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Another Word on the Word

Posted by on Jul 9, 2010 in blog links, discipleship, scripture | 8 comments

Another Word on the Word

Jon (from “Jon’s Journey“) has finished (I think?) his study on the use of the phrases “word of God,” “word of the Lord,” and “the word.”

He concludes – correctly, I think – that we should not equate “Scripture” or “Bible” with “the word of God” (or one of the related phrases). Note that this does not mean that God does not reveal himself to us through Scripture, only that the two cannot be equated.

Jon ends his study with this “question/concern”:

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?

What do you think?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 7-9-2010

    2 Peter 1:19-21; Luke 16:31

    I agree with clearly distinguishing the Word of God (i.e., the son of God) and the Scriptures.

    That being said, I believe the prophetic Scriptures are the place where we most clearly and consistently discern the will of God.

    The indwelling Holy Spirit is a sure guide, but the Scriptures are an unflinching authority. Our self-perception of God’s inner leading is more easily mistaken.

  2. 7-9-2010


    You said that the Scriptures are an unflinching authority. How do we know that?

    It seems to me that the Scriptures have no authority… not without the Holy Spirit’s help in interpreting them. I would then say that God is the unflinching authority.



    By the way, I agree that we should not equate “the Word of God” with Scriptures, but isn’t it the case that the Scriptures are also the “Word of God”? So it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong to refer to the Scriptures as the Word of God… but only if we don’t mean that they are the only Word of God.

    God Speed,

  3. 7-9-2010

    I think Jon’s questions/commentary are very good. I think that we have seen in evangelical Christianity the danger in referring to scripture as “the Word of God”. We have attributed to those writings qualities and characteristics that are only true of Jesus. I have heard the Bible referred to as “life”–that borders on blasphemous, in my opinion.

    @Mark, you said, “The indwelling Holy Spirit is a sure guide, but the Scriptures are an unflinching authority.” This sounds very much like you are putting the Bible above the Holy Spirit, and I think that is a very dangerous position to take. Additionally, as Lew has already pointed out, I think that it is a tenuous position to defend. Of course, Jesus did say that when he left us, he would send a book to reveal truth to us and to convict the world of sin, so… 😉

  4. 7-9-2010

    Alan, have you ever done a “as we live it” post on that statement of Jesus that I just referenced?

  5. 7-9-2010


    Scripture is very important. But our interpretation of Scripture is always subjective. The phrase “word of God” certainly includes Scripture, but shouldn’t be limited to Scripture. And, I don’t know if even Scripture suggests the distinction that you’re making… what do you think?


    Yes, I believe Scripture is the word of God. But, I don’t believe the word of God is Scripture. In other words, I think the phrase “word of God” includes Scripture.


    No, I haven’t done that one… yet. 🙂


  6. 7-9-2010

    Lew and Steve,

    I hear exactly what you guys our saying. Sorry for my imprecision in language.

    I think what I was getting at was a caution that we not get away from letting the Holy Spirit use the prophetic word as a guide. I am often distressed by the ridiculous nonsense people can convince themselves that “God told them” by appealing to something the Holy Spirit “told them” (whether or not it lines up with the revealed Scriptures). I was also intending for the Scripture references I posted (2 Peter 1:19-21; Luke 16:31) to serve as a primer for my statements (as clearly the Biblical text is more reliable than my feeble ramblings). 😉


    I’m not sure what distinction you think I tried to make? I thought I agreed with what you said (i.e., that the “word of God”… shouldn’t be limited to Scripture). Oh well, if I was unclear, I do agree! I do understand the subjectivity involved in interpreting Scripture. Subjectivity is also involved in interpreting the “voice of God” in our lives. The latter type of “self-interpretation” might involved even more subjectivity than the former.

    Enjoy the discussion. Thanks for stretching me on a hot Friday!

  7. 7-9-2010

    I appreciate all your thoughts here.

    I sense a strong desire from some to call Scripture the Word of God. But why do we do this? Do we get this from our traditions or straight from Scripture? That was the question that got me started on this… does Scripture call itself the Word of God, or is this another layer of my tradition that is worth evaluating?

    I have no doubt that God often speaks to us through Scripture in very clear ways.

    Yes, it does seem dangerous to allow all Christians to follow the Holy Spirit personally. It is likely we’d get our selfish desires mixed into the message. But that is where being connected with other members of Christ’s body should help… And we know God’s present word shouldn’t contradict His words in the past.

    Also when we look at where we’ve gotten by allowing all Christians to interpret the Bible themselves… I doubt it could get worse. 🙂 Maybe it’s time we encourage all believers to follow the Holy Spirit themselves.

    Thanks Guys! God Bless!

  8. 7-20-2010

    We are discussing this topic on facebook. It is interesting that in heb 4:12 is talking about the logos ( word) john 1:1)not the written word. For decades i always thought it was the written word until someone pointed it out to me and it was like being hit with a brick…lol.
    When God speaks to us its not like were having a conversation among another person. Its a knowing isn’t it? unless you receive some kind of dream or vision. I do agree that the bible isn’t the word of God but its a story about The WORD of God. His family, His history of His Son. Also it gives us vital instructions from the Son Via his messengers but i don’t see the bible as one differentiating from Grace not making the rhema a law but receiving the word by faith. No matter what the written word states it must be received by faith and faith alone