Tools of Faith: Word of God

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. [Matthew 5:5 ESV]

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. [Hebrews 4:11-13 ESV]

What is the Word of God? It is three things, interrelated and inseparable.

We know Scripture as the Word of God. This is not the place to discuss the Cannon and how writings were selected or rejected. I accept the work and discernment of those who developed the Canon. Yet, we find certain parts of the “Christian” world which added writings not included in the Canon, or changed the meanings of certain words and phrases translated from the original languages into something other than the excepted meaning.

Let’s set the foundation for our thinking. God’s revealed to those He divinely inspired to write down in their own language and with their own style and personality exactly what He wanted to say. His revelation is of things man could otherwise not know. In theology this is called special revelation. General revelation is the natural evidence left after God works in the universe and our world. Everyone can see general revelation though not everyone will accept the evidence which points toward God.

God wrote to a people so they might know Him both intellectually and intimately. He gave His Spirit to illuminate His Word so with whom He communicates might understand and rely upon Him to help them conform to His will. God’s Word, found in the 39 “books” of the Hebrew Scripture, or the Old Testament, and the 27 “books” of the New Testament, are both inerrant and infallible. They were written down in the original language by the original author communicating completely what God wanted to say without error either scientific or historical and without compromise of His character.

Translations of the Bible into other languages depend upon the stubborn meekness of those doing the work. The translators must relinquish control and allow God to work through them under His control. They retain their own personalities and use of language as servants of the Master. God is not revealing new information to them but equipping them to accomplish His work.

God distinctly warns everyone about maintaining the veracity and integrity of Scripture. Once at the beginning of Scripture and once at the end, in the fifth book and last book, God plainly tells man to neither add nor subtract from His revealed Word.

And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. [Deuteronomy 4:1-2 ESV]

And

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. [Revelations 22:18-19 ESV]

A proverb of Agur solidifies this thought:

Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
[Proverbs 30:5 ESV]

Secondly, there is a person known as the Word of God. He is Jesus. All of the evidence of Jesus’ life points to His divinity. His teaching about Himself and the miracles He did declared He is God. His life, death, burial and resurrection, all fulfilling Scripture, is incontrovertible evidence. Those who reject this evidence do not want to accept it. They do not want to believe Jesus is God, the incarnate, living Word of God.

The evidence of His miracles and the healing of persons are both general and special revelation. They are general revelation because they were done for the most part publicly regardless of spiritual bent of those watching or participating. The Pharisees, religious attorneys, and hangers on saw the evidence and interpreted it incorrectly because they did not want to believe Jesus was who He said He was. On the other hand, the disciples saw the evidence and came to a different conclusion. God revealed to them the truth, something they otherwise would not have known.

Peter declares Jesus the Christ midway through their time together. Jesus’ response it significant, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” [Matthew 16:17 ESV]. His disciples received a special revelation from God concerning the One they followed. Thus, when Peter declared Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, he used his words but the thought came from God. Then Jesus warned His disciples to tell no one. He would finish His work before giving them the command and power to tell everyone. God is still in control and will direct at His pleasure and according to His will. Those who are meek understand this and relinquish control to Him who is always in control.

Before His crucifixion Jesus taught, from the Hebrew Scripture, that He would suffer and die for the people of God. After His resurrection He explained more fully to His disciples how Scripture, the Word of God, was fulfilled.

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all Scriptures the things concerning himself. [Luke 24:25-27 ESV]

Finally, Jesus fulfilled Scripture because He is the Author of Scripture. He is the eternal Word of God who spoke into existence the physical universe and all created therein. He established the physical laws of the universe but is not constrained by them, for He stands outside of them. He is the embodiment of the moral laws because they are integral to who He is. He created man so He might have an intimate relationship with him. Being human, while retaining full divinity, did not compromise His eternal character. He placed Himself under the constraints of the physical laws while maintaining control over them. He lived fully under the moral law and died because of an immoral law. Raised from death, because death cannot hold God, He bought back from sin those with whom He desired an intimate relationship, because of His love for us not ours for Him.

The Word of God exemplifies the true meaning of meekness. God’s strength, in the universe, the Son, and the Scripture, given to us, under His control. We cannot change this truth.  When viewed completely the Word of God is not just a tool but the foundation of life.

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