Did you know that the Bible is actually alive?

31507-biblewithlight-light-bible.1200w.tnUnless otherwise noted, all verses below are taken from the King James Version of the bible.

Unlike any other book ever written, the Bible (i.e. the Word of God) is actually alive—in fact, according to 1 Peter 1:23-25, it is said that He “lives and abides for ever.” By He of course, I am referring to Jesus the Messiah Who is also known as the “Word [of God]” in John 1:1 and the “Word [of God Who] was made flesh” in John 1:14. By the way, did you notice how I started out by talking about God’s Word but then transitioned into talking about a Person? From where did I get the idea that it is proper to refer to God’s written or spoken Word as a He? Actually, I got this idea from the Scriptures. The Scriptures of course, is just another name for the Bible which I and the apostle Peter just claimed to be alive. By contrast, no other book (including the Qur’an, the Hindu Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramanyana, the sayings of Buddha, the sayings of Confucius or the Book of Mormon etc.) endeavoring to put forth a worldview has ever made such an audacious claim. Peter Hertz in his Trinity Review article entitled Logology states, “We call both the Bible and Christ the Word of God (as indeed the Bible does), and yet some give no thought to this somewhat startling usage.”[1] On the other hand, some who have given this usage thought and have found it unpalatable have therefore sought to devise an alternate way of understanding and explaining what the Bible means by the phrase “the Word of God.” The issue boils down to how one is to understand the term “Word.” If the Bible employs this term ambiguously so that the actual words which God uttered to create the heaven and the earth are somehow different from the words which appear in Genesis 1:1 and record this event, then my claim (that the Bible is alive) is not as remarkable as it sounds since I am merely equivocating on the meaning of ‘Word.’ However, if the opposite is true and the Scriptures provide no indication of a distinction between Christ, and His words in the Bible, then Biblical Christianity is not just unique in this regard, but it also becomes the only worldview with a living Savior Who is present in both His resurrected body and His words. Allow me then to beckon upon some verses of Scripture in order to further develop and fortify this astounding doctrine.

The Living Logos Doctrine in Hebrews 4:12-14

In the Scriptures when we turn to Hebrews 4:12-14 we read:

(4:12) For the word [i.e. logos] of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(4:13) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
(4:14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Did you notice how the writer of Hebrews uses the pronouns “his” and “him” when referring to the “Word of God.” As hard as it may be for some to grasp, the bible teaches that there is no difference between the written or spoken words of God and Jesus the Son of God. In other words, the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is literally the Word of God. In fact, because the Greek term which is predominantly translated as “Word” in the New Testament is logos it would not be wrong to name this phenomenon the doctrine of the Living Logos.

There are several other verses in the bible that clue us in to the fact that the Word of God is very much alive.

The Living Logos Doctrine in John 1:1-3,14

Apart from Hebrews 4:12-14, we can also see the doctrine of the Living Logos in John 1:1-3,14; for there we read:

(1:1) In the beginning was the Word [i.e. logos], and the Word [i.e. logos] was with God, and the Word [i.e. logos] was God.
(1:2) The same was in the beginning with God.
(1:3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(1:14) And the Word [i.e. logos] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, the Holy Spirit writing through the apostle John equates the “Word of God” with God Himself. In John 1:14, this same “Word [of God]” is then said to have become human flesh and dwelt among us. Since verse 14 also describes this incarnate Word of God as the only begotten Son of God the Father, we understand that the Word of God became Jesus the Messiah. Hence the Word of God which Christians read everyday is actually a Person. Just in case you are wondering whether the phrase “Word of God” which appears in the verses discussed thus far was not really meant to be taken literally but is instead meant in an unconventional sense, or just in case you are wondering whether I am merely taking advantage of an amphibology (i.e. a phrase that has more than one meaning), allow me to introduce you to a another proof-text that is more definitive and removes any doubt.

