Christology

Is the Bible God? Examining Jesus’ title “the Word of God”

What does the scripture mean when it refers to Jesus as “The Word” or “The Word of God”? There are some that take this to mean that the Bible is Jesus, and Jesus is the Bible, that is, that the 66 books of scripture are literally the third person of the trinity. Do the scripture passages support this conclusion?

Let’s start with a cursory look at the five places where the King James Bible refers to the “Word of God” with a capital “W.” The first is John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Who or what is the scripture referring to as “the Word?” this becomes clear later on in the chapter, in verse 14:”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.”

So it is obvious that this passage is telling us who “the Word” is. The Word is Jesus. It does not state anywhere that the person referred to here as “the Word” is also the Bible. Some might say that it refers to the Bible simply because the Bible is also called “the word” (lowercase) throughout the scripture. But this does not follow. Multiple different things or people can have the same title and still be distinct. Ezekiel can be the “son of man” and Jesus Christ can be the “son of man”, but Jesus is not Ezekiel. God the Father, is of course the Father, and Christ is also given the title of Father in Isaiah 9:6, and Abraham in Luke 16:30, but these are all distinct persons. So the question remains, is the title “Word of God” ( capitalized) ever referring to the Bible itself, and if so is it making it equivalent to Jesus?

Note that all the references to the “Word of God” are in books written by the Apostle John, first in the gospel, then in 1 John, and finally in Revelation. The next verse is 1 John 1:1: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;” All of these descriptions speak about Jesus Christ, not the Bible. Later in 1 John 5:7 it says “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” This passage is a clear reference to the trinity, with the Word once again referring to Jesus. This is made even more clear when the previous verse is read with it. Finally we see Revelation 19:13, which says: “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” Verse 16 clarifies more who this rider is: “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Who is the King of Kings? Earlier in revelation we read this: “(Rev 17:14)  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” The Lamb is, of course, Christ. (This is universally accepted, one such demonstration of this is that the lamb has twelve apostles in 21:14)

What is meant by Christ being “the Word of God?” It means that Christ is God’s sent message – the physical embodiment of what God wanted to convey. Christ’s title of “Word” means that he is more than just a messenger telling us truth from God, but that he is also the message of God’s truth itself.

Thre is certainly a value in understanding the close and intentional connection of Christ’s title “the Word” and the Bible being called “the word”. The scripture is God’s written word to humanity, and Christ is the living Word. Both are the message of the Father. But they are not the same.

Making Christ and the Bible to be the same thing leads to some strange conclusions. Primarily, it can lead to a belief that John 1:1 is telling us that God’s written word became flesh, and that prior to that there was no separate person of the trinity that was God the son. Many who attack the eternal sonship of Christ do so on the basis of interpreting John 1:1 in this way and conflating Jesus with the spoken or written word of God. In addition, there are an innumerable amount of strange conclusions that can be drawn by forcing Jesus into the meaning of places that refer to the “word of God” or “word of the Lord.

Can Christ be corrupted? (2Co 2:17)  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

Is Jesus the Sword of the Spirit? (Eph 6:17)  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The sad part about this doctrine (like many) is that it is radically defended and used as a means of attacking, when it comes from nothing more than poor exegesis and a failure to look at context. The result can be dangerous – worshipping God’s written word like it is God himself. God’s word is important – he has magnified it above his name (Psalm 138:2) but his word is what he has said to us – the unlimited God cannot be even limited to the revelation we have of him in scripture – If we tried to write down all there was to say about the works of Jesus, John said it best, “I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”

 

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