Do you the believe the Bible is “the word of God?”
I believe holding the Bible as “the word of God” is a very subtle form of idolatry. because we are putting a book before the actual Word of God, Jesus Christ. Anything we put before God, before Jesus, becomes an idol. And, idolatry is not worship in spirit and in truth.
Let me show you what I mean.
“In the beginning was THE BIBLE, and the THE BIBLE was with God, and THE BIBLE was God.” – John 1:1
Is that what it is says?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. HE (a person) was in the beginning with God.”
So, the Word of God is a he, a person.
“And THE BIBLE continued to increase.” – Acts 6:7
“But THE BIBLE increased and multiplied.” – Acts 12:24
“And THE BIBLE was spreading throughout the whole region.” – Acts 13:49
“So THE BIBLE continued to increase and prevail mightily.” – Acts 18:20
Is that what any of these scriptures say?
They all the say the “word of God” or the “word of the Lord.” Clearly, the Bible is not what Luke has in mind. Jesus Christ, the word of God, continued to increase, multiply, spread and prevail. I only picked the most obvious scriptures in Acts to show you this. Once you have seen the most obvious ones, it’s easier to see all the others refer to Jesus too.
“But it is not as though THE BIBLE has failed.” – Romans 9:6
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through THE BIBLE.” Romans 10:17
Is that what Paul means in these verses?
It’s the word of God, the word of Christ, Jesus Christ, that has not failed and through whom faith comes by hearing.
“Of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make THE BIBLE fully known.” – Colossians 1:25
Is the Bible what Paul came to make known?
Paul came to preach Jesus Christ, the word of God, and him crucified. He said that was all he wanted to know among us.
“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received THE BIBLE, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what is really is, THE BIBLE, which is at work in you believers.” – 1 Thessalonions 1:13
Is Paul saying these people received the Bible and the Bible is at work in them?
Ironically, the Bible is the word of men, although inspired by God. So, of course Paul wasn’t constantly in thanks that people had received the Bible. The Bible didn’t even exist at that time, nor could many even afford a copy of the scriptures or read them. They received the word of God, Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is at work in them.
“But the THE BIBLE is not bound.” – 2 Timothy 2:9
Is the Bible bound?
Why, yes it is.
The end of Revelation says that we should add nothing to or take anything away from the book. No one is adding to the Bible anymore. It is bound. But, the word of God, Jesus Christ, is not bound. We saw in Acts that he is increasing, spreading, multiplying, prevailing. And the gospel of John says that if every act of Jesus were to be recorded all the books in the world could not contain them.
“For THE BIBLE is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from HIS (a person) sight.” – Hebrews 4:12-13
Is the Bible living and active?
The word of God, Jesus Christ, is living and active. He divides soul from spirit within us. No creature is hidden from HIS sight. The Bible is not looking into the heart of every creature.
“By faith we understand that the universe was made by THE BIBLE, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” – Hebrew 11:3
Did the Bible make the universe?
Is the Bible invisible?
The Bible did not make the universe. Yes, the Bible is visible. Therefore, it could not have been the invisible thing that made the things that are seen.
The word of God, Jesus Christ, made the universe. Read John 1 and Colossians 1.
“Since you have been born again, not of persihable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding BIBLE.” – 1 Peter 1:23
Are you born again by the Bible?
Is the Bible the imperishable seed that was planted in the ground to bring new life?
The word of God, Jesus Christ, is the grain of wheat, the imperishable seed, planted in the ground that sprang up to new life. (John 12:24) Jesus Christ is the living and abiding word of God.
“And the earth was formed out of water and through the water by THE BIBLE.” – 2 Peter 3:5
Did the Bible form the earth?
The word of God, Jesus Christ, formed the earth. He made everything.
These are just the most obvious places where the word of God is clearly not the Bible. The word of God is Jesus Christ, a person. But, once you have seen the obvious places, you will be able to see Jesus as “the word” in all the other places too.
When you see that in the New Testament, then you should do a study in the Old Testament on “the word of the Lord.” You will notice that many of the uses of that phrase refer to a person.
The Bible calls itself not the word of God but the scriptures. And, so does Jesus.
Jesus said in John 5:39-40, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”
Like the Jews Jesus was speaking to, you can search the scriptures all you want to find life. But, you won’t find life in the scriptures. The scriptures, the Bible, is simply a witness to Jesus, the true word of God, true life. We have to go to him for life. In fact, we can’t even understand the scriptures without his life, the Holy Spirit, in us and teaching us. The Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance everything that Jesus said. The Holy Spirit takes the dead letters and brings them to life (2 Corinthians 3).
Throughout scripture, God states that he wants people to listen to his voice, his word, Jesus Christ. He never stated that he wanted people to listen to a written book.
