testament they use the word Writings (Greek grafai (graphai) - usually translated Scriptures) as a general term for the whole. They also refer specifically to the Law and the Prophets. They never use the phrase the word of God.

In the Old Testament Psalm 119 might appear to support the idea of referring to the scriptures as the word of God. Nearly all its 176 verses contain one of the following words: law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgements, word, ordinances. This lends a little support to equating the 'word' with law, testimonies, commandments etc, but hardly enough to justify referring to the whole Bible as the word of God.

To summarize: the Bible refers to itself as the scriptures, the holy scriptures, or in part the law or the prophets, but it does not call itself the 'word of God'. In its pages that phrase has a different meaning. The Bible does regard itself as verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit and having absolute divine authority, and let me stress that I am not in any way questioning those truths.
True Meaning of 'the Word'

If the Word of God does not mean the Bible, what does it mean?

Much the greatest Word that God has ever spoken is his Son. Jesus is the supreme manifestation of the word of God. The Apostle John began his gospel: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' Later in the same chapter we read: 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.' Revelation 19:13 gives Jesus the same title: 'His name is called the Word of God'. Hebrews 1:1 and 11:3 have the same implication: 'God ... in these last days has spoken to us in his Son ... through whom also he made the world'; 'By faith we understand that the world was prepared by the word of God'.

Jesus is the supreme and central manifestation of the word of God. All other manifestations of that word relate to him. The phrase the word of God in Scripture is also used to describe anything that God said to anyone or through anyone. For example, 'the word of the Lord came to Moses', 'the word of God came to John in the wilderness', 'the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi' or 'the words of Amos which he saw concerning Israel'.

When God speaks, it is the word of God. In the Old Testament God spoke directly to the prophets. He spoke to others through them. He also spoke through events in the lives of individuals and the nation. This state of affairs continued essentially until Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh. The circle of those to whom he wants to speak directly is extended to all who believe. No longer is it only the few prophets and leaders, but it is the common man.

It is contrary not only to scripture, but also to nature and reason, to believe that God wants to use a book as his primary method of communication. Writing is in general a bad way of communicating, as it is static and inflexible. For most purposes speaking is much better, and I should think ninety per cent of human communication is done that way. Writing is only better when you want a permanent record. It combats the failing of human memory and removes grounds for argument.

Several further factors confirm the Bible is not God's primary method of communication. Only a minority of the human race, and not even all Christians, own Bibles. Before the last century's great increase in literacy the number was much smaller. Before the invention of printing and the reformation privately owned Bibles were unimagined and all Bibles were in Latin anyway. Even for the privileged few that own Bibles today there are further problems. Our Bibles are not the original inspired words, but very fallible translations. Even the best scholar cannot begin to know an ancient language as well as a child speaks its native tongue, because he has only a fraction of the study material. The scholar has a limited number of ancient manuscripts, while the child is surrounded by a ceaseless flow of speech. Even if scholars knew Greek and Hebrew as well as we know English, it is still impossible to translate exactly from one language to another. God has placed limitations on the wonderful book he has given us because he has something better and greater.

Let me stress again, God's primary way of speaking to man is directly through the Holy Spirit to those who have ears to hear, and then through them to others.

When apostles and prophets in Scripture spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God was speaking through them. What they said was the word of God to their hearers. When a man or woman today speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that also is the word of God for whomsoever God intends it. When God speaks a message directly to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that also is his word.

When Satan quoted scripture to Jesus in the wilderness, it was not the word of God. It was the word of Satan. When scripture is quoted today, it is sometimes the word of God to those who hear it. Sometimes it is just the word of man, and sometimes even the word of Satan.
Well-known verses in a new light.

The Word of God then is Jesus himself, and also whatever God says. With this understanding, we will see many passages of scripture in a new light. Some of these I will consider, and others you may wish to search out with a concordance.
'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' (Math 4:4).

Primarily this verse applies to Jesus. How perfectly it harmonizes with his own words, 'I am the bread of life ... I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live ...' and 'Give us this day our daily bread'. Jesus is the spiritual food on which we live. When God speaks to us we receive life. 'He that has the Son has the life; he that does not have the Son does not have the life' (1 John 5:12).

A popular series of Bible-reading notes here in the UK is entitled 'Daily Bread'. The implication in the title is that the Bible is our spiritual food. This thinking is the logical development of calling the Bible the word of God. Many people, alas, read the Bible faithfully every day, but are not fed, because they have never learned to feed on Jesus. He himself said, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life' (John 5: 39,40). The Pharisees were great readers and teachers of the Bible, but when Jesus said, 'Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you', they were bitterly offended. To read and study the Bible is good. To put the Bible in the place of Jesus is idolatry.

Secondarily this verse applies to any word spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those who hear are fed, and their food has been the word of God.

Food is vital for growth. God has provided the five ministries described in Ephesians 4 for the building up of the body of Christ. A spiritual child needs apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers and evangelists to feed him with the word of God and build him up to maturity. However, as with a child in the natural, there should be a progression from milk to solid food through to the time when he becomes mature and is able to feed himself.
'The word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword' (Heb 4:12).

Let us reconsider this verse. Firstly Jesus is alive and all power is given to him. We read in Revelation that 'out of his mouth goes a sharp two-edged sword'. Nothing can stand before him. Secondly when we speak under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit our words will be alive and powerful and will enter people's hearts. Quoting scripture to people is no substitute for speaking the word of God.
'My word ... will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish that which I please ...' (Isaiah 55:11).

This verse was wonderfully fulfilled in Jesus. He left the Father's presence to take the form of man and suffer and die and rise again. He did not return empty-handed to the Father, but brought with him a great multitude of brethren. He accomplished every purpose for which God had sent him.

When a man or woman today speaks the word of God, we may be sure that the words will not be in vain, but will accomplish the purposes of God. A few faithful servants who have learned to speak the word of God will accomplish far more than an army of workers who only know how to distribute Bibles and Christian literature. Such work is good, but to speak the word of God is of an altogether higher order.
'Born again ... by the word of God which lives and abides forever' (1 Pet 1:23).

When Gabriel spoke the word of God to Mary, Jesus was born in her. The new birth takes place when Jesus, the Word of God, is born in us. God generally uses a human messenger to speak the word that brings about the new birth. This is the special ministry of an evangelist. The Ethiopian eunuch was puzzling his head over Isaiah when the Holy Spirit sent Philip to him. Philip 'preached Jesus to him', and he believed. To a few people the word of God that brings new life comes directly without any human intermediary, but we should not expect these exceptions to become the rule.
'The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God' (Ephesians 6:17).

The sword of the spirit is described here as part of the spiritual armor. On the basis of this verse, some people believe you should always carry a Bible with you as your spiritual weapon. Others feel that texts written up all over their house will help to protect them from the powers of evil. This attitude is based more on superstition and fear than on the truth. The true sword of the spirit is the inspired word of God upon our lips. It is an offensive weapon before which the powers of evil will not be able to stand. When Jesus spoke, all the powers of darkness were put to confusion and flight. When we learn to speak as he did, we will see similar results.
Idolatry

It is enlightening to compare the Catholic attitude to Mary with the Protestant attitude to the Bible. Mary had a unique and wonderful place and privilege in God's plan of salvation. Through her Jesus came into the world and in a sense without her he could never have come in the flesh. However to place her beside Jesus and worship her and look to her for mediation is idolatry. These things belong only to Jesus. The Bible also is unique among books and definitely above them in a way that Mary was not above other women. However the fact remains that if we take the titles and place of Jesus and ascribe them to the Bible we are equally guilty of idolatry. As with any other form of idolatry, this will be a block to our spiritual growth and progress. We must discover the place and purpose of the Scriptures in God's plan and use them rightly if we want to walk in the truth and grow in God.
The Scriptures

Having given some consideration to the place and function of the Word of God in our lives, we must now think about the place of the Scriptures. Paul sums up this subject in his second letter to Timothy: 'All scripture (writings) inspired by God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for (child) training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work' (3: 16, 17). These verses deserve more careful consideration than they usually receive.

Paul here views the scriptures as the man of God's toolbox. They are part of his equipment for his ministry to others. It is significant that Paul wrote this letter not to a group of believers, but to an individual leader. Nowhere did he exhort believers generally to study the scriptures, though he often exhorted them to pray. Timothy had the task of ministering to others and his knowledge of the scriptures would have been of great benefit in the work committed to him.

Our verses here tell us of four uses of the Scriptures, which we will now consider in turn.

1. The Scriptures are profitable for teaching. Timothy's task was not to teach the Bible. The Pharisees were well able to do that. Rather it was to impart a revelation and understanding of God to those under his care. He should use the Scriptures as a medium through which he could impart spiritual truth. If God calls you or me to share with others what we have received from him, then the Bible is a language we can use to do so.

The letter to the Hebrews gives us a clear illustration of the use of Scripture for teaching. The writer takes passage after passage and person after person from the Old Testament to illustrate the superiority of the new covenant to the old, and the position of Jesus far above all others. Paul also makes extensive use of the scriptures in Romans and Galatians to illustrate and prove the revelations he had received from God. As far as we know, Jesus only used the scriptures in this way when he opened them up to two disciples on the Emmaus road after his resurrection.

2. The Scriptures are profitable for reproof. We see this most clearly illustrated when Jesus met Satan in the wilderness. He met and countered each temptation with a quotation from the Old Testament. The Scriptures by their nature are written and immutable and can therefore constitute a court of appeal. Satan could question whether Jesus was the Son of God, and whether he was led by the Holy Spirit. He could not argue with what was written.

3. The Scriptures are also profitable for correction. When Jesus corrected the erroneous ideas of his opponents, he frequently used the Scriptures. He quoted David to correct the Pharisaic strictness on the Sabbath. He showed the Sadducees from the Old Testament that resurrection took place. Paul's letter to the Galatians is similarly a letter of correction. He establishes justification by faith by the example of Abraham. As with reproof, the Scriptures give a solid legal ground to correction. Special leadings and revelations will and must always be open to question. The Scriptures provide a fixed objective standard against which they can be tested.

4. The Scriptures are profitable for child training in righteousness. The Greek word here used is paideia, an abstract noun from the word pais (meaning a child), and its primary meaning is child training. The previous verse to those we are considering reads: 'from childhood you have known the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' Timothy, to whom these words were written, was the third generation in a godly family. Paul speaks of the sincere faith of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Perhaps it was these two who faithfully taught him from the scriptures and so prepared his mind first for salvation and subsequently for the wide ministry he was to receive. Timothy became a constant companion of Paul. Six of Paul's letters have Timothy's name as co-writer. Some people believe that Timothy wrote the letter to the Hebrews. He became a significant leader in the early church, and carried on Paul's work in Ephesus.

We see interesting parallels in the prophet Jeremiah. His father, Hilkiah the priest, was the man who found a book of the law in Josiah's day. Both Jeremiah and Timothy were called to minister in their youth. Perhaps the link between them is scripture-loving parents who taught them from childhood. Moses, by contrast, grew up in a palace with 'all the wisdom of the Egyptians'. He had to spend forty years in the wilderness before he began his ministry at the age of eighty!

I believe then that Christian parents should teach their children from the scriptures. They must learn the law of God. The scriptures will not save them, but will give them the wisdom that leads to salvation. Paul elsewhere stated that 'the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ'.

I do not want to imply that training in righteousness is only for children. People who are spiritual children also need teaching until they have become spiritually mature. However I believe I have already covered this aspect.

Head or Heart?

Some people pray, 'Lord I understand in my head; please move it all down into my heart'. That is the reverse of God's way. Paul wrote to the Colossians, 'Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you ...' (3:16) and to the Ephesians '... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith' (3:17). That will happen if we receive his word from faithful ministers who have been taught by him, and then learn to commune with our Heavenly Father. As his word increasingly dwells in our hearts, the scriptures will begin to open up to us, and our minds will receive understanding. Jesus communed with his Father from childhood. When he was twelve, the teachers in the temple were amazed at his understanding. We must turn to God if we want to understand the Bible, not turn to the Bible if we want to understand God. You will never understand the book if you do not have the mind of its author.
Commands and Promises

To summarize what I have been saying: God's primary method of speaking to people is not through Bible reading. It is initially through his ministers (apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers, and evangelists) and then increasingly through the Holy Spirit directly.

I want now to consider two particular ways in which God speaks. Throughout the scriptures God gave commands and instructions to individuals and groups of people. He also made covenants and promises, which were frequently conditional on obedience to commands. Some commands such as 'Love your neighbor', are very general. Others such as 'Take your shoes off your feet', are very specific. Promises in the Bible exhibit the same range. 'All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive' is general. 'I will bring you back to this land' is specific.

Many people believe and teach that all these commands and promises - or at least the more general ones - are for us today. Whole churches and denominations are built on this approach to the scriptures. However again we find that there is very little backing for it in the scriptures themselves. Certainly no one ever tried to obey a specific command or claim a specific promise that was given to someone else. The ten commandments and a few other general commands and promises from the Old Testament are quoted in the new. However the general principle is, as we have seen, that God speaks by the Holy Spirit. If he has not spoken to us by the Holy Spirit, we will have neither the power to carry out any commands, nor the faith to receive any promises.

To seek to obey commands that were given to other people at other times, and not to you personally will lead you into bondage, frustration and failure. Equally to seek to claim promises that were made to others will lead you to doubt God, or live with a sense of frustration that you are missing the mark because nothing seems to work out for you. It worked for other people; why doesn't it work for me?

The fundamental reason is that you cannot receive either commands or promises through your mind. You must receive them deep in your spirit. You will then find their confirming echo as you read similar commands and promises in the pages of the Bible.
Conclusion

How may we now summarize this message? The Scriptures and the Word of God are separate and should not be confused. Each has a different function. The Word of God is greater and was there in the beginning with God. The Scriptures must not take its (his) place. Good things in the wrong place can become evil things, and blessings turn to curses. Many an evil thing has been done by people who knew much of the Bible, but nothing of the Word of God. Let us hear again the heart-cry of Jesus, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life'. Let us find the true meaning of the Word of God and give it its rightful place in our lives. Let us also give to the Scriptures their rightful place - the place they give themselves, the place Jesus and the early apostles gave them, and the place given to them by the word of God in our hearts.
Postscript

I want to append here a brief survey of Old Testament quotations by Jesus and the early church. This may prove a stimulus to further study.

Some people may feel this cannot guide us in our approach to the Bible as the New Testament was not yet written at the time. My personal feeling is that the Bible is one book, and we should have one approach for both parts of it. This approach should parallel that which we see in the pages of the New Testament.

Jesus, as we have seen already, quoted the scriptures extensively in confrontations with the Pharisees, but scarcely at all when teaching the multitudes or his disciples. In the sermon on the mount all Old Testament quotations are for contrast with his own teaching. His last discourse in John's gospel does not contain a single quote. It is only on the Emmaus road after his resurrection that we find him opening the scriptures to the two disciples.

Of the gospel writers Matthew quotes very extensively to illustrate the fulfillment of scripture. Mark and Luke do so too, but less. John scarcely does at all.

In the book of Acts, Peter, Stephen and Paul all quote extensively in their preaching. Often their objective is to show from the scriptures that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

Paul's letters vary in the extent to which he makes use of scripture. Romans and Galatians are at one end of the scale with a lot of quotation. Colossians and Thessalonians are at the other with none.

Hebrews, being written to the jewish people, naturally has more quotations than any other New Testament book. Peter quotes a lot; James quotes sparingly; and John in his letters not at all. John was almost certainly the latest of the New Testament writers. Jude, interestingly, makes two quotations from books that are not part of what we regard as the Bible (The Assumption of Moses and The Prophecy of Enoch). He makes no quotations from the books that we call the Old Testament.

The book of Revelation has some quotes and many visions similar to those of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and others.

The general picture is one of wide variation. No doubt this reflects the differing characters and background both of the writers and the readers, and the nature of the message being written or reported. All this of course was subject to the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
The scriptures are full of examples of commanding all "believers" to "HEAR" from God.

It is a indication that the person hearing truly has a relationship with Christ.

IF YOU DON'T HEAR, You may want to check if your Christianity is valid..

SEE the article below and if you can refute the truth there I would love to hear from you!



John 5:37-40
You have neither heard the Father's voice nor seen his form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.

Here Jesus makes a clear distinction between the word of God, and the Scriptures.
Jesus speaks of His word abiding in you. The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart. Rom 10:8

Daniel 9:2
In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

As seen above, the scriptures and the word of the Lord are different.
The word of God is living and active, Heb 10:12
Jesus said, the words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:63

2 Peter 3:15-17
And consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
as also in all his [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
(Peter also categorizes Paul's epistles as scriptures.)

Matthew 21:42
Jesus saith unto them, did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

Matthew 22:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, you do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Matthew 26:54
But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

Matthew 26:56
But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Mark 12:24
And Jesus answering said unto them, do you not therefore err, because you do know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?

Mark 14:49
I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.

Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:32
And they said one to another; did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Luke 24:45
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

Acts 17:2
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 18:24
And a certain jewish named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Acts 18:28
For he mightily convinced the jewish people, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Romans 1:2
(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,)

Romans 15:4
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Romans 16:26
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:15
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.

Scriptural Evidence that the WORD OF GOD is not the Bible and concerning what the Word of God is
by Jenny Duskey 1975

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Gen. 1:1-3)

God created the heaven and the earth by speaking, and what he spoke, as his Spirit moved upon the face of the waters, was his Word. John wrote later:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (Jn. 1:1- 3)

All things were made by the Word. (See also Ps. 33:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:5-7). They were not made by the scriptures, which were not there in the beginning but were themselves written later by people.

Moses spoke of the Word of God when he said to the people of Israel:

"For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." (Deut. 30:11-14)

Moses was not speaking of the scriptures, for even the Old Testament had not yet been compiled; he did not mean only the words he himself had just spoken, for he knew that he was soon to die, and that his spoken words would not long be near the people. He did not even mean the tablets of the commandments kept in the ark, because stone tablets could not be in the hearts and mouths of the people. Moses meant the eternal Word of God, through which all things were created, which had come to him on Mt. Sinai, and which he now said was in the hearts of all the people of Israel as he urged them to hear it and do it.

The Word of God, what God speaks, has come to people in various ways (Heb. 1:1). The Word which was with God in the beginning and by which all things were created, of which Moses spoke, is the same Word which God spoke to Abraham, telling him to leave his home, to the other patriarchs, and to all the prophets, who prophesied only by the Word (Is. 2:1; Jer. 1:2; Ezek. 1:3; Micah 1:1; Hag. 1:1; and others).

John continues:

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (Jn. 1:10- 14)

This same Word, which was with God from the beginning, which Moses said was in the heart and mouth of the people of Israel, which was spoken to the prophets, was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. (See also Heb. 1:1- 3.) Jesus taught "as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mt. 7:29), who taught the scriptures. He had in his very person the authority carried only by the Word of God.

When he spoke his teaching was the Word of God in him, the good news of the Kingdom which God had sent him to proclaim and which he embodied (Lk. 4:43). When "the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God" (Lk. 5:1) it was to hear this message he preached, not just the scriptures, which they could hear read in the synagogues every sabbath day. The seed which he was sowing and which his disciples are to sow and which will grow in the hearts of those who keep it is the Word of God (Lk. 8:11-15).

Jesus does not use the phrase "word of God" to refer to the scriptures. Usually, he says, "as it is written," or an equivalent phrase, when he is quoting scripture (Mt. 4:1-11; 11:10; 21:13; 26:31; Mk. 7:6; 11:17; 14:27; and others). Sometimes he says as it was "spoken of by the prophet" (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14), or refers to "all that the prophets have spoken" (Lk. 24:25). Sometimes he simply uses the word "scriptures" (Mt. 21:42; 22:29; 26:56; Mk. 12:10, 24; etc.)

When Jesus uses the phrase "word of God" to refer to something in the scriptures, it is clear from the context that he means the word God spoke to someone, not the entire collection of scriptures. For example, when he accuses the Pharisees of "making the word of God of none effect" (Mk. 7:13) the word of God means the specific commandment God spoke to Moses: "Honour thy father and thy mother," which Jesus has just quoted.

