Should "Bible" = "Word of God"?

My sincere apologies for a genuine mistake on my part.

Please kindly see my revised post below:


With respect @03Cobra, I believe you are mistaken in saying that “Paul would have been horrified by the escalation of his words to the “Word of God.”

This can be demonstrated from 1 Corinthians 14:36–38 (NIV):

Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

Here it is notable that Paul explicitly states that what he has written in the previous chapters concerning spiritual gifts is the Lord’s command. In these verses at the very least Paul self-consciously sees himself writing words from God for God’s people. The same is true of 1 Corinthians 7:8-11 where Pul goes out of his way to distinguish his opinion from the Lord’s command.

To say “Paul would have been horrified by the escalation of his words to the “Word of God.”, does not appear to be that simply. Here I believe you have (no doubt unintentionally) put your own opinion in the Apostle’s mouth.

Here’s a little word study for you. I stand corrected that the Bible never refers to Jesus as the Word of God, it does once in Revelation. But the rest of the time the “logos of God” is clearly not referring to Jesus.

2 Cor 2:17: Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. - logon
1 Thes 2:12: And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. -logon
Rev 1:2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. -logon
Col 1:25: I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- logon
1 Pet 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. -logou
2 Pet 3:5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. logo
1 Tim 4:5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. -logou
Acts 11:1 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. logon
2 Cor 4:2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.-logon
Eph 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. - rhema
2 Tim 2:9 And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. -logos
Rev 19:13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. -logos
Heb 6:5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age -rhema
Rom 9:6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. -logos

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@Daniel_Fisher,
Thank you for your response. You made me think deeper about this subject. However it does not change the basic issue, which is, the English Bible uses the same word to express two related but different realities.

That word is "word, and the way that the translators of the Bible lets us know of these two uses is by capitalizing Word when using it to refer to Jesus Christ, the Logos of God and the Second Person of the Trinity. When referring to the Biblical “word from God” word is not capitalized. This helps us to understand that the Bible is not absolute or divine.

My research revealed that while English has only one word of word, the Greek NT uses two, Logos and Rhema. Logos is more specific and philosophical. Rhema means “message,” so this is more like the meaning that you are giving to word and prevents the confusion in Greek that we find in English. Of course Hebrew has is own words for “word.” 5 are used in the OT.

Logos is not just an honorific for Jesus. It reveals to us Who Jesus is and He is more than the Biblical word of God. He is the Alpha and Omega of our faith.

Well, sure. I’m not personally disagreeing with you there. But nor do I intend to ignore current conventions of how these words get used, thereby causing myself to be misunderstood by … nearly everyone. I’ll pay attention to both current convention for the sake of clear and accurate communication, as well as to philosophical agenda - i.e. pushing for clarification for the sake of promoting good and needed cultural shift (or reform). I sense that you lean toward residing more on the latter posture. While I just want to be cognizant of both.

That would be “in your opinion”. Everyone in the congregation understood what the pastor was saying and there was no idolatry intended, implied or even hinted at.

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Your quote from 1 Cor raises another point. Paul calls the words he is writing the “Lord’s command.” You then say he wrote “words of God for God’s People.” The question this raises is to Whom does the word “Lord” refer, Jesus or God the Father. I would say that it is most likely Jesus, because that is how Paul usually referred to Jesus, but of course we know that Jesus is God and “the Lord” or “the LORD” can also refer to the God of the OT.

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EDIT: Please could a moderator move this post to the thread " Should “Bible” = “Word of God”?". Many thanks.


Dear Roger, I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that, on this occasion, you are reading your theological view into translation practice. As far as I am aware, there is a simpler reason why translators render ‘λογοσ’ as ‘Word’ or ‘word’: English grammar. Let me explain.

In the first instance, Word is capitalised because it is being deployed as a proper noun, that is, a title for a person. This is further illustrated by the observation that λογοσ is not capitalised in any critical text of John 1 of which I am aware. Again, this appears to make arguments for theological inferences from capitalisation somewhat moot since it again illustrates that the capitalisation is about grammar, not theology. (@Christy knows more about this area than I, so I welcome her correction if I am mistaken).

In the second instance, ‘word’ is not capitalised because it is being used as a noun - a classification of a thing. That is words (spoken or written) whose ultimate source is recognised as being God (the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or generically, God). This noun might refer to the gospel message, the Hebrew scriptures, the writings of an apostle, etc.

TLDR: I do not believe there is any hidden theological meaning imbued by translators in their choice of ‘W’ vs. ‘w’, merely a desire to express good English grammar.

That said, if you wish to prove me wrong, perhaps you’d be kind enough to provide evidence from the prefaces to Bible translations? If they intend to help “us to understand that the Bible is not absolute or divine.” by this translation method, no doubt they would let us know there.

Paul does specifically say that some things he wrote were commands of God. He also specifically says some things he wrote are his own opinion.

So when we call the Bible, in its entirety, the “Word of God,” we disagree with Paul and the text of scripture.

Would you be more comfortable with the following?

Paul would have been horrified by the escalation of all of his words in his letters to the status of the “Word of God.”

As one who has heard the Bible referred to as the Word of God in church from my youth, I disagree that everyone knows what the pastor means.

Some actually assume he means that every word in the Bible is the Word of God.

Yes, I lean towards not making claims for scripture that scripture does not make for itself.

I guess “Word of God” is better than “Words of God” which seems to be popular in certain belief systems

Richard

Since I was only talking about my experiences that would pretty much exclude yours. So we should be able to agree that some people think one way and other people think a different way. So what is your point? People that don’t agree with you are wrong?

@LM77,

To the best of my recollection, this is the first time we have met Welcome.

