Recently, I’ve come across professing Christians claiming that scripture is not the word of God. Whenever the Bible uses the phrase “word of God” it is never referring to scripture, it just refers to Jesus, or maybe the spoken word, they’ve argued. While obviously I agree that sometimes the word of God refers to Jesus (John 1:1) or the spoken word (1 Thessalonians 2:13), I do think that often the word of God is reference to the written word, otherwise known as the scriptures. The people I encountered making this claim were either Roman Catholic, or some form of Charismatic. Both groups would have their own reasons for wanting to downplay the nature of scripture, which is what I suspect leads to this view. Regardless, I wanted to take the time to go through several passages where scripture is indeed revealed to be the word of God and that it is very much to be held in as God’s word to us. All scripture references will be taken from the New King James Version® (Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson).
The first example comes from a confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees over their traditions:
He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mk 7:9–13)
So, Jesus’s main point in this passage is the Pharisees upheld a tradition that basically invalidates the commandments of God. The Corban rule was a tradition that allowed someone to dedicate their wealth to the temple, but later receive it back. Apparently, people were using this in Jesus’s day to dedicate their wealth to the temple instead of using it to take care of their parents, and then after their parents had died, receiving it back so that they could enjoy it. He quotes two commandments they were overturning through this (Exodus 20:12 and Exodus 21:17). He concludes by saying because of this, they are “making the word of God of no effect”. The question is, what is this word of God that he’s referring to? In context it must be the two commandments from Exodus that Jesus quoted. They are the things that had been made of no effect through the Pharisees’’ tradition. Jesus cannot be referring to himself here as its not that Pharisees were making him of no effect. Because the commandments are contained in Exodus, we have to conclude that Jesus is teaching these portions of scripture are the word of God.
My second example comes from the Old Testament. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and is a love letter from the Psalmist about God’s law. In it, the following words/concepts are used interchangeably: law, commandments, precepts, statutes, word. While the whole Psalm is too long to discuss here in its entirety (and I recommend the readers read the whole thing for themselves), I’ll quote from one section to show that the word of God is interchangeable with some the other words listed.
How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O LORD!
Teach me Your statutes.
With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word. (Psalm 119:9-16)
Notice especially the last four lines. Precepts, ways, statutes and word are all parallel to each other at the end of their respective line, after a promise to in some way think about the thing being mentioned. Thus, the Psalmist believes these are in some way related. Now the important question is where could the Psalmist find where God’s precepts and statutes? He could find them in the Law, which had been written down since the time of Moses. Thus the Psalmist believes the word (of God) is equivalent to the written scriptures.
Now I can foresee someone trying to make an objection that just because some of the Scripture is called the word of God, doesn’t mean all of it is. After all, I’ve only shown that the commandments in the Old Testament are called the word of God. Now, while I cannot find a verse that describes all of scripture as the word of God, I would like to point out that ALL scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for the believer (2 Tim 3:16). The Bible doesn’t chop itself up into sections of things that are more or less inspired by God . For those that remain unconvinced, I’ll bring one final scripture to the table. Jesus, in confronting some of the Sadducees who sought to trap him, said the following:
But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Mt 22:31–32)
Notice the language here. Jesus says that what the Sadducees had read was “spoken” to them. The Greek word λέγοντος which underlies “spoken” here, comes from the root word λέγο, which means “I say” or “I speak”. Thus, here we have an example of something that God said to Moses, but Jesus is claiming that he also is saying it to the Sadducees more that 1000 years later after He had uttered the words. How can this be? It is because all scripture is God’s speech to men. Whenever you pick up and read your Bible you are seeing God’s words to you, just like Jesus told the Sadducees. Therefore, take heed of what you read, and do not disregard it lightly lest God find you guilty of having ignored His word to you on the Day of Judgement.