When Jesus says, "Have ye not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?" (Mt. 22:31-32) he is referring to the words God spoke to Moses (Ex. 3:6) and which Moses passed on to the people of Israel and later to the descendants of his contemporaries in the written account of the incident.

He does not mean that the entire body of the scriptures was spoken by God; over and over he says that they were written by Moses or by the prophets, as the case may be (Lk. 5:14; 20:37; 20:42; 24:44; Mt. 8:4; 19:3-9; Jn. 7:22). Even in the other two accounts of this saying (Lk. 20:27-40; Mk. 12:18-27) Jesus credits Moses with having written of what God told him.

Jesus warned that the scriptures are not sufficient to assure the presence of God's Word:

"And The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (Jn. 5:37-40)

There is no evidence that after the end of his life in the flesh Jesus Christ ceased to be the Word of God personified and became instead merely an interpreter of the scripture, or someone who spoke only through the apostles and prophets.

Hebrews 13:8 states "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." It is true that Jesus interpreted the Scriptures to his followers after his resurrection (Lk. 24:27, 45), but he also spoke to them in other ways.

He dealt with their needs on a personal basis, comforting Mary Magdalene, who was afraid (Mt. 28:10; Jn. 20:15-18), proving that he was alive to Thomas, who doubted (Jn. 20:26-29), telling Peter not to be jealous of the beloved disciple who was to live longer (Jn. 21:21-22).

He gave a specific commandment to some of his disciples who were fishing, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find" (Jn. 21:6).

He carried on a rather lengthy conversation with Peter in which he told him of future events and admonished Peter to follow him (Jn. 21:15-19). He told his disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Mt. 28:18), and he reassured them by saying "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Mt. 28:20).

Christ's power was not diminished after his resurrection. From the time of the resurrection (Jn. 20:22) or at least from the day of Pentecost, until and including the present time, the Word which is Christ has lived in the hearts of his disciples, who hear him speak, the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah:

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:33-34)

On the day of Pentecost Peter said:

"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy." (Acts 2:16-18)

It is said over and over in the New Testament that the Word of God lives in God's people. 1 John develops this concept: ". . . and the word of God abideth in you . . ." 1 Jn. 2:14). "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us" (1 Jn. 3:24). "Hereby we know that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit" (1 Jn. 4:13). The Word of God which lives in Christ's followers is none other than Christ and his Spirit. Many passages confirm that Christ lives in Spirit in his disciples (2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 12:3; Gal. 4:6; 3:27; Eph. 3:17, 20; Phil. 2:13; Col. 3:11).

The word is said to have powers which clearly belong to Christ and his Spirit. Paul says to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Paul says to the Colossians, "I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God" (Col. 1:25). He goes on to say that the word of God is "the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints" (Col. 1:26), and that this mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach" (Col. 1:27-28). Later in the same letter Paul says "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16). To the Ephesians Paul says "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17). The letter to the Hebrews says:

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

Here the word clearly means Christ, for the next verse says, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:13, emphasis mine) and it is Christ, not the scripture, who is a person to be referred to by the pronouns "him" and "whom." The book of Hebrews is harsh with those who have fallen into apostasy after having acknowledged the power of the Word which is Christ:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (Heb. 6:4-6)

James writes of "the en-grafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). It is written in the book of 1 Peter, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23; see also James 1:18). We are born again of the Spirit of Christ, not of the scriptures (Jn. 3:1-8)

In the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the phrase "word of God" is sometimes used to mean the good news about God's kingdom which Jesus was sent to preach. In the other New Testament books, especially Acts, it is used in a similar way, to refer to the same good news which the disciples were now preaching as they told of the resurrection, as well as to refer to Christ who was commanding them to preach it. Acts 5 tells how the disciples were beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus. Acts 5:42 says "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Then when they were resolving the problem of how to distribute food to the Grecian widows, they said, "It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables" (Acts 6:2), and "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4). In these verses "the word" is the news of Christ's resurrection. We have just been told that the disciples "ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ," and it would make no sense for "the word" to mean the scriptures. Acts 6:7 tells us "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly." This does not mean that the scriptures increased, but that many heard and believed the gospel being preached. There are many other examples: "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them" (Acts 8:4-5).

"Now they which were scattered abroad upon to Christ, many of them believed the word, but the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the jewish people only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus" (Acts 11:19-20). "But the word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts 12:24). "And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the jewish people" (Acts 13:5. In Acts 13 it is after the customary reading of the law and the prophets, the scripture, that Paul preached the word of God which the whole city gathered to hear again the next sabbath (Acts 13:15-16, 44). "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:20).

In Acts 17:11 a clear distinction is made between the scriptures and the word of God. The jewish people at Berea are said to have received the word (which Paul and Silas brought them) eagerly, searching the scriptures (the Old Testament which they had had long before Paul and Silas had come) daily to see whether or not it testified to the word. Since the scriptures, including the Old Testament, do testify the word is not identified with the scriptures.

The letters to Timothy were written at a late date. They give more importance to the scriptures than do earlier New Testament books (2 Tim. 3:15-16). Even in these books and in the similar letter to Titus, however, the scriptures are not called the Word of God. Given the way the phrase is used elsewhere in the Bible, there is no reason to assume that the exhortation "Preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2), the statement that God "hath in due times manifested his word through preaching" (Tit. 1:3), and the description of the bishop as "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught" (Tit. 1:9) are based on any meaning for "word" besides Christ and the gospel preached about him by his disciples. Nor is there any reason to propose a different meaning when Titus is admonished to speak "the things which become sound doctrine . . . that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Tit. 2:1, 5).

The book of Revelation continues to use the phrase "Word of God" in the way that the other New Testament books have used it. John has been exiled to Patmos because of "the word of God" (Rev. 1:9), that is, for preaching Christ. Later John says of the symbolic figure of Christ on the white horse, ". . . and his name is called The Word of God" (Rev. 19:13).

God's Word was, is, and always shall be with God. God created all things through his Word. His Word was spoken to the patriarchs. Moses said that the Word of God was in the hearts and mouths of the people of Israel; this same Word came to the prophets. God sent his Word to earth in the human form of his Son, Jesus Christ, who preached that Word and personified it, who lived in the flesh and died on the cross and was raised to life. That same Word of God now sits on the right hand of God and speaks in the hearts of Christ's followers and will judge all things. There is no scriptural basis for the claim that the Bible is the Word of God, for the scriptures do not exalt themselves, but they testify to Christ. From time immemorial people have tried to fit God into forms that they could touch, hold, study, classify, and finally control. People are still trying to do this by clinging to the unscriptural view that the Word of God is a book.

THE REVELATION

I was sitting in church one Sunday morning, probably 20 or so years ago, when the pastor invited those in need of prayer to come to the front. I saw an elderly lady go forward for prayer and two elders layed hands on her and started to pray. An amazing thing happened at that point. It was like God somehow opened my eyes to the supernatural and I could see what was happening in the spiritual.

As I looked in amazement God said to me "This woman's needs are not being met." I felt compassion flow through me for the woman and cried out "Why Lord?" He said to me "Because there is a deception in the church that is very subtle, but is robbing the church of its power." I cried out "Lord, what can this deception be?" He replied "They have called the Bible the word of God, but that name has been given to the One who is from the beginning."

I felt excited about what the Lord had shown me and couldn't wait to go home and search the Scriptures.

I should point out at this stage that when God mentioned the church, He was talking about the church as a whole. I am very aware of the fact that many, or even most, big time evangelists call the Bible the word of God and have very successful ministries. God's grace and purpose will always be there for mankind, but often times He "winks", that is to say that He will overlook things in order to achieve a purpose, but there is a better way.



SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES

As I started reading through Scripture it was obvious that Jesus was and is The Word of God. I am sure no-one would disagree with this. It is interesting to note that He is THE Word of God. The word THE is singular, meaning there is only one.

My study took me into Greek and Hebrew lexicons and dictionaries and many times I had to go back to the Lord and ask Him to shed light on things that I did not understand. He always came through with answers that made sense, as you would expect.


LOGOS OR RHEMA?

When I was at Bible College I was taught that the logos was the written word and rhema the quickened word. In John chapter 1 where the Bible so plainly describes Jesus as being The Word of God the Greek word for 'word' is logos.

My studies showed me that in the New Testament that Jesus is The Word (logos) of God. Rhema on the other hand is a revealed or quickened word or message. There is not an instance in all Scripture where the Bible is called The Word (or word) of God.


BIG W OR LITTLE W?

Many people have told me that the word (small w) of God is the Bible and The Word of God is Jesus. When I asked God about this His reply was to forget about the W/w concept and that He would teach me.


JESUS - THE WORD OF GOD

There are many instances in the Bible where The Word of God or The Word of The Lord is mentioned.
A couple that spring to mind immediately are:

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh (Jesus), and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth.

Rev 19:13 And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

The Word of God is the name, identity, title and honor given to Jesus alone. This is who He is. As The Word of God He is the promise of God and the fulfillment of that promise. Because Jesus always was, and always will be The Word of God, the very reputation of God was dependent on Jesus fulfilling the promise of salvation. To call anything else The Word (or word) of God takes this away from Him.

If the Bible is the W/word of God, then God is four, not three. Father, Son (who is the Word Jn 1:14), the Holy Spirit and the W/word (Bible)? I don't think so!! Scripture tells us 1Jo 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.


THE BIBLE - THE WORDS OF GOD

There is no justification for calling the Bible the word of God in the Bible. People have said to me that:
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
and is therefore the word of God.

The Bible says differently:

Joh 3:34 For He whom God has sent speaks the Words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

Rev 17:17 For God gave into their hearts to do His mind, and to act with one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast until the Words of God will be fulfilled.

Rev 22:9 Then he said to me, Behold! See, do not do it! For I am your fellow-servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the Words of this Book. Do worship to God.

Joh 17:8 For I have given to them the Words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me.

Below is a Scripture that is a bit different. Rhema is used for "My Words" which indicates fresh revelation such as you would expect from a living relationship with Jesus. If you hear what He is saying to you and are led and motivated by Him He will do what you ask of Him.

Joh 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.


THE DIFFERENCE

According to Scripture, the Bible contains the words (plural) of God. This does not in any way detract from the title of The Word of God that belongs to Jesus.

The trouble is that because we are so used to calling the Bible The W/word of God we automatically think of the Bible when The W/word of God is mentioned. How often have you heard the preacher or evangelist say "Let us open the word of God to.."

This is scripturally incorrect. Because it is second nature for so many of us to think of the Bible as the W/word of God we often give it the place that Jesus should have. The result is that we become Bible dependent rather than Jesus dependent. We live in accordance with the Scriptures, which is good, but it leads us to depend on the Scriptures rather than the experiential life we should have with Jesus.

Consider the following Scriptures:

Psa 119:105 Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 is interpreted by many as the Bible being the lamp. In fact, Jesus is the One who knows the beginning and the end. He is the Lamp unto my feet.

Eze 20:45 And the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying,
Eze 20:46 Son of man, set your face toward the south, and drop a word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field.
There are numerous instances right throughout the Bible where the Word of God came to various people giving instruction etc. I can assure you it wasn't the Bible that did that!

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I have heard many a sermon using this Scripture to justify calling the Bible the "Living Word". The Bible is however, unable to discern and I can assure you that it IS a book, inspired by God, made by man. Surely it is not hard to see this verse is talking about Jesus.

2Sa 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of Jehovah is tried. He is a shield to all those who seek refuge in Him.
The Word of Jehovah was tried on the cross. Let's not take that away from Him.

These Scriptures all refer to Jesus as The Word of God. There are many more examples like this.


CONCLUSION

I have heard many good sermons, even excellent sermons, where the speaker has spoken of The Word of God, referring to the Bible. In every instance that I can recall, Jesus would have been glorified and His Name uplifted if the speaker had realized his error.

Try reading the Bible with the mindset that wherever you see The W/word of God mentioned, think "could this possible be referring to Jesus instead of the Bible?" The result will be that the Bible will take on new meaning which will greatly enhance your relationship with the Lord.

I feel that I have not adequately covered this subject, but pray that God will open people's eyes to see His truth so that The Word of God may receive the Honor, Glory and Recognition that belongs to Him alone.

Remember: Every time you call the Bible the W/word of God, you are giving it the honor and place that belongs to Jesus alone.



This comment came from a visitor to this page and is shared with their permission.
Thanks for the clarification on THE WORD OF GOD.

As I was reading John5 2 days ago, verse39-40 I was disturbed but I didn't realize how true what I heard was when I read these verses. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they search the scriptures hoping to find eternal life in them and He said the scriptures only testify of Him.

He showed me that He's not in the scriptures the scriptures are for guidance only; I should come to Him as a whole and not depend on the bible but Him.

I was so relieved when I got to your website by coincidence and saw this. Thank you for this revelation and I thank God that He has now confirmed what my spirit heard.


The Scriptures and the Word of God

Introduction

The phrase the Word of God occurs nearly 50 times in the New Testament, and is used times without number by Christians in books, sermons and ordinary speech. Do Christians use this phrase in the same sense as the Bible does? I believe NO. Does it matter? I believe YES.

It is dangerous to use any phrase or word in a different sense from the Bible. Doing so generally springs from a wrong understanding of spiritual truth, which it in turn perpetuates and reinforces. For example people who use the word priest to mean an ordained member of some denomination, are generally blind to the true nature of priesthood. Those who continually use the word church to refer to a building or a denomination, usually have little idea of the true church of God.

We cannot afford to adapt the meanings of words and phrases used in the Bible to suit our own traditions. It is pointless believing in the inspiration and authority of scripture and then using its words with meanings entirely different from their original.

In common parlance the phrase the Word of God, or often simply the Word, means the Bible. This is standard terminology among almost all who believe in the inspiration and authority of the Bible.

Firstly I hope to show that, in the Bible itself, the phrase the Word of God does not mean the Bible, but has a different meaning; then we will go on to explore the meaning and operation of the Word of God; after that we will seek to rediscover the right place and use of the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit give us understanding as we do so.
'The Word of God' in Scripture

Probably the nearest the Bible ever comes to calling itself the word of God is in Matthew chapter 15, with an almost identical passage in Mark chapter 7. It is worth quoting in full:

Jesus said: 'Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother', and 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother, 'Anything of mine by which you might have been helped has been given to God,' he is (allowed) not to honor his father or mother.' And thus you have invalidated the Word of God for the sake of your tradition.'

At first sight we might construe the Word of God here as meaning the scriptures. However on examination we find that it refers specifically to what God actually said, his words to Moses for all Israel and the world, 'Honor your father and mother'. Jesus was not using the phrase as a general term for the scriptures as a whole.

Against this one verse there are many passages where the Word of God cannot refer to the scriptures. For instance: 'They spoke the word of God with boldness' (Acts 4:31), 'They preached the word of God in the synagogues of Judaea' (Acts 13:5), 'It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken to you first' (Acts 13:46), '... to speak the word of God fearlessly' (Phil 1:14), 'the word of God is not bound' (2 Tim 2:9), and above all, 'The word became flesh and dwelt among us' (John 1:14) and 'his name is called the word of God' (Rev 19:13).

In Acts 17:11, the word and the scriptures occur in the same verse: '... they received the word with all eagerness, daily examining the scriptures whether these things were so'. The 'word' here cannot possibly mean the 'scriptures'.

The Hebrew Old Testament is divided into three parts, the Law (??????? - Torah), the Prophets (???????? - Neviim) and the Writings (???????- Ktuvim). When the New Testament writers speak of the Old Testament they use the word Writings (Greek grafai (graphai) - usually translated Scriptures) as a general term for the whole. They also refer specifically to the Law and the Prophets. They never use the phrase the word of God.

In the Old Testament Psalm 119 might appear to support the idea of referring to the scriptures as the word of God. Nearly all its 176 verses contain one of the following words: law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgements, word, ordinances. This lends a little support to equating the 'word' with law, testimonies, commandments etc, but hardly enough to justify referring to the whole Bible as the word of God.

To summarize: the Bible refers to itself as the scriptures, the holy scriptures, or in part the law or the prophets, but it does not call itself the 'word of God'. In its pages that phrase has a different meaning. The Bible does regard itself as verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit and having absolute divine authority, and let me stress that I am not in any way questioning those truths.
True Meaning of 'the Word'

If the Word of God does not mean the Bible, what does it mean?

Much the greatest Word that God has ever spoken is his Son. Jesus is the supreme manifestation of the word of God. The Apostle John began his gospel: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' Later in the same chapter we read: 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.' Revelation 19:13 gives Jesus the same title: 'His name is called the Word of God'. Hebrews 1:1 and 11:3 have the same implication: 'God ... in these last days has spoken to us in his Son ... through whom also he made the world'; 'By faith we understand that the world was prepared by the word of God'.

Jesus is the supreme and central manifestation of the word of God. All other manifestations of that word relate to him. The phrase the word of God in Scripture is also used to describe anything that God said to anyone or through anyone. For example, 'the word of the Lord came to Moses', 'the word of God came to John in the wilderness', 'the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi' or 'the words of Amos which he saw concerning Israel'.

When God speaks, it is the word of God. In the Old Testament God spoke directly to the prophets. He spoke to others through them. He also spoke through events in the lives of individuals and the nation. This state of affairs continued essentially until Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh. The circle of those to whom he wants to speak directly is extended to all who believe. No longer is it only the few prophets and leaders, but it is the common man.

It is contrary not only to scripture, but also to nature and reason, to believe that God wants to use a book as his primary method of communication. Writing is in general a bad way of communicating, as it is static and inflexible. For most purposes speaking is much better, and I should think ninety per cent of human communication is done that way. Writing is only better when you want a permanent record. It combats the failing of human memory and removes grounds for argument.

Several further factors confirm the Bible is not God's primary method of communication. Only a minority of the human race, and not even all Christians, own Bibles. Before the last century's great increase in literacy the number was much smaller. Before the invention of printing and the reformation privately owned Bibles were unimagined and all Bibles were in Latin anyway. Even for the privileged few that own Bibles today there are further problems. Our Bibles are not the original inspired words, but very fallible translations. Even the best scholar cannot begin to know an ancient language as well as a child speaks its native tongue, because he has only a fraction of the study material. The scholar has a limited number of ancient manuscripts, while the child is surrounded by a ceaseless flow of speech. Even if scholars knew Greek and Hebrew as well as we know English, it is still impossible to translate exactly from one language to another. God has placed limitations on the wonderful book he has given us because he has something better and greater.

Let me stress again, God's primary way of speaking to man is directly through the Holy Spirit to those who have ears to hear, and then through them to others.

When apostles and prophets in Scripture spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God was speaking through them. What they said was the word of God to their hearers. When a man or woman today speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that also is the word of God for whomsoever God intends it. When God speaks a message directly to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that also is his word.

When Satan quoted scripture to Jesus in the wilderness, it was not the word of God. It was the word of Satan. When scripture is quoted today, it is sometimes the word of God to those who hear it. Sometimes it is just the word of man, and sometimes even the word of Satan.
Well-known verses in a new light.

The Word of God then is Jesus himself, and also whatever God says. With this understanding, we will see many passages of scripture in a new light. Some of these I will consider, and others you may wish to search out with a concordance.
'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' (Math 4:4).

Primarily this verse applies to Jesus. How perfectly it harmonizes with his own words, 'I am the bread of life ... I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live ...' and 'Give us this day our daily bread'. Jesus is the spiritual food on which we live. When God speaks to us we receive life. 'He that has the Son has the life; he that does not have the Son does not have the life' (1 John 5:12).

A popular series of Bible-reading notes here in the UK is entitled 'Daily Bread'. The implication in the title is that the Bible is our spiritual food. This thinking is the logical development of calling the Bible the word of God. Many people, alas, read the Bible faithfully every day, but are not fed, because they have never learned to feed on Jesus. He himself said, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life' (John 5: 39,40). The Pharisees were great readers and teachers of the Bible, but when Jesus said, 'Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you', they were bitterly offended. To read and study the Bible is good. To put the Bible in the place of Jesus is idolatry.

