The Bible is the Word of…
The Bible is the greatest book of literature ever produced in the whole history of the world. Beyond the extraordinary nature of its literary contribution, it carries a multitude of descriptive self-attributes. Let us consider just a few of them.
First, the Bible is the word of God (Acts 4:31; Heb 4:12; Rev 20:4). God has spoken, and anyone who has compared the Bible with other religious books can immediately tell the difference. When God speaks, it is obviously with authority. There is profound wisdom in the Bible, simply not found in any other book. Wisdom is not sparse on the pages of Scripture. God’s perspective on a plethora of topics is offered as a blessing, to all who believe God has spoken to us through His Word. If God has spoken, we who are made by Him should listen to Him.
Second, the Bible is the word of truth (Ps 119:160; 2 Cor 6:7). God is true (Rom 3:4), and Jesus Christ is the truth (Jn 14:6). He is the Word enfleshed (Jn 1:14), by whom God has spoken to us in these latter days (Heb 1:2). The Bible is God’s revealed truth about everything God has chosen to reveal to man, regarding the Trinity and salvation. This includes the truth about God and the truth about man. In a world of lies, ruled by the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4), the father of lies (Jn 8:44), the truth liberates the believer of truth. Man is encouraged to taste and see that God is good (Ps 34:8), and saporific is the word of truth. The Bible is the word of God, the word of truth.
Third, the Bible is the word of the Cross (1 Cor 1:18). Here is the centerpiece of God’s message to mankind. Christ Jesus and His Cross are keys to understanding all of Scripture. The Cross is where Jesus Christ laid down His life for His people (Jn 10:11, 15). It is an historical event told by Christian preachers. One has not preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ unless he has explained the Cross of Calvary (1 Cor 2:2). Christians know this is the power of God unto salvation for believers (Rom 1:16); while unbelievers think it is foolishness (1 Cor 1:23). Only the Bible can tell us the truth about Christ and His Cross.
Fourth, the Bible is the word of life (Phil 2:16; 1 Jn 1:1). The Apostle John identifies Jesus as the word of life, who the apostles held with their hands (against the Gnostics). Christ came from heaven and became man (Jn 1:14). He gives eternal life to everyone God the Father gave to Him (Jn 6:37). The life of Christ is the life of God. The life of God is abundant and eternal (Jn 10:10; 17:3). Together, the Holy Spirit and the Word give life (Jn 6:63).
Words have the power of life and death in them. God’s word is life. In addition to the living word, Christ Jesus, there is the written word of life, the Bible, which is held fast by Christians. Peter and the other apostles knew Jesus had the words of eternal life, which kept them near to their Lord, even when others abandoned Him (Jn 6:68). Life is given to those who hear the word of life, accompanied by grace to believe (Acts 13:48; Rom 10:17; Eph 2:8–9).
Fifth, the Bible is the word of His grace (Acts 14:3; 20:32). The message, preached by Christians from the Bible, is the word of His grace. God is gracious to extend grace upon grace to His people. It is an error for Christian preachers to preach the Law without grace, and grace cannot be understood without the preaching of the Law. The whole purpose of the Law of God is to expose, and even intensify sin, so that men can clearly see their need for God’s grace to save them (Eph 2:8–9).
When sinful man humbly submits to the truth about his irreparable brokenness (something only believers do), God extends grace to him, through the knowledge of what God has done in Christ. God sends a preacher of grace to the elect sinner, and the sinner hears of God’s grace in Christ toward her. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ (Rom 10:17). We extend God’s grace, when we speak of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the riches of His glorious grace toward us. Because of the word of His grace, the now regenerate sinner repents from sin, religion, and self.
Sixth, the Bible is the word of Christ (Rom 10:17; Col 3:16). Christ is the Son of God and the Word made flesh (Jn 1:14). Born again believers take in the word of Christ, which dwells in our hearts and minds. The word of Christ imparts to us the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), which is understood by the indwelling Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9, 11). The Bible is a collection of books with God in Christ as the central figure. The Old Testament spoke about the coming Christ. Christ Himself spoke during His earthly ministry. He affirmed the Scriptures that affirmed Him. The New Testament epistles grant a Spirit-led interpretation of Christ. When a Christian reads the Bible, the word of truth, the Spirit sanctifies her into conformity to Christ (Jn 17:17; Rom 8:29).
Seventh, the Bible is God’s word of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19). God’s will and purpose, in part, is to be glorified through His work in salvation. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. We employ the word of reconciliation, in the ministry of reconciliation, as ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). This is the privilege of participating in telling others about how God has removed the wall of separation between Himself and sinners (Eph 2:14). We speak of Christ’s death upon the Cross, which tore the veil of separation in the Temple at Jerusalem. This was a symbol of partition.
