Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Word Study on The Word

Is the Word something we hear or is it something we read and study?

OK, I'll finish up this 3 part 'word study' posting.
Part 1: Word study on Word of God
Part 2: Word study on Word of the Lord

I'll post another set of verses, this time verses with the word "word". (all verses from NIV)

And give some summary thoughts at the end.


Mark 4:13-15
Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
Mark 4:33
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
Luke 8:15
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Acts 6:4
and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
Acts 8:4
[ Philip in Samaria ] Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

Acts 20:32
"Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Romans 10:8-9
But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:17
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ
1 Corinthians 15:2
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
Galatians 6:6
Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
Ephesians 1:13
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
Ephesians 5:25-27
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Colossians 1:4-6
because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.
Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction
James 1:18
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:21
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:22-24
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
1 John 1:1-4 (NIV)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

Some summary thoughts

Consider a verse like Galatians 6:6 (NIV)
"Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor."
It may seem natural to read this like "Anyone who receives Bible teaching....", but in context with how "word" is used elsewhere it may have another meaning.

Or 2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
This may be read this like "... who correctly handles the Bible.", but was that the original meaning?

So here are some of my observations:
  • The "Word of the Lord" or "Word of God" is often used in reference to God speaking to someone. Yes, what a profound discovery! :)
  • Jesus spoke 'the word' to the people
  • People heard 'the word'
  • Jesus is 'the word' in the flesh... it is like God had/has something to say to His people, and Jesus was/is that message to us.
  • The early church preached the word, the word of the Lord, and the Word of God - they preached Jesus, the message of God (they were not preaching the Bible or from the Bible)
  • The word of faith (Romans 10:8-9) they proclaimed (Jesus is Lord) sounds very similar to the good news of the kingdom of God that Jesus preached.
  • As people believed this 'Word' spread... this Jesus, this message from God.
  • The word of Christ lives in us and still speaks to us
  • In scripture the word was something they heard and spoke, it was not something they read and studied

So my question/concern is this:

Is there a potential problem when we call the Bible the Word of God, or use language like "you need to spend more time in the Word."? Or when studying the Word of God means studying the Bible?

Is there a chance we miss focusing on the Word that lives in us? Learning to seek Him first and listen to His voice.

I do believe God speaks to us as we read the Scriptures with a listening heart. But He also speaks to us at other times. I think the Word of God is simply whenever God speaks to us. Jesus is also called the Word. He was and is God's message to us. Is that the Word we are listening to?

Related Posts:

6 comments:

Mark said...

Jon,

Great series of posts. I believe that "the word" is Christ, and the whole of Christ, and thus the whole of "the word", has been deposited in us. The bible is but a sampling of that word, and certainly not the entirety. I agree that The Word within us can speak to us, without reading it in the bible. Certainly, anything that the Spirit of God shares with us from the "non-printed Word", so to speak, will line up with what he's given us in the printed word.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Mark for the comment. I'm with you here. The Word today won't contradict the written account we have of how the Word lived in the flesh, how the Word guided the early church, and how God guided and spoke to His children before that.

God bless!

Jeff said...

I think that people often miss God speaking to them through circumstances and prayer and others when they don't spend time in the Word. I feel like, looking back that I sometimes do.

Jonathan said...

Hi Jeff,

I agree that spending time in Scripture with an open heart is a great place to listen to God's voice.

However, you may have missed what I was getting at. Why do you call the Bible 'the Word', when Scripture reserves these terms for Jesus and God's speaking. I'm thinking this language has been changed by our traditions, and we've lost some of the original meanings.

Scripture doesn't use language like "spending time in the Word". However Scripture does talk about the Word in us.

Anyways... maybe I'm just playing with words... :)

Thanks for stopping by!
God bless!

Mark said...

Jonathan,

I don't think its splitting hairs by any means. Definitely the written word is of great value, but what if the written word was unavailable? Would God not be able to speak to us, teach us? I agree that we need to fully grasp the importance of Christ (the Word) in us, and the ability of the Spirit to speak to us through THAT word. The written word is a great guidepost, so to speak, as the Spirit will never speak something contrary to the written word.

Mark

Lauralee said...

No, there is no problem.