Secondarily this verse applies to any word spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those who hear are fed, and their food has been the word of God.

Food is vital for growth. God has provided the five ministries described in Ephesians 4 for the building up of the body of Christ. A spiritual child needs apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers and evangelists to feed him with the word of God and build him up to maturity. However, as with a child in the natural, there should be a progression from milk to solid food through to the time when he becomes mature and is able to feed himself.
'The word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword' (Heb 4:12).

Let us reconsider this verse. Firstly Jesus is alive and all power is given to him. We read in Revelation that 'out of his mouth goes a sharp two-edged sword'. Nothing can stand before him. Secondly when we speak under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit our words will be alive and powerful and will enter people's hearts. Quoting scripture to people is no substitute for speaking the word of God.
'My word ... will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish that which I please ...' (Isaiah 55:11).

This verse was wonderfully fulfilled in Jesus. He left the Father's presence to take the form of man and suffer and die and rise again. He did not return empty-handed to the Father, but brought with him a great multitude of brethren. He accomplished every purpose for which God had sent him.

When a man or woman today speaks the word of God, we may be sure that the words will not be in vain, but will accomplish the purposes of God. A few faithful servants who have learned to speak the word of God will accomplish far more than an army of workers who only know how to distribute Bibles and Christian literature. Such work is good, but to speak the word of God is of an altogether higher order.
'Born again ... by the word of God which lives and abides forever' (1 Pet 1:23).

When Gabriel spoke the word of God to Mary, Jesus was born in her. The new birth takes place when Jesus, the Word of God, is born in us. God generally uses a human messenger to speak the word that brings about the new birth. This is the special ministry of an evangelist. The Ethiopian eunuch was puzzling his head over Isaiah when the Holy Spirit sent Philip to him. Philip 'preached Jesus to him', and he believed. To a few people the word of God that brings new life comes directly without any human intermediary, but we should not expect these exceptions to become the rule.
'The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God' (Ephesians 6:17).

The sword of the spirit is described here as part of the spiritual armor. On the basis of this verse, some people believe you should always carry a Bible with you as your spiritual weapon. Others feel that texts written up all over their house will help to protect them from the powers of evil. This attitude is based more on superstition and fear than on the truth. The true sword of the spirit is the inspired word of God upon our lips. It is an offensive weapon before which the powers of evil will not be able to stand. When Jesus spoke, all the powers of darkness were put to confusion and flight. When we learn to speak as he did, we will see similar results.
Idolatry

It is enlightening to compare the Catholic attitude to Mary with the Protestant attitude to the Bible. Mary had a unique and wonderful place and privilege in God's plan of salvation. Through her Jesus came into the world and in a sense without her he could never have come in the flesh. However to place her beside Jesus and worship her and look to her for mediation is idolatry. These things belong only to Jesus. The Bible also is unique among books and definitely above them in a way that Mary was not above other women. However the fact remains that if we take the titles and place of Jesus and ascribe them to the Bible we are equally guilty of idolatry. As with any other form of idolatry, this will be a block to our spiritual growth and progress. We must discover the place and purpose of the Scriptures in God's plan and use them rightly if we want to walk in the truth and grow in God.
The Scriptures

Having given some consideration to the place and function of the Word of God in our lives, we must now think about the place of the Scriptures. Paul sums up this subject in his second letter to Timothy: 'All scripture (writings) inspired by God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for (child) training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work' (3: 16, 17). These verses deserve more careful consideration than they usually receive.

Paul here views the scriptures as the man of God's toolbox. They are part of his equipment for his ministry to others. It is significant that Paul wrote this letter not to a group of believers, but to an individual leader. Nowhere did he exhort believers generally to study the scriptures, though he often exhorted them to pray. Timothy had the task of ministering to others and his knowledge of the scriptures would have been of great benefit in the work committed to him.

Our verses here tell us of four uses of the Scriptures, which we will now consider in turn.

1. The Scriptures are profitable for teaching. Timothy's task was not to teach the Bible. The Pharisees were well able to do that. Rather it was to impart a revelation and understanding of God to those under his care. He should use the Scriptures as a medium through which he could impart spiritual truth. If God calls you or me to share with others what we have received from him, then the Bible is a language we can use to do so.

The letter to the Hebrews gives us a clear illustration of the use of Scripture for teaching. The writer takes passage after passage and person after person from the Old Testament to illustrate the superiority of the new covenant to the old, and the position of Jesus far above all others. Paul also makes extensive use of the scriptures in Romans and Galatians to illustrate and prove the revelations he had received from God. As far as we know, Jesus only used the scriptures in this way when he opened them up to two disciples on the Emmaus road after his resurrection.

2. The Scriptures are profitable for reproof. We see this most clearly illustrated when Jesus met Satan in the wilderness. He met and countered each temptation with a quotation from the Old Testament. The Scriptures by their nature are written and immutable and can therefore constitute a court of appeal. Satan could question whether Jesus was the Son of God, and whether he was led by the Holy Spirit. He could not argue with what was written.

3. The Scriptures are also profitable for correction. When Jesus corrected the erroneous ideas of his opponents, he frequently used the Scriptures. He quoted David to correct the Pharisaic strictness on the Sabbath. He showed the Sadducees from the Old Testament that resurrection took place. Paul's letter to the Galatians is similarly a letter of correction. He establishes justification by faith by the example of Abraham. As with reproof, the Scriptures give a solid legal ground to correction. Special leadings and revelations will and must always be open to question. The Scriptures provide a fixed objective standard against which they can be tested.

4. The Scriptures are profitable for child training in righteousness. The Greek word here used is paideia, an abstract noun from the word pais (meaning a child), and its primary meaning is child training. The previous verse to those we are considering reads: 'from childhood you have known the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' Timothy, to whom these words were written, was the third generation in a godly family. Paul speaks of the sincere faith of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Perhaps it was these two who faithfully taught him from the scriptures and so prepared his mind first for salvation and subsequently for the wide ministry he was to receive. Timothy became a constant companion of Paul. Six of Paul's letters have Timothy's name as co-writer. Some people believe that Timothy wrote the letter to the Hebrews. He became a significant leader in the early church, and carried on Paul's work in Ephesus.

We see interesting parallels in the prophet Jeremiah. His father, Hilkiah the priest, was the man who found a book of the law in Josiah's day. Both Jeremiah and Timothy were called to minister in their youth. Perhaps the link between them is scripture-loving parents who taught them from childhood. Moses, by contrast, grew up in a palace with 'all the wisdom of the Egyptians'. He had to spend forty years in the wilderness before he began his ministry at the age of eighty!

I believe then that Christian parents should teach their children from the scriptures. They must learn the law of God. The scriptures will not save them, but will give them the wisdom that leads to salvation. Paul elsewhere stated that 'the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ'.

I do not want to imply that training in righteousness is only for children. People who are spiritual children also need teaching until they have become spiritually mature. However I believe I have already covered this aspect.

Head or Heart?

Some people pray, 'Lord I understand in my head; please move it all down into my heart'. That is the reverse of God's way. Paul wrote to the Colossians, 'Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you ...' (3:16) and to the Ephesians '... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith' (3:17). That will happen if we receive his word from faithful ministers who have been taught by him, and then learn to commune with our Heavenly Father. As his word increasingly dwells in our hearts, the scriptures will begin to open up to us, and our minds will receive understanding. Jesus communed with his Father from childhood. When he was twelve, the teachers in the temple were amazed at his understanding. We must turn to God if we want to understand the Bible, not turn to the Bible if we want to understand God. You will never understand the book if you do not have the mind of its author.
Commands and Promises

To summarize what I have been saying: God's primary method of speaking to people is not through Bible reading. It is initially through his ministers (apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers, and evangelists) and then increasingly through the Holy Spirit directly.

I want now to consider two particular ways in which God speaks. Throughout the scriptures God gave commands and instructions to individuals and groups of people. He also made covenants and promises, which were frequently conditional on obedience to commands. Some commands such as 'Love your neighbor', are very general. Others such as 'Take your shoes off your feet', are very specific. Promises in the Bible exhibit the same range. 'All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive' is general. 'I will bring you back to this land' is specific.

Many people believe and teach that all these commands and promises - or at least the more general ones - are for us today. Whole churches and denominations are built on this approach to the scriptures. However again we find that there is very little backing for it in the scriptures themselves. Certainly no one ever tried to obey a specific command or claim a specific promise that was given to someone else. The ten commandments and a few other general commands and promises from the Old Testament are quoted in the new. However the general principle is, as we have seen, that God speaks by the Holy Spirit. If he has not spoken to us by the Holy Spirit, we will have neither the power to carry out any commands, nor the faith to receive any promises.

To seek to obey commands that were given to other people at other times, and not to you personally will lead you into bondage, frustration and failure. Equally to seek to claim promises that were made to others will lead you to doubt God, or live with a sense of frustration that you are missing the mark because nothing seems to work out for you. It worked for other people; why doesn't it work for me?

The fundamental reason is that you cannot receive either commands or promises through your mind. You must receive them deep in your spirit. You will then find their confirming echo as you read similar commands and promises in the pages of the Bible.
Conclusion

How may we now summarize this message? The Scriptures and the Word of God are separate and should not be confused. Each has a different function. The Word of God is greater and was there in the beginning with God. The Scriptures must not take its (his) place. Good things in the wrong place can become evil things, and blessings turn to curses. Many an evil thing has been done by people who knew much of the Bible, but nothing of the Word of God. Let us hear again the heart-cry of Jesus, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life'. Let us find the true meaning of the Word of God and give it its rightful place in our lives. Let us also give to the Scriptures their rightful place - the place they give themselves, the place Jesus and the early apostles gave them, and the place given to them by the word of God in our hearts.
Postscript

I want to append here a brief survey of Old Testament quotations by Jesus and the early church. This may prove a stimulus to further study.

Some people may feel this cannot guide us in our approach to the Bible as the New Testament was not yet written at the time. My personal feeling is that the Bible is one book, and we should have one approach for both parts of it. This approach should parallel that which we see in the pages of the New Testament.

Jesus, as we have seen already, quoted the scriptures extensively in confrontations with the Pharisees, but scarcely at all when teaching the multitudes or his disciples. In the sermon on the mount all Old Testament quotations are for contrast with his own teaching. His last discourse in John's gospel does not contain a single quote. It is only on the Emmaus road after his resurrection that we find him opening the scriptures to the two disciples.

Of the gospel writers Matthew quotes very extensively to illustrate the fulfillment of scripture. Mark and Luke do so too, but less. John scarcely does at all.

In the book of Acts, Peter, Stephen and Paul all quote extensively in their preaching. Often their objective is to show from the scriptures that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

Paul's letters vary in the extent to which he makes use of scripture. Romans and Galatians are at one end of the scale with a lot of quotation. Colossians and Thessalonians are at the other with none.

Hebrews, being written to the jewish people, naturally has more quotations than any other New Testament book. Peter quotes a lot; James quotes sparingly; and John in his letters not at all. John was almost certainly the latest of the New Testament writers. Jude, interestingly, makes two quotations from books that are not part of what we regard as the Bible (The Assumption of Moses and The Prophecy of Enoch). He makes no quotations from the books that we call the Old Testament.

The book of Revelation has some quotes and many visions similar to those of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and others.

The general picture is one of wide variation. No doubt this reflects the differing characters and background both of the writers and the readers, and the nature of the message being written or reported. All this of course was subject to the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 8407446


I see.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
I hope you see what this article is saying...
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
I hope you see what this article is saying...
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
In this thread:

Fantasy books.
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
Who ?
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04/22/2012 02:43 PM
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
No fantasy books, your confused.

The command is to Christians. But they must be the Chrsitians who have a new nature.




Who ?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 14850944
Anonymous Coward
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
Jesus Christ! Do you expect anybody to read that tripe? And if you're hearing voices you may want to go and have that checked out...
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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04/23/2012 12:00 AM
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
If you read it and don't understand it, I think you have a problem, also concerning hearing voices, if you disagree, take it up with Jesus. His words not mine...But if your not in his sheep fold, disregard all the above, its not for you anyway.



Jesus Christ! Do you expect anybody to read that tripe? And if you're hearing voices you may want to go and have that checked out...
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 14637204
Anonymous Coward
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OP...Just a word of advice...

Any post that requires more than TWO turns of the mouse wheel to read will be ignored.

I had to turn my mousewheel sixteen and a half times to get to the end of that vast wall of text.

Can you simplify it?
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
The scriptures are full of examples of commanding all "believers" to "HEAR" from God.

It is a indication that the person hearing truly has a relationship with Christ.

IF YOU DON'T HEAR, You may want to check if your Christianity is valid..

SEE the article below and if you can refute the truth there I would love to hear from you!



John 5:37-40
You have neither heard the Father's voice nor seen his form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.

Here Jesus makes a clear distinction between the word of God, and the Scriptures.
Jesus speaks of His word abiding in you. The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart. Rom 10:8

Daniel 9:2
In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

As seen above, the scriptures and the word of the Lord are different.
The word of God is living and active, Heb 10:12
Jesus said, the words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:63

2 Peter 3:15-17
And consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
as also in all his [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
(Peter also categorizes Paul's epistles as scriptures.)

Matthew 21:42
Jesus saith unto them, did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

Matthew 22:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, you do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Matthew 26:54
But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

Matthew 26:56
But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Mark 12:24
And Jesus answering said unto them, do you not therefore err, because you do know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?

Mark 14:49
I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.

Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:32
And they said one to another; did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Luke 24:45
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

Acts 17:2
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 18:24
And a certain jewish named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Acts 18:28
For he mightily convinced the jewish people, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Romans 1:2
(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,)

Romans 15:4
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Romans 16:26
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:15
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.

Scriptural Evidence that the WORD OF GOD is not the Bible and concerning what the Word of God is
by Jenny Duskey 1975

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Gen. 1:1-3)

God created the heaven and the earth by speaking, and what he spoke, as his Spirit moved upon the face of the waters, was his Word. John wrote later:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (Jn. 1:1- 3)

All things were made by the Word. (See also Ps. 33:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:5-7). They were not made by the scriptures, which were not there in the beginning but were themselves written later by people.

Moses spoke of the Word of God when he said to the people of Israel:

"For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." (Deut. 30:11-14)

Moses was not speaking of the scriptures, for even the Old Testament had not yet been compiled; he did not mean only the words he himself had just spoken, for he knew that he was soon to die, and that his spoken words would not long be near the people. He did not even mean the tablets of the commandments kept in the ark, because stone tablets could not be in the hearts and mouths of the people. Moses meant the eternal Word of God, through which all things were created, which had come to him on Mt. Sinai, and which he now said was in the hearts of all the people of Israel as he urged them to hear it and do it.

The Word of God, what God speaks, has come to people in various ways (Heb. 1:1). The Word which was with God in the beginning and by which all things were created, of which Moses spoke, is the same Word which God spoke to Abraham, telling him to leave his home, to the other patriarchs, and to all the prophets, who prophesied only by the Word (Is. 2:1; Jer. 1:2; Ezek. 1:3; Micah 1:1; Hag. 1:1; and others).

John continues:

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (Jn. 1:10- 14)

This same Word, which was with God from the beginning, which Moses said was in the heart and mouth of the people of Israel, which was spoken to the prophets, was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. (See also Heb. 1:1- 3.) Jesus taught "as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mt. 7:29), who taught the scriptures. He had in his very person the authority carried only by the Word of God.

When he spoke his teaching was the Word of God in him, the good news of the Kingdom which God had sent him to proclaim and which he embodied (Lk. 4:43). When "the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God" (Lk. 5:1) it was to hear this message he preached, not just the scriptures, which they could hear read in the synagogues every sabbath day. The seed which he was sowing and which his disciples are to sow and which will grow in the hearts of those who keep it is the Word of God (Lk. 8:11-15).

Jesus does not use the phrase "word of God" to refer to the scriptures. Usually, he says, "as it is written," or an equivalent phrase, when he is quoting scripture (Mt. 4:1-11; 11:10; 21:13; 26:31; Mk. 7:6; 11:17; 14:27; and others). Sometimes he says as it was "spoken of by the prophet" (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14), or refers to "all that the prophets have spoken" (Lk. 24:25). Sometimes he simply uses the word "scriptures" (Mt. 21:42; 22:29; 26:56; Mk. 12:10, 24; etc.)

When Jesus uses the phrase "word of God" to refer to something in the scriptures, it is clear from the context that he means the word God spoke to someone, not the entire collection of scriptures. For example, when he accuses the Pharisees of "making the word of God of none effect" (Mk. 7:13) the word of God means the specific commandment God spoke to Moses: "Honour thy father and thy mother," which Jesus has just quoted.

When Jesus says, "Have ye not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?" (Mt. 22:31-32) he is referring to the words God spoke to Moses (Ex. 3:6) and which Moses passed on to the people of Israel and later to the descendants of his contemporaries in the written account of the incident.

He does not mean that the entire body of the scriptures was spoken by God; over and over he says that they were written by Moses or by the prophets, as the case may be (Lk. 5:14; 20:37; 20:42; 24:44; Mt. 8:4; 19:3-9; Jn. 7:22). Even in the other two accounts of this saying (Lk. 20:27-40; Mk. 12:18-27) Jesus credits Moses with having written of what God told him.

Jesus warned that the scriptures are not sufficient to assure the presence of God's Word:

"And The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (Jn. 5:37-40)

There is no evidence that after the end of his life in the flesh Jesus Christ ceased to be the Word of God personified and became instead merely an interpreter of the scripture, or someone who spoke only through the apostles and prophets.

Hebrews 13:8 states "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." It is true that Jesus interpreted the Scriptures to his followers after his resurrection (Lk. 24:27, 45), but he also spoke to them in other ways.

He dealt with their needs on a personal basis, comforting Mary Magdalene, who was afraid (Mt. 28:10; Jn. 20:15-18), proving that he was alive to Thomas, who doubted (Jn. 20:26-29), telling Peter not to be jealous of the beloved disciple who was to live longer (Jn. 21:21-22).

He gave a specific commandment to some of his disciples who were fishing, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find" (Jn. 21:6).

He carried on a rather lengthy conversation with Peter in which he told him of future events and admonished Peter to follow him (Jn. 21:15-19). He told his disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Mt. 28:18), and he reassured them by saying "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Mt. 28:20).

Christ's power was not diminished after his resurrection. From the time of the resurrection (Jn. 20:22) or at least from the day of Pentecost, until and including the present time, the Word which is Christ has lived in the hearts of his disciples, who hear him speak, the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah:

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:33-34)

On the day of Pentecost Peter said:

"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy." (Acts 2:16-18)

It is said over and over in the New Testament that the Word of God lives in God's people. 1 John develops this concept: ". . . and the word of God abideth in you . . ." 1 Jn. 2:14). "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us" (1 Jn. 3:24). "Hereby we know that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit" (1 Jn. 4:13). The Word of God which lives in Christ's followers is none other than Christ and his Spirit. Many passages confirm that Christ lives in Spirit in his disciples (2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 12:3; Gal. 4:6; 3:27; Eph. 3:17, 20; Phil. 2:13; Col. 3:11).

The word is said to have powers which clearly belong to Christ and his Spirit. Paul says to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Paul says to the Colossians, "I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God" (Col. 1:25). He goes on to say that the word of God is "the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints" (Col. 1:26), and that this mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach" (Col. 1:27-28). Later in the same letter Paul says "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16). To the Ephesians Paul says "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17). The letter to the Hebrews says:

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

Here the word clearly means Christ, for the next verse says, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:13, emphasis mine) and it is Christ, not the scripture, who is a person to be referred to by the pronouns "him" and "whom." The book of Hebrews is harsh with those who have fallen into apostasy after having acknowledged the power of the Word which is Christ:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (Heb. 6:4-6)

James writes of "the en-grafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). It is written in the book of 1 Peter, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23; see also James 1:18). We are born again of the Spirit of Christ, not of the scriptures (Jn. 3:1-8)

In the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the phrase "word of God" is sometimes used to mean the good news about God's kingdom which Jesus was sent to preach. In the other New Testament books, especially Acts, it is used in a similar way, to refer to the same good news which the disciples were now preaching as they told of the resurrection, as well as to refer to Christ who was commanding them to preach it. Acts 5 tells how the disciples were beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus. Acts 5:42 says "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Then when they were resolving the problem of how to distribute food to the Grecian widows, they said, "It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables" (Acts 6:2), and "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4). In these verses "the word" is the news of Christ's resurrection. We have just been told that the disciples "ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ," and it would make no sense for "the word" to mean the scriptures. Acts 6:7 tells us "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly." This does not mean that the scriptures increased, but that many heard and believed the gospel being preached. There are many other examples: "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them" (Acts 8:4-5).