The Living Logos Doctrine in 1 Peter 1:23-25

As stated earlier, we also see the doctrine of the living logos in 1 Peter 1:23-25 where Peter discusses how the doctrine of regeneration (i.e. being born again) is both preceded and brought about by faith in the Gospel. The three distinct attributes which Peter ascribes to the Scriptures in this passage are that:

  1. The Word of God is alive, and
  2. The Word of God is eternal (i.e. enduring forever)
  3. The Word of God is preached

We have already encountered the term logos in John 1:1-3,14 and in Hebrews 4:12-14; both times it was translated as ‘word.’ Now here in 1 Peter 1:23-25, the Scriptures employ another Greek term for word—rheema.

  1. logos – something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (that is, Christ): – account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say (-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work. (Strongs Greek Dictionary)
  2. rheema  – an utterance (individually, collectively or specifically); by implication a matter or topic (especially of narration, command or dispute); with a negative naught whatever: – + evil, + nothing, saying, word. (Strongs Greek Dictionary)

When one examines the definition of each word, it becomes clear from the matching underlined terms in their semantic ranges that rheema is more than qualified to function as a synonym for logos. Yet, skeptics of the Living Logos doctrine have sought to create a doctrinal distinction between these two words by making logos indicative of God’s Word of power active in creation and regeneration, while confining rheema to the simple grammatical words found in the Bible. [1] By asserting that the semantic range of these two Greek words never overlap, skeptics are then able to downplay the notion that the textual words of God are the same as the “creative” words of God. Yet, Peter knows nothing of this distinction, for here in this passage he uses the two words interchangeably:

(1:23) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word [i.e. logos] of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
(1:24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
(1:25) But the Word [i.e. rheema] of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word [i.e. rheema] which by the gospel is preached unto you.

For some readers this may be a difficult concept to grasp or accept, so I will present the text as a syllogism, that way we can clearly see what 1 Peter 1:23-25 is claiming:

Syllogism:
Major Premise: The Word [i.e. logos] of God lives and the Word [i.e. logos, rheema] of God endures for ever
Minor Premise: And this is [literally] the [same] word [i.e. rheema] which by the gospel is preached unto you
Conclusion: The Word [i.e. rheema] of God which is preached unto you is both alive and eternal

In the syllogism above, the two terms:

  • the Word of God (minor term: i.e. the subject of the conclusion)
  • alive, eternal and preached (major term: i.e. the predicate of the conclusion)

in both of Peter’s premises compel the reader to affirm that the Word of God which Peter preached unto the Church is both alive and eternal. The Greek term for ‘word’ in the major premise (i.e. logos) is different than the Greek for ‘word’ in the minor premise (i.e. rheema). Their meanings are the same but the actual Greek terms differ. However, since it is not the actual words but the meaning of the words which constitute each premise’s proposition, then a good and necessary consequence of this biblical syllogism is that both logos and rheema are interchangeable. Another confirmation of this conclusion occurs  in Hebrews 11:3, where we read: “By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the rheema of God.” Yet, when speaking of this same creation event, 2 Peter 3:5 says that the heavens and the earth were created by the logos of God. Hence again we find that God’s “creative” words are not different from His grammatical words.

The Living Logos Doctrine in Revelation 19:11-16

We also see the doctrine of the Living Logos in Revelation 19:11-16

(19:11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (19:12) His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
(19:13) And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word [i.e. logos] of God.
(19:14) And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
(19:15) And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
(19:16) And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Since the Rider of the White horse is none other than Jesus Christ the “King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the fact that He is also named “the Word of God” causes Revelation 19:11-16 to qualify as yet another verse which espouses the doctrine of the Living Logos. Furthermore, because we have seen in Hebrews 4:12 that the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, there is reason to believe that the sharp sword which proceeds from Christ’s mouth in Revelation 19:15 (and in Revelation 1:16, 2:16, 19:21) is not a literal sword but is actually the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17). For in Isaiah 11:4 which corresponds to Revelation 19:15, it is “with the breath of his lips” that he shall “slay the wicked.” These verses seem to provide us with remarkable insight into the Hebrews 1:3 phrase “the word of His power.” Christ Who is the Word of God wields a power which consists of mere words!

The Living Logos Doctrine in 1 Timothy 3:16

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was:

  1. manifest in the flesh,
  2. justified in the Spirit,
  3. seen of angels,
  4. preached unto the Gentiles,
  5. believed on in the world,
  6. received up into glory.

