For example, I think it is common to read verses like this:
Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)
"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."To mean something like this: "...use the Bible in spiritual warfare, it is the sword of the Spirit"
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.To mean something like this "The Bible is living and active... " and again the sword analogy.
But take a look for yourself. Does the Bible use the phrase "word of God" to refer to itself? If not what could it refer to?
Here are all the verses that have the phrase "word of God" in them (All quotes from NIV translation).
1 Kings 12:22
But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God:
1 Chronicles 17:3
That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying:
"Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.
[ The Calling of the First Disciples ] One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God,
"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken—
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.
So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
[ Peter Explains His Actions ] The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
But the word of God continued to increase and spread.
When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.
When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up.
So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
1 Corinthians 14:36
Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?
2 Corinthians 2:17
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
2 Corinthians 4:2
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—
1 Thessalonians 2:13
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
1 Timothy 4:5
because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age,
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
1 Peter 1:23
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 John 2:14
I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
[ One like a Son of Man ] I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.