"Now they which were scattered abroad upon to Christ, many of them believed the word, but the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the jewish people only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus" (Acts 11:19-20). "But the word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts 12:24). "And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the jewish people" (Acts 13:5. In Acts 13 it is after the customary reading of the law and the prophets, the scripture, that Paul preached the word of God which the whole city gathered to hear again the next sabbath (Acts 13:15-16, 44). "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:20).

In Acts 17:11 a clear distinction is made between the scriptures and the word of God. The jewish people at Berea are said to have received the word (which Paul and Silas brought them) eagerly, searching the scriptures (the Old Testament which they had had long before Paul and Silas had come) daily to see whether or not it testified to the word. Since the scriptures, including the Old Testament, do testify the word is not identified with the scriptures.

The letters to Timothy were written at a late date. They give more importance to the scriptures than do earlier New Testament books (2 Tim. 3:15-16). Even in these books and in the similar letter to Titus, however, the scriptures are not called the Word of God. Given the way the phrase is used elsewhere in the Bible, there is no reason to assume that the exhortation "Preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2), the statement that God "hath in due times manifested his word through preaching" (Tit. 1:3), and the description of the bishop as "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught" (Tit. 1:9) are based on any meaning for "word" besides Christ and the gospel preached about him by his disciples. Nor is there any reason to propose a different meaning when Titus is admonished to speak "the things which become sound doctrine . . . that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Tit. 2:1, 5).

The book of Revelation continues to use the phrase "Word of God" in the way that the other New Testament books have used it. John has been exiled to Patmos because of "the word of God" (Rev. 1:9), that is, for preaching Christ. Later John says of the symbolic figure of Christ on the white horse, ". . . and his name is called The Word of God" (Rev. 19:13).

God's Word was, is, and always shall be with God. God created all things through his Word. His Word was spoken to the patriarchs. Moses said that the Word of God was in the hearts and mouths of the people of Israel; this same Word came to the prophets. God sent his Word to earth in the human form of his Son, Jesus Christ, who preached that Word and personified it, who lived in the flesh and died on the cross and was raised to life. That same Word of God now sits on the right hand of God and speaks in the hearts of Christ's followers and will judge all things. There is no scriptural basis for the claim that the Bible is the Word of God, for the scriptures do not exalt themselves, but they testify to Christ. From time immemorial people have tried to fit God into forms that they could touch, hold, study, classify, and finally control. People are still trying to do this by clinging to the unscriptural view that the Word of God is a book.

THE REVELATION

I was sitting in church one Sunday morning, probably 20 or so years ago, when the pastor invited those in need of prayer to come to the front. I saw an elderly lady go forward for prayer and two elders layed hands on her and started to pray. An amazing thing happened at that point. It was like God somehow opened my eyes to the supernatural and I could see what was happening in the spiritual.

As I looked in amazement God said to me "This woman's needs are not being met." I felt compassion flow through me for the woman and cried out "Why Lord?" He said to me "Because there is a deception in the church that is very subtle, but is robbing the church of its power." I cried out "Lord, what can this deception be?" He replied "They have called the Bible the word of God, but that name has been given to the One who is from the beginning."

I felt excited about what the Lord had shown me and couldn't wait to go home and search the Scriptures.

I should point out at this stage that when God mentioned the church, He was talking about the church as a whole. I am very aware of the fact that many, or even most, big time evangelists call the Bible the word of God and have very successful ministries. God's grace and purpose will always be there for mankind, but often times He "winks", that is to say that He will overlook things in order to achieve a purpose, but there is a better way.



SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES

As I started reading through Scripture it was obvious that Jesus was and is The Word of God. I am sure no-one would disagree with this. It is interesting to note that He is THE Word of God. The word THE is singular, meaning there is only one.

My study took me into Greek and Hebrew lexicons and dictionaries and many times I had to go back to the Lord and ask Him to shed light on things that I did not understand. He always came through with answers that made sense, as you would expect.


LOGOS OR RHEMA?

When I was at Bible College I was taught that the logos was the written word and rhema the quickened word. In John chapter 1 where the Bible so plainly describes Jesus as being The Word of God the Greek word for 'word' is logos.

My studies showed me that in the New Testament that Jesus is The Word (logos) of God. Rhema on the other hand is a revealed or quickened word or message. There is not an instance in all Scripture where the Bible is called The Word (or word) of God.


BIG W OR LITTLE W?

Many people have told me that the word (small w) of God is the Bible and The Word of God is Jesus. When I asked God about this His reply was to forget about the W/w concept and that He would teach me.


JESUS - THE WORD OF GOD

There are many instances in the Bible where The Word of God or The Word of The Lord is mentioned.
A couple that spring to mind immediately are:

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh (Jesus), and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth.

Rev 19:13 And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

The Word of God is the name, identity, title and honor given to Jesus alone. This is who He is. As The Word of God He is the promise of God and the fulfillment of that promise. Because Jesus always was, and always will be The Word of God, the very reputation of God was dependent on Jesus fulfilling the promise of salvation. To call anything else The Word (or word) of God takes this away from Him.

If the Bible is the W/word of God, then God is four, not three. Father, Son (who is the Word Jn 1:14), the Holy Spirit and the W/word (Bible)? I don't think so!! Scripture tells us 1Jo 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.


THE BIBLE - THE WORDS OF GOD

There is no justification for calling the Bible the word of God in the Bible. People have said to me that:
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
and is therefore the word of God.

The Bible says differently:

Joh 3:34 For He whom God has sent speaks the Words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

Rev 17:17 For God gave into their hearts to do His mind, and to act with one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast until the Words of God will be fulfilled.

Rev 22:9 Then he said to me, Behold! See, do not do it! For I am your fellow-servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the Words of this Book. Do worship to God.

Joh 17:8 For I have given to them the Words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me.

Below is a Scripture that is a bit different. Rhema is used for "My Words" which indicates fresh revelation such as you would expect from a living relationship with Jesus. If you hear what He is saying to you and are led and motivated by Him He will do what you ask of Him.

Joh 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.


THE DIFFERENCE

According to Scripture, the Bible contains the words (plural) of God. This does not in any way detract from the title of The Word of God that belongs to Jesus.

The trouble is that because we are so used to calling the Bible The W/word of God we automatically think of the Bible when The W/word of God is mentioned. How often have you heard the preacher or evangelist say "Let us open the word of God to.."

This is scripturally incorrect. Because it is second nature for so many of us to think of the Bible as the W/word of God we often give it the place that Jesus should have. The result is that we become Bible dependent rather than Jesus dependent. We live in accordance with the Scriptures, which is good, but it leads us to depend on the Scriptures rather than the experiential life we should have with Jesus.

Consider the following Scriptures:

Psa 119:105 Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 is interpreted by many as the Bible being the lamp. In fact, Jesus is the One who knows the beginning and the end. He is the Lamp unto my feet.

Eze 20:45 And the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying,
Eze 20:46 Son of man, set your face toward the south, and drop a word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field.
There are numerous instances right throughout the Bible where the Word of God came to various people giving instruction etc. I can assure you it wasn't the Bible that did that!

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I have heard many a sermon using this Scripture to justify calling the Bible the "Living Word". The Bible is however, unable to discern and I can assure you that it IS a book, inspired by God, made by man. Surely it is not hard to see this verse is talking about Jesus.

2Sa 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of Jehovah is tried. He is a shield to all those who seek refuge in Him.
The Word of Jehovah was tried on the cross. Let's not take that away from Him.

These Scriptures all refer to Jesus as The Word of God. There are many more examples like this.


CONCLUSION

I have heard many good sermons, even excellent sermons, where the speaker has spoken of The Word of God, referring to the Bible. In every instance that I can recall, Jesus would have been glorified and His Name uplifted if the speaker had realized his error.

Try reading the Bible with the mindset that wherever you see The W/word of God mentioned, think "could this possible be referring to Jesus instead of the Bible?" The result will be that the Bible will take on new meaning which will greatly enhance your relationship with the Lord.

I feel that I have not adequately covered this subject, but pray that God will open people's eyes to see His truth so that The Word of God may receive the Honor, Glory and Recognition that belongs to Him alone.

Remember: Every time you call the Bible the W/word of God, you are giving it the honor and place that belongs to Jesus alone.



This comment came from a visitor to this page and is shared with their permission.
Thanks for the clarification on THE WORD OF GOD.

As I was reading John5 2 days ago, verse39-40 I was disturbed but I didn't realize how true what I heard was when I read these verses. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they search the scriptures hoping to find eternal life in them and He said the scriptures only testify of Him.

He showed me that He's not in the scriptures the scriptures are for guidance only; I should come to Him as a whole and not depend on the bible but Him.

I was so relieved when I got to your website by coincidence and saw this. Thank you for this revelation and I thank God that He has now confirmed what my spirit heard.


The Scriptures and the Word of God

Introduction

The phrase the Word of God occurs nearly 50 times in the New Testament, and is used times without number by Christians in books, sermons and ordinary speech. Do Christians use this phrase in the same sense as the Bible does? I believe NO. Does it matter? I believe YES.

It is dangerous to use any phrase or word in a different sense from the Bible. Doing so generally springs from a wrong understanding of spiritual truth, which it in turn perpetuates and reinforces. For example people who use the word priest to mean an ordained member of some denomination, are generally blind to the true nature of priesthood. Those who continually use the word church to refer to a building or a denomination, usually have little idea of the true church of God.

We cannot afford to adapt the meanings of words and phrases used in the Bible to suit our own traditions. It is pointless believing in the inspiration and authority of scripture and then using its words with meanings entirely different from their original.

In common parlance the phrase the Word of God, or often simply the Word, means the Bible. This is standard terminology among almost all who believe in the inspiration and authority of the Bible.

Firstly I hope to show that, in the Bible itself, the phrase the Word of God does not mean the Bible, but has a different meaning; then we will go on to explore the meaning and operation of the Word of God; after that we will seek to rediscover the right place and use of the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit give us understanding as we do so.
'The Word of God' in Scripture

Probably the nearest the Bible ever comes to calling itself the word of God is in Matthew chapter 15, with an almost identical passage in Mark chapter 7. It is worth quoting in full:

Jesus said: 'Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother', and 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother, 'Anything of mine by which you might have been helped has been given to God,' he is (allowed) not to honor his father or mother.' And thus you have invalidated the Word of God for the sake of your tradition.'

At first sight we might construe the Word of God here as meaning the scriptures. However on examination we find that it refers specifically to what God actually said, his words to Moses for all Israel and the world, 'Honor your father and mother'. Jesus was not using the phrase as a general term for the scriptures as a whole.

Against this one verse there are many passages where the Word of God cannot refer to the scriptures. For instance: 'They spoke the word of God with boldness' (Acts 4:31), 'They preached the word of God in the synagogues of Judaea' (Acts 13:5), 'It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken to you first' (Acts 13:46), '... to speak the word of God fearlessly' (Phil 1:14), 'the word of God is not bound' (2 Tim 2:9), and above all, 'The word became flesh and dwelt among us' (John 1:14) and 'his name is called the word of God' (Rev 19:13).

In Acts 17:11, the word and the scriptures occur in the same verse: '... they received the word with all eagerness, daily examining the scriptures whether these things were so'. The 'word' here cannot possibly mean the 'scriptures'.

The Hebrew Old Testament is divided into three parts, the Law (??????? - Torah), the Prophets (???????? - Neviim) and the Writings (???????- Ktuvim). When the New Testament writers speak of the Old Testament they use the word Writings (Greek grafai (graphai) - usually translated Scriptures) as a general term for the whole. They also refer specifically to the Law and the Prophets. They never use the phrase the word of God.

In the Old Testament Psalm 119 might appear to support the idea of referring to the scriptures as the word of God. Nearly all its 176 verses contain one of the following words: law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgements, word, ordinances. This lends a little support to equating the 'word' with law, testimonies, commandments etc, but hardly enough to justify referring to the whole Bible as the word of God.

To summarize: the Bible refers to itself as the scriptures, the holy scriptures, or in part the law or the prophets, but it does not call itself the 'word of God'. In its pages that phrase has a different meaning. The Bible does regard itself as verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit and having absolute divine authority, and let me stress that I am not in any way questioning those truths.
True Meaning of 'the Word'

If the Word of God does not mean the Bible, what does it mean?

Much the greatest Word that God has ever spoken is his Son. Jesus is the supreme manifestation of the word of God. The Apostle John began his gospel: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' Later in the same chapter we read: 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.' Revelation 19:13 gives Jesus the same title: 'His name is called the Word of God'. Hebrews 1:1 and 11:3 have the same implication: 'God ... in these last days has spoken to us in his Son ... through whom also he made the world'; 'By faith we understand that the world was prepared by the word of God'.

Jesus is the supreme and central manifestation of the word of God. All other manifestations of that word relate to him. The phrase the word of God in Scripture is also used to describe anything that God said to anyone or through anyone. For example, 'the word of the Lord came to Moses', 'the word of God came to John in the wilderness', 'the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi' or 'the words of Amos which he saw concerning Israel'.

When God speaks, it is the word of God. In the Old Testament God spoke directly to the prophets. He spoke to others through them. He also spoke through events in the lives of individuals and the nation. This state of affairs continued essentially until Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh. The circle of those to whom he wants to speak directly is extended to all who believe. No longer is it only the few prophets and leaders, but it is the common man.

It is contrary not only to scripture, but also to nature and reason, to believe that God wants to use a book as his primary method of communication. Writing is in general a bad way of communicating, as it is static and inflexible. For most purposes speaking is much better, and I should think ninety per cent of human communication is done that way. Writing is only better when you want a permanent record. It combats the failing of human memory and removes grounds for argument.

Several further factors confirm the Bible is not God's primary method of communication. Only a minority of the human race, and not even all Christians, own Bibles. Before the last century's great increase in literacy the number was much smaller. Before the invention of printing and the reformation privately owned Bibles were unimagined and all Bibles were in Latin anyway. Even for the privileged few that own Bibles today there are further problems. Our Bibles are not the original inspired words, but very fallible translations. Even the best scholar cannot begin to know an ancient language as well as a child speaks its native tongue, because he has only a fraction of the study material. The scholar has a limited number of ancient manuscripts, while the child is surrounded by a ceaseless flow of speech. Even if scholars knew Greek and Hebrew as well as we know English, it is still impossible to translate exactly from one language to another. God has placed limitations on the wonderful book he has given us because he has something better and greater.

Let me stress again, God's primary way of speaking to man is directly through the Holy Spirit to those who have ears to hear, and then through them to others.

When apostles and prophets in Scripture spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God was speaking through them. What they said was the word of God to their hearers. When a man or woman today speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that also is the word of God for whomsoever God intends it. When God speaks a message directly to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that also is his word.

When Satan quoted scripture to Jesus in the wilderness, it was not the word of God. It was the word of Satan. When scripture is quoted today, it is sometimes the word of God to those who hear it. Sometimes it is just the word of man, and sometimes even the word of Satan.
Well-known verses in a new light.

The Word of God then is Jesus himself, and also whatever God says. With this understanding, we will see many passages of scripture in a new light. Some of these I will consider, and others you may wish to search out with a concordance.
'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' (Math 4:4).

Primarily this verse applies to Jesus. How perfectly it harmonizes with his own words, 'I am the bread of life ... I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live ...' and 'Give us this day our daily bread'. Jesus is the spiritual food on which we live. When God speaks to us we receive life. 'He that has the Son has the life; he that does not have the Son does not have the life' (1 John 5:12).

A popular series of Bible-reading notes here in the UK is entitled 'Daily Bread'. The implication in the title is that the Bible is our spiritual food. This thinking is the logical development of calling the Bible the word of God. Many people, alas, read the Bible faithfully every day, but are not fed, because they have never learned to feed on Jesus. He himself said, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life' (John 5: 39,40). The Pharisees were great readers and teachers of the Bible, but when Jesus said, 'Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you', they were bitterly offended. To read and study the Bible is good. To put the Bible in the place of Jesus is idolatry.

Secondarily this verse applies to any word spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those who hear are fed, and their food has been the word of God.

Food is vital for growth. God has provided the five ministries described in Ephesians 4 for the building up of the body of Christ. A spiritual child needs apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers and evangelists to feed him with the word of God and build him up to maturity. However, as with a child in the natural, there should be a progression from milk to solid food through to the time when he becomes mature and is able to feed himself.
'The word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword' (Heb 4:12).

Let us reconsider this verse. Firstly Jesus is alive and all power is given to him. We read in Revelation that 'out of his mouth goes a sharp two-edged sword'. Nothing can stand before him. Secondly when we speak under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit our words will be alive and powerful and will enter people's hearts. Quoting scripture to people is no substitute for speaking the word of God.
'My word ... will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish that which I please ...' (Isaiah 55:11).

This verse was wonderfully fulfilled in Jesus. He left the Father's presence to take the form of man and suffer and die and rise again. He did not return empty-handed to the Father, but brought with him a great multitude of brethren. He accomplished every purpose for which God had sent him.

When a man or woman today speaks the word of God, we may be sure that the words will not be in vain, but will accomplish the purposes of God. A few faithful servants who have learned to speak the word of God will accomplish far more than an army of workers who only know how to distribute Bibles and Christian literature. Such work is good, but to speak the word of God is of an altogether higher order.
'Born again ... by the word of God which lives and abides forever' (1 Pet 1:23).

When Gabriel spoke the word of God to Mary, Jesus was born in her. The new birth takes place when Jesus, the Word of God, is born in us. God generally uses a human messenger to speak the word that brings about the new birth. This is the special ministry of an evangelist. The Ethiopian eunuch was puzzling his head over Isaiah when the Holy Spirit sent Philip to him. Philip 'preached Jesus to him', and he believed. To a few people the word of God that brings new life comes directly without any human intermediary, but we should not expect these exceptions to become the rule.
'The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God' (Ephesians 6:17).

The sword of the spirit is described here as part of the spiritual armor. On the basis of this verse, some people believe you should always carry a Bible with you as your spiritual weapon. Others feel that texts written up all over their house will help to protect them from the powers of evil. This attitude is based more on superstition and fear than on the truth. The true sword of the spirit is the inspired word of God upon our lips. It is an offensive weapon before which the powers of evil will not be able to stand. When Jesus spoke, all the powers of darkness were put to confusion and flight. When we learn to speak as he did, we will see similar results.
Idolatry

It is enlightening to compare the Catholic attitude to Mary with the Protestant attitude to the Bible. Mary had a unique and wonderful place and privilege in God's plan of salvation. Through her Jesus came into the world and in a sense without her he could never have come in the flesh. However to place her beside Jesus and worship her and look to her for mediation is idolatry. These things belong only to Jesus. The Bible also is unique among books and definitely above them in a way that Mary was not above other women. However the fact remains that if we take the titles and place of Jesus and ascribe them to the Bible we are equally guilty of idolatry. As with any other form of idolatry, this will be a block to our spiritual growth and progress. We must discover the place and purpose of the Scriptures in God's plan and use them rightly if we want to walk in the truth and grow in God.
The Scriptures

Having given some consideration to the place and function of the Word of God in our lives, we must now think about the place of the Scriptures. Paul sums up this subject in his second letter to Timothy: 'All scripture (writings) inspired by God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for (child) training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work' (3: 16, 17). These verses deserve more careful consideration than they usually receive.

