To say that the Bible is the Word of God is valid especially in the light of the
conviction that the Church regards Scriptures not as a human word, but as
what it really is, the Word of God.
1 Thessalonians 2:13). But to say “Word of God is Scriptures/Bible” becomes
problematic especially in the light of the following texts:
John 1:1-5.10-18. This is the opening hymn of the Gospel of John and contains
this Gospel’s basic conviction about the Word of God. It should be easy to point
out that here Word of God cannot be identified with the Sacred Scriptures since
the hymn sings of the “Word of God” that “became flesh and made his dwelling
among us…” (John 1:14).
The Word of God is the true light “which enlightens every man that is born”
(John 1:9) about which John the Baptist testified (John 1:7.15) and who reveals
the God whom no one has ever seen before (John 1:18), manifesting Himself
with the glory of the Only Son of God (vv. 14.18).
The Word of God is more than a collection of writings. The statement
“Word of God = Sacred Scriptures” robs the Word of God of its true identity.
Acts 8:14-17. This is a short passage that actually introduces in transition
the story of Simon Magus and his desire to buy the power of the laying of the
hands (vv. 18-25). In this introduction, we are told what the apostles did
when they heard that Samaria has received the Word of God
(logon tou theou v. 14). Here, the phrase “Word of God” unmistakably
refers to the proclamation of Philip (8:6.12) which was confirmed by the
apostles in the laying on of the hands (v.17).
Here “Word of God” is the “gospel about the Kingdom of God and the name of
Jesus Christ.” (v.12) which Philip preached and later confirmed by the apostles.
What is important to note is the connection between the Word of God and the
apostles, and not with what these wrote, but what they preached and proclaimed.
1 Thessalonians 2:13. This is the same passage which the Catholic Catechism
quotes when explaining that the Bible is the Word of God (above). It contains one
of the reasons why Paul thanks God continuously because of the
Thessalonian community of faith:
We thank God because, receiving the word of God you heard from
us(logon akoes par hemon tou theou), you accepted (it) not as the
word of men but what it truly is: the word of God (logon tou theou).
In Paul, “Word of God” is frequently “the Gospel”
(1 Thess. 1:.6.8; 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. See also 1 Corinthians 14:36;
2 Corinthians 2:17; 6:7; Galatians 6:6; Ephesians 1:13; Phl 14;
Colossians 1:5 among others.), not the written one (since the first written Gospel
will be finished some twenty years after the first letter to the Thessalonians),
but the contents of his proclamation about the Christ, a proclamation which he is
at pains to defend as an extension of the one gospel preached by the apostles
(cf. Galatians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 15:1 in contrast to those place where he
talks of “my/our gospel”: 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:14;
1 Corinthians 15:1; 2 Corinthians 4:3 among others.)
What all this means is that while one can say, and rightly too, that the
Bible/Sacred Scriptures is the Word of God, one cannot reverse the
statement to say “The Word of God is Scriptures” without emptying
“Word of God” of its true meaning. By examining three biblical texts,
we have shown that “Word of God” means also the Second Person of the
Trinity and the contents of the apostolic proclamation about Him.