The Journal of Biblical Accuracy
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The Word of God is:

II Timothy 3:16-17 is a passage of fundamental importance for the understanding of the identity and usefulness of the Bible. It says there:

II Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture IS given by inspiration of God, and IS profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

In this passage I have given special emphasis to the word "is" that is used there and which, as we all probably know, is used to identify, characterise or describe something. According therefore to the above passage, the Bible or Scripture IS given by inspiration of God or, as the Greek reads, is God-breathed1. This means that author of the Bible is God who breathed it, produced it, and therefore the Bible is the Word of God. Apart from this, the above passage also tells us that the Bible IS useful, counting four reasons that make it useful. More analytically, it tells us that the Bible is useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Thus, and since the title of this article is: "The Word of God is", we have already some things that this Word is. The first of these regards the identification of the God-breathed Word with the Bible, while the second the usefulness of this Word for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness "that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

However, these are not the only things that the Word of God is. Below we will consider some additional things that it is, that will also help us to appreciate its worth and usefulness better.

1. God's Word: what God has magnified most

I believe that there would not be any better way to start this survey than by hearing the opinion that God has for His Word. To see this opinion we will go to Psalms 138:2. There we read:

Psalm 138:2
"For you [referring to God] have magnified your Word above all your name"

According to this passage, God has magnified His Word even above all His name. Bearing in mind, that there is not something higher than God, whom His name express, we can easily understand that what God wants to tell us here is that He has magnified His Word above everything else. If we want therefore a right evaluation of the worth of the Word of God, here is the evaluation that God Himself has made:for Him there is not something worthier than His Word.

2. God's Word: food for life

Having seen the top position that God has given to His Word, let's move ahead to see some other things that this Word is, starting from Matthew 4:4. There Jesus Christ said:

Matthew 4:4
"It is written, "MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE...."

Many people think that bread and generally physical food is the only thing they need to live. Though it is true that physical food is needed to survive and to satisfy the physical hunger, yet, according to Jesus Christ , there is something else that is needed to make our lives something more than a simple survival. What is this? The answer is given in the same verse:

Matthew 4:4
"It is written, "MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD"

According to this passage, to make your life a real abundant life and not just a survival, you need "every word that proceeds from the mouth of God", i.e. you need the Word of God. As I Peter 2:2 tells us:

I Peter 2:2
"as new-born babes, desire the pure milk of the WORD, that you may grow thereby"

The new-born babes cannot live without milk. They get up from their sleep and cry because they want milk. Similarly, as the new-born babes cannot do without milk so our lives cannot do without the milk of the Word of God. We do not have to decide whether we need the milk of the Word or not. It is a FACT that we need it. As it is a fact that to physically survive we need to eat something, so it is A FACT, an unaltered reality, that in order to really live we need the Word of God.

3. God's Word: the truth

After we saw that the Word of God is as necessary for our lives as the milk for a new-born baby, let's move ahead to see what else this Word is. What we are going to read happened during the investigation of Jesus by Pilate (John 18:33-38). During this investigation Pilate made one question that has probably been asked by many people since then. Pilate's question was made in response to Jesus saying that he came to the world to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37), and can be found in John 18:38:

John 18:38
"Pilate said to him [Jesus] , "What is truth?"

Pilate's question is not at all uncommon. Many people, and in fact many of us, may have asked it in some stage of our lives. It is vital therefore to find the answer to this question. This answer is given in John 17. There, Jesus Christ, just little before his arrest prayed to God and said:

John 17:14, 17
"I have given them [the disciples] Your word....Sanctify them in Your word. YOUR WORD IS TRUTH"

The answer to the truth-question is very simple and plain: THE WORD OF GOD IS TRUTH. The Bible, being the Word of the one true God, is the truth upon which we can base our lives without any fear that we will be ever let down. It is this Word that speaks about Jesus Christ, "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6) and the wonderful things that he accomplished for us. It is this Word that says that if you confess the Lord Jesus and believe that God raised him from the dead you will be saved (Romans 10:9). This is not just a positive word. It is not another religious word. It is the TRUTH. If you do it you will certainly be saved and if you do not do it you will certainly continue to be without salvation. The truth is truth. You cannot change it. You cannot alter it. It is UNALTERED. You can either accept it or reject it.

On the contrary, the lie has thousands of facets. Hundreds of ideas, philosophies and religions are going around claiming a position in our minds. A lifetime's period may be enough to count the birth and death of dozens of them. Man needs to continuously update his philosophies and theories to be "in accordance" with time. Had they been truth they would not need updating. The truth is truth today, tomorrow and after a thousand or a million years. And it is only THE WORD OF GOD, the truth, that has this eternal duration. As I Peter 1:23 says:

"having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD WHICH LIVES AND ABIDES FOREVER"

Also: I Peter 1:25
"BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you."