Paul here views the scriptures as the man of God's toolbox. They are part of his equipment for his ministry to others. It is significant that Paul wrote this letter not to a group of believers, but to an individual leader. Nowhere did he exhort believers generally to study the scriptures, though he often exhorted them to pray. Timothy had the task of ministering to others and his knowledge of the scriptures would have been of great benefit in the work committed to him.

Our verses here tell us of four uses of the Scriptures, which we will now consider in turn.

1. The Scriptures are profitable for teaching. Timothy's task was not to teach the Bible. The Pharisees were well able to do that. Rather it was to impart a revelation and understanding of God to those under his care. He should use the Scriptures as a medium through which he could impart spiritual truth. If God calls you or me to share with others what we have received from him, then the Bible is a language we can use to do so.

The letter to the Hebrews gives us a clear illustration of the use of Scripture for teaching. The writer takes passage after passage and person after person from the Old Testament to illustrate the superiority of the new covenant to the old, and the position of Jesus far above all others. Paul also makes extensive use of the scriptures in Romans and Galatians to illustrate and prove the revelations he had received from God. As far as we know, Jesus only used the scriptures in this way when he opened them up to two disciples on the Emmaus road after his resurrection.

2. The Scriptures are profitable for reproof. We see this most clearly illustrated when Jesus met Satan in the wilderness. He met and countered each temptation with a quotation from the Old Testament. The Scriptures by their nature are written and immutable and can therefore constitute a court of appeal. Satan could question whether Jesus was the Son of God, and whether he was led by the Holy Spirit. He could not argue with what was written.

3. The Scriptures are also profitable for correction. When Jesus corrected the erroneous ideas of his opponents, he frequently used the Scriptures. He quoted David to correct the Pharisaic strictness on the Sabbath. He showed the Sadducees from the Old Testament that resurrection took place. Paul's letter to the Galatians is similarly a letter of correction. He establishes justification by faith by the example of Abraham. As with reproof, the Scriptures give a solid legal ground to correction. Special leadings and revelations will and must always be open to question. The Scriptures provide a fixed objective standard against which they can be tested.

4. The Scriptures are profitable for child training in righteousness. The Greek word here used is paideia, an abstract noun from the word pais (meaning a child), and its primary meaning is child training. The previous verse to those we are considering reads: 'from childhood you have known the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' Timothy, to whom these words were written, was the third generation in a godly family. Paul speaks of the sincere faith of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Perhaps it was these two who faithfully taught him from the scriptures and so prepared his mind first for salvation and subsequently for the wide ministry he was to receive. Timothy became a constant companion of Paul. Six of Paul's letters have Timothy's name as co-writer. Some people believe that Timothy wrote the letter to the Hebrews. He became a significant leader in the early church, and carried on Paul's work in Ephesus.

We see interesting parallels in the prophet Jeremiah. His father, Hilkiah the priest, was the man who found a book of the law in Josiah's day. Both Jeremiah and Timothy were called to minister in their youth. Perhaps the link between them is scripture-loving parents who taught them from childhood. Moses, by contrast, grew up in a palace with 'all the wisdom of the Egyptians'. He had to spend forty years in the wilderness before he began his ministry at the age of eighty!

I believe then that Christian parents should teach their children from the scriptures. They must learn the law of God. The scriptures will not save them, but will give them the wisdom that leads to salvation. Paul elsewhere stated that 'the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ'.

I do not want to imply that training in righteousness is only for children. People who are spiritual children also need teaching until they have become spiritually mature. However I believe I have already covered this aspect.

Head or Heart?

Some people pray, 'Lord I understand in my head; please move it all down into my heart'. That is the reverse of God's way. Paul wrote to the Colossians, 'Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you ...' (3:16) and to the Ephesians '... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith' (3:17). That will happen if we receive his word from faithful ministers who have been taught by him, and then learn to commune with our Heavenly Father. As his word increasingly dwells in our hearts, the scriptures will begin to open up to us, and our minds will receive understanding. Jesus communed with his Father from childhood. When he was twelve, the teachers in the temple were amazed at his understanding. We must turn to God if we want to understand the Bible, not turn to the Bible if we want to understand God. You will never understand the book if you do not have the mind of its author.
Commands and Promises

To summarize what I have been saying: God's primary method of speaking to people is not through Bible reading. It is initially through his ministers (apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers, and evangelists) and then increasingly through the Holy Spirit directly.

I want now to consider two particular ways in which God speaks. Throughout the scriptures God gave commands and instructions to individuals and groups of people. He also made covenants and promises, which were frequently conditional on obedience to commands. Some commands such as 'Love your neighbor', are very general. Others such as 'Take your shoes off your feet', are very specific. Promises in the Bible exhibit the same range. 'All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive' is general. 'I will bring you back to this land' is specific.

Many people believe and teach that all these commands and promises - or at least the more general ones - are for us today. Whole churches and denominations are built on this approach to the scriptures. However again we find that there is very little backing for it in the scriptures themselves. Certainly no one ever tried to obey a specific command or claim a specific promise that was given to someone else. The ten commandments and a few other general commands and promises from the Old Testament are quoted in the new. However the general principle is, as we have seen, that God speaks by the Holy Spirit. If he has not spoken to us by the Holy Spirit, we will have neither the power to carry out any commands, nor the faith to receive any promises.

To seek to obey commands that were given to other people at other times, and not to you personally will lead you into bondage, frustration and failure. Equally to seek to claim promises that were made to others will lead you to doubt God, or live with a sense of frustration that you are missing the mark because nothing seems to work out for you. It worked for other people; why doesn't it work for me?

The fundamental reason is that you cannot receive either commands or promises through your mind. You must receive them deep in your spirit. You will then find their confirming echo as you read similar commands and promises in the pages of the Bible.
Conclusion

How may we now summarize this message? The Scriptures and the Word of God are separate and should not be confused. Each has a different function. The Word of God is greater and was there in the beginning with God. The Scriptures must not take its (his) place. Good things in the wrong place can become evil things, and blessings turn to curses. Many an evil thing has been done by people who knew much of the Bible, but nothing of the Word of God. Let us hear again the heart-cry of Jesus, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life'. Let us find the true meaning of the Word of God and give it its rightful place in our lives. Let us also give to the Scriptures their rightful place - the place they give themselves, the place Jesus and the early apostles gave them, and the place given to them by the word of God in our hearts.
Postscript

I want to append here a brief survey of Old Testament quotations by Jesus and the early church. This may prove a stimulus to further study.

Some people may feel this cannot guide us in our approach to the Bible as the New Testament was not yet written at the time. My personal feeling is that the Bible is one book, and we should have one approach for both parts of it. This approach should parallel that which we see in the pages of the New Testament.

Jesus, as we have seen already, quoted the scriptures extensively in confrontations with the Pharisees, but scarcely at all when teaching the multitudes or his disciples. In the sermon on the mount all Old Testament quotations are for contrast with his own teaching. His last discourse in John's gospel does not contain a single quote. It is only on the Emmaus road after his resurrection that we find him opening the scriptures to the two disciples.

Of the gospel writers Matthew quotes very extensively to illustrate the fulfillment of scripture. Mark and Luke do so too, but less. John scarcely does at all.

In the book of Acts, Peter, Stephen and Paul all quote extensively in their preaching. Often their objective is to show from the scriptures that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

Paul's letters vary in the extent to which he makes use of scripture. Romans and Galatians are at one end of the scale with a lot of quotation. Colossians and Thessalonians are at the other with none.

Hebrews, being written to the jewish people, naturally has more quotations than any other New Testament book. Peter quotes a lot; James quotes sparingly; and John in his letters not at all. John was almost certainly the latest of the New Testament writers. Jude, interestingly, makes two quotations from books that are not part of what we regard as the Bible (The Assumption of Moses and The Prophecy of Enoch). He makes no quotations from the books that we call the Old Testament.

The book of Revelation has some quotes and many visions similar to those of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and others.

The general picture is one of wide variation. No doubt this reflects the differing characters and background both of the writers and the readers, and the nature of the message being written or reported. All this of course was subject to the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 8407446


of course its optional... our g-d doesn't force us to do anything, we are free to do what we want, and free to enjoy life however we choose to

discern.
Anonymous Coward
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
look like OP has had too much of the sunday red wine at church.
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
The scriptures are full of examples of commanding all "believers" to "HEAR" from God.

It is a indication that the person hearing truly has a relationship with Christ.

IF YOU DON'T HEAR, You may want to check if your Christianity is valid..

SEE the article below and if you can refute the truth there I would love to hear from you!



John 5:37-40
You have neither heard the Father's voice nor seen his form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.

Here Jesus makes a clear distinction between the word of God, and the Scriptures.
Jesus speaks of His word abiding in you. The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart. Rom 10:8

Daniel 9:2
In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

As seen above, the scriptures and the word of the Lord are different.
The word of God is living and active, Heb 10:12
Jesus said, the words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:63

2 Peter 3:15-17
And consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
as also in all his [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
(Peter also categorizes Paul's epistles as scriptures.)

Matthew 21:42
Jesus saith unto them, did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

Matthew 22:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, you do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Matthew 26:54
But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

Matthew 26:56
But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Mark 12:24
And Jesus answering said unto them, do you not therefore err, because you do know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?

Mark 14:49
I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.

Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:32
And they said one to another; did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Luke 24:45
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

Acts 17:2
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 18:24
And a certain jewish named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Acts 18:28
For he mightily convinced the jewish people, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Romans 1:2
(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,)

Romans 15:4
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Romans 16:26
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:15
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.

Scriptural Evidence that the WORD OF GOD is not the Bible and concerning what the Word of God is
by Jenny Duskey 1975

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Gen. 1:1-3)

God created the heaven and the earth by speaking, and what he spoke, as his Spirit moved upon the face of the waters, was his Word. John wrote later:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (Jn. 1:1- 3)

All things were made by the Word. (See also Ps. 33:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:5-7). They were not made by the scriptures, which were not there in the beginning but were themselves written later by people.

Moses spoke of the Word of God when he said to the people of Israel:

"For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." (Deut. 30:11-14)

Moses was not speaking of the scriptures, for even the Old Testament had not yet been compiled; he did not mean only the words he himself had just spoken, for he knew that he was soon to die, and that his spoken words would not long be near the people. He did not even mean the tablets of the commandments kept in the ark, because stone tablets could not be in the hearts and mouths of the people. Moses meant the eternal Word of God, through which all things were created, which had come to him on Mt. Sinai, and which he now said was in the hearts of all the people of Israel as he urged them to hear it and do it.

The Word of God, what God speaks, has come to people in various ways (Heb. 1:1). The Word which was with God in the beginning and by which all things were created, of which Moses spoke, is the same Word which God spoke to Abraham, telling him to leave his home, to the other patriarchs, and to all the prophets, who prophesied only by the Word (Is. 2:1; Jer. 1:2; Ezek. 1:3; Micah 1:1; Hag. 1:1; and others).

John continues:

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (Jn. 1:10- 14)

This same Word, which was with God from the beginning, which Moses said was in the heart and mouth of the people of Israel, which was spoken to the prophets, was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. (See also Heb. 1:1- 3.) Jesus taught "as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mt. 7:29), who taught the scriptures. He had in his very person the authority carried only by the Word of God.

When he spoke his teaching was the Word of God in him, the good news of the Kingdom which God had sent him to proclaim and which he embodied (Lk. 4:43). When "the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God" (Lk. 5:1) it was to hear this message he preached, not just the scriptures, which they could hear read in the synagogues every sabbath day. The seed which he was sowing and which his disciples are to sow and which will grow in the hearts of those who keep it is the Word of God (Lk. 8:11-15).

Jesus does not use the phrase "word of God" to refer to the scriptures. Usually, he says, "as it is written," or an equivalent phrase, when he is quoting scripture (Mt. 4:1-11; 11:10; 21:13; 26:31; Mk. 7:6; 11:17; 14:27; and others). Sometimes he says as it was "spoken of by the prophet" (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14), or refers to "all that the prophets have spoken" (Lk. 24:25). Sometimes he simply uses the word "scriptures" (Mt. 21:42; 22:29; 26:56; Mk. 12:10, 24; etc.)

When Jesus uses the phrase "word of God" to refer to something in the scriptures, it is clear from the context that he means the word God spoke to someone, not the entire collection of scriptures. For example, when he accuses the Pharisees of "making the word of God of none effect" (Mk. 7:13) the word of God means the specific commandment God spoke to Moses: "Honour thy father and thy mother," which Jesus has just quoted.

When Jesus says, "Have ye not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?" (Mt. 22:31-32) he is referring to the words God spoke to Moses (Ex. 3:6) and which Moses passed on to the people of Israel and later to the descendants of his contemporaries in the written account of the incident.

He does not mean that the entire body of the scriptures was spoken by God; over and over he says that they were written by Moses or by the prophets, as the case may be (Lk. 5:14; 20:37; 20:42; 24:44; Mt. 8:4; 19:3-9; Jn. 7:22). Even in the other two accounts of this saying (Lk. 20:27-40; Mk. 12:18-27) Jesus credits Moses with having written of what God told him.

Jesus warned that the scriptures are not sufficient to assure the presence of God's Word:

"And The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (Jn. 5:37-40)

There is no evidence that after the end of his life in the flesh Jesus Christ ceased to be the Word of God personified and became instead merely an interpreter of the scripture, or someone who spoke only through the apostles and prophets.

Hebrews 13:8 states "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." It is true that Jesus interpreted the Scriptures to his followers after his resurrection (Lk. 24:27, 45), but he also spoke to them in other ways.

He dealt with their needs on a personal basis, comforting Mary Magdalene, who was afraid (Mt. 28:10; Jn. 20:15-18), proving that he was alive to Thomas, who doubted (Jn. 20:26-29), telling Peter not to be jealous of the beloved disciple who was to live longer (Jn. 21:21-22).

He gave a specific commandment to some of his disciples who were fishing, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find" (Jn. 21:6).

He carried on a rather lengthy conversation with Peter in which he told him of future events and admonished Peter to follow him (Jn. 21:15-19). He told his disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Mt. 28:18), and he reassured them by saying "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Mt. 28:20).

Christ's power was not diminished after his resurrection. From the time of the resurrection (Jn. 20:22) or at least from the day of Pentecost, until and including the present time, the Word which is Christ has lived in the hearts of his disciples, who hear him speak, the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah:

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:33-34)

On the day of Pentecost Peter said:

"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy." (Acts 2:16-18)

It is said over and over in the New Testament that the Word of God lives in God's people. 1 John develops this concept: ". . . and the word of God abideth in you . . ." 1 Jn. 2:14). "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us" (1 Jn. 3:24). "Hereby we know that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit" (1 Jn. 4:13). The Word of God which lives in Christ's followers is none other than Christ and his Spirit. Many passages confirm that Christ lives in Spirit in his disciples (2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 12:3; Gal. 4:6; 3:27; Eph. 3:17, 20; Phil. 2:13; Col. 3:11).

The word is said to have powers which clearly belong to Christ and his Spirit. Paul says to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Paul says to the Colossians, "I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God" (Col. 1:25). He goes on to say that the word of God is "the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints" (Col. 1:26), and that this mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach" (Col. 1:27-28). Later in the same letter Paul says "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16). To the Ephesians Paul says "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17). The letter to the Hebrews says:

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

Here the word clearly means Christ, for the next verse says, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:13, emphasis mine) and it is Christ, not the scripture, who is a person to be referred to by the pronouns "him" and "whom." The book of Hebrews is harsh with those who have fallen into apostasy after having acknowledged the power of the Word which is Christ:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (Heb. 6:4-6)

James writes of "the en-grafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). It is written in the book of 1 Peter, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23; see also James 1:18). We are born again of the Spirit of Christ, not of the scriptures (Jn. 3:1-8)

In the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the phrase "word of God" is sometimes used to mean the good news about God's kingdom which Jesus was sent to preach. In the other New Testament books, especially Acts, it is used in a similar way, to refer to the same good news which the disciples were now preaching as they told of the resurrection, as well as to refer to Christ who was commanding them to preach it. Acts 5 tells how the disciples were beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus. Acts 5:42 says "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Then when they were resolving the problem of how to distribute food to the Grecian widows, they said, "It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables" (Acts 6:2), and "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4). In these verses "the word" is the news of Christ's resurrection. We have just been told that the disciples "ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ," and it would make no sense for "the word" to mean the scriptures. Acts 6:7 tells us "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly." This does not mean that the scriptures increased, but that many heard and believed the gospel being preached. There are many other examples: "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them" (Acts 8:4-5).

"Now they which were scattered abroad upon to Christ, many of them believed the word, but the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the jewish people only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus" (Acts 11:19-20). "But the word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts 12:24). "And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the jewish people" (Acts 13:5. In Acts 13 it is after the customary reading of the law and the prophets, the scripture, that Paul preached the word of God which the whole city gathered to hear again the next sabbath (Acts 13:15-16, 44). "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:20).

In Acts 17:11 a clear distinction is made between the scriptures and the word of God. The jewish people at Berea are said to have received the word (which Paul and Silas brought them) eagerly, searching the scriptures (the Old Testament which they had had long before Paul and Silas had come) daily to see whether or not it testified to the word. Since the scriptures, including the Old Testament, do testify the word is not identified with the scriptures.

The letters to Timothy were written at a late date. They give more importance to the scriptures than do earlier New Testament books (2 Tim. 3:15-16). Even in these books and in the similar letter to Titus, however, the scriptures are not called the Word of God. Given the way the phrase is used elsewhere in the Bible, there is no reason to assume that the exhortation "Preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2), the statement that God "hath in due times manifested his word through preaching" (Tit. 1:3), and the description of the bishop as "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught" (Tit. 1:9) are based on any meaning for "word" besides Christ and the gospel preached about him by his disciples. Nor is there any reason to propose a different meaning when Titus is admonished to speak "the things which become sound doctrine . . . that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Tit. 2:1, 5).

The book of Revelation continues to use the phrase "Word of God" in the way that the other New Testament books have used it. John has been exiled to Patmos because of "the word of God" (Rev. 1:9), that is, for preaching Christ. Later John says of the symbolic figure of Christ on the white horse, ". . . and his name is called The Word of God" (Rev. 19:13).

God's Word was, is, and always shall be with God. God created all things through his Word. His Word was spoken to the patriarchs. Moses said that the Word of God was in the hearts and mouths of the people of Israel; this same Word came to the prophets. God sent his Word to earth in the human form of his Son, Jesus Christ, who preached that Word and personified it, who lived in the flesh and died on the cross and was raised to life. That same Word of God now sits on the right hand of God and speaks in the hearts of Christ's followers and will judge all things. There is no scriptural basis for the claim that the Bible is the Word of God, for the scriptures do not exalt themselves, but they testify to Christ. From time immemorial people have tried to fit God into forms that they could touch, hold, study, classify, and finally control. People are still trying to do this by clinging to the unscriptural view that the Word of God is a book.

THE REVELATION

I was sitting in church one Sunday morning, probably 20 or so years ago, when the pastor invited those in need of prayer to come to the front. I saw an elderly lady go forward for prayer and two elders layed hands on her and started to pray. An amazing thing happened at that point. It was like God somehow opened my eyes to the supernatural and I could see what was happening in the spiritual.

As I looked in amazement God said to me "This woman's needs are not being met." I felt compassion flow through me for the woman and cried out "Why Lord?" He said to me "Because there is a deception in the church that is very subtle, but is robbing the church of its power." I cried out "Lord, what can this deception be?" He replied "They have called the Bible the word of God, but that name has been given to the One who is from the beginning."

I felt excited about what the Lord had shown me and couldn't wait to go home and search the Scriptures.

I should point out at this stage that when God mentioned the church, He was talking about the church as a whole. I am very aware of the fact that many, or even most, big time evangelists call the Bible the word of God and have very successful ministries. God's grace and purpose will always be there for mankind, but often times He "winks", that is to say that He will overlook things in order to achieve a purpose, but there is a better way.



SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES

As I started reading through Scripture it was obvious that Jesus was and is The Word of God. I am sure no-one would disagree with this. It is interesting to note that He is THE Word of God. The word THE is singular, meaning there is only one.

