Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Scripture and The Word of God; are these terms interchangeable? Part I

A brief word at the beginning of each post will help keep the purpose of these posts in mind as this blog goes forward. If you haven’t read the introductory post, I suggest that you take the time to do it before reading on. I am keeping the posts short so that they can be quickly read and digested. It is my hope that you will reflect on these articles and put them to the test. When you encounter something that seems counter to everything you have been taught or know to be true…remember the assignment….smile…be a Berean.

When you look at the various creeds written over the years, they most often, if not always begin with a section on the scripture. This is true of systematic theology books also. They generally begin with the scripture or the concept of divine revelation. The reason is simple. The section on divine revelation and scripture establishes the foundation for all of the doctrinal points that follow. Most statements of faith include a position on the scripture. It is only natural that this discussion of my paradigm shift should begin with the scripture. Is it accurate to call it the Word of God? And, if it isn’t, what difference does it make? In my view, it makes a very big difference and I think that the subtle, nuanced truth will point to a major shift.

First of all, Jesus himself referred to the scripture twenty-four times in the four gospels. In other instances, he called it either, the law or, the law and the prophets. He did not call the scripture the word of God with one possible exception in John 10:34-35 and, we will deal with that in a later post individually. However, he did call it the scripture 24 times and he referred to it as either the law or, the law and the prophets 25 times for a total of 49 times. Here is what I find most interesting. He defined the word of God as the gospel of the kingdom in Luke 8:11. If you look at the parallel verse in Matthew 13:19 he defines the seed as the word or message of the kingdom… in other words… the gospel.

In fact, as these posts progress, you will find that overwhelmingly and, even exclusively, Jesus and his apostles define the word of God, the word of truth or, the Word, as either, the living Word Jesus himself or, the gospel, the word or message of the kingdom of God. It is my plan to do an exhaustive analysis of this throughout the entire New Testament scripture. I will use many illustrations in subsequent posts but for now let me end this post with an example for you.

I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.  (Rev 1:9)

Now here is the question that you should ask yourself. Was John banished to the Isle of Patmos for the scripture? Of course not. It was very legal for Jews to have the Torah or the scriptures. Rome had decided to let that go long before Jesus came on the scene. The fact is that John was on Patmos for the gospel and Jesus. It was the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus that caused Rome to persecute the Christians.

So, in this second post we see that the gospel and the incarnation are very important to the story of the New Covenant. It will become more and more clear that in reality, at least according to Jesus and his contemporaries, that it was the only focus. Please remember that I welcome comments and observations so feel free to interact.

1 comment:

  1. The question that was conveyed was, "is it accurate to call it the word of God", it meaning scripture. My answer to that is yes it is accurate to call scripture the word of God. If you read Revelation 22:18-19 this word of God warns us not to tamper with His word. The scripture says "the prophetic words", which means these are words that came from God. And He makes it very clear of the judgement that will befall anyone who does.


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