What is the word of God?

Someone said the Bible is not referred to as the word of God. I thought I’d show what is used as the word of God in the New Testament. There is a difference between what (lowercase) ‘the word of God’ is and the Word of God. Also realize that Jesus called Scripture the ‘word of God’.


John 10:34-36

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came – and the Scripture cannot be broken – 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?


Acts 4:31

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.


Acts 6:2

So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.


Acts 6:7

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.


Acts 8:14

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


Acts 12:24

But the word of God continued to increase and spread.


Acts 13:5

When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.


Acts 13:7

who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.


Acts 13:46

Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.


Acts 17:10-13

10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.  13 When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up.


Acts 18:11

So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.


1 Corinthians 14:36

Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?


2 Corinthians 2:17

Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.


2 Corinthians 4:2

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.


Ephesians 6:17

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.


Philippians 1:14

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.


Colossians 1:25

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness


1 Thessalonians 2:13

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.


1 Timothy 4:5

because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.


2 Timothy 2:9

for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.


Titus 2:5

to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.


Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.


Hebrews 5:12

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!


Hebrews 6:5

who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age,


Hebrews 13:7

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.


1 Peter 1:23

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.


1 Peter 4:11

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.


2 Peter 3:5

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.


1 John 2:14

I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.


Revelation 1:2

who testifies to everything he saw – that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ


Revelation 1:9

[ One like a Son of Man ] I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.


Revelation 6:9

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.


Revelation 17:17

For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.


Revelation 19:9

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”


Revelation 20:4
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years


Prophecy comes from God.

2 Peter 1:19-21

19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.


1 Peter 2:6 quotes God in Isaiah 28:16 and calls it scripture.

For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.


Peter said the letters Paul wrote were scripture, comparing them to other Scripture. Note, again, that wrote with the wisdom that God gave.

2 Peter 3:15-16

15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.


There are verses that refer to Jesus as the ‘Word of God’ (uppercase):

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


Revelation 19:13
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.


 Christ used ‘word of God’ and ‘scripture’ synonymously, and Peter quoted God and said the quote was found in scripture. In short, the term Word of God is speaking of Christ. But the term ‘word of God’ is synonymous with scripture. It is exactly what God wanted written. 


9 Responses

  1. WB,

    Actually, if you look at the verses that you mentioned, you will see that the phrase ‘word of God’ refers not to a codified text, but to commands, prophecies, and sayings from God. That was my point – in hoping to have some separate the idea of the Word of God from the bible. If you would like, email me and I will show you the article that I was responding to when I wrote my piece.

    I see nothing wrong in calling the bible the ‘word of God’ but when you make it a doctrine and then build upon that doctrine, it is time to go back to the beginning and see that when the Apostles referred to the Text-as-a-whole, it was with Scriptures.

    • I didn’t write in response to anything you had written. I wrote in response to someone saying only Christ is the word of God.

      I agree with you that the word of God refers to commands, prophecies and the sayings of God. But I submit that it refers to everything God had man write – that which we call scripture. Even Christ used scripture as a synonym as the word of God (John 10:34-36. Paul taught the word of God and the Bereans studied the scriptures to be sure he taught the truth (Acts 17:10-13). Peter said Paul wrote with the wisdom given by God and called his writings scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16).

      I’ll email you for the article. thanks.

  2. WB, I want to apologize for the snippyness of the above the comments. It was not intended to sound so defensive.

    • Polycarp,

      I do not think your comments were snippy. But I guess I can see how you might think so, especially since you thought I was replying to your article ( http://thechurchofjesuschrist.wordpress.com/2008/12/22/is-the-bible-the-word-of-god-no/ ).

      I read it. I disagree with your premise that the scriptures are not the word of God ( 1 Peter 2:6 quotes God in Isaiah 28:16 and calls it scripture, just as Christ used scripture and ‘word of God’ synonymously in John 10:34-36). But even so, I think ideas that “the Bible (KJV) is the written form of God” and ” the Bible [is] the ‘body of Christ’” are ludicrous. So I can see where you were coming from. But again, I don’t think your comments were snippy.

      Keep up the good work. Keep me honest. :)

  3. Thanks, WB.

    I tried to draw a distinction between apply the phrase ‘word of God’ as a matter of doctrine and a matter of Tradition. I fully believe that each and every word in the Bible came from God and is fully inspired. I have no doubt about that – but I felt that I had to draw that distinction pretty tight in hopes of getting certain ones – the intended audience – to realize that the Scriptures called themselves Scriptures, so do not confuse the word of God with the Word of God.

    Thanks again.

  4. “do not confuse the word of God with the Word of God”

    That is a critical distinction. Christ is the Logos – He by whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.) . But this is a very different thing than words in manuscripts/letters – which themselves are created things.

  5. Re-reading this, a thought came to mind: If it is by Christ that all things were created, and the Bible is a created thing, how could the BIble be Christ? We know God is eternal, so the Son of God did not create Himself. Therefore, the words are not Christ.

  6. Wb,

    You know, that is a very good point, one that I will tuck away and use later – if you don’t mind.

  7. Polycarp,

    I’d be honored. Thanks.

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