What is the Word of God?
Throughout the course of my life I have heard the Bible referred to as the Word of God countless times. My father was a pastor and he along with all his pastor friends and associates started every sermon with the reading of the Word of God from the Bible. This was understood and accepted by virtually every congregation I have been a part of.
Recently I searched the New Testament to gain an understanding of how Jesus might speak of the Bible if it had been available to him. The Bible did not exist when he walked the earth of course but what I was looking for was references He made to scripture.
In Matthew 4:4 Jesus responded to Satan’s temptation to turn stones to bread by quoting the words of Deuteronomy “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” In verse 7 His riposte to Satan was from Deuteronomy 16:6 “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Then to end the conversation and frustrate Satan enough to make him leave he says in verse 10 “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” This was taken from Exodus 34:14.
We can see from this that Jesus did accept that scriptures were authoritative enough to live by their teaching and abide by their commands. However Jesus was more focused on the spirit of the law as opposed to the letter of the law. Jesus felt like there was some room for common sense regarding the scriptures. This brings to mind the criticism from the Pharisees in Matthew 12 when Jesus led the disciples through a field of corn. The disciples took the opportunity to pull some of the ears of corn to eat and this may even have been Jesus’ intention for veering through the field. The reaction of the Pharisees was “Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day.”
His response in verses 3-5 was “Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?”
Jesus then declares in verse 8 “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” basically saying “I’m the Son of God, don’t tell me how to keep the Sabbath. If I say we pick corn to eat on the Sabbath or heal the sick (like he does a few verses later) so be it”. Jesus mostly referred to the writings of the Old Testament as the scriptures while not in fact calling them the Word of God. Christ did believe one of the important themes of scripture was that they testified of Him and we see this demonstrated in Jon: 5:39 “And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
When Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” he was not talking about something written long ago. He was indicating that God speaks and we should follow. This is how He lived and ministered as shown in John 5:19 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things so ever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
Apostle Kent Simpson is fond of saying “My Jesus is not wood pulp and ink bound in genuine leather”. Few people on the planet are more aware that God is speaking today. No man I have ever known has embraced the truth of John 5:19 more than Apostle Kent. That is why his motto for PMT is Pray, Hear and Obey, That’s The Christian Way. When we are born again we start a spiritual journey with the Lord by reading and studying the scripture. We have the example from Christ himself that this is profitable to the salvation of our souls and the renewing of our minds. But all who would be led by the Holy Spirit must move from being people of the Book to people of the Word.
What is the Word exactly? The writer of John 1:1 tells us that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He identifies the Word in verse 14 when he writes “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Word in this verse has been translated from the Greek word logos which means to speak intelligently. Jesus is the eternal expression of the divine intelligence. He is God revealing himself to mankind by way of the incarnation. We have access to the now and forever speaking Second Person of the Trinity through the comforter he left us. This is The Holy Spirit in constant contact with the born again spirits of the Kingdom of God.
As we pray, we hear. As we hear we obey. As we obey we are blessed.
Written by Wes Arnold, PMT ElderReturn to the Newsletter Archives