It should be obvious to anyone who is familiar with the Bible that each of the six propositions in 1 Timothy 3:16 which follow “God was…” can only refer to either the Son of God or the Word of God. Yet, according to 1 Timothy 3:16, the Son of God and the Word of God must both be God since all six of its propositions are ultimately attributed to Him. Moreover, since no man at any time has seen God the Father (John 1:18) and since the Son of God Who became the son of man is also the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and the fullness of God in bodily form (Colossians 2:9) then it is Christ the God-man to Whom this great mystery pertains. Therefore:

It was the Word of God Who was manifest in the flesh (John 1:14).
It was Christ who was justified in the Spirit (Romans 1:4).
It was Christ who was seen of angels (Luke 2:9-13, Matthew 4:11).
It was the Word of God that was preached unto the Gentiles (Acts 13:46-48).
It was the Word of God which was believed on in the world (John 4:39-42),
and it was Christ Who was received up in to glory (Mark 16:19).

Because these six propositions in 1 Timothy 3:16 collectively require the reader to interchange Christ and the Word of God when identifying the logical subject (i.e. God), it becomes clear that there is no distinction between Christ and His Word. The biblical record demonstrates that the Word of God is a Person, specifically, Christ.

The late Dr. John Robbins of the TrinityFoundation.org, in his excellent lecture entitled Biblical Apologetics, Jesus and Scripture aimed to further develop this idea that there is no distinction between God and His Word by identifying three other remarkable instances where the doctrine of the Living Logos is demonstrated in the Scriptures. The following three sections contain adaptations from Dr. Robbins’ lecture.

The Living Logos Doctrine in Romans 9:17

According to Romans 9:17 it was the Scripture who was speaking to Pharaoh back in Exodus 9:16. For in Romans 9:17 we read:

For the Scripture [i.e. graphē] saith unto Pharaoh, “Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”

However when you go back and read the account in Exodus 9:16 who do you suppose says these words? Who is speaking in that passage?

And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD [i.e. Yahweh] God of the Hebrews…And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
Source: Exodus 9:13-16

When we read Exodus 9:13-16 we find that it is actually God (i.e. Yahweh) Who is speaking, yet Paul says it was Scripture; he interchanges the two words, God and Scripture. It is more remarkable than you might think. If Exodus 9:16 were not in the Bible one might argue that Romans 9:17 is simply using the literary device of personification and that the author is merely attributing human characteristics to the words of Scripture, but there is clearly something else going on here. The Bible was speaking to Pharaoh through Moses all the way back in Exodus 9:16 and yet the readers of that day only knew Him as God (i.e. Yahweh). Semantically speaking, the Greek term graphē can refer to any written document, yet every single time it appears in the Bible it is translated exclusively as the word Scripture(s). The Bible uses the word Scripture when referring to both the Old (Mark 12:10, Luke 24:27, Romans 1:2, etc) and the New Testament (2 Peter 3:15-16) writings. This means that there is nothing mystical about the term Scripture; it literally refers to the text of the bible. That is why it could be said in Acts 17:10-11 that the Bereans searched the Old Testament Scriptures (i.e. graphē) to make sure that Paul’s preaching was biblical. The take home message here is that there is no difference between God and His Word.

This also means that Romans 9:17 is yet another instance of the Living Logos doctrine in the Scriptures. By the way, the reader should be careful when reading Romans 9:17 in some of the modern bible versions such as the CEV (Contemporary English Version), ERV (Easy to Read Version), MSG (The Message), NIRV (New International Reader’s Version), TLB (The Living Bible), NLT (New Living Translation), or the ISV (International Standard Version). Such bibles adulterate and obscure the text’s true meaning by failing to acknowledge that it is the Scriptures speaking to Pharaoh in Roman’s 9:17.

The Living Logos Doctrine in Galatians 3:8

Next, let us consider Galatians 3:8 and its referent in Genesis 12:3. Upon reading Galatians 3:8 we see that the Scripture is claimed to have spoken to Abram in Genesis 12:3.

And the Scripture [i.e. graphē], foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Source: Galatians 3:8

But again when you go back and read the account in Genesis 12:1-3 you will find that it is not the Scripture who is speaking but God.

