Is the Bible the Word of God?

Is the Bible the Word of God?
The Bible never claims to be the Word of God; nevertheless, multiplied thousands of honest-hearted believers insist that the Bible is the Word of God. So,"What is the Word of God?"
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Is the Bible the Word of God?

The Real Word of God

My friends, can any of us any longer cling to the conviction that the Bible is itself the Word of God? The Word of God is alive, and it gives life! It is far sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating the souls of men and discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12; 1Pet. 1:23, 25). Who among us will any longer insist that God’s Word is a book, when all the evidence is evenly and sensibly weighed? Doesn’t it now strike you as strange that the book which so many call “the Word of God” itself tells us otherwise?

The life-giving Word of God is inward light; it is the guidance of God which comes from His Spirit to ours. For this reason, the Spirit is called the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). If the Scriptures were the actual Word of God, they could give life. But they aren’t, and they can’t. Jesus said so. Jesus strongly condemned those in his day who trusted the Scriptures to give them life (Jn. 5:39-40).

According to the Bible, the Word of God is the communication of God with men, which is the Word those men are then expected to proclaim “upon the house tops.” The covenant God made with Abraham and the Law of Moses which confirmed it are called the Word of God because God Himself communicated with Abraham and with Moses (2Chron. 16:15; 34:21; 35:6; Ps. 105:8; Isa. 9:8; Hab. 3:9; Hag. 2:5; cp. Gal. 5:14; Heb. 12:19).

The Word is always a thing to be preached, not read (Mk. 2:2; Acts 8:4, 25; 10:36; 11:19; Tit. 1:3, etc.)! To “preach the Bible”, as some boast of doing, does not at all mean that one is declaring the Word of God. Remember, Satan quoted Scripture to entrap Jesus. He had to quote the Scripture, for he had no Word of God for Jesus. But ministers of God are called “ministers of the Word” (Lk. 1:2), and preaching is called the “ministry of the Word” (Acts 6:4), because “He whom God has sent speaks the words of God” (Jn. 3:34).

The man sent from God is not confined to the Words which other men have heard from God. Prophecies are called the Word of God many, many times (Jer. 28:9; 32:8; Lam. 2:17; Ezek. 12:25,28; Mk. 14:72; Lk. 2:26-29; 22:61; Col. 1:25-26), and in no such cases were those prophecies mere readings from the Bible. Jesus’ prophecy of Peter’s denial of him is called the Word (Mk. 14:72; Lk. 22:61), and it was, of course, a brand new prophecy. Indeed, everything Jesus ever said was the Word of God, for he spoke only what His Father told him to say (Jn. 8:28; 12:49-50).

The prophets, moved by the sheer power of the Word that came to them, sometimes “cried out in the word of the Lord” (1Kgs. 13:2). A prophecy that fails, by the way, is not the Word of God (Deut. 18:21-22; cp. 2Kgs. 10:10), except in cases such as Jonah’s. The people of Nineveh, whom Jonah prophesied would be destroyed, repented in fear of God’s Word against them, and God mercifully withheld his wrath. His forgiveness, then, became His new Word for Nineveh, just as true as would have been His previous Word of destruction had they not repented.

Moreover, the Word can be, and has been corrupted at times by unfaithful servants of God (2Cor. 2:17; 4:2). It can be corrupted because men who have received the Word from God can be influenced by money, the fear of men, or other things, to communicate the Word incompletely or with respect of persons (1Kgs. 22:13; 2Chron.18:12; Jer.23:28; 26:2). Faithful delivery of the Word can even be hindered by traditions of religious men (Mk. 7:13; 2Thess. 3:1). And to speak very honestly, it is by those who teach that the Bible is the Word of God that the true Word of God is most frequently contradicted when it is revealed.

There have been men who walked so close to the heart of God that their word was enforced by God as His own. We are told that on one occasion in Egypt, “the Lord did according to the word of Moses” (Ex. 8:13, 31). Of course, we know that Moses was not giving the orders. God had sent him into Pharaoh’s presence to say what God had told him to say. On another occasion, we are told that God forgave Israel its transgression “according to Moses’ word” (Num. 14:20), after Moses fervently prayed for Israel’s pardon. God gave to Elijah the power both to stop or start the rain. Only “according to my word”, said Elijah, would the rains return to Israel (1Kgs. 17:1). But James reveals that Elijah did not “claim it by faith” or cling to some Scripture, thinking to “stand on the word”; rather, it was that he “prayed earnestly that it might not rain” (Jas. 5:17). It was in response to the “fervent prayer of a righteous man” that God stopped the rain, and by the same earnestness in prayer, the rains started again forty-two months later (1Kgs. 18:41-45), but even at that, Elijah’s latter prayer for rain was only in response to the Word of God, which came saying to Elijah that it was time for the rains to come again (1Kgs. 18:1). Elijah’s word would have meant no more than anyone else’s word, had he not first heard from God.

After Elijah’s departure from this life, God struck the Syrian army blind “according to the word of Elisha” (2Kgs. 6:18). And what was Elisha’s word? It was an humble, prayerful request that God would strike the enemies of Israel with blindness (2Kgs. 6:18). The pronouncement, or word, of any man is only as authoritative as its source. If that word comes from the heart of a man led by the Spirit, that word is worth hearing and will never die, but the word of an unrighteous man is of little worth.

Seeing, then, that there were some who walked so closely to God that God performed the words that proceeded from their mouths, it is no wonder that the faithful among God’s people also did according to the word of those men. Israel did according to the word of both Moses and Joshua (Ex. 12:35; Num. 27:21), as did the sons of Levi at Mount Sinai (Ex. 32:28), and Aaron with his sons (Lev. 10:7). Jesus prayed that his Father would reward those who responded in faith to the word of his disciples (Jn. 17:20), their word being, of course, the preaching of the gospel, preaching which, according to Peter, was only possible if inspired by the holy Ghost sent from heaven (1Pet. 1:12). Any plan if action can be referred to as a “word” (cp. Ezr. 10:5), and we might say that the gospel is God’s Word, or plan of action, for those who would be saved. And so, only those who are sent by God with His plan of action for salvation are truly preaching the Word.

It is by the word of men who are anointed to do the work of God that disputes among the saints are to be settled (Deut. 18:21). As the Lord of all righteousness, Jesus will settle all disputes when he judges men in the final White Throne judgment by the Word he speaks (Jn. 12:48). He was given this authority from the Father. He does not speak his own words, but the Father’s (Jn. 14:24). God the Father is the only real authority there is anywhere. All power is His, and there is no power except by Him (Rom. 13:1). Only His Word prevails.