Through the shed blood of Christ, God’s people may now approach His holiness without fear of immediate death. Christ is called the Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5). We have a great High Priest who has entered the presence of God in heaven (Rom 8:34), and who remains there to ever make intercession for us (Heb 7:25). We have open access to the throne of God because we are now at peace with God through reconciliation, and we possess the peace of God, which is Christ Himself (Eph 2:14).
Eighth, the Bible is the word of His power (Heb 1:3). Jesus Christ sustains the universe by the word of His power. This is as profound a truth as man can comprehend. There is a man on the throne of God who gives life to everything. All things are ordered by His providence. In Him, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). If Christ were not omnipotent, then His promises would be unbelievable. All things are possible with God (Mt 19:26), and apart from Christ we can do nothing (Jn 15:5).
The claims of Christ are remarkable, but every one of them is untenable without Almighty power. During His earthly ministry Jesus could calm the storm with a word (Mk 4:39). He could cast out demons with a word (Mt 8:28–34). He could heal a soldier’s son in a different city with a word (Jn 5:46–54). He could make a fig tree die with a word (Mt 21:19). For a couple thousand years, multitudes have given witness to God’s word powerfully saving them from sin, death, and Satan. Who will believe their report? No one, without the power of God’s word giving them faith (Rom 12:3; Gal 3:22; Phil 1:29; Jas 1:21).
Ninth, the Bible is the word of faith (Rom 10:9). The word of Christ richly dwells within the heart of the regenerate Christian. The Holy Spirit, who is the divine author of the Bible (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20–21), puts the Law of God, that is, the word of God into the heart of born again believers (Jer 31:33; Ezek 37:14). The produce of this work of the Spirit is faithfulness (Gal 5:22). The word of their testimony is a word of faith in the word of Christ, which is the word of God. Faith is gift of God to His elect (Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29; 2 Tim 2:19; 2 Pet 1:1).
God imparts faith when the Holy Spirit takes up residence with the heart of the elect (Rom 8:9; 2 Tim 1:14). What is in the heart is known by what is spoken by each person’s tongue (Prov 15:28; Mt 15:18; Rom 10:8). The word of faith can be heard, when the word of God is on the lips of God’s people, who believe it (Rom 10:9–10), for the word of Christ richly dwells in them.
Tenth, the Bible is the word of the gospel (Acts 15:7). The Bible is good news for those who have received the grace of faith. The gospel is as succinct as Christ died, Christ was buried, Christ, risen from the dead (1 Cor 15:3–4). It is as broad as Genesis to Revelation. Christ Himself is the gospel of God (Rom 1:1, 9). When one hears the good news about Jesus, she is hearing the word of the gospel. This gospel is not only to be believed, but it is to be obeyed (1 Pet 4:17). The obedience of faith is one’s trust in God’s good news, proclaimed so that men might hear and believe it unto salvation.
Eleventh, the Bible is the word of righteousness (Heb 5:13). The Bible is to be learned. God has revealed Himself to us, and He grants for us to know all that He has determined to show us of Himself. We must begin to learn the Bible, and then we grow in grace and knowledge (2 Pet 3:18) like babies move from milk to meat (Heb 5:13; 1 Pet 2:2).
Righteousness is right standing with God. It is a gift of God (Rom 5:17). Christians have right standing with God because Christ’s perfect righteousness has been imputed to us (Rom 5:19; 1 Cor 1:30). When a Christian reads the Bible and understands her legal standing before Almighty God, she has received the word of righteousness, and this righteousness is reckoned to her by faith (Rom 4:6, 13). This is one of the important objects of learning Scripture, receiving God’s word and also Christ’s right standing.
In summary, we have surveyed some descriptive titles given in the Bible about Christ and the Bible. The word of God is self-explanatory. It is profitable for us who read it and believe (2 Tim 3:16). Like a double-edged sword (Heb 4:12) to keep us secure on the pilgrim’s journey and in the fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12), we confess a prophetic word made more sure (2 Pet 1:19). God’s word is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path (Ps 119:115). The umbrageous unbeliever will ever be offended by the Bible, simply because He does not have the Spirit of God indwelling him (Rom 8:9).
In conclusion, we must be more zealous for God’s word because of what it is and for the benefits of what it does. May we all become more like Apollos, who was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24). Have you not heard? Is it not written? Search the Scriptures in search of salvation (Jn 5:39), and examine them as Bereans desirous of truth (Acts 17:11), so that you might not just be a hearer of the word but a doer of it, demonstrating that Jesus is the Christ, our only hope and our salvation.
David E. Norczyk
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 14, 2021