I posted the above on Facebook more than one year ago. The following is my reply to a comment on my Facebook post. The comment stated that there was a difference between “the word of God incarnate” and “the word of God written.”
Let’s assume that trusted theologians for centuries have made the distinction between “the word of God incarnate” and “the word of God written.” Assuming that, I would respectfully disagree with them.
For the obvious reason that no one knew the word of God was Jesus until he came, I can only compare what the New Testament says about, as you say, “the word of God incarnate” and the “word of God written.”
I already showed in my post that the New Testament says the “word of God” is a person, Jesus Christ. Also, I said in my post that God has always desired a people that would listen to his voice. It is a voice that speaks or proclaims a word. Voices are listened to and heard, hence Jesus’ statement that those who knew him would know his voice.
The exact phrase “word of God” appears 44 times in the Bible.
Of those, 9 times the “word of God” was heard (Luke 5:1, 5:21, 11:28, John 8:47, Acts 13:5), received (Acts 8:14, 11:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:13), or accepted (1 Thessalonians 2:13). I included received and accepted because the vast majority of anyone at that time would have received or accepted whatever the word of God is by hearing as they could not read.
Of those, 8 times the “word of God” was taught (Acts 18:11), proclaimed (Acts 13:5, Acts 17:13), preached (Acts 6:2), spoken (Acts 4:31, Acts 13:46, Hebrews 13:7) or uttered (John 3:34).
Therefore, if just over one-third of the uses of the exact phrase “word of God” are used in the context of hearing or speaking. then God wants us to hear his voice.
So, what about the “word of God written?”
Is that even a thing?
Well, what does the Bible say about itself?
Over and over, the Bible refers to what is written as the scriptures. The word scripture(s) is used 51 times.
Of those, 3 times the scripture is specifically referred to as being read. Not one time is the “word of God” referred to as being read.
Of those, 27 times the scripture is mentioned in the context of being fulfilled or believed. Therefore, more than half the uses of “scripture,” what is written, are to show that the true “word of God,” Jesus, fulfilled what had been written. In this way, what was written, the scripture, is a shadow of the reality, the true word of God, Jesus Christ. The scriptures are no more the word of God than any of the other Old Testament types and shadows – Joseph, Joshua, the offerings, the tabernacle, etc. – are the word of God in some other form. Just like all the types and shadows in the Old Testament, the scriptures are a witness to Jesus Christ, the word of God.
Of those, 8 times the scriptures are mentioned in the context of searching/examining or reasoning/showing/encouraging. The scriptures were used, not to prove that they were the word of God, but to prove that Jesus Christ indeed is the word of God.
Of those, 3 times Jesus is said to interpret or open the scriptures. Jesus took what was written and translated it into the actual word of God for the disciples. He showed them where he, the word of God, was (and wasn’t) in the scriptures.
The scriptures, the Bible, never call themselves the word of God
Muddling the word of God, Jesus Christ, with the scriptures, the Bible, the written word, is actually what calls the whole thing into question and has people confused.
In some manner, Jesus Christ did pit himself against the scriptures, what was written. In the sermon on mount, he repeatedly said, “You have heard it said…but I say to you.” Also, look through the gospels and you will see that Jesus never called the Law “his law” or “his Father’s law.” He almost always said “your law” or “their law.”
You mention Moses and the prophets speaking the “word of God.” Yes, they did. But, they had a veiled view of God. They did not see him clearly. Therefore, they could not write about him clearly. This is why Moses prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 about God raising up another prophet, Jesus Christ, that Israel would listen to (not read, and isn’t interesting that we don’t have a single thing written from the most important person in the world).
But, Jesus himself said that John the Baptist was the greatest man of the old covenant, but even he was the least in the kingdom of God.
Because he was not born again, filled, by the Holy Spirit the way we are. This is important because 2 Timothy 3:16 says that scripture is God-breathed. But, do you know what else is God-breathed? Every person is filled with the Holy Spirit, God-breathed as it were. Each human being is as inspired as the scriptures. Therefore, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3 that we are living letters as opposed to the dead letters of the old covenant scriptures that can only point to life when read by the Spirit within us.
Something that is God-breathed contains the Spirit, but it is clearly not the Spirit. Just as the Bible witnesses to, or contains, Jesus, but it is not the Word of God. Without this understanding we get a lot of twisted ideas about God and Jesus.
As for making the book less “sacred,” or less important, you know me better than that. Writing about the Bible every day for an entire year, as I have on this blog, cannot be considered making the book less sacred or less important.
But, we need a right understanding of what it is and what it isn’t. We need to put the Bible and Jesus Christ in their rightful places.