Now the LORD [i.e. Yahweh] had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee…And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Source: Genesis 12:1-3

In Galatians 3:8, when we read that the Scripture foresaw and then preached, we naturally understand these actions as verbs which pertain to a person and not to mere words. Yet, when we go back to Genesis 12:3 which is the referenced verse in question, we find that by “Scripture” what is really meant is God (i.e. Yahweh). Therefore, the point of Galatians 3:8 and Genesis 12:3 is that Scripture and God are used interchangeably and that God’s revelation (i.e. the Bible) is equal to God (specifically Christ). This makes Galatians 3:8 yet another instance of the Living Logos doctrine occurring in the Scriptures.

The Living Logos Doctrine in Matthew 19:4-5

Finally, we will see that Matthew 19:4-5 and its referent in Genesis 2:24 also constitute an instance of the Living Logos doctrine but this time the doctrine is being demonstrated the other way around. For though we read the following in Matthew 19:4-5:

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife:
Source: Matthew 19:4-5

If you carefully examine the quotation in Genesis 2:24 you’ll be surprised to find that it’s actually not a quotation from God (i.e. “He which made them at the beginning made them male and female”).

(21) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; (22) And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (23) And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (24) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Source: Genesis 2:21-24

Genesis 2:24 is merely an account of the actual words written by Moses—the words of Scripture. In other words, there is no one who is speaking in Genesis 2:24 except the Author of Genesis. Hence, in Matthew 19:4-5 Jesus attributes to God words narrated by Scripture (graphē).

So to recap, in Romans 9:17 & Galatians 3:8 Paul attributes to Scripture words which are spoken by God while in Matthew 19:4-5 Jesus attributes to God words which are spoken by Scripture. A good and necessary consequence of these observations is that there is no distinction between God and His revelation. The Word of God, as John 1:1 tells us, is actually God. To that end, 1 John 5:7 tells us that “there are three that bear record in Heaven, [God] the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” The Word, being the second Person in this tri-unity is none other than Jesus the Messiah. Therefore, the eternal Word of God (John 1:1) became the only begotten Son of God (Psalm 2:7, Proverbs 30:4) and according to John 1:14 the eternal Word of God as the only begotten Son of God became Jesus the son of man. We must therefore conclude (in accordance with the Bible) that the literal Word of God is Jesus Christ!

The Living Logos Doctrine in the Old Testament

So far we have only discussed New Testament verses which demonstrate that the Word of God is a Person, however there are many places in the Old Testament (OT hereafter) where this teaching can also be seen. Specifically, Genesis 15:1-7 is an OT passage which confirms the Living Logos doctrine. For there we read:

(15:1) After these things the Word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
(15:7) And he [i.e. the Word of the LORD] said unto him, I am the LORD [i.e. Yahweh] that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

In Genesis 15:1, the Word of the LORD comes unto Abram in a vision, then in verses 2-6, the Word of the LORD engages in a dialogue with Abram. Finally in verse 7 the Word of the LORD tells Abram exactly who He is, He says “I am the LORD” (i.e. Yahweh).

Like Genesis 15:1, there are several places throughout the Old Testament, where the Word of the LORD comes to men and speaks directly to them in a visible form. The theological term for this phenomenon is called a Theophany (Greek: theos = “God” + phaino = “appear”). Sometimes, the term Christophany (Greek: Christos = “Christ” + phaino = “appear”) is also used to describe this phenomenon. However, because John 1:18 tells us that:

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him [i.e. God].

and because Colossians 1:15 tells us that:

Who [i.e. Jesus] is the image of the invisible God

and because Hebrews 1:3 tells us that:

Who [i.e. Jesus] being the brightness of his [i.e. God’s] glory, and the express image of his [i.e. God’s] person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high

we can be sure that on any of the many occasions in ancient times when God showed Himself in one way or another to man, each time it was a theophany in which the triune God manifested Himself through the Second Person of the Godhead, namely, the Word of God [8]. Therefore based upon this understanding, it would be just as accurate or even more appropriate to refer to these manifestations of God as a Logosphany  (Greek: logos= “Word” + phaino = “appear”)[3].

