The different forms of the Word of God

When someone refers to the Word of God it is generally assumed that they are referring to the Holy Scriptures.  This, generally, is a safe assumption.  However, there are two basic forms of the “Word of God” as revealed within our Scripture.  Perhaps you’ve not thought of this, or maybe it’s escaped your notice; I pray that this concise post would encourage you as you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is meant by the phrase “the Word of God”?  Let us briefly examine these two different meanings:

  • The Word of God as a Person: Jesus Christ
    • John, in Revelation 19:3, sees Jesus Christ in heaven and proclaims His name as “the Word of God”
    • John, in his gospel, also makes clear reference to Jesus Christ as “the Word” which was in the beginning, with God and that was God.  He would go on to reveal that this Word would become flesh and dwell among men.
    • This usage of “the Word of God” is not common, but it yields a very important function, as described well by Grudem:

it does indicate that among the members of the Trinity it is especially God the Son who in his person as well as in his words has the role of communicating the character of God to us and of expressing the will of God for us… (p.47; Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology)

  • The Word of God as Speech by God
    • The Word of God as seen in God’s Decrees
      • God’s words occasionally are seen to take the form of powerful decrees that cause something to happen, or come into being
      • Many times these words are powerful, creative words.  Genesis 1:3; Psalm 33:6
    • The Word of God as seen in Personal Address
      • God’s words occasionally are seen in his communication directly with people on earth.
      • We see this direct communication in both the Old and New Testament
      • When God chooses to directly address individuals, it is very clear to the hearers that they are hearing the very voice of God.  It is also important to realize that even though it is the very words of God that are being spoken by God himself, these words are “human” words and in ordinary human language and immediately understandable.
    • The Word of God as seen in Speech through Human Lips
      • Frequently throughout Scripture God would speak through prophets whom he would raise up.  Deuteronomy 18:18-20; Jeremiah 1:9; Exodus 4:12
      • God’s words spoken through the prophets is considered to be as authoritative as God speaking in personal address.
    • The Word of God as seen in Written Form
      • We find God’s word in written form described throughout Scripture.
      • Benefits from God’s Word being in written form:
        • Accurate preservation of God’s words for future generations
        • Opportunity for repeated inspection of God’s word through study and discussion, which would lead to greater understanding and obedience.
        • Accessibility to more people as it is copied and inspected
        • It is God’s Word in written form that is “God-breathed” and “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
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