I keep going back to this passage in Ephesians 4:17-24
“17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[a] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
If I asked you, “How did you learn Christ? How did you come to know Jesus as Lord?”
What would you say?
Did you study the Scriptures and come to know the Living God?
Or did you hear His voice and believe it?
“39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” – John 5:39-40
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” – John 6:26
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life…” – John 6:35
“63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” – John 6:63
“47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God.” – John 8:47
“27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27
“17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
“3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh?” – Galatians 3:1-3
“22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” – Galatians 3:22
“12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” – Hebrews 3:12-15
“2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” – Hebrews 3:2
“20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20
Our minds are futile, we must have the mind of Christ. Our intellect is of no benefit at all. In fact, it must be crucified on the hill called “Skull”.
We know Christ because we hear his voice in our spirit and believe it and are born again taking on the mind of Christ through our resurrection from the dead.
We must be renewed in the Spirit of our minds, the flesh is no help at all. Our intellects are flesh.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. 21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! – Psalm 107:19-21
About a month ago Henry was horsing around on his bed and he let’s out a holler like he was in serious pain. Turns out he had a q tip in his ear… while jumping around on the bed, and he punctured his ear drum.
So we take him to the doctor and the doctor says the ear drum is about 50% perforated. He explained that he would need to take some ear drops to prevent infection but that we should give it some time to see if it healed on its own. He said normally with this big of a hole they don’t tend to heal up on their own but that they require surgery and the implantation of a new ear drum.
So it’s been about 4 weeks and Kitty was speaking with an ENT that she works with and he got a little frustrated about what he other doc had said. He went on to adamantly explain that a 50% perforation will never heal on it’s own and tat Henry will require surgery, guaranteed, and that it’s something he specializes in. He was incredibly kind and offered to have Kitty bring Henry in for a free examination (the other exam was going to cost us another $400) and then he’d let us know what the best next steps would be.
This morning before I left for work Kitty and I prayed over Henry laid our hands on his ear and asked the Lord to heal his ear in Jesus’ name. To heal it completely and totally so that no surgery or any other medical treatment would be required.
So just before lunch Kitty called me to let Henry give me the update and the boy says, “God healed me!” His ear is fine.
Kitty explained that the Doc looked in his ear and that his face was in shock, he said, “it looks like there’s never been anything wrong with his ear”. Kitty replied, “shouldn’t there be some scar tissue at least”. Doc said, “yes”. Just to be sure there wasn’t some kind of small hole that they couldn’t see visually they did another test that examines pressure in the ear to see if there truly is any kind of hole whatsoever. No pressure loss, no hole. His ear is totally and completely healed.
Kitty asked about a audio hearing test and the Dr seemed unconcerned and said we don’t need one, the ear looks 100% fine.
Jesus is the great physician. He hears our prayers and he heals us from our hurts.
But he doesn’t just heal our physical bodies, he does a lot more than that. He heals our spirit from the condition it’s in. Our condition is that we are dead because of sin, our spirit has already died and one day so too will our physical bodies. But if we will hear (with spiritual ears that God grants us!) the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the remission of sin, and in hearing the Word of God, repent of our sin and believe on the Lord, then he will heal us completely from our sad state of death. We will be set from from the penalty of sin and he will progressively grant us freedom from the power of sin and one day he will even set us free from the very presence of sin.
The Lord heals and he does so to the uttermost.
I pray that if you would hear this good news today that you would repent (changed your mind concerning your sin) and believe (have faith) in the good news of Christ crucified and risen for the remission of sin. I pray that the Lord would heal you from your sickness, granting you total and complete victory over any disease, deficiency and even death, in Jesus name. Amen.
PS. I took this picture of Henry’s ear about a year ago. And his right ear is the one that was hurt. But that being said, I saved this thinking, “one day I think I’m going to want to share this”.
The following is a story from the Facebook Page “Accepted By Grace” by Jeanette Kelley and I thought it was worth sharing here. Here is a direct link to Jeanette’s blog if you’re interested in visiting it as well. I pray this blesses you. Accepted By Grace Blog
Isaiah 65:24 :- “Before they call, I will answer.”
This is a testimony written by a doctor who worked in Africa.
One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities.
Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.
Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). “And it is our last hot water bottle!” she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.
“All right,” I said, “put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.”
The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.
During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. “Please, God” she prayed, “Send us a hot water bottle today. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.”
While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, “And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?”
As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say “Amen?” I just did not believe that God could do this.
Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas – that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.
Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the…..could it really be?
I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.
Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!”
Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, “Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?”
“Of course,” I replied!
That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.
And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child – five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it “that afternoon.”
“Before they call, I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24)
When you receive this, say a prayer. That’s all I ask. No strings attached. Then just send it on to whomever you want to – but do send it on. Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let’s continue to trust in God with all our heart. What a faithful God we serve.
This is a really great story. I’ve heard countless stories like this through out my life. Stories of God’s divine providence working in ways that illustrate so clearly his omnipotence, omniscience and most of all his omnibenevolence.
What I think is really worth noting in this story though is the part where the sender of the package “heard” God and “obeyed” him.
This was a very specific prayer request. There’s no Bible verse to turn to here, no chapter and verse that applies to this situation. But the living God, the Holy Spirit spoke specifically to a person, they heard his voice, believed Him and obeyed Him and their faith was honored by the Lord.
THIS is the normal Christian life. Hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord. This is what it means to “abide” in Christ.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema, that which is uttered by a living voice) of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
“Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” – John 18:37
“24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” – Mark 4:24-25
“26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26
“12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” – John 16:12-15
“20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[d] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life.
26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” – 1 John 2:20-27
“20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” – Revelation 3:20-22
Anybody else have a story like this? Something where you know you heard the Lord speak to you and you obeyed his voice? And then he showed himself to honor your faith? Would love to hear it if so!
I recently had this exchange with a friend on Facebook and I thought it might be worth sharing here.
“Jesus was a socialist.”
“Re: Jesus was a socialist.
Tell me more. Why do you believe that? Maybe you’re right. I don’t think you are but I’d be curious to hear why you believe that.
I assume you’re thinking of the whole “do unto others” command and the fact that his disciples shared all that they had in common with whoever had need, no?
I can see why people would look at the church in Acts (after Jesus ascended) and think that. But I don’t think there’s really much evidence to support that claim.
I would argue that Jesus is something wholly different.
He is a dictator. In the truest sense of the word. He dictates to the creation. It’s a one way communication.
He is an autocrat with only a Father that he submits to.
More accurately he is a Monarch. He’s not only a king but The King. By his own confession to Pilate at his trial (if you can call it that) he admits as much.
His rule is total, completely, without question. His commands are not optional but dictates to be followed, ultimatums to accept without question or reservation.
He also happens to be entirely benevolent. Supremely kind and undefinably gracious to his subjects.
His rule is perfect, no one has ever, at any point had anything on him. He is without question, perfect in all his ways and judgments.
But again he is a King, and he demands that all his subjects, rather the whole of creation, acknowledge him as sovereign and obey his commands or else wise perish.
The King, has rebels throughout his kingdom, he offers his subjects terms of peace. And the terms are exceedingly gracious. He calls them to repent (change their mind) of their rebellion (sin) and believe that he has already paid the just price for their lawless deeds by dying on the cross.
What’s more, he proves his dominion and ultimate power over all creation by resurrecting from the dead.
And now he patiently waits. Sending the Holy Spirit into the world to convict his subjects of their sin, to grant them repentance and belief in the good news of his atoning death.
But he doesn’t wait forever. He will return. And he will bring his recompense (repayment) with him.
I could start listing verses from scripture from Genesis to Revelation to support this if you care to see what I mean but I’m on my phone and it’s a little difficult.
Anyway, that ain’t a socialist. That’s a king.
The church is so often misunderstood to function in some worldly capacity but that’s not at all what it is. It’s not socialism, it’s not capitalism, it’s is a theocracy with Jesus Christ as absolute sovereign. His people did those things because he commanded them to. He commanded them to love one another as he had loved them. No greater love does a man have than he lay down his life for his friends. He calls us, his people, the rebels from before, his friends.
Jesus ain’t no socialist friend. He is a really, really, really good King.”
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians are incredibly interesting.
In both First and Second Thessalonians Paul addresses the eventual return of Jesus Christ for his people, the church, and what will happen before he comes to take them home.
In Second Thessalonians Paul says two things that have always struck me as particularly odd.
First, he mentions the coming of the “lawless one” being by the “activity” of Satan and that it will come with “all power and false signs and wonders”.
What do you believe these things will be? What kind of power, false signs and wonders to you think Satan is going to use to deceive so many?
Second, he mentions “God sends them a strong delusion”. So God himself will be sending unbelievers a strong delusion. The word delusion here in the Greek is “plane” and it means, “πλάνη plánē, plan’-ay; feminine of G4108 (as abstractly); objectively, fraudulence; subjectively, a straying from orthodoxy or piety:—deceit, to deceive, delusion, error.”
