Let’s face it. I’ve lived near the buckle of the Bible belt my whole life. This means I’m quite fluent in “Christianese“. You know what I mean – the language we use in church that is meaningful to us, but somewhat incomprehensible to those from the outside. Anybody want to be “washed in the blood” today? A rather icky picture, unless you’re familiar with it and understand what is being said through the phrase.
The difficulty here is that even though I’m an insider, and familiar with all the jargon, sometimes bible-belt-speak uses terminology in less that fully biblical ways. For instance, “worship” can come to refer merely to a congregational expression of worship through singing and music rather than the rich, varied, and nuanced concept of worship we find in the Bible. Being “born-again” can come to refer to repeating a sinner’s prayer, rather than the transformational experience of completely changing your source of life and identity.
One of the phrases that is most common for us is “the Word of God”. I have to admit that because of my upbringing, when I hear this phrase I immediately think of the Bible. While this phrase certainly includes that which is contained in scripture, to understand God’s Word simply as scripture doesn’t match what scripture itself says about God’s Word. If we allow the Bible to speak authoritatively into our definition of God’s Word, we will discover that our use and understanding of the phrase “the Word of God” needs to be broadened quite a bit.
During the next few posts I’m going to be talking about “the Word of God”, hoping to change the way I think about that phrase.
I will begin with these verses from John’s gospel which show us that more than being words in a book, God’s Word is ultimately God himself revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
When scripture speaks of God’s Word, you will often discover that scripture isn’t talking about scripture. In this case, scripture is talking about Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God. God’s Word is a person, not just a book.
And the Word became 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.