Word of God

 

 

Why Word of God Cannot Be Scriptures Alone

 

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.

 

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Original Post

Hi Vic,

 

You are right!  When someone mentions the Word of God -- that has two meanings.   The Bible is the "Written Word of God" and Jesus Christ is the "Living Word of God."  As you pointed out, that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God is confirmed in John 1:1-5 and John 1:14-18.

 

This is why, when referring to the Bible I will typically write the "Written Word of God" if there is any possibility that the two could be confused. 

 

And, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 confirms that the Bible is the Written Word of God, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [fn]training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

 

However, I do not equate the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Written Word of God.  The Written Word of God is the entire Bible, all 66 books.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is delineated by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 and basically is defined as:  The birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ according to Scripture.

 

In this sense, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a part of the full Written Word of God.   We share the Written Word of God with the world -- and we specifically share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those seeking salvation -- for, as Paul tells us in Romans 1:16, ". . .  for in it (the Gospel) is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. . ."  


". . . for by grace you have been saved through faith. . ."  (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 

Thank you, Vic.  Good post.

 

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

 

Bill

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