So God will be deceiving or deluding those who refused to love the truth. What has the Holy Spirit said to you about this? What do you hear him reveal to you about this delusion?
I see the news of abortionist Ulrich George Klopfer keeping the remains of thousands of aborted babies in his home as some sort of trophies and I can’t seem to think anything but to plead to Jesus Christ for mercy.
Lord have mercy. Have mercy on us all.
If you’ve ever read the book of Revelation there is a passage in chapter 8 that refers to there being “silence in heaven for about half an hour” after the Lamb (Jesus) opens the seventh seal, as a part of his righteous wrath against all sin and ungodliness.
Frankly, it’s terrifying.
In the midst of all the horrors that are taking place on earth as the Lord rightly judges his creation for sin, there is silence in heaven. I don’t know that I understand correctly why there is silence but right or wrong it’s always been my faith that it’s simply a sign of solemn sober mindedness about the gravity of the things which are about to take place. It gives a weight to the wrath of the Lamb that I’m not sure anything else could. All the heavenly host stand in silent awe of the wrath that Jesus Christ himself is about to release on the world because of sin.
There is nothing hidden from his sight. He sees everything. And he detest sin. He specifically detest the shedding of innocent blood and he will not let these things go unpunished. When Jesus Christ returns he will be bringing his recompense (repayment) with him and it will be a fearfully awesome thing.
And so I pray to the Lord, “Lord please have mercy. Have mercy on us all Lord. Have mercy on the abortionist, have mercy on those who have had abortions, have mercy on me a sinner who because of my own rebellion toward you I partook in sexual sins that lead to the greater sins of abortion and the shedding of innocent blood. Lord please have mercy on us all. Lord shelter us from the wrath that is coming.”
If you’re reading this I want you to know that the wrath of the Lamb is a very real thing. It is coming and it will be so awfully terrible I just want to be honest with you. These sins we’ve committed will not go unpunished, they will be dealt with by a righteous and holy God who detest sin and will put a complete and utter end to it.
But there is good news. There is shelter for you from this approaching judgement, from the wrath that is to come, and that shelter is Jesus Christ himself.
When Jesus Christ was crucified the full wrath of God the Father toward sin was poured out on him full force. Nothing was withheld from him. All the righteous and glorious anger that God has toward sin was totally and completely placed on Jesus as he suffered on the cross. The full weight and penalty for the sins of all mankind were born by the Son on the cross. The chastisement that was rightfully mine and yours, was placed on Him.
And so now there is a chance for you. There is a way out from the wrath that is to come.
You must trust in Jesus.
You must believe in his life, death and resurrection for the remission (forgiveness) of your sin. If you do this, if you repent and believe the good news of Jesus Christ he will spare you from his wrath that is to come.
Know that He is patient, He is kind, He is long suffering and steadfast in his love. He will forgive you of your sin. No matter how long your list of transgressions is the Lord will wipe the slate completely clean. He requires nothing of you but repentance and belief. He does not ask you to get your act together and even if you thought you could it wouldn’t be acceptable to him anyway.
He wants your faith. Trust him. Secure yourself in Jesus. Accept the free gift of salvation from your sin that he now offers you. Hide yourself in the cleft of the Rock who is to judge the world. Believe that while you were yet a sinner God demonstrated his love for you in this, that Christ died for you.
While the wrath of the Father against sin has been satisfied in the cross of Christ, know that the wrath of the Lamb is to come. Jesus is now offering to you his own broken body and shed blood as a covering for your sin. A shelter from the wrath to come.
But know this. For those who do not clothe themselves in the blood of the Lamb there is unspeakable wrath still coming for you. The King is coming and he is bringing his recompense for sin with him but before his does he has offered terms for peace. They are very, very generous terms. Repent of (change your mind concerning) your sin and trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ to be your only shelter from the righteous wrath of God toward sin.
Accept the King’s terms. They are so incredibly good. Don’t harden your heart toward him. If you hear the Lord calling you now, repent and believe. Don’t tarry. Believe today. Trust on the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Lord I pray that you would have mercy on anyone who would read this and believe the good news of Jesus Christ. Lord you are so kind, so merciful. Long suffering and stead fast in your love. Bring glory to your name Jesus. Have mercy on us all, rebels though we are. Grant us ears to hear your voice, grant us repentant hearts and minds about our sin, grace us with a changed mind that acknowledges our sin before you and joyfully accepts the free gift of salvation from our sin by the shed blood of the Lamb. Lord have mercy, have mercy on us all.”