The Word of God endures forever. It does not need updating. The God that backed up this Word two thousands years ago, is the same God today as well. As James 1:17 says:

James 1:17
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, WITH WHOM THERE IS NO VARIATION OR SHADOW OF TURNING"

Sometimes just few minutes are enough for men to change their minds. "Variations" and "turnings" are so frequent with men. But with GOD there is no variation and not even the slightest shadow of turning. God's Word being truth and backed up by a God that does not change is certainly the surest foundation for our lives and the only thing upon which we can lean without any fear that we will be ever let down.

4. God's Word: a pure Word

One of the characteristics that truth by definition has is purity. The question therefore is: is the Word of God pure and if yes how much pure is it? To see the answer to this question we will go to the book of Psalms. There we read:

Psalms 12:6
"The words of the Lord are PURE WORDS, like silver tried in a furnace of the earth, purified seven times"

Psalms 119:140
"YOUR WORD IS VERY PURE; therefore your servant loves it"

The Word of God is not a word with impurities. It is not a word for which you have to apologise for its "mistakes" nor a word that needs to be refined before usage. Instead, it is a PURE word and in fact so much pure "as silver tried in a furnace of the earth, purified seven times" i.e. it could not be purer. That's why we love it ("THEREFORE [as a result] your servant loves it"). Its purity, perfection and accuracy really reflects the purity, perfection and accuracy of its author: GOD

5. God's Word: the source of rejoicing

We have already seen quite a few things that the Word of God is. However, the list does not stop here. In Psalms 119 we learn for another effect that this Word has:

Psalms 119:162
"I REJOICE at your Word as one who finds great treasure"

Also: Psalms 119:14
"I HAVE REJOICED in the way of your testimonies as much as in all riches"

Many people try to find rejoicing through the possession of great amounts of money. However, as we saw you cannot live with bread alone, and money is not and cannot buy the ingredient that can give you real life and real rejoicing. What is this ingredient? The Word of God. The Word of God, apart from all the things that by now we have seen that it is, it also brings great rejoicing. In fact, it brings so much rejoicing as the rejoicing of the one "who finds a great treasure". You do not need to earn the lottery to rejoice. What you need is just to go to the Word, study it, believe it and keep it in your heart. Every time that you do that your rejoicing will be so great as the rejoicing of the one who finds a great treasure. Isn't really marvellous that we have such a constant source of rejoicing! It is not a rejoicing dependant on the conditions, the "luck" or other things but on God and His wonderful Word, the Bible.

6. God's Word: A lamp to our feet

Another thing that the Word of God is, can be found in Psalms 119:105 and II Peter 1:19 It says there:

Psalms 119:105
"YOUR WORD IS A LAMP TO MY FEET AND A LIGHT TO MY PATH"

Also II Peter 1:19
"And so we have the prophetic word2 more sure, WHICH YOU DO WELL TO HEED AS A LIGHT THAT SHINES IN A DARK PLACE, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts"

To walk in a path you necessary need light. Either the light is physical or artificial, the fact is that without it you cannot walk. The path of life is not an exception to this rule. To walk in this path you need light to lighten it. Where are you going to find this light? According to the above passages, the answer is to the Word of God. By following the Word of God, you will be like walking in a path full of light. As Psalms 84:11 and I John 1:5 say:

Psalms 84:11
"For the Lord God IS A SUN..."

I John 1:5
"GOD IS LIGHT AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL."

God is like a sun3. Following therefore His Word is like following a path lighten by as much light as the light of its author, i.e. as the light of God.

7. If the Word is not our delight......

Probably you understand better the significance of something when you become aware of what would happen if you did not have it. In the above we exposed some of the things that the Word of God is and therefore we can easily understand by them, what we would lose if we did not have it. In Psalms however, there is a passage that does not speak in terms of the benefits from the Word but in the converse way i.e. in terms of what will happen if the Word is not our delight. In Psalms 119:77, David said by revelation:

Psalms 119:77
"your law is my delight"

For David, the Word of God (the "law" in David's time and administration) was his delight. To see now what would happen if the Word was not his delight, we do not have but to go just fifteen verses ahead. Indeed, verse 92 tells us:

Psalms 119:92
"UNLESS YOUR LAW HAD BEEN MY DELIGHT, I WOULD THEN HAVE PERISHED IN MY AFFLICTION"

Sometimes difficult periods may come, in which there may be some temporal, light affliction (II Corinthians 3:17 and I Peter 1:6). However, this does not mean that in those times the Word of God stops to be the constant source of rejoicing, the lamp to our feet, and the food for our lives. There is no situation, no circumstance that can make the Word less bright than it is or make it lose its value. God is the same powerful and loving God both in good and in bad situations. His Word is the same trustworthy Word both in good and in bad situations. However, WE have to take care so that we continue to keep the flame of the Word always alive into our hearts. Sadness, pressure and affliction may sometimes come but they will not manage to overtake us as long as the Word of God is our delight. God is a faithful God and He will always make us more than conquerors as we trust in Him (Romans 8:37)

8. If we meditate in the Word of God we will be....

Having seen some of the things that the Word of God is, they should already be clear the great benefits that we will have by studying and putting this Word deep into our hearts. However, let's also see some more of the results that this Word will have if we meditate in it i.e. if we make it the focus of our mind and thoughts.

8.1. Blessed and like a tree planted by the waters

To see what the Word predicts for the man that makes it the focus of his mind let's go to Psalms 1:1-3. There it says:

Psalms 1:1-3
"BLESSED is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; BUT HIS DELIGHT IS IN THE LAW OF THE LORD AND IN HIS LAW HE MEDITATES DAY AND NIGHT. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper."

Is there any of us that does not want whatever he does to prosper? I do not think so. However, how can we obtain this? According to the above passage the way is to meditate in the Word of God. If we rightly divide the Word of God and make it the focus of our mind, then whatever we will do, will be pleasing to God since it will come from a mind in which God's Word possesses the central position and thus, according to the above passage, it shall be prosperous and we shall also be "blessed" ("happy") and like FRUITFUL trees planted by the rivers of water.

8.2. Prosperous and prudent

The effects of the meditation in the Word of God are made even clearer by having a look in the book of Joshua. Joshua was the successor of Moses in the leadership of the people of Israel, as they were on their way to the promised land. Bearing in mind that it was he that would lead the Israelites to the promised land, and also knowing, by reading the relative records4 that they were not the easiest people to lead, we can easily understand how much Joshua needed prosperity and prudence to carry out his heavy responsibilities. It is interesting therefore to see what God advised him to do, so that he may have this prosperity and prudence. To see it let's go to Joshua 1:5-8. There, God was speaking to Joshua and said:

Joshua 1:5-8
"No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may OBSERVE TO DO ACCORDING TO ALL THAT IS WRITTEN IN IT. FOR THEN YOU WILL MAKE YOUR WAYS PROSPEROUS AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE GOOD SUCCESS [Hebrew: "sakal" meaning to be circumspect, prudent, to have understanding, wisdom, to prosper. See number 7919 in Strong's concordance. The LXX reads "and then shalt thou be wise5"]

See how wonderfully God encouraged Joshua. God is not someone that stays afar without understanding the encouragement and the comfort that we may need. Instead He is a loving caring God. See also what He told Joshua. He told him that in order to always ("wherever you go") prosper, he had to be very courageous to do according to all that the law of Moses (the Word of God of that age and administration) commanded. In fact, He told him to be careful and not turn away from what this law said. He furthermore told him that only if he meditated in the Word day and night, i.e. only if the Word of God was continuously the focus of his mind, he would prosper and would act prudently. These "THEN" that are used in the passage show that his prosperity and prudence was conditional upon the position of the Word of God in his mind. It is really only if the Word of God is the centre of our thoughts and acts, that we will have prosperity and prudence. As the reader may confirm by reading the remaining of Joshua, Joshua was indeed a man that followed and served God throughout all his life, and he was indeed prosperous and prudent in his task.

9. Conclusion

Having finished this study, we have to say that it was by no means exhaustive. The reader is advised to search the Word of God and find for himself other things that it is. However, I believe that we have already seen a lot of things that will help us in our appreciation of the Word of God. Summarising now all the above, we saw that the Word of God, the Bible, is:

 

i) the truth,

ii) the most magnified thing of God,

iii) food for life,

iv) milk for growth,

v) the source of rejoicing,

vi) lamp to our feet,

vii) useful for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness,

viii) very pure,

ix) the thing that if we make it our delight we will not be overtaken in our affliction,

x) the thing in which if we meditate, we will be:

a) blessed,

b) like a tree planted by the rivers of water

c) prosperous in everything we do, and

d) prudent.

 

Though this list is not exhaustive, it is enough I believe to show us the greatness, the importance and the worth of the Word of God. It is also enough to make clear the wonderful effects that this Word will have in our lives if we study it, put it in our hearts and keep it there alive.

 

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

 

 

 



Footnotes

1. For a more detailed examination of II Timothy 3:16 see the article: Who is the author of the Bible and who wrote it?

2. The "prophetic word" or the "word of the prophecy" (KJV), is the Word of God. For more on this, see the article: Who is the author of the Bible and who wrote it?

3. However, though in the sun there are some dark spots on its surface, in God there is NO DARKNESS AT ALL.

4. See for example: Exodus 15:22-26, 16:1-5, Numbers 11:1-6, 16, 25:1-5, Deutoronomy 1.

5. See: The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament with an English translation, Samuel Bagster and Sons, London, 1879.