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What About God's Word

God, in His infinite wisdom, decided to have His words recorded for us in the Holy Bible. He inspired prophets, apostles, and others to write down what He wants us to know. Beginning with the Book of Genesis, God reveals Himself to us in the Bible, with the process of revelation concluding triumphantly in the person of Jesus Christ. The Word of God in the Bible is the Truth, and it is eternal (John 17:17, 1 Peter 1:25). God does not give us permission to change His Word (Deuteronomy 4:2).


We commonly and correctly think of the entire contents of the Bible as being the Word of God, but in a more focused sense, the phrase "The Word" is also used in the Bible to refer to Jesus Himself: "He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is The Word Of God" (Revelation 19:13). In his Gospel, John says that "In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God" (John 1:1). He also says "And the Word became flesh and lived among us" (John 1:14). So, in essence, God's Word and His purpose and promises for us are all embodied in Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 1:20, speaking about Jesus, Paul says "For as many are the promises of God, they all find their answer in Him." See also Colossians 1:19-20.


There is power in God's Word. The written words in the Bible are an expression of God's will, and they include words spoken by Jesus Himself, as given to Him by God (John 17:8). They give us a powerful blueprint for how God wants us to live. James tells us "Do not merely listen to The Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22). Jesus likens those who obey His words to the wise man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25). In another sense, the literal power of God's Word is evident in the Old Testament when the universe is created by His command (Genesis 1), and we see this power in the New Testament when Jesus calms the sea (Luke 8:23-24), commands demons to depart from people (Matthew 8:16, Mark 9:17-27), and raises the dead (Luke 8:49-55, John 11:1-44). The power and authority given to Jesus were evident in all that He said and did.


Importantly for us, Jesus was also given the power to reconcile sinners to God. In Colossians 1:22, Paul tells us "Yet now has Christ reconciled you in the body of His flesh through death, in order to present you holy and faultless and irreproachable in His presence." And we are told in Acts 4:12 and John 14:6 that Jesus is the only way to our salvation. If we accept Jesus as our personal savior, confess our sins, and follow His commands and example, we can have our sins forgiven and gain the hope of eternal life. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). We must remember, however, that our salvation is always contingent upon our faith (Colossians 1:23, John 6:35, Romans 4:16, Romans 5:1, 1 Peter 1:8-9). We must have strong and unwavering faith, believing and absolutely trusting in God and Jesus, to gain the reward of eternal life. Fanny Crosby, the American hymn writer, captured this truth beautifully in this verse from Blessed Assurance: "Perfect submission, all is at rest; I in my Savior am happy and blest, watching and waiting, looking above, filled with his goodness, lost in his love."


Thus, the Bible contains God's powerful Word in a number of different contexts. It is certainly important for us to read and live by His Word as it is recorded for us in the Bible. If you are not in the habit of reading the Bible, a good place to start might be the Lectionary Readings printed in the church bulletin each week. Near the end of the Bible, speaking of the revelation given to him, the apostle John says "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the word of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it, for the time is near" (Revelation 1:3). Weighty words for us to ponder. But we should also remember that God's Word is ultimately embodied and manifested in the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior. The Disciple Group suggests that you think about your priorities and that you set aside time regularly to read the Bible, but that you also set aside time regularly to be in prayer with Jesus, God's Incarnate Word.