My study took me into Greek and Hebrew lexicons and dictionaries and many times I had to go back to the Lord and ask Him to shed light on things that I did not understand. He always came through with answers that made sense, as you would expect.


LOGOS OR RHEMA?

When I was at Bible College I was taught that the logos was the written word and rhema the quickened word. In John chapter 1 where the Bible so plainly describes Jesus as being The Word of God the Greek word for 'word' is logos.

My studies showed me that in the New Testament that Jesus is The Word (logos) of God. Rhema on the other hand is a revealed or quickened word or message. There is not an instance in all Scripture where the Bible is called The Word (or word) of God.


BIG W OR LITTLE W?

Many people have told me that the word (small w) of God is the Bible and The Word of God is Jesus. When I asked God about this His reply was to forget about the W/w concept and that He would teach me.


JESUS - THE WORD OF GOD

There are many instances in the Bible where The Word of God or The Word of The Lord is mentioned.
A couple that spring to mind immediately are:

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh (Jesus), and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth.

Rev 19:13 And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

The Word of God is the name, identity, title and honor given to Jesus alone. This is who He is. As The Word of God He is the promise of God and the fulfillment of that promise. Because Jesus always was, and always will be The Word of God, the very reputation of God was dependent on Jesus fulfilling the promise of salvation. To call anything else The Word (or word) of God takes this away from Him.

If the Bible is the W/word of God, then God is four, not three. Father, Son (who is the Word Jn 1:14), the Holy Spirit and the W/word (Bible)? I don't think so!! Scripture tells us 1Jo 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.


THE BIBLE - THE WORDS OF GOD

There is no justification for calling the Bible the word of God in the Bible. People have said to me that:
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
and is therefore the word of God.

The Bible says differently:

Joh 3:34 For He whom God has sent speaks the Words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

Rev 17:17 For God gave into their hearts to do His mind, and to act with one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast until the Words of God will be fulfilled.

Rev 22:9 Then he said to me, Behold! See, do not do it! For I am your fellow-servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the Words of this Book. Do worship to God.

Joh 17:8 For I have given to them the Words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me.

Below is a Scripture that is a bit different. Rhema is used for "My Words" which indicates fresh revelation such as you would expect from a living relationship with Jesus. If you hear what He is saying to you and are led and motivated by Him He will do what you ask of Him.

Joh 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.


THE DIFFERENCE

According to Scripture, the Bible contains the words (plural) of God. This does not in any way detract from the title of The Word of God that belongs to Jesus.

The trouble is that because we are so used to calling the Bible The W/word of God we automatically think of the Bible when The W/word of God is mentioned. How often have you heard the preacher or evangelist say "Let us open the word of God to.."

This is scripturally incorrect. Because it is second nature for so many of us to think of the Bible as the W/word of God we often give it the place that Jesus should have. The result is that we become Bible dependent rather than Jesus dependent. We live in accordance with the Scriptures, which is good, but it leads us to depend on the Scriptures rather than the experiential life we should have with Jesus.

Consider the following Scriptures:

Psa 119:105 Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 is interpreted by many as the Bible being the lamp. In fact, Jesus is the One who knows the beginning and the end. He is the Lamp unto my feet.

Eze 20:45 And the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying,
Eze 20:46 Son of man, set your face toward the south, and drop a word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field.
There are numerous instances right throughout the Bible where the Word of God came to various people giving instruction etc. I can assure you it wasn't the Bible that did that!

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I have heard many a sermon using this Scripture to justify calling the Bible the "Living Word". The Bible is however, unable to discern and I can assure you that it IS a book, inspired by God, made by man. Surely it is not hard to see this verse is talking about Jesus.

2Sa 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of Jehovah is tried. He is a shield to all those who seek refuge in Him.
The Word of Jehovah was tried on the cross. Let's not take that away from Him.

These Scriptures all refer to Jesus as The Word of God. There are many more examples like this.


CONCLUSION

I have heard many good sermons, even excellent sermons, where the speaker has spoken of The Word of God, referring to the Bible. In every instance that I can recall, Jesus would have been glorified and His Name uplifted if the speaker had realized his error.

Try reading the Bible with the mindset that wherever you see The W/word of God mentioned, think "could this possible be referring to Jesus instead of the Bible?" The result will be that the Bible will take on new meaning which will greatly enhance your relationship with the Lord.

I feel that I have not adequately covered this subject, but pray that God will open people's eyes to see His truth so that The Word of God may receive the Honor, Glory and Recognition that belongs to Him alone.

Remember: Every time you call the Bible the W/word of God, you are giving it the honor and place that belongs to Jesus alone.



This comment came from a visitor to this page and is shared with their permission.
Thanks for the clarification on THE WORD OF GOD.

As I was reading John5 2 days ago, verse39-40 I was disturbed but I didn't realize how true what I heard was when I read these verses. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they search the scriptures hoping to find eternal life in them and He said the scriptures only testify of Him.

He showed me that He's not in the scriptures the scriptures are for guidance only; I should come to Him as a whole and not depend on the bible but Him.

I was so relieved when I got to your website by coincidence and saw this. Thank you for this revelation and I thank God that He has now confirmed what my spirit heard.


The Scriptures and the Word of God

Introduction

The phrase the Word of God occurs nearly 50 times in the New Testament, and is used times without number by Christians in books, sermons and ordinary speech. Do Christians use this phrase in the same sense as the Bible does? I believe NO. Does it matter? I believe YES.

It is dangerous to use any phrase or word in a different sense from the Bible. Doing so generally springs from a wrong understanding of spiritual truth, which it in turn perpetuates and reinforces. For example people who use the word priest to mean an ordained member of some denomination, are generally blind to the true nature of priesthood. Those who continually use the word church to refer to a building or a denomination, usually have little idea of the true church of God.

We cannot afford to adapt the meanings of words and phrases used in the Bible to suit our own traditions. It is pointless believing in the inspiration and authority of scripture and then using its words with meanings entirely different from their original.

In common parlance the phrase the Word of God, or often simply the Word, means the Bible. This is standard terminology among almost all who believe in the inspiration and authority of the Bible.

Firstly I hope to show that, in the Bible itself, the phrase the Word of God does not mean the Bible, but has a different meaning; then we will go on to explore the meaning and operation of the Word of God; after that we will seek to rediscover the right place and use of the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit give us understanding as we do so.
'The Word of God' in Scripture

Probably the nearest the Bible ever comes to calling itself the word of God is in Matthew chapter 15, with an almost identical passage in Mark chapter 7. It is worth quoting in full:

Jesus said: 'Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother', and 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother, 'Anything of mine by which you might have been helped has been given to God,' he is (allowed) not to honor his father or mother.' And thus you have invalidated the Word of God for the sake of your tradition.'

At first sight we might construe the Word of God here as meaning the scriptures. However on examination we find that it refers specifically to what God actually said, his words to Moses for all Israel and the world, 'Honor your father and mother'. Jesus was not using the phrase as a general term for the scriptures as a whole.

Against this one verse there are many passages where the Word of God cannot refer to the scriptures. For instance: 'They spoke the word of God with boldness' (Acts 4:31), 'They preached the word of God in the synagogues of Judaea' (Acts 13:5), 'It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken to you first' (Acts 13:46), '... to speak the word of God fearlessly' (Phil 1:14), 'the word of God is not bound' (2 Tim 2:9), and above all, 'The word became flesh and dwelt among us' (John 1:14) and 'his name is called the word of God' (Rev 19:13).

In Acts 17:11, the word and the scriptures occur in the same verse: '... they received the word with all eagerness, daily examining the scriptures whether these things were so'. The 'word' here cannot possibly mean the 'scriptures'.

The Hebrew Old Testament is divided into three parts, the Law (??????? - Torah), the Prophets (???????? - Neviim) and the Writings (???????- Ktuvim). When the New Testament writers speak of the Old Testament they use the word Writings (Greek grafai (graphai) - usually translated Scriptures) as a general term for the whole. They also refer specifically to the Law and the Prophets. They never use the phrase the word of God.

In the Old Testament Psalm 119 might appear to support the idea of referring to the scriptures as the word of God. Nearly all its 176 verses contain one of the following words: law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgements, word, ordinances. This lends a little support to equating the 'word' with law, testimonies, commandments etc, but hardly enough to justify referring to the whole Bible as the word of God.

To summarize: the Bible refers to itself as the scriptures, the holy scriptures, or in part the law or the prophets, but it does not call itself the 'word of God'. In its pages that phrase has a different meaning. The Bible does regard itself as verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit and having absolute divine authority, and let me stress that I am not in any way questioning those truths.
True Meaning of 'the Word'

If the Word of God does not mean the Bible, what does it mean?

Much the greatest Word that God has ever spoken is his Son. Jesus is the supreme manifestation of the word of God. The Apostle John began his gospel: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' Later in the same chapter we read: 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.' Revelation 19:13 gives Jesus the same title: 'His name is called the Word of God'. Hebrews 1:1 and 11:3 have the same implication: 'God ... in these last days has spoken to us in his Son ... through whom also he made the world'; 'By faith we understand that the world was prepared by the word of God'.

Jesus is the supreme and central manifestation of the word of God. All other manifestations of that word relate to him. The phrase the word of God in Scripture is also used to describe anything that God said to anyone or through anyone. For example, 'the word of the Lord came to Moses', 'the word of God came to John in the wilderness', 'the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi' or 'the words of Amos which he saw concerning Israel'.

When God speaks, it is the word of God. In the Old Testament God spoke directly to the prophets. He spoke to others through them. He also spoke through events in the lives of individuals and the nation. This state of affairs continued essentially until Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh. The circle of those to whom he wants to speak directly is extended to all who believe. No longer is it only the few prophets and leaders, but it is the common man.

It is contrary not only to scripture, but also to nature and reason, to believe that God wants to use a book as his primary method of communication. Writing is in general a bad way of communicating, as it is static and inflexible. For most purposes speaking is much better, and I should think ninety per cent of human communication is done that way. Writing is only better when you want a permanent record. It combats the failing of human memory and removes grounds for argument.

Several further factors confirm the Bible is not God's primary method of communication. Only a minority of the human race, and not even all Christians, own Bibles. Before the last century's great increase in literacy the number was much smaller. Before the invention of printing and the reformation privately owned Bibles were unimagined and all Bibles were in Latin anyway. Even for the privileged few that own Bibles today there are further problems. Our Bibles are not the original inspired words, but very fallible translations. Even the best scholar cannot begin to know an ancient language as well as a child speaks its native tongue, because he has only a fraction of the study material. The scholar has a limited number of ancient manuscripts, while the child is surrounded by a ceaseless flow of speech. Even if scholars knew Greek and Hebrew as well as we know English, it is still impossible to translate exactly from one language to another. God has placed limitations on the wonderful book he has given us because he has something better and greater.

Let me stress again, God's primary way of speaking to man is directly through the Holy Spirit to those who have ears to hear, and then through them to others.

When apostles and prophets in Scripture spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God was speaking through them. What they said was the word of God to their hearers. When a man or woman today speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that also is the word of God for whomsoever God intends it. When God speaks a message directly to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that also is his word.

When Satan quoted scripture to Jesus in the wilderness, it was not the word of God. It was the word of Satan. When scripture is quoted today, it is sometimes the word of God to those who hear it. Sometimes it is just the word of man, and sometimes even the word of Satan.
Well-known verses in a new light.

The Word of God then is Jesus himself, and also whatever God says. With this understanding, we will see many passages of scripture in a new light. Some of these I will consider, and others you may wish to search out with a concordance.
'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' (Math 4:4).

Primarily this verse applies to Jesus. How perfectly it harmonizes with his own words, 'I am the bread of life ... I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live ...' and 'Give us this day our daily bread'. Jesus is the spiritual food on which we live. When God speaks to us we receive life. 'He that has the Son has the life; he that does not have the Son does not have the life' (1 John 5:12).

A popular series of Bible-reading notes here in the UK is entitled 'Daily Bread'. The implication in the title is that the Bible is our spiritual food. This thinking is the logical development of calling the Bible the word of God. Many people, alas, read the Bible faithfully every day, but are not fed, because they have never learned to feed on Jesus. He himself said, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life' (John 5: 39,40). The Pharisees were great readers and teachers of the Bible, but when Jesus said, 'Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you', they were bitterly offended. To read and study the Bible is good. To put the Bible in the place of Jesus is idolatry.

Secondarily this verse applies to any word spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those who hear are fed, and their food has been the word of God.

Food is vital for growth. God has provided the five ministries described in Ephesians 4 for the building up of the body of Christ. A spiritual child needs apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers and evangelists to feed him with the word of God and build him up to maturity. However, as with a child in the natural, there should be a progression from milk to solid food through to the time when he becomes mature and is able to feed himself.
'The word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword' (Heb 4:12).

Let us reconsider this verse. Firstly Jesus is alive and all power is given to him. We read in Revelation that 'out of his mouth goes a sharp two-edged sword'. Nothing can stand before him. Secondly when we speak under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit our words will be alive and powerful and will enter people's hearts. Quoting scripture to people is no substitute for speaking the word of God.
'My word ... will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish that which I please ...' (Isaiah 55:11).

This verse was wonderfully fulfilled in Jesus. He left the Father's presence to take the form of man and suffer and die and rise again. He did not return empty-handed to the Father, but brought with him a great multitude of brethren. He accomplished every purpose for which God had sent him.

When a man or woman today speaks the word of God, we may be sure that the words will not be in vain, but will accomplish the purposes of God. A few faithful servants who have learned to speak the word of God will accomplish far more than an army of workers who only know how to distribute Bibles and Christian literature. Such work is good, but to speak the word of God is of an altogether higher order.
'Born again ... by the word of God which lives and abides forever' (1 Pet 1:23).

When Gabriel spoke the word of God to Mary, Jesus was born in her. The new birth takes place when Jesus, the Word of God, is born in us. God generally uses a human messenger to speak the word that brings about the new birth. This is the special ministry of an evangelist. The Ethiopian eunuch was puzzling his head over Isaiah when the Holy Spirit sent Philip to him. Philip 'preached Jesus to him', and he believed. To a few people the word of God that brings new life comes directly without any human intermediary, but we should not expect these exceptions to become the rule.
'The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God' (Ephesians 6:17).

The sword of the spirit is described here as part of the spiritual armor. On the basis of this verse, some people believe you should always carry a Bible with you as your spiritual weapon. Others feel that texts written up all over their house will help to protect them from the powers of evil. This attitude is based more on superstition and fear than on the truth. The true sword of the spirit is the inspired word of God upon our lips. It is an offensive weapon before which the powers of evil will not be able to stand. When Jesus spoke, all the powers of darkness were put to confusion and flight. When we learn to speak as he did, we will see similar results.
Idolatry

It is enlightening to compare the Catholic attitude to Mary with the Protestant attitude to the Bible. Mary had a unique and wonderful place and privilege in God's plan of salvation. Through her Jesus came into the world and in a sense without her he could never have come in the flesh. However to place her beside Jesus and worship her and look to her for mediation is idolatry. These things belong only to Jesus. The Bible also is unique among books and definitely above them in a way that Mary was not above other women. However the fact remains that if we take the titles and place of Jesus and ascribe them to the Bible we are equally guilty of idolatry. As with any other form of idolatry, this will be a block to our spiritual growth and progress. We must discover the place and purpose of the Scriptures in God's plan and use them rightly if we want to walk in the truth and grow in God.
The Scriptures

Having given some consideration to the place and function of the Word of God in our lives, we must now think about the place of the Scriptures. Paul sums up this subject in his second letter to Timothy: 'All scripture (writings) inspired by God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for (child) training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work' (3: 16, 17). These verses deserve more careful consideration than they usually receive.

Paul here views the scriptures as the man of God's toolbox. They are part of his equipment for his ministry to others. It is significant that Paul wrote this letter not to a group of believers, but to an individual leader. Nowhere did he exhort believers generally to study the scriptures, though he often exhorted them to pray. Timothy had the task of ministering to others and his knowledge of the scriptures would have been of great benefit in the work committed to him.

Our verses here tell us of four uses of the Scriptures, which we will now consider in turn.

1. The Scriptures are profitable for teaching. Timothy's task was not to teach the Bible. The Pharisees were well able to do that. Rather it was to impart a revelation and understanding of God to those under his care. He should use the Scriptures as a medium through which he could impart spiritual truth. If God calls you or me to share with others what we have received from him, then the Bible is a language we can use to do so.

The letter to the Hebrews gives us a clear illustration of the use of Scripture for teaching. The writer takes passage after passage and person after person from the Old Testament to illustrate the superiority of the new covenant to the old, and the position of Jesus far above all others. Paul also makes extensive use of the scriptures in Romans and Galatians to illustrate and prove the revelations he had received from God. As far as we know, Jesus only used the scriptures in this way when he opened them up to two disciples on the Emmaus road after his resurrection.

2. The Scriptures are profitable for reproof. We see this most clearly illustrated when Jesus met Satan in the wilderness. He met and countered each temptation with a quotation from the Old Testament. The Scriptures by their nature are written and immutable and can therefore constitute a court of appeal. Satan could question whether Jesus was the Son of God, and whether he was led by the Holy Spirit. He could not argue with what was written.

3. The Scriptures are also profitable for correction. When Jesus corrected the erroneous ideas of his opponents, he frequently used the Scriptures. He quoted David to correct the Pharisaic strictness on the Sabbath. He showed the Sadducees from the Old Testament that resurrection took place. Paul's letter to the Galatians is similarly a letter of correction. He establishes justification by faith by the example of Abraham. As with reproof, the Scriptures give a solid legal ground to correction. Special leadings and revelations will and must always be open to question. The Scriptures provide a fixed objective standard against which they can be tested.

4. The Scriptures are profitable for child training in righteousness. The Greek word here used is paideia, an abstract noun from the word pais (meaning a child), and its primary meaning is child training. The previous verse to those we are considering reads: 'from childhood you have known the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' Timothy, to whom these words were written, was the third generation in a godly family. Paul speaks of the sincere faith of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Perhaps it was these two who faithfully taught him from the scriptures and so prepared his mind first for salvation and subsequently for the wide ministry he was to receive. Timothy became a constant companion of Paul. Six of Paul's letters have Timothy's name as co-writer. Some people believe that Timothy wrote the letter to the Hebrews. He became a significant leader in the early church, and carried on Paul's work in Ephesus.

We see interesting parallels in the prophet Jeremiah. His father, Hilkiah the priest, was the man who found a book of the law in Josiah's day. Both Jeremiah and Timothy were called to minister in their youth. Perhaps the link between them is scripture-loving parents who taught them from childhood. Moses, by contrast, grew up in a palace with 'all the wisdom of the Egyptians'. He had to spend forty years in the wilderness before he began his ministry at the age of eighty!

I believe then that Christian parents should teach their children from the scriptures. They must learn the law of God. The scriptures will not save them, but will give them the wisdom that leads to salvation. Paul elsewhere stated that 'the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ'.

I do not want to imply that training in righteousness is only for children. People who are spiritual children also need teaching until they have become spiritually mature. However I believe I have already covered this aspect.

Head or Heart?

Some people pray, 'Lord I understand in my head; please move it all down into my heart'. That is the reverse of God's way. Paul wrote to the Colossians, 'Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you ...' (3:16) and to the Ephesians '... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith' (3:17). That will happen if we receive his word from faithful ministers who have been taught by him, and then learn to commune with our Heavenly Father. As his word increasingly dwells in our hearts, the scriptures will begin to open up to us, and our minds will receive understanding. Jesus communed with his Father from childhood. When he was twelve, the teachers in the temple were amazed at his understanding. We must turn to God if we want to understand the Bible, not turn to the Bible if we want to understand God. You will never understand the book if you do not have the mind of its author.
Commands and Promises

To summarize what I have been saying: God's primary method of speaking to people is not through Bible reading. It is initially through his ministers (apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers, and evangelists) and then increasingly through the Holy Spirit directly.

I want now to consider two particular ways in which God speaks. Throughout the scriptures God gave commands and instructions to individuals and groups of people. He also made covenants and promises, which were frequently conditional on obedience to commands. Some commands such as 'Love your neighbor', are very general. Others such as 'Take your shoes off your feet', are very specific. Promises in the Bible exhibit the same range. 'All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive' is general. 'I will bring you back to this land' is specific.