The following is a list of logosphanies in which the Word of the LORD (i.e. the pre-incarnate Christ) is either referred to as Yahweh (i.e. LORD) or described in terms that can only be used of God. In some of these passages, the Word of the LORD is mentioned while in others it is implied by good and necessary consequence.

  1. As Melchizedek the priest of the most high God, Genesis 14:18 & Hebrews 7:3
  2. As one of three men named Yahweh (i.e. LORD), Genesis 18:1-33
  3. Job 42:5
  4. Genesis 15:1-7
  5. As one of two angels named Yahweh (i.e. LORD) in Genesis 19:33
  6. Genesis 32:28-30,
  7. Genesis 48:15-16;
  8. Exodus 3:4-6;
  9. Exodus 23:21,
  10. Exodus 33:18-23,
  11. Exodus 4:5-7;
  12. Numbers 12:8;
  13. Joshua 5:13-15,
  14. Joshua 6:1-2;
  15. Judges 6:12-26;
  16. Judges 13:20-23;
  17. Isaiah 6:1-3; John 12:38,41
  18. Jeremiah 1:1-12
  19. Jeremiah 1:13-19
  20. Ezekiel 1:26-28;
  21. Hosea 12:3-5;

In several logosphanies the Word of the LORD also appears to men as a Person called the “Angel of the LORD.” In fact, this Angel of the LORD is referred to no less than 56 times in the Old Testament. In most of these encounters (where the Word of the LORD assumes the personage of the Angel of the LORD), the phrase Word of the LORD is not mentioned explicitly (though that it is Him is a good and necessary consequence of previously mentioned verses). However, in Zechariah 1:7-17, the Word of the LORD does specifically appear to Zechariah speaking as a person called the Angel of the LORD.

The following is a list of logosphanies in which the Word of the LORD (i.e. the pre-incarnate Christ) is manifested as the Angel of the LORD. Incidentally, in some of these logosphanies a distinction is made between the LORD and the Angel of the LORD (e.g. ). It may therefore be helpful to understand that when this occurs it is either to distinguish between the two members of the Trinity Who are mentioned in passage (e.g. Genesis 19:34) or it is the case where the Word of the LORD is in two different places at the same time (e.g. John 3:13 KJV).

  1. As the Angel of the Lord to Hagar, Genesis 16:7-13.
  2. As the Angel of the Lord to Abraham and Isaac, Genesis 22:9-18.
  3. As the Angel of the Lord in the burning bush, Exodus 3:2-10.
  4. As the Angel of the Lord who brought God’s people out of Egypt, Numbers 20:16.
  5. As the Angel of the Lord who opposed Balaam, Numbers 22:22-35
  6. As the Angel of the Lord who brought God’s people to the Promised Land, Judges 2:1-4.
  7. As the Angel of the Lord who cursed those who failed to help Israel, Judges 5:23
  8. As the Angel of the Lord who raised up Gideon, Judges 6:11-24.
  9. As the Angel of the Lord who raised up Samson, Judges 13:13-22
  10. As the Angel of the Lord bringing judgment on Israel, II Samuel 24:15-17; I Chronicles. 21:12-27.
  11. As the Angel of the Lord who ministers to Elijah, I Kings 19:1-7, II Kings 1:3, 15.
  12. As the Angel of the Lord killing 185,000 troops in one night, II Kings 19:35; Is. 37:36.
  13. As the Angel of the Lord  as the protector of God’s people, Psalms 34:7, 35:5-6.
  14. As the Angel of the Lord as the Word of the Lord, Zechariah  1:7-17.
  15. As the Angel of the Lord defending against the accusations of Satan, Zechariah 3:1-10.

If there is any question as to the true identity of this Person called the Angel of the LORD, the fact that He is called Yahweh (Genesis 16:13), He calls Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 3:1-6), He accepts worship (Judges 13:15-18), He has the power to give life (Genesis 16:10), He is a deliverer to all those who fear Him (Psalm 34:7) and He is able to forgive sins (Exodus 23:20-21) are all overwhelming clues that He is none other than the Word of God (a.k.a. the second Person in the Trinity—1 John 5:7) and the Creator of heaven and earth (Psalm 33:6, John 1:1-3, Hebrews 11:3). Moreover, it is instructive to see that the many appearances of the Angel of the LORD end when the Word of the LORD is permanently incarnated into this world as Jesus the Messiah. After Christ’s birth, never again does this particular Angel appear in Scripture.

