The Word Of God -- By: Edgar M. Wilson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 086:343 (Jul 1929)
Article: The Word Of God
Author: Edgar M. Wilson


The Word Of God

Edgar M. Wilson

There are few religious phrases which are more often used than this one. It is the common description of the Bible. In the pulpit, in the magazine, in the creed, we meet constantly this use of the phrase. Now any phrase, which is so unfortunate as to fall into the arena of theological debate, finds itself at once pulled and hauled in different directions. Such is the fate of “The Word of God.” “The Bible is the Word of God,” says one. “No, the Bible contains the Word of God,” says another, “just as the Westminster Confession says.” “Wrong,” says a third, “the meaning in the Westminster Confession is that the Bible is the Word of God.”

Now before we embark on this or a similar discussion, we would do well to get back to the New Testament and inquire just what the phrase “The Word of God” means there. Suppose we turn for a beginning to the First Epistle of Peter:

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently: having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which (or who) liveth and abideth. For,

All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory thereof as the flower of grass.
The grass withereth, and the flower falleth:
But the word of the Lord abideth forever.
And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you.”1

It is of threefold advantage to start with this quotation: First, because in it are found both of the Greek words which are translated “word” in the New Testa-

ment; second, because the two are here used as synonymous; and third, because the definition of one of them is given. Peter’s hearers had been begotten again of incorruptible seed through the Word of God (logos), as the Old Testament says, the Word of the Lord (rhēma—the “saying of the Lord”) abideth forever. “And this is the word (rhēma) of good tidings which was preached unto you.” The message of salvation through the blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish and without spot, who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the appointed time, whom God raised from the dead and to whom he gave glory so that your faith and hope might be in God—this message of salvation is the Word of God of which the apostle speaks. In other words, the Word of God is the Gospel.

When we turn to other parts of the New Testament the thing that strikes us i...

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