In 1 Kings 12-14, the phrase the “word of God” and the “word of the Lord” are repeated frequently. I think when we read this we often take it as God speaking to an individual. But, I think those phrases mean something much more than God speaking to someone.
Sometimes, the word of God “came to” an individual. Other times, something was done “by” the word of the Lord. I believe this is far more than God speaking to someone. In fact, I believe those phrases are indicating that Jesus came to that person or Jesus gave that person strength or power to do something (hence the action being done “by” the word of the Lord and Paul saying “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”).
John 1 tells us that Jesus is the word of God. John 1 also tells us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.” Because of that, I think we limit Jesus to the word that was made flesh. But, that body was the form that the Word of God took at that particular time. For, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
This brings a whole new light to reading the Old Testament because we see that Jesus as the word of God or the word of the Lord is on the scene constantly, just not in a fleshly body. He’s constantly coming to people or giving them strength or power to do something.
It also brings new light to the New Testament. For, the word of God, the word of the Lord, and the word are still references to Jesus. I believe it’s important to see these references to the word as Jesus and not the Bible or the scriptures. So when Paul says to Timothy to “preach the word,” he is saying to preach Jesus. He’s not saying to preach the scriptures. Sure, the scriptures support Paul’s preaching and he is steeped in them. But, he’s clearly preaching Christ and him crucified.
Even Jesus said in John 5 that he has eternal life and the scriptures simply bear witness to him. You won’t get life from the Bible. You get it from Jesus.
Or consider Acts 4:4, which says, “But many of those who had heard the word believed.” Now, Peter and John got in trouble with the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees because “they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” Peter and John got in trouble for preaching Jesus, the word. If they had merely been teaching the scriptures, like the priests and Sadducees, they wouldn’t have gotten in trouble at all.
A study of the word, word of God, and word of the Lord in contrast to the scriptures is very enlightening.