After reading Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology text on the Word of God, I’ve come up with the folloiwng definition:
The Word of God is God’s directive will revealed to human beings
The Bible represents God’s Word to us in several forms.
Christ is the Word of God
First and foremost, Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation of the God’s character, nature, will, and purposes.
- [Jesus] was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Rev. 19:13)
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1:1-14)
- 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 (1 John 1:1)
God’s Direct Address
There are several times in Scripture when God speaks his word directly to human hearers.
- God spoke to Adam and Eve (Gen 2-3)
- God spoke to Noah (Gen 8)
- God spoke to Abraham (Gen 12-17)
- God spoke to Moses (Ex 6)
- God spoke to Israel (Ex 20)
- God spoke audibly at Jesus’ baptism
God’s Indirect Address
God’s most usual form of address before the coming of Christ was through prophets. In these instances God communicated his message through a mediator who spoke that message to the people. Though the number of those occassions are too numerous to list, a few examples are given.
- And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan (1 Chr 17:3)
- And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. (Jer 1:9)
- For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (Jn 3:34)
- For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Pet 1:21)
God’s Creative Word
There is a particular instance where God’s creative power, in speaking the universe into existance, is a demonstration of God’s Word: “ Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God” (Heb 11:3).
The Preached Word
The preached word, especially gospel preaching, is mentioned MANY times in the New Testament as the Word of God, e.g. “Now the parable is this: The seed [i.e. gospel preaching] is the word of God“.
The last words Jesus left his followers before his assention to Heaven was for them to preach the gospel in all the world – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The books of Acts is the record of God’s Word going to all these groups of people.
- And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly (Acts 6:7)
- Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John (Acts 8:14)
- That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea… (Acts 10:37)
- And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. (Acts 11:1)
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17)
The Written Word
Of course, the only enduring, trustworthy, and sure Word of God that we have available for us today are those words of God which have been recorded in the Scriptures. God himself wrote the Ten Commandments, all the rest of Scripture has been written by human hands through the superintending work of the Holy Spirit. These things were written for a permanent record:
- Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever (Is 30:8).
- Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book (Jer 30:2).
- I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches… (Rev 1:11)
- For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Rom 15:4)
The Scriptures were written by those inspired by the Holy Spirit, and have been recorded for our study and edification. They are the only form of God’s Word that we can have before us to study, analyze, compare, meditate on, and be changed by.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Tim 3:16-17)
God has revealed His power and his Will to mankind in many ways throughout history. Today, God’s normal way of revealing Himself to mankind is through the Scriptures. Our consciences must be bound to the Word of God. To do anything other is neither right nor safe.
I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.
– Martin Luther
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”. (Mt 4:4)
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him”. (Pr 30:5)