Practical Implications of the Living Logos Doctrine

We owe to Scripture the same reverence that we owe to God.
Source: John Calvin

Hopefully by now it should be obvious to the reader that the Word of God is a divine Person and is therefore alive and endures forever. The question that this truth then raises is: what are the practical implications of the Living Logos doctrine to the everyday bible reader? For instance, when I explained this doctrine to my young daughter she asked, if Jesus Christ is the Word of God and many people have bibles does this mean that there are multiple copies of Jesus? Obviously the question betrayed a simple misunderstanding regarding the nature of this book which we call the Bible. Hers is one of ignorance but greater and less forgivable misconceptions abound. The failure to grasp the true nature of the Bible has caused many skeptics to impugn bible believers with the charge of Bibliolatry (Greek: biblia = “the books” + latreia = “worship”). That some Christians would dare elevate the Bible to the point that it is equal with God is seen by some as a form of idolatry in spite of the fact that, as we have just seen, the bible Himself indicates that both Scripture and God are the same. Got Questions Ministries, a popular Christian apologetics website, stated the following in regards to the Living Logos doctrine:

The Bible is not God. The Bible does not contain all of God’s knowledge. While the Bible gives principles that apply to every situation, it does not explicitly give us all the information we need to daily live our lives.
Source: GotQuestions.org, What is bibliolatry?, http://www.gotquestions.org/ bibliolatry.html

Actually the Bible states in 2 Peter 1:3 that “his [i.e. Christ’s] divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him [which is found in the Scriptures] that hath called us to glory and virtue.” Also 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that the Scriptures being God-breathed are able to make the man of God perfect (i.e. complete)[6].  So it looks like we DO have the “all the information we need to daily live our lives.” But perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. Getting back to addressing misconceptions about what the Bible is, Dr. Gordon Clark, the great Presbyterian philosopher and scripturalist said:

The liberals accuse the Lutherans and Calvinists of worshiping a book instead of worshiping God. Apparently they think that we genuflect to the Bible on the pulpit, and they deride us for kissing the ring of a paper pope…This caricature stems from their materialistic turn of mind—a materialism that may not be apparent in other discussions—but which comes to the surface when they direct their fire against fundamentalism. They think of the Bible as a material book with paper contents and a leather binding.
Source: Gordon, Clark. God and Logic, http://www.trinityfoundation.org/ journal.php?id=16

Both Dr. John Robbins in his lecture on Propositional Revelation [5] and Peter Hertz in his essay on Logology [1] cite what can only be described as a disturbing misunderstanding of the Bible from Wilhelm Niesel’s book The Theology of John Calvin in which he writes:

First, we might point out that in the Scriptural exegesis of Calvin there is nothing to suggest a belief in literal inerrancy…. Jesus Christ is the soul of the law, the focal point of the whole of Holy Scripture. When we hear Calvin assert as much we realize how misleading it is to regard him as the exponent of a literal theory of inspiration. As though the living Lord could be identified with the written words of the Bible! In that case he would simply be an idea or some other thing, but not the Christ Himself. The Word of God the incarnate Logos must be distinguished from the words of Scripture.
Source: Wilhelm Niesel, The Theology of John Calvin

Such questions and accusations as these require that some time be spent explaining what exactly it is that we have in our hands when we say that we have a bible. The bible is not “a material book with paper contents and a leather binding” nor is it “a black book with red edges.”[7] The Bible’s black letters on white pages are merely symbols for the invisible words which collectively comprise the invisible thoughts of God. As Dr. Gordon Clark states:

the Bible expresses the mind of God. Conceptually it is the mind of God, or, more accurately, a part of God’s mind. For this reason the Apostle Paul, referring to the revelation given him, and in fact given to the Corinthians through him, is able to say, “We have the mind of Christ.” Also in Philippians 2:5 he exhorts them,” Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” To the same purpose is his modest claim in 1 Corinthians 7:40, “I think also that I have the Spirit of God.” The Bible, then, is the mind or thought of God. It is not a physical fetish, like a crucifix. And I doubt that there has ever been even one hillbilly fundamentalist ignorant enough to pray to a black book with red edges. Similarly, the charge that the Bible is a paper pope misses the mark for the same reason. The Bible consists of thoughts, not paper; and the thoughts are the thoughts of the omniscient, infallible God, not those of Innocent III.
Source: Gordon, Clark. God and Logic, http://www.trinityfoundation.org/ journal.php?id=16

