God Speaks to Us Through His Spoken Word and His Written Word
Growing up I was taught that the word of God was the Bible. This idea has been reinforced throughout my life by various ministers, books, and fellow followers of Jesus. This means that to hear the word of God is to listen as someone reads the Scriptures.
Yet perceiving the word of God as a euphemism for the Holy Bible may be an oversimplification. It might even be wrong. Though this may sound heretical, I offer biblical support.
The phrase word of God appears in thirty-nine verses in the Bible, as rendered by the NIV. Given the context, it can mean different things.
The Written Word of God
Yes, Scripture does use the phrase the word of God to refer to itself. We see this implied in a few places but not many (Matthew 15:6 and Mark 7:13).
Jesus Is the Word of God
Next, Jesus is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13), and he lives in us (1 John 2:14). Also the apostle John writes that Jesus is the word (John 1:1-14). The word of God is also used in Scripture as a euphemism for the good news about Jesus (consider Acts 4:31 and throughout the book of Acts, as well as 2 Corinthians 2:17 and Colossians 1:25, among others).
The Spoken Word of God
Throughout the Bible, God speaks directly to his people (consider 1 Kings 12:22, 1 Chronicles 17:3, and Luke 3:2, among many others). He does this through angels, dreams, and audibly (Luke 3:22).
When God speaks to us, we better listen it hear the word of God.
This is the spoken word of God. It comes to us through the Holy Spirit, albeit manifested in diverse ways: through dreams, visions, and implanting supernatural words in our minds. And, yes, it can be audible.
The Sword of the Spirit
When we read about the armor of God in Ephesians 6, it talks about the sword of the Spirit, which is the written word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Most people understand this to mean the Bible.
Yet when Paul wrote these words, the New Testament did not exist. At that point, the written word of God—that is, the Scriptures—consisted of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha.
A better understanding of “the sword of the Spirit” in this verse is that it refers to the spoken word of God as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
When the Almighty speaks to us—in whatever form—may we hear the word of God and obey.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
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