Many people believe and teach that all these commands and promises - or at least the more general ones - are for us today. Whole churches and denominations are built on this approach to the scriptures. However again we find that there is very little backing for it in the scriptures themselves. Certainly no one ever tried to obey a specific command or claim a specific promise that was given to someone else. The ten commandments and a few other general commands and promises from the Old Testament are quoted in the new. However the general principle is, as we have seen, that God speaks by the Holy Spirit. If he has not spoken to us by the Holy Spirit, we will have neither the power to carry out any commands, nor the faith to receive any promises.

To seek to obey commands that were given to other people at other times, and not to you personally will lead you into bondage, frustration and failure. Equally to seek to claim promises that were made to others will lead you to doubt God, or live with a sense of frustration that you are missing the mark because nothing seems to work out for you. It worked for other people; why doesn't it work for me?

The fundamental reason is that you cannot receive either commands or promises through your mind. You must receive them deep in your spirit. You will then find their confirming echo as you read similar commands and promises in the pages of the Bible.
Conclusion

How may we now summarize this message? The Scriptures and the Word of God are separate and should not be confused. Each has a different function. The Word of God is greater and was there in the beginning with God. The Scriptures must not take its (his) place. Good things in the wrong place can become evil things, and blessings turn to curses. Many an evil thing has been done by people who knew much of the Bible, but nothing of the Word of God. Let us hear again the heart-cry of Jesus, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life'. Let us find the true meaning of the Word of God and give it its rightful place in our lives. Let us also give to the Scriptures their rightful place - the place they give themselves, the place Jesus and the early apostles gave them, and the place given to them by the word of God in our hearts.
Postscript

I want to append here a brief survey of Old Testament quotations by Jesus and the early church. This may prove a stimulus to further study.

Some people may feel this cannot guide us in our approach to the Bible as the New Testament was not yet written at the time. My personal feeling is that the Bible is one book, and we should have one approach for both parts of it. This approach should parallel that which we see in the pages of the New Testament.

Jesus, as we have seen already, quoted the scriptures extensively in confrontations with the Pharisees, but scarcely at all when teaching the multitudes or his disciples. In the sermon on the mount all Old Testament quotations are for contrast with his own teaching. His last discourse in John's gospel does not contain a single quote. It is only on the Emmaus road after his resurrection that we find him opening the scriptures to the two disciples.

Of the gospel writers Matthew quotes very extensively to illustrate the fulfillment of scripture. Mark and Luke do so too, but less. John scarcely does at all.

In the book of Acts, Peter, Stephen and Paul all quote extensively in their preaching. Often their objective is to show from the scriptures that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

Paul's letters vary in the extent to which he makes use of scripture. Romans and Galatians are at one end of the scale with a lot of quotation. Colossians and Thessalonians are at the other with none.

Hebrews, being written to the jewish people, naturally has more quotations than any other New Testament book. Peter quotes a lot; James quotes sparingly; and John in his letters not at all. John was almost certainly the latest of the New Testament writers. Jude, interestingly, makes two quotations from books that are not part of what we regard as the Bible (The Assumption of Moses and The Prophecy of Enoch). He makes no quotations from the books that we call the Old Testament.

The book of Revelation has some quotes and many visions similar to those of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and others.

The general picture is one of wide variation. No doubt this reflects the differing characters and background both of the writers and the readers, and the nature of the message being written or reported. All this of course was subject to the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 8407446


of course its optional... our g-d doesn't force us to do anything, we are free to do what we want, and free to enjoy life however we choose to

discern.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1747431


Free to turn and free to burn.
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
The scriptures are full of examples of commanding all "believers" to "HEAR" from God.

It is a indication that the person hearing truly has a relationship with Christ.

IF YOU DON'T HEAR, You may want to check if your Christianity is valid..

SEE the article below and if you can refute the truth there I would love to hear from you!



John 5:37-40
You have neither heard the Father's voice nor seen his form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.

Here Jesus makes a clear distinction between the word of God, and the Scriptures.
Jesus speaks of His word abiding in you. The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart. Rom 10:8

Daniel 9:2
In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

As seen above, the scriptures and the word of the Lord are different.
The word of God is living and active, Heb 10:12
Jesus said, the words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:63

2 Peter 3:15-17
And consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
as also in all his [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
(Peter also categorizes Paul's epistles as scriptures.)

Matthew 21:42
Jesus saith unto them, did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

Matthew 22:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, you do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Matthew 26:54
But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

Matthew 26:56
But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Mark 12:24
And Jesus answering said unto them, do you not therefore err, because you do know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?

Mark 14:49
I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.

Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:32
And they said one to another; did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Luke 24:45
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

Acts 17:2
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 18:24
And a certain jewish named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Acts 18:28
For he mightily convinced the jewish people, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Romans 1:2
(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,)

Romans 15:4
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Romans 16:26
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:15
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.

Scriptural Evidence that the WORD OF GOD is not the Bible and concerning what the Word of God is
by Jenny Duskey 1975

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Gen. 1:1-3)

God created the heaven and the earth by speaking, and what he spoke, as his Spirit moved upon the face of the waters, was his Word. John wrote later:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (Jn. 1:1- 3)

All things were made by the Word. (See also Ps. 33:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:5-7). They were not made by the scriptures, which were not there in the beginning but were themselves written later by people.

Moses spoke of the Word of God when he said to the people of Israel:

"For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." (Deut. 30:11-14)

Moses was not speaking of the scriptures, for even the Old Testament had not yet been compiled; he did not mean only the words he himself had just spoken, for he knew that he was soon to die, and that his spoken words would not long be near the people. He did not even mean the tablets of the commandments kept in the ark, because stone tablets could not be in the hearts and mouths of the people. Moses meant the eternal Word of God, through which all things were created, which had come to him on Mt. Sinai, and which he now said was in the hearts of all the people of Israel as he urged them to hear it and do it.

The Word of God, what God speaks, has come to people in various ways (Heb. 1:1). The Word which was with God in the beginning and by which all things were created, of which Moses spoke, is the same Word which God spoke to Abraham, telling him to leave his home, to the other patriarchs, and to all the prophets, who prophesied only by the Word (Is. 2:1; Jer. 1:2; Ezek. 1:3; Micah 1:1; Hag. 1:1; and others).

John continues:

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (Jn. 1:10- 14)

This same Word, which was with God from the beginning, which Moses said was in the heart and mouth of the people of Israel, which was spoken to the prophets, was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. (See also Heb. 1:1- 3.) Jesus taught "as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mt. 7:29), who taught the scriptures. He had in his very person the authority carried only by the Word of God.

When he spoke his teaching was the Word of God in him, the good news of the Kingdom which God had sent him to proclaim and which he embodied (Lk. 4:43). When "the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God" (Lk. 5:1) it was to hear this message he preached, not just the scriptures, which they could hear read in the synagogues every sabbath day. The seed which he was sowing and which his disciples are to sow and which will grow in the hearts of those who keep it is the Word of God (Lk. 8:11-15).

Jesus does not use the phrase "word of God" to refer to the scriptures. Usually, he says, "as it is written," or an equivalent phrase, when he is quoting scripture (Mt. 4:1-11; 11:10; 21:13; 26:31; Mk. 7:6; 11:17; 14:27; and others). Sometimes he says as it was "spoken of by the prophet" (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14), or refers to "all that the prophets have spoken" (Lk. 24:25). Sometimes he simply uses the word "scriptures" (Mt. 21:42; 22:29; 26:56; Mk. 12:10, 24; etc.)

When Jesus uses the phrase "word of God" to refer to something in the scriptures, it is clear from the context that he means the word God spoke to someone, not the entire collection of scriptures. For example, when he accuses the Pharisees of "making the word of God of none effect" (Mk. 7:13) the word of God means the specific commandment God spoke to Moses: "Honour thy father and thy mother," which Jesus has just quoted.

When Jesus says, "Have ye not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?" (Mt. 22:31-32) he is referring to the words God spoke to Moses (Ex. 3:6) and which Moses passed on to the people of Israel and later to the descendants of his contemporaries in the written account of the incident.

He does not mean that the entire body of the scriptures was spoken by God; over and over he says that they were written by Moses or by the prophets, as the case may be (Lk. 5:14; 20:37; 20:42; 24:44; Mt. 8:4; 19:3-9; Jn. 7:22). Even in the other two accounts of this saying (Lk. 20:27-40; Mk. 12:18-27) Jesus credits Moses with having written of what God told him.

Jesus warned that the scriptures are not sufficient to assure the presence of God's Word:

"And The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (Jn. 5:37-40)

There is no evidence that after the end of his life in the flesh Jesus Christ ceased to be the Word of God personified and became instead merely an interpreter of the scripture, or someone who spoke only through the apostles and prophets.

Hebrews 13:8 states "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." It is true that Jesus interpreted the Scriptures to his followers after his resurrection (Lk. 24:27, 45), but he also spoke to them in other ways.

He dealt with their needs on a personal basis, comforting Mary Magdalene, who was afraid (Mt. 28:10; Jn. 20:15-18), proving that he was alive to Thomas, who doubted (Jn. 20:26-29), telling Peter not to be jealous of the beloved disciple who was to live longer (Jn. 21:21-22).

He gave a specific commandment to some of his disciples who were fishing, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find" (Jn. 21:6).

He carried on a rather lengthy conversation with Peter in which he told him of future events and admonished Peter to follow him (Jn. 21:15-19). He told his disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Mt. 28:18), and he reassured them by saying "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Mt. 28:20).

Christ's power was not diminished after his resurrection. From the time of the resurrection (Jn. 20:22) or at least from the day of Pentecost, until and including the present time, the Word which is Christ has lived in the hearts of his disciples, who hear him speak, the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah:

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:33-34)

On the day of Pentecost Peter said:

"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy." (Acts 2:16-18)

It is said over and over in the New Testament that the Word of God lives in God's people. 1 John develops this concept: ". . . and the word of God abideth in you . . ." 1 Jn. 2:14). "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us" (1 Jn. 3:24). "Hereby we know that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit" (1 Jn. 4:13). The Word of God which lives in Christ's followers is none other than Christ and his Spirit. Many passages confirm that Christ lives in Spirit in his disciples (2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 12:3; Gal. 4:6; 3:27; Eph. 3:17, 20; Phil. 2:13; Col. 3:11).

The word is said to have powers which clearly belong to Christ and his Spirit. Paul says to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Paul says to the Colossians, "I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God" (Col. 1:25). He goes on to say that the word of God is "the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints" (Col. 1:26), and that this mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach" (Col. 1:27-28). Later in the same letter Paul says "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16). To the Ephesians Paul says "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17). The letter to the Hebrews says:

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

Here the word clearly means Christ, for the next verse says, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:13, emphasis mine) and it is Christ, not the scripture, who is a person to be referred to by the pronouns "him" and "whom." The book of Hebrews is harsh with those who have fallen into apostasy after having acknowledged the power of the Word which is Christ:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (Heb. 6:4-6)

James writes of "the en-grafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). It is written in the book of 1 Peter, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23; see also James 1:18). We are born again of the Spirit of Christ, not of the scriptures (Jn. 3:1-8)

In the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the phrase "word of God" is sometimes used to mean the good news about God's kingdom which Jesus was sent to preach. In the other New Testament books, especially Acts, it is used in a similar way, to refer to the same good news which the disciples were now preaching as they told of the resurrection, as well as to refer to Christ who was commanding them to preach it. Acts 5 tells how the disciples were beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus. Acts 5:42 says "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Then when they were resolving the problem of how to distribute food to the Grecian widows, they said, "It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables" (Acts 6:2), and "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4). In these verses "the word" is the news of Christ's resurrection. We have just been told that the disciples "ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ," and it would make no sense for "the word" to mean the scriptures. Acts 6:7 tells us "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly." This does not mean that the scriptures increased, but that many heard and believed the gospel being preached. There are many other examples: "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them" (Acts 8:4-5).

"Now they which were scattered abroad upon to Christ, many of them believed the word, but the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the jewish people only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus" (Acts 11:19-20). "But the word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts 12:24). "And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the jewish people" (Acts 13:5. In Acts 13 it is after the customary reading of the law and the prophets, the scripture, that Paul preached the word of God which the whole city gathered to hear again the next sabbath (Acts 13:15-16, 44). "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:20).

In Acts 17:11 a clear distinction is made between the scriptures and the word of God. The jewish people at Berea are said to have received the word (which Paul and Silas brought them) eagerly, searching the scriptures (the Old Testament which they had had long before Paul and Silas had come) daily to see whether or not it testified to the word. Since the scriptures, including the Old Testament, do testify the word is not identified with the scriptures.

The letters to Timothy were written at a late date. They give more importance to the scriptures than do earlier New Testament books (2 Tim. 3:15-16). Even in these books and in the similar letter to Titus, however, the scriptures are not called the Word of God. Given the way the phrase is used elsewhere in the Bible, there is no reason to assume that the exhortation "Preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2), the statement that God "hath in due times manifested his word through preaching" (Tit. 1:3), and the description of the bishop as "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught" (Tit. 1:9) are based on any meaning for "word" besides Christ and the gospel preached about him by his disciples. Nor is there any reason to propose a different meaning when Titus is admonished to speak "the things which become sound doctrine . . . that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Tit. 2:1, 5).

The book of Revelation continues to use the phrase "Word of God" in the way that the other New Testament books have used it. John has been exiled to Patmos because of "the word of God" (Rev. 1:9), that is, for preaching Christ. Later John says of the symbolic figure of Christ on the white horse, ". . . and his name is called The Word of God" (Rev. 19:13).

God's Word was, is, and always shall be with God. God created all things through his Word. His Word was spoken to the patriarchs. Moses said that the Word of God was in the hearts and mouths of the people of Israel; this same Word came to the prophets. God sent his Word to earth in the human form of his Son, Jesus Christ, who preached that Word and personified it, who lived in the flesh and died on the cross and was raised to life. That same Word of God now sits on the right hand of God and speaks in the hearts of Christ's followers and will judge all things. There is no scriptural basis for the claim that the Bible is the Word of God, for the scriptures do not exalt themselves, but they testify to Christ. From time immemorial people have tried to fit God into forms that they could touch, hold, study, classify, and finally control. People are still trying to do this by clinging to the unscriptural view that the Word of God is a book.

THE REVELATION

I was sitting in church one Sunday morning, probably 20 or so years ago, when the pastor invited those in need of prayer to come to the front. I saw an elderly lady go forward for prayer and two elders layed hands on her and started to pray. An amazing thing happened at that point. It was like God somehow opened my eyes to the supernatural and I could see what was happening in the spiritual.

As I looked in amazement God said to me "This woman's needs are not being met." I felt compassion flow through me for the woman and cried out "Why Lord?" He said to me "Because there is a deception in the church that is very subtle, but is robbing the church of its power." I cried out "Lord, what can this deception be?" He replied "They have called the Bible the word of God, but that name has been given to the One who is from the beginning."

I felt excited about what the Lord had shown me and couldn't wait to go home and search the Scriptures.

I should point out at this stage that when God mentioned the church, He was talking about the church as a whole. I am very aware of the fact that many, or even most, big time evangelists call the Bible the word of God and have very successful ministries. God's grace and purpose will always be there for mankind, but often times He "winks", that is to say that He will overlook things in order to achieve a purpose, but there is a better way.



SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES

As I started reading through Scripture it was obvious that Jesus was and is The Word of God. I am sure no-one would disagree with this. It is interesting to note that He is THE Word of God. The word THE is singular, meaning there is only one.

My study took me into Greek and Hebrew lexicons and dictionaries and many times I had to go back to the Lord and ask Him to shed light on things that I did not understand. He always came through with answers that made sense, as you would expect.


LOGOS OR RHEMA?

When I was at Bible College I was taught that the logos was the written word and rhema the quickened word. In John chapter 1 where the Bible so plainly describes Jesus as being The Word of God the Greek word for 'word' is logos.

My studies showed me that in the New Testament that Jesus is The Word (logos) of God. Rhema on the other hand is a revealed or quickened word or message. There is not an instance in all Scripture where the Bible is called The Word (or word) of God.


BIG W OR LITTLE W?

Many people have told me that the word (small w) of God is the Bible and The Word of God is Jesus. When I asked God about this His reply was to forget about the W/w concept and that He would teach me.


JESUS - THE WORD OF GOD

There are many instances in the Bible where The Word of God or The Word of The Lord is mentioned.
A couple that spring to mind immediately are:

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh (Jesus), and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth.

Rev 19:13 And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

The Word of God is the name, identity, title and honor given to Jesus alone. This is who He is. As The Word of God He is the promise of God and the fulfillment of that promise. Because Jesus always was, and always will be The Word of God, the very reputation of God was dependent on Jesus fulfilling the promise of salvation. To call anything else The Word (or word) of God takes this away from Him.

If the Bible is the W/word of God, then God is four, not three. Father, Son (who is the Word Jn 1:14), the Holy Spirit and the W/word (Bible)? I don't think so!! Scripture tells us 1Jo 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.


THE BIBLE - THE WORDS OF GOD

There is no justification for calling the Bible the word of God in the Bible. People have said to me that:
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
and is therefore the word of God.

The Bible says differently:

Joh 3:34 For He whom God has sent speaks the Words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

Rev 17:17 For God gave into their hearts to do His mind, and to act with one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast until the Words of God will be fulfilled.

Rev 22:9 Then he said to me, Behold! See, do not do it! For I am your fellow-servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the Words of this Book. Do worship to God.

Joh 17:8 For I have given to them the Words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me.

Below is a Scripture that is a bit different. Rhema is used for "My Words" which indicates fresh revelation such as you would expect from a living relationship with Jesus. If you hear what He is saying to you and are led and motivated by Him He will do what you ask of Him.

Joh 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.


THE DIFFERENCE

According to Scripture, the Bible contains the words (plural) of God. This does not in any way detract from the title of The Word of God that belongs to Jesus.

The trouble is that because we are so used to calling the Bible The W/word of God we automatically think of the Bible when The W/word of God is mentioned. How often have you heard the preacher or evangelist say "Let us open the word of God to.."

This is scripturally incorrect. Because it is second nature for so many of us to think of the Bible as the W/word of God we often give it the place that Jesus should have. The result is that we become Bible dependent rather than Jesus dependent. We live in accordance with the Scriptures, which is good, but it leads us to depend on the Scriptures rather than the experiential life we should have with Jesus.

Consider the following Scriptures:

Psa 119:105 Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 is interpreted by many as the Bible being the lamp. In fact, Jesus is the One who knows the beginning and the end. He is the Lamp unto my feet.

Eze 20:45 And the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying,
Eze 20:46 Son of man, set your face toward the south, and drop a word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field.
There are numerous instances right throughout the Bible where the Word of God came to various people giving instruction etc. I can assure you it wasn't the Bible that did that!

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I have heard many a sermon using this Scripture to justify calling the Bible the "Living Word". The Bible is however, unable to discern and I can assure you that it IS a book, inspired by God, made by man. Surely it is not hard to see this verse is talking about Jesus.

2Sa 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of Jehovah is tried. He is a shield to all those who seek refuge in Him.
The Word of Jehovah was tried on the cross. Let's not take that away from Him.

These Scriptures all refer to Jesus as The Word of God. There are many more examples like this.


CONCLUSION

I have heard many good sermons, even excellent sermons, where the speaker has spoken of The Word of God, referring to the Bible. In every instance that I can recall, Jesus would have been glorified and His Name uplifted if the speaker had realized his error.

Try reading the Bible with the mindset that wherever you see The W/word of God mentioned, think "could this possible be referring to Jesus instead of the Bible?" The result will be that the Bible will take on new meaning which will greatly enhance your relationship with the Lord.

I feel that I have not adequately covered this subject, but pray that God will open people's eyes to see His truth so that The Word of God may receive the Honor, Glory and Recognition that belongs to Him alone.

Remember: Every time you call the Bible the W/word of God, you are giving it the honor and place that belongs to Jesus alone.