The Bible is a book that is composed of propositions. A proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence. The proposition itself contains words and these words are symbols or signs which points to an invisible reality called thoughts. The proposition is the simplest unit of thought subject-able to the categories of truth and falsehood.  It is these thoughts which collectively form the basis for what we call the Bible and these thoughts are from the mind of Christ which is why He is the Word of God. The Scriptures in Psalm 119:36 tell us that these thoughts are forever settled in Heaven. All the Bibles in the world – in as much they faithfully represent God’s preserved manuscripts (i.e. the Masoretic Text & the Textus Receptus) point to these same thoughts, therefore the presence of multiple Bibles does not mean that there are multiple copies of Christ.

So, if giving to Scripture the same reverence that we owe to God is Bibliolatry then by all means let us make the most of it. For 1 Peter 1:23-25 clearly says that the Word of God which Peter preached to the Church in his epistle, is alive, eternal and able to give life. Paul also says as much in Romans 9:17 and Galatians 3:8 when he calls God “the Scripture.” Therefore, if Niesel is right when he says that “the Word of God the incarnate Logos must be distinguished from the words of Scripture” then we must conclude that both Peter and Paul were wrong. Moreover, one cannot say that “the Bible is not God” because “it does not contain all of God’s knowledge” without first explaining how it is that he or she has come to know all that is in the mind of the living Word of God. For it is obviously lost upon the skeptic that the flesh profits nothing and that it is the Spirit that makes one alive and that Christ’s words are Spirit and life (John 6:62-63). For if the Bible is truly alive as claimed by Jesus (John 6:63), John (1 John 1:1-3), Peter (1 Peter 1:23-25) and Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:13), then that means that He (i.e. the Bible) thinks. For to be alive is not to posses the ability to move or breath but to possess a soul/spirit which thinks. Therefore when we encounter the phrase “As I live, saith the LORD…” (in Jeremiah 22:24) we do not conclude that God must have lungs or a body, for the Scriptures tell us that He is a spirit and is therefore invisible (John 4:24). Being alive then, is possessing a soul/spirit which has the ability to think. So the question is not whether the written words of the Bible are exhaustive of God’s knowledge but whether the mind of the living Words of the Bible—i.e. the mind of Christ—is exhaustive of God’s knowledge. For if the Bible is alive then He (i.e. the living Words of the Bible) must be a mind, and if the bible is a mind then He must be the mind of God since the Scriptures strongly indicate that there is no difference between God and the Bible. And if the Bible is the mind of God then the Bible must specifically be the mind of Christ since Christ is both God and the Word of God. And if the Bible is the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) then contrary to Got Questions Ministries, the Bible DOES contain all of God’s knowledge and is therefore God.

Because Christ is the logos of God He is also the Wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24 says that Christ is both the power of God and the Wisdom of God. Proverbs and Hebrews 1:3 tells us the Christ’s power consists of Words.

Logical Implications of the Living Logos Doctrine

In the discipline of logic, it is usually considered a fallacy (i.e. a mistake resulting from incorrect reasoning) to ascribe to something that is abstract (e.g. words) the properties befitting a thing that is concrete. For example, if I were to say that Science teaches us that the universe is billions of years old, I would be committing the logical fallacy of reification. Individual scientists (especially those those who are unaware that the Bible contradicts this claim) can teach that the universe is billions of years old but Science being only an abstraction can do no such thing. It is therefore a mistake in reasoning to regard or speak of Science as a person who is capable of teaching. Likewise to say that the words of Scripture “teach” us to love one another could potentially involve the fallacy of reification. However, in this case, since it turns that Scripture is actually a Person, then no logical mistake is made when Christians assert that the bible