The Word of God

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Van, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Van

    Van
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    In common usage, when we hear the phrase, the Word of God, we think what is being referred to is God's written word, scriptures. However, a study of the phrase reveals something less general is in view.

    The phrase “word of God” appears 47 times in the NASB version of the Bible, 6 times in the Old Testament and 41 times in the New Testament. While our common usage for the phrase refers to the Bible in total, the actual biblical usage is more limited.

    It is used to refer to a revelation from God that is specific and true. So specific directions, such as “Thou shall not murder” are the word of God, but in addition the phrase is used for Jesus, He is the Word of God and His words are the Word of God. And finally, the gospel of Christ Jesus is many times called the Word of God.

    Jesus spoke of false teachers interpreting “the word of God” such that they made it to no effect.

    The word of God is credited for creation, but it is difficult to separate whether God speaking the Universe into existence is in view, or the second person of the Trinity actions in making everything that was made.

    In any event, when the phrase appears in scripture, we see that God’s revelation is in view and it is true. Hence two of the names used for Christ Jesus are Word of God and Truth.

    Old Testament references: 1 Samuel 9:27; 2 Samuel 16:23; 1 Kings 12:22; 1 Chronicles 17:3; Psalm 19:1; and Proverbs 30:5.

    Gospel and Acts references: Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:13; Luke 3:2, 5:1, 8:11, 8:21; 11:28; John 10:35: Acts 4:31, 6:2, 6:7, 8:14, 11:1, 13:5, 13:7, 13:46, 17:13, and 18:11.

    Paul’s references: Romans 9:6; 1 Corinthians 14:36; 2 Corinthians 2:17, 4:2; Ephesians 6:17; Philippians 1:14; Colossians 1:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 4:5, 2 Timothy 2:9, and Titus 2:5.

    Remaining references: Hebrews 4:12, 6:5, 11:3, 13:7; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Peter 3:5; 1 John 2:14; Revelation 1:2, 1:9, 6:9, 19:13, and 20:4.

    In Romans 9:6 Paul uses the phrase to refer to the promises of God made to Israel. And then goes on to explain that God’s word has not failed. Thus a specific statement from God is in view that is true.

    Bottom line, when you see the phrase in scripture, do not assume the Bible is in view, rather consider the context and see if Jesus, or the gospel, or some specific statement from God is in view.
     
    #1 Van, Mar 2, 2012
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  2. Greektim

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    Absolutely!

    I think Heb. 4:12 is a good example that is often misused. I feel the context bears out that "word of God" refers to the gospel message. That has important implications as it is the gospel that is a double-edged sword and divides.
     
  3. DaChaser1

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    Also important to verify IF the word was directed towards JUSTT those times/culture, of if applicable for/to us today also!
     
  4. franklinmonroe

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    If I'm not mistaken, not one instance of the phrase "word of God" is actually a clear reference to written revelation (ie 'the Bible'). The term used by the NT writers for the available written revelation (the Hebrew texts) was "scriptures". I believe, the term "word of God" in the Bible always refers to some other manifestation of God's revelation than the written form.
     
    #4 franklinmonroe, Mar 2, 2012
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  5. Van

    Van
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    Hi Franklinmonroe,

    Yes, that is the conclusion of my study effort as well.

    If we look at the underlying Greek, we find that the “Word of God” usually translates “logos tou theos.” Now there are a lot of meanings running around for the term “logos” but the one I like is “that which fulfills divine purpose.” For example God the Father had a purpose of creation, and the Word of God brought that purpose into being. See John 1:1-3.

    Thus Jesus, either when physically walking the earth, or as the “Word” in His pre-incarnate state, or as our indwelt “Spirit of Christ” certainly fulfills the Father’s divine purpose.

    Behold the "Word" of God who takes away the sin of the world.
     
    #5 Van, Mar 3, 2012
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  6. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    This is a good point, the difference here is between γραφη and λογος. It is worth considering the usage and how we translate it.
     
  7. Van

    Van
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    It would be helpful if translations were concordant, i.e translating logos (logon, logou) tou theou consistently as word of God, and other similar constructions as declarations of God for example. See Matthew 15:6; Luke 3:2; Ephesians 6:17; Philippians 1:14, Hebrews 6:5 and Hebrews 11:3 for obliterated inspired word choices. Rhema of God could read "utterance of God" and entole of God could read command of God.
     
    #7 Van, Mar 3, 2012
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  8. Van

    Van
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    10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[a] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” (Mark 7:10-13)

    Here the phrase "word of God" appears to address a specific written command, i.e. honor your parents, rather than either the entire Bible or the entire gospel of Christ, or Jesus Himself. But if we step back a bit, God had a purpose in fostering family ties across generations, and the remembrance of His deliverance and grace for the children of the promise. So they, the Pharisees were nullifying family values, much like the Democrats today, making the very word of God to no effect.
     

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