This comment came from a visitor to this page and is shared with their permission.
Thanks for the clarification on THE WORD OF GOD.

As I was reading John5 2 days ago, verse39-40 I was disturbed but I didn't realize how true what I heard was when I read these verses. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they search the scriptures hoping to find eternal life in them and He said the scriptures only testify of Him.

He showed me that He's not in the scriptures the scriptures are for guidance only; I should come to Him as a whole and not depend on the bible but Him.

I was so relieved when I got to your website by coincidence and saw this. Thank you for this revelation and I thank God that He has now confirmed what my spirit heard.


The Scriptures and the Word of God

Introduction

The phrase the Word of God occurs nearly 50 times in the New Testament, and is used times without number by Christians in books, sermons and ordinary speech. Do Christians use this phrase in the same sense as the Bible does? I believe NO. Does it matter? I believe YES.

It is dangerous to use any phrase or word in a different sense from the Bible. Doing so generally springs from a wrong understanding of spiritual truth, which it in turn perpetuates and reinforces. For example people who use the word priest to mean an ordained member of some denomination, are generally blind to the true nature of priesthood. Those who continually use the word church to refer to a building or a denomination, usually have little idea of the true church of God.

We cannot afford to adapt the meanings of words and phrases used in the Bible to suit our own traditions. It is pointless believing in the inspiration and authority of scripture and then using its words with meanings entirely different from their original.

In common parlance the phrase the Word of God, or often simply the Word, means the Bible. This is standard terminology among almost all who believe in the inspiration and authority of the Bible.

Firstly I hope to show that, in the Bible itself, the phrase the Word of God does not mean the Bible, but has a different meaning; then we will go on to explore the meaning and operation of the Word of God; after that we will seek to rediscover the right place and use of the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit give us understanding as we do so.
'The Word of God' in Scripture

Probably the nearest the Bible ever comes to calling itself the word of God is in Matthew chapter 15, with an almost identical passage in Mark chapter 7. It is worth quoting in full:

Jesus said: 'Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother', and 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother, 'Anything of mine by which you might have been helped has been given to God,' he is (allowed) not to honor his father or mother.' And thus you have invalidated the Word of God for the sake of your tradition.'

At first sight we might construe the Word of God here as meaning the scriptures. However on examination we find that it refers specifically to what God actually said, his words to Moses for all Israel and the world, 'Honor your father and mother'. Jesus was not using the phrase as a general term for the scriptures as a whole.

Against this one verse there are many passages where the Word of God cannot refer to the scriptures. For instance: 'They spoke the word of God with boldness' (Acts 4:31), 'They preached the word of God in the synagogues of Judaea' (Acts 13:5), 'It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken to you first' (Acts 13:46), '... to speak the word of God fearlessly' (Phil 1:14), 'the word of God is not bound' (2 Tim 2:9), and above all, 'The word became flesh and dwelt among us' (John 1:14) and 'his name is called the word of God' (Rev 19:13).

In Acts 17:11, the word and the scriptures occur in the same verse: '... they received the word with all eagerness, daily examining the scriptures whether these things were so'. The 'word' here cannot possibly mean the 'scriptures'.

The Hebrew Old Testament is divided into three parts, the Law (??????? - Torah), the Prophets (???????? - Neviim) and the Writings (???????- Ktuvim). When the New Testament writers speak of the Old Testament they use the word Writings (Greek grafai (graphai) - usually translated Scriptures) as a general term for the whole. They also refer specifically to the Law and the Prophets. They never use the phrase the word of God.

In the Old Testament Psalm 119 might appear to support the idea of referring to the scriptures as the word of God. Nearly all its 176 verses contain one of the following words: law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgements, word, ordinances. This lends a little support to equating the 'word' with law, testimonies, commandments etc, but hardly enough to justify referring to the whole Bible as the word of God.

To summarize: the Bible refers to itself as the scriptures, the holy scriptures, or in part the law or the prophets, but it does not call itself the 'word of God'. In its pages that phrase has a different meaning. The Bible does regard itself as verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit and having absolute divine authority, and let me stress that I am not in any way questioning those truths.
True Meaning of 'the Word'

If the Word of God does not mean the Bible, what does it mean?

Much the greatest Word that God has ever spoken is his Son. Jesus is the supreme manifestation of the word of God. The Apostle John began his gospel: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' Later in the same chapter we read: 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.' Revelation 19:13 gives Jesus the same title: 'His name is called the Word of God'. Hebrews 1:1 and 11:3 have the same implication: 'God ... in these last days has spoken to us in his Son ... through whom also he made the world'; 'By faith we understand that the world was prepared by the word of God'.

Jesus is the supreme and central manifestation of the word of God. All other manifestations of that word relate to him. The phrase the word of God in Scripture is also used to describe anything that God said to anyone or through anyone. For example, 'the word of the Lord came to Moses', 'the word of God came to John in the wilderness', 'the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi' or 'the words of Amos which he saw concerning Israel'.

When God speaks, it is the word of God. In the Old Testament God spoke directly to the prophets. He spoke to others through them. He also spoke through events in the lives of individuals and the nation. This state of affairs continued essentially until Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh. The circle of those to whom he wants to speak directly is extended to all who believe. No longer is it only the few prophets and leaders, but it is the common man.

It is contrary not only to scripture, but also to nature and reason, to believe that God wants to use a book as his primary method of communication. Writing is in general a bad way of communicating, as it is static and inflexible. For most purposes speaking is much better, and I should think ninety per cent of human communication is done that way. Writing is only better when you want a permanent record. It combats the failing of human memory and removes grounds for argument.

Several further factors confirm the Bible is not God's primary method of communication. Only a minority of the human race, and not even all Christians, own Bibles. Before the last century's great increase in literacy the number was much smaller. Before the invention of printing and the reformation privately owned Bibles were unimagined and all Bibles were in Latin anyway. Even for the privileged few that own Bibles today there are further problems. Our Bibles are not the original inspired words, but very fallible translations. Even the best scholar cannot begin to know an ancient language as well as a child speaks its native tongue, because he has only a fraction of the study material. The scholar has a limited number of ancient manuscripts, while the child is surrounded by a ceaseless flow of speech. Even if scholars knew Greek and Hebrew as well as we know English, it is still impossible to translate exactly from one language to another. God has placed limitations on the wonderful book he has given us because he has something better and greater.

Let me stress again, God's primary way of speaking to man is directly through the Holy Spirit to those who have ears to hear, and then through them to others.

When apostles and prophets in Scripture spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God was speaking through them. What they said was the word of God to their hearers. When a man or woman today speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that also is the word of God for whomsoever God intends it. When God speaks a message directly to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that also is his word.

When Satan quoted scripture to Jesus in the wilderness, it was not the word of God. It was the word of Satan. When scripture is quoted today, it is sometimes the word of God to those who hear it. Sometimes it is just the word of man, and sometimes even the word of Satan.
Well-known verses in a new light.

The Word of God then is Jesus himself, and also whatever God says. With this understanding, we will see many passages of scripture in a new light. Some of these I will consider, and others you may wish to search out with a concordance.
'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' (Math 4:4).

Primarily this verse applies to Jesus. How perfectly it harmonizes with his own words, 'I am the bread of life ... I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live ...' and 'Give us this day our daily bread'. Jesus is the spiritual food on which we live. When God speaks to us we receive life. 'He that has the Son has the life; he that does not have the Son does not have the life' (1 John 5:12).

A popular series of Bible-reading notes here in the UK is entitled 'Daily Bread'. The implication in the title is that the Bible is our spiritual food. This thinking is the logical development of calling the Bible the word of God. Many people, alas, read the Bible faithfully every day, but are not fed, because they have never learned to feed on Jesus. He himself said, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life' (John 5: 39,40). The Pharisees were great readers and teachers of the Bible, but when Jesus said, 'Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you', they were bitterly offended. To read and study the Bible is good. To put the Bible in the place of Jesus is idolatry.

Secondarily this verse applies to any word spoken under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those who hear are fed, and their food has been the word of God.

Food is vital for growth. God has provided the five ministries described in Ephesians 4 for the building up of the body of Christ. A spiritual child needs apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers and evangelists to feed him with the word of God and build him up to maturity. However, as with a child in the natural, there should be a progression from milk to solid food through to the time when he becomes mature and is able to feed himself.
'The word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword' (Heb 4:12).

Let us reconsider this verse. Firstly Jesus is alive and all power is given to him. We read in Revelation that 'out of his mouth goes a sharp two-edged sword'. Nothing can stand before him. Secondly when we speak under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit our words will be alive and powerful and will enter people's hearts. Quoting scripture to people is no substitute for speaking the word of God.
'My word ... will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish that which I please ...' (Isaiah 55:11).

This verse was wonderfully fulfilled in Jesus. He left the Father's presence to take the form of man and suffer and die and rise again. He did not return empty-handed to the Father, but brought with him a great multitude of brethren. He accomplished every purpose for which God had sent him.

When a man or woman today speaks the word of God, we may be sure that the words will not be in vain, but will accomplish the purposes of God. A few faithful servants who have learned to speak the word of God will accomplish far more than an army of workers who only know how to distribute Bibles and Christian literature. Such work is good, but to speak the word of God is of an altogether higher order.
'Born again ... by the word of God which lives and abides forever' (1 Pet 1:23).

When Gabriel spoke the word of God to Mary, Jesus was born in her. The new birth takes place when Jesus, the Word of God, is born in us. God generally uses a human messenger to speak the word that brings about the new birth. This is the special ministry of an evangelist. The Ethiopian eunuch was puzzling his head over Isaiah when the Holy Spirit sent Philip to him. Philip 'preached Jesus to him', and he believed. To a few people the word of God that brings new life comes directly without any human intermediary, but we should not expect these exceptions to become the rule.
'The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God' (Ephesians 6:17).

The sword of the spirit is described here as part of the spiritual armor. On the basis of this verse, some people believe you should always carry a Bible with you as your spiritual weapon. Others feel that texts written up all over their house will help to protect them from the powers of evil. This attitude is based more on superstition and fear than on the truth. The true sword of the spirit is the inspired word of God upon our lips. It is an offensive weapon before which the powers of evil will not be able to stand. When Jesus spoke, all the powers of darkness were put to confusion and flight. When we learn to speak as he did, we will see similar results.
Idolatry

It is enlightening to compare the Catholic attitude to Mary with the Protestant attitude to the Bible. Mary had a unique and wonderful place and privilege in God's plan of salvation. Through her Jesus came into the world and in a sense without her he could never have come in the flesh. However to place her beside Jesus and worship her and look to her for mediation is idolatry. These things belong only to Jesus. The Bible also is unique among books and definitely above them in a way that Mary was not above other women. However the fact remains that if we take the titles and place of Jesus and ascribe them to the Bible we are equally guilty of idolatry. As with any other form of idolatry, this will be a block to our spiritual growth and progress. We must discover the place and purpose of the Scriptures in God's plan and use them rightly if we want to walk in the truth and grow in God.
The Scriptures

Having given some consideration to the place and function of the Word of God in our lives, we must now think about the place of the Scriptures. Paul sums up this subject in his second letter to Timothy: 'All scripture (writings) inspired by God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for (child) training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work' (3: 16, 17). These verses deserve more careful consideration than they usually receive.

Paul here views the scriptures as the man of God's toolbox. They are part of his equipment for his ministry to others. It is significant that Paul wrote this letter not to a group of believers, but to an individual leader. Nowhere did he exhort believers generally to study the scriptures, though he often exhorted them to pray. Timothy had the task of ministering to others and his knowledge of the scriptures would have been of great benefit in the work committed to him.

Our verses here tell us of four uses of the Scriptures, which we will now consider in turn.

1. The Scriptures are profitable for teaching. Timothy's task was not to teach the Bible. The Pharisees were well able to do that. Rather it was to impart a revelation and understanding of God to those under his care. He should use the Scriptures as a medium through which he could impart spiritual truth. If God calls you or me to share with others what we have received from him, then the Bible is a language we can use to do so.

The letter to the Hebrews gives us a clear illustration of the use of Scripture for teaching. The writer takes passage after passage and person after person from the Old Testament to illustrate the superiority of the new covenant to the old, and the position of Jesus far above all others. Paul also makes extensive use of the scriptures in Romans and Galatians to illustrate and prove the revelations he had received from God. As far as we know, Jesus only used the scriptures in this way when he opened them up to two disciples on the Emmaus road after his resurrection.

2. The Scriptures are profitable for reproof. We see this most clearly illustrated when Jesus met Satan in the wilderness. He met and countered each temptation with a quotation from the Old Testament. The Scriptures by their nature are written and immutable and can therefore constitute a court of appeal. Satan could question whether Jesus was the Son of God, and whether he was led by the Holy Spirit. He could not argue with what was written.

3. The Scriptures are also profitable for correction. When Jesus corrected the erroneous ideas of his opponents, he frequently used the Scriptures. He quoted David to correct the Pharisaic strictness on the Sabbath. He showed the Sadducees from the Old Testament that resurrection took place. Paul's letter to the Galatians is similarly a letter of correction. He establishes justification by faith by the example of Abraham. As with reproof, the Scriptures give a solid legal ground to correction. Special leadings and revelations will and must always be open to question. The Scriptures provide a fixed objective standard against which they can be tested.

4. The Scriptures are profitable for child training in righteousness. The Greek word here used is paideia, an abstract noun from the word pais (meaning a child), and its primary meaning is child training. The previous verse to those we are considering reads: 'from childhood you have known the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' Timothy, to whom these words were written, was the third generation in a godly family. Paul speaks of the sincere faith of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Perhaps it was these two who faithfully taught him from the scriptures and so prepared his mind first for salvation and subsequently for the wide ministry he was to receive. Timothy became a constant companion of Paul. Six of Paul's letters have Timothy's name as co-writer. Some people believe that Timothy wrote the letter to the Hebrews. He became a significant leader in the early church, and carried on Paul's work in Ephesus.

We see interesting parallels in the prophet Jeremiah. His father, Hilkiah the priest, was the man who found a book of the law in Josiah's day. Both Jeremiah and Timothy were called to minister in their youth. Perhaps the link between them is scripture-loving parents who taught them from childhood. Moses, by contrast, grew up in a palace with 'all the wisdom of the Egyptians'. He had to spend forty years in the wilderness before he began his ministry at the age of eighty!

I believe then that Christian parents should teach their children from the scriptures. They must learn the law of God. The scriptures will not save them, but will give them the wisdom that leads to salvation. Paul elsewhere stated that 'the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ'.

I do not want to imply that training in righteousness is only for children. People who are spiritual children also need teaching until they have become spiritually mature. However I believe I have already covered this aspect.

Head or Heart?

Some people pray, 'Lord I understand in my head; please move it all down into my heart'. That is the reverse of God's way. Paul wrote to the Colossians, 'Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you ...' (3:16) and to the Ephesians '... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith' (3:17). That will happen if we receive his word from faithful ministers who have been taught by him, and then learn to commune with our Heavenly Father. As his word increasingly dwells in our hearts, the scriptures will begin to open up to us, and our minds will receive understanding. Jesus communed with his Father from childhood. When he was twelve, the teachers in the temple were amazed at his understanding. We must turn to God if we want to understand the Bible, not turn to the Bible if we want to understand God. You will never understand the book if you do not have the mind of its author.
Commands and Promises

To summarize what I have been saying: God's primary method of speaking to people is not through Bible reading. It is initially through his ministers (apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers, and evangelists) and then increasingly through the Holy Spirit directly.

I want now to consider two particular ways in which God speaks. Throughout the scriptures God gave commands and instructions to individuals and groups of people. He also made covenants and promises, which were frequently conditional on obedience to commands. Some commands such as 'Love your neighbor', are very general. Others such as 'Take your shoes off your feet', are very specific. Promises in the Bible exhibit the same range. 'All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive' is general. 'I will bring you back to this land' is specific.

Many people believe and teach that all these commands and promises - or at least the more general ones - are for us today. Whole churches and denominations are built on this approach to the scriptures. However again we find that there is very little backing for it in the scriptures themselves. Certainly no one ever tried to obey a specific command or claim a specific promise that was given to someone else. The ten commandments and a few other general commands and promises from the Old Testament are quoted in the new. However the general principle is, as we have seen, that God speaks by the Holy Spirit. If he has not spoken to us by the Holy Spirit, we will have neither the power to carry out any commands, nor the faith to receive any promises.

To seek to obey commands that were given to other people at other times, and not to you personally will lead you into bondage, frustration and failure. Equally to seek to claim promises that were made to others will lead you to doubt God, or live with a sense of frustration that you are missing the mark because nothing seems to work out for you. It worked for other people; why doesn't it work for me?

The fundamental reason is that you cannot receive either commands or promises through your mind. You must receive them deep in your spirit. You will then find their confirming echo as you read similar commands and promises in the pages of the Bible.
Conclusion

How may we now summarize this message? The Scriptures and the Word of God are separate and should not be confused. Each has a different function. The Word of God is greater and was there in the beginning with God. The Scriptures must not take its (his) place. Good things in the wrong place can become evil things, and blessings turn to curses. Many an evil thing has been done by people who knew much of the Bible, but nothing of the Word of God. Let us hear again the heart-cry of Jesus, 'You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me; and you will not come to me, that you may have life'. Let us find the true meaning of the Word of God and give it its rightful place in our lives. Let us also give to the Scriptures their rightful place - the place they give themselves, the place Jesus and the early apostles gave them, and the place given to them by the word of God in our hearts.
Postscript

I want to append here a brief survey of Old Testament quotations by Jesus and the early church. This may prove a stimulus to further study.

Some people may feel this cannot guide us in our approach to the Bible as the New Testament was not yet written at the time. My personal feeling is that the Bible is one book, and we should have one approach for both parts of it. This approach should parallel that which we see in the pages of the New Testament.

Jesus, as we have seen already, quoted the scriptures extensively in confrontations with the Pharisees, but scarcely at all when teaching the multitudes or his disciples. In the sermon on the mount all Old Testament quotations are for contrast with his own teaching. His last discourse in John's gospel does not contain a single quote. It is only on the Emmaus road after his resurrection that we find him opening the scriptures to the two disciples.

Of the gospel writers Matthew quotes very extensively to illustrate the fulfillment of scripture. Mark and Luke do so too, but less. John scarcely does at all.

In the book of Acts, Peter, Stephen and Paul all quote extensively in their preaching. Often their objective is to show from the scriptures that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

Paul's letters vary in the extent to which he makes use of scripture. Romans and Galatians are at one end of the scale with a lot of quotation. Colossians and Thessalonians are at the other with none.

Hebrews, being written to the jewish people, naturally has more quotations than any other New Testament book. Peter quotes a lot; James quotes sparingly; and John in his letters not at all. John was almost certainly the latest of the New Testament writers. Jude, interestingly, makes two quotations from books that are not part of what we regard as the Bible (The Assumption of Moses and The Prophecy of Enoch). He makes no quotations from the books that we call the Old Testament.

The book of Revelation has some quotes and many visions similar to those of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and others.

The general picture is one of wide variation. No doubt this reflects the differing characters and background both of the writers and the readers, and the nature of the message being written or reported. All this of course was subject to the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 8407446


of course its optional... our g-d doesn't force us to do anything, we are free to do what we want, and free to enjoy life however we choose to

discern.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1747431


Free to turn and free to burn.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 14514897


our g-d doesn't burn anyone...

our g-d redeems all

always.

that is why we are eternally alive.. our love and forgiveness carries us always.
Anonymous Coward
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04/23/2012 12:13 AM
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
I'm not reading that

gaah
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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04/23/2012 01:52 AM
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Re: When God Speaks, Do You Hear? Hearing Him is a Command, It's NOT Optional!
the article says nothing about burning...The main topic is the idolatry of putting the bible or scriptures above the spoken word.

The scriptures say not to do this, and the scriptures make a distinction between the word, and the scriptures.

IN SHORT, THE BIBLE IS TRUTH, and a history of things spoken to others in the past, it is also a GUIDELINE.

BUT it is NOT THE WORD OF GOD...

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