o you ever struggle when people misuse the Bible to come up with strange positions that detour people from Jesus or even hurt others? At the heart of much of this misuse of scripture is usually some slogan or group of slogans that are present in Christian culture. It slowly forms our beliefs. What we believe determines how we live and function. Over time, slogans and words will lead to our culture being shaped.
One thing that I was raised with and became aware of, as I was trying to figure out what I believed, was how we talk about the Bible. Recently I have had a few conversations about the Bible being the “word of God”. I fear that if we don’t break this down, we run the risk of worshipping the Bible as equal or close to being equal to God Himself.
Now before I go any farther… I do believe that the Bible is the living and inspired “word of God”
Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path
The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.
However, I believe that the Bible points to God who’s story it is about and who give it authority.
Here is where the confusion sets in…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
I have heard people say, “The Bible is the word of God and that is what this verse is talking about.” There is a difference between “the Word of God” in John 1 and “the word of God” in Psalms 119 and Hebrews 4. You might be scratching your head thinking that I am splitting hairs, but I just played in a band that sang a song about our Bibles being the “Word of God” that we can find our hope in for a kids program. Our understanding (beliefs) about the Bible are being shaped subtly. This is where you get ideas about the Bible being fully dictated, taking it at its word without doing the work of interpretation, and people who use the Bible to hurt people at the far extreme of this.
LET ME BREAK JOHN 1 DOWN JUST A LITTLE AND TALK ABOUT WHAT “THE WORD” IS.
John is writing using the language of the Greek Philosophers of the time called Epicureans. The Epicureans were similar in thought to the deists (believed in a God who created the world but is currently not involved in it) of the 1700’s but had no theological definition or framework for understanding God at all. To the Epicureans, there were some nebulas being that was responsible for creation, was distant, and no one knew any details about this being. They called this creator or being “logos” in Greek. Logos translates to “the knowledge of God” or “Word”.
John used Epicurean wording to talk about Jesus. He built a bridge or connecting point to the Greek philosophers to introduce the gospel to them. He was basically saying, “you talk about the creator as a force (the Logos) that no one knows anything about. I know who the logos is. The logos is Jesus, and He came in human form. We have seen the logos walking among us.”
Jump a few verses down.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John is not talking about the Bible!
He was talking about Jesus, as John wrote a part of the Bible. You see, the Bible points to Jesus. Jesus is the central character and focus of the Bible.
Jesus made this statement to the religious people of His time:
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,
The Bible isn’t about the Bible. The Bible isn’t really about us getting instructions to live better. The Bible is about Jesus who is the Word (Logos) who became flesh and blood (so that we can see the Logos revealed in person) and who is our hope.