1 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 was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:1-5
When we use or hear the term “the Word of God” spoken what do we understand that to mean? Typically, when someone mentions the “Word of God” they are making a reference to the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. But is that what John was referencing in the first chapter of his gospel? In a word, no.
It’s plain to even a casual reader and it’s orthodoxy to understand “The Word of God” John references in the above text is not the Bible, but Jesus. (See John 1:14-17)
So then is it wrong to call the Bible the “word of God”? Or is Jesus the Bible? Or is the Bible God? Well, no, to all three questions. The Bible is the “word of God”, Jesus is not the Bible nor is the Bible God but both are the “word” of God.
Confused? That’s okay, you’re in good company.
So what is the “Word of God”, what is it not and how do we know one from the other? To understand what the “Word of God” is we’re going to need to really clearly define some things and have a talk about semantics.
Semantics is simply a study of languages, words, and what those words mean. But before we can talk about the meaning of some of these word we first need to understand the differences between the words we read in our English Bibles and the Bible (the New Testament at least) as it was written in its original language, Greek.
Before we do that though, I want you to take a minute, stop reading and pray. Talk to the Lord. Ask him to speak to you, ask him to reveal to you the truth of what may or may not be said in this article. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your understanding so that by the Spirit you may receive understanding in spiritual things. Remember, “the flesh is no help at all.” If you go at this spiritual subject as an intellectual endeavor, a pursuit of the flesh, I suspect you will greatly struggle with it. However, if the Holy Spirit leads you I believe He will lead you and teach you perfectly, in perfect accordance with the Scriptures, that you might have the mind of Christ and know truth from error. So take a minute and pray. Really, just stop, and talk to the Lord for a bit and then we’ll pick this up again.
Great, so now that we’ve talked to the Lord and asked him to teach us, I believe he will, I hope you do too. So back to Greek and English.
Look, I’m not a Greek scholar or even an English one, but I don’t need to be to understand and explain some of the things I’m going to share here.
If you’ve ever studied a foreign language from your own native tongue what you’ll quickly realize is that while most words have a perfect translation in another language, meaning a word for word match, there are many words or expressions that simply don’t have a perfect translation, there’s not a match across the languages of what the word is attempting to describe.
For instance, “blue” in English is “azul” in Spanish. They mean the exact same thing. They mean a very specific color and there is no disagreement between the two words.
On the contrary there are words in Spanish that tend to have more nuance than their translation in English. Consider “Te amo” and “Te querio”. Both translate into English as “I love you” and while they do mean this, they actually have very specific nuances that if the two words were used inappropriately, the hearer might get the wrong idea. “Te querio” is more casual and typically used for friends and family while “Te amo” is more serious and romantic and typically intended for one’s spouse or romantic interest.
Even within the same language words can have very different meanings. In English, “football” means a particular sport in England where players use their feet to kick a round ball into a net to score points and a totally different thing in America where players throw an oblong ball and catch and run with it across a goal line in order to score points.
So the point is, words have meaning. And sometimes that meaning is “lost in translation”. So it is with the word “word” in English Bibles. The English word “word” simply isn’t sufficient to explain the nuance between the Greek words “logos” or “rhema” for which the English word “word” is used in English Bibles.
So when a person refers to the Bible, they’re referring to the Holy Scriptures. Well the Greeks had a word for the the “Scriptures” or the “Holy Writ” as it’s sometimes called. And the Greek word they used was “graphe”, which is the same Greek word we get the English words “write” or “written” from. “Graphe” in the Greek means a “a document, the Holy writ, Scripture”. And that’s all that it means. That’s the words plain meaning and it doesn’t have another meaning.
Most English Bible readers have no knowledge of the Greek word “graphe”. And did you know that the Greek word “graphe” is never (not once) translated into the English word “word” in any Bible? Ever. The “graphe” in Greek is always translated into English Bibles as the “Scriptures”. Take a look for yourself here.
So when we call the Bible the “word” we do something that not even the Bible itself does! The Bible never refers to itself as the “word” but always as the “scriptures” (the “graphe”).
But does that mean the Bible isn’t the “word of God”? Well, no. The Bible is absolutely the “word of God” but what we mean when we say that is that the Bible is a collection of writings that God himself spoke/wrote through human authors by divine inspiration. (2 Peter 1:20-21) So the Bible is certainly the “word of God”, it’s absolutely God’s words that he spoke and that he had his servants write, perfectly I might add, as his own personal testimony concerning himself and his creation. So the Bible can be correctly understood to be the word of God. It’s God’s own testimony, that’s why we call it the Old Testament and the New Testament. God, in his own words, is testifying here and his testimony is true, it is holy and it should be believed by anyone who would read it.
So what am I getting at? Well my point is this. There is still much confusion when most Christians use the term “the word of God.” Most of the time they’re using it to refer to the Bible when they really should be using it to refer to something else, namely, Jesus Christ or the indwelling voice of the Holy Spirit.
In short, what I’m saying is that the “Logos”, the “rhema” and the “graphe” are different words and they have very different meanings and because of the limitations of the English language we have really departed from a correct understanding of what’s being said in the Bible about both the Bible and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and these misunderstanding have incredibly important implications in the life and practice of any who would love and follow Jesus Christ as a disciple.
You’ll notice that whenever I write on this blog I try to use very specific language or words when referring to a particular thing. I rarely use the word Bible and most often refer to it as the Bible itself does as the “Scriptures”. My hope is to avoid this confusion that so much of Christendom has entered about this subject.
Personally I think it would be beneficial if Bible translators would simply stop using the English word “word” for the Greek words “logos” and “rhema” because even those two word have different nuances. So going forward I’ll simple refer to the “logos” as the logos and the “rhema” as the rhema and the “graphe” as the scriptures.
Below are the definitions of these three words according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. As you’ll see for yourself, the three words each have different meanings, that’s why there’s three of them! Ha!
“Logos” – Strong’s Word G3056 – “λόγοςlógos, log’-os; from G3004; something said (including the thought); by implication, a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation; specially, (with the article in John) the Divine Expression(i.e. Christ):—account, cause, communication, × concerning, doctrine, fame, × have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say(-ing), shew, × speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.
While the “logos” is an incredibly deep word with multiple entendre it can be best understood to mean “the Divine Expression” or God expressed as he’s chosen to reveal himself to his creation. Simply, the person, God the Son, Jesus Christ.
“Rhema” – Strong’s Word G4483 – ῥῆμαrhēma, hray’-mah; from G4483; an utterance (individually, collectively or specially),; by implication, a matter or topic (especially of narration, command or dispute); with a negative naught whatever:—+ evil, + nothing, saying, word.
Likewise, “rhema” is a word with deep meaning but it can more simply be understood to mean “an utterance, that which is uttered by a living voice“.
“Graphe” – Strong’s Word G1124 – γραφήgraphḗ, graf-ay’; from G1125; a document, i.e. holy Writ (or its contents or a statement in it):—scripture.
Finally, we see the Greek word “graphe” means “scripture” in English. So the Bible. So the word the Bible uses for the Bible is “graphe” and that word is never transliterated as the English word “word” in any English Bible. Ever. The “graphe” is always, correctly I would say, translated as the “scripture”.
In summary, the “logos” is the Divine Expression, Jesus Christ, the “rhema” is a thing uttered by a living voice (typically used in reference to the Holy Spirit speaking) and the “graphe” is the Holy Scripture, ie the Bible.
Now, why does all this matter? Why are these semantics significant? As I said above, because of this confusion most Christians unknowingly err when they use the term “the Word of God” and apply it to the Bible and not Jesus Christ or the utterance of the Holy Spirit and this is a very serious problem as it manifests itself in a whole host of problems in the life and practice of most believers.
My concern here is not semantics but rather the reality that so many Christians have unknowingly replaced the living Word (logos) of God, Jesus Christ, with his testimony the Holy Scriptures/Bible (graphe) and this is a tragedy.
We’ve replaced the living God with his letter. The man with his testimony. And so, instead of truly abiding in Jesus, the living Word of God, we are looking for the life only He can provide in a dead letter, the Holy Scriptures.
3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our[a] hearts, to be known and read by all.3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[b]
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – 2 Corinthians 3:1-6
We’ve become like the Jews who sought to kill Jesus in John, chapter 5.
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. – John 5:39-40
The life of Christ can’t be found in the Scriptures apart from the illumination of the Holy Spirit. We MUST head his voice (rhema) to have his life (logos), then and only then, will the Bible (graphe) benefit us in any real way.
Come back for Part 2 of “The Word of God, Part 2” as I hope to go into some examples of how all of this applies in the way many of us read and understand the Scriptures and therefore live out our faith in Christ.