The Living Word is more than a written word.
Updated: Feb 1, 2021
This is our first blog post; we are playing with the idea of using blog posts as a suppliment to our Sunday Services that welcome online conversation about what is being taught in our Church.
Jesus is the Word
Oftentimes, when the New Testament talks about the Word of God, it's actually talking about Jesus. For example, in John 1 we see that Jesus is explicitly titled the "Word of God." This is an important metaphor, because it means that in the same way our words reveal who we are, Jesus is God's self-disclosure to us. Jesus is God the Father saying "This is who I am"
There are some instances where the Bible specifically references scripture as the word of God rather than Jesus, such as 2 Timothy 3:15-16 which says "you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,(AF) 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." This doesn't contradict that Jesus is the Word of God, it only reinforces the fact that when God speaks, it reveals who he is.
There are also instances when it's less clear if God is talking about the Bible or Jesus, and needs to be discerned, like in Hebrews 4:12, which says "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." This could easily apply to the Bible or to Jesus.
It's important that we make a distinction between the two as 'Word of God': It is possible that we mistake the Bible for a god and idolize it above the one it points to. Jesus is the ultimate Word of God because he is the word embodied; he is the word in action, redeeming the world from sin. In that way, a dusty Bible that is never opened is not the word of God.
But it can be: Read the thing! Read it and read it carefully; posture yourself to be spoken to as you engage your mind and heart. God wants to transform you and the people around you with his word. After reading this post you may be asking "how do I know I'm reading right?" You may even be afraid to read at all, for fear of reading wrong. While it is important to try to read with care and attention (By say, practicing careful exegsis), our ultimate hope is that Jesus will reach through all of our weakness and meet us in the word. Cast yourself into Jesus' care as you read attentively, and he will meet you there.