Let me begin with a piece of advice. For God’s sake do not “go out on a limb” by making an unfounded accusation against someone you don’t know. You are just asking to have it cut off, which I must do. That claim is totally false.

I will agree that the reason that the Word is capitalized twice in John 1:1 is because of grammar. For me the purpose of grammar is clarify the meaning of a sentence. It is clear that the Logos in v. 1 is Jesus Christ from the context and I hope that we are in agreement that Jesus Christ, the Word, is God. Thus the capitalization or grammar helps us to identify the Logos as Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ as the One and Only Son of God, which it says in v. 18.

Agreed. There is no hidden meaning in the use of W. This makes clear something which is quite obvious in the text, that is, Jesus Christ is the Logos, Who is God.

The reason I am arguing with @Christy is because she seems to think that it is perfectly proper for Christians to use the Word of God as the name of the Bible, (when it is not,) and I do not. The Decalogue says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Calling Jesus and the Bible both the Word of God for me comes too perilously close to crossing this line, if it does not. Furthermore I have studied the history of how the evangelicals made the Bible the Word of God, that is God’s Absolute Word, and have seen the negative influence it has had on the Church.

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Dear Bill
Is my point still not clear to you?

Let me reiterate, then.
1)The Bible never claims to be, in its entirety, the Word of God.
2) Calling the Bible “the Word of God” misleads people and leads to incorrect views about the Bible. And the practice cannot be justified with scripture.
3) In the extreme, this can lead to Bible worship.
4) The young generations have more information available now than those of us who are old had when we are young. Just saying “the Bible Is the Word of God and it says” is an approach that does not work as well as it did in the past. We who are believers should move away from unsubstantiated, man-made claims if we are to influence the young generations to follow Jesus.

Does that help?

Thanks for the welcome, Roger. Much appreciated. Apologies if I misread you - it was not intentional. Perhaps you might be kind enough to reread the paragraph I quoted to see if it sounds ambiguous enough to account for my mistaken reading. Thanks.

Agreed. Yes and Amen.

I’m glad we agree here too. So then are you willing to admit were incorrect when you said that this translation practice helps us ‘to understand that the Bible is not absolute or divine.’ when in fact it does no such thing?

And she is entirely able and justified in giving the Bible this honorific if she so chooses to. OK sure, do some Christians idolise the Bible? No doubt. Just like many idolised their children, job, sex, career, intelligence, science, car, opinions, cat, the list is endless. As Calvin once said (paraphrase) ‘the human heart is an idol factory’. However, that does not mean that it is Incorrect or idolatrous to call the Bible the Word of God.

I honestly believe, this is an issue of conscious for every believer to decide for themselves. I respect your weaker conscience in this area; I’m not going to make you call the Bible the Word of God. I don’t even ask you to agree with me. I simply ask you do not seek to bind the consciences of others who are doing nothing wrong by calling the Bible the Word of God. Which, by the way you were doing when you quoted the first commandment, whether you were aware of it or not. In return, I am willing to endeavour for your sake to refer to the Bible as the word of God in replies and posts directed to you. I’ve no doubt others would be willing to do the same.

Um… Roger! You’ve done it again! You’ve made a claim that you are knowledgable in a certain area (previously bible translation, now historical theology of Scripture) and then tagged your own opinion on the end so it appears as a fact. Perhaps you don’t mean to or are unaware of what you are doing? I struggle to believe that you would do it intentionally.

Either way, whether belief in the Bible as the absolute word of God has had a negative impact on the church is entirely your own opinion. Here the in UK it is evangelical churches with a robust theology of Scripture which are growing and flourishing.

As to evangelicals making the Bible the Word of God in an absolute sense, come on! I’d get a refund on the books you read (:wink:) . Surely you don’t think evangelicals taught these ideas to the churches of the 2nd Century or to Calvin, Luther and the writers of the Reformed confessions do you? As you’ll know from your studies, it is anachronistic to call the Reformers and those who immediately followed them ‘evangelicals’.

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There are many who would dispute this, but I am not one of them.

Do you personally know anyone who fell into Bibleism just from calling it the Word of God?

The practice is justified by normal English usage. No scripture needed.

Who exactly are making these claims? There are small groups that promote Bibleism or KJVonlyism but they have bigger issues than what they call the Word of God. You really seem to be grasping at straws to support your position here.

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Have you thought about this question? I suspect you know it is not possible to accurately trace and pinpoint the sources of error in the minds of people.

Do you think a damaging, misleading practice should only be addressed if it is the sole contributor to false beliefs?

We disagree on this. You might try looking at the term Word of God in scripture and try to replace the instances with “Bible.”

A sample from Acts:


Acts 4:31

When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

Acts 6:2

And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables.

Acts 6:7

The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Acts 8:14

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.

Acts 11:1

[ Peter’s Report to the Church at Jerusalem ] Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God.

Acts 12:24

But the word of God continued to advance and gain adherents.

Acts 13:5

When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues ofthe Jews. And they had John also to assist them.

Acts 13:7

He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God.

In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations

Acts 13:46

Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the wordof God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles.

Acts 17:13

But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Beroea as well, they came there too, to stir up and incite the crowds.

Acts 18:11

He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

I have heard Andy Stanley say that. And I doubt he is alone.

Words (or in this case, phrases) have something called a semantic range and can have different referrents in different contexts. You can’t go back and replace instances of the word pastor in an English Bible with “ordained seminary grad salaried by a local church” either, even though that is what pastor means in English in many contexts. That doesn’t mean it is somehow wrong to call ordained seminary grads salaried by local churches “pastors” in English. That is how its meaning in English language developed, and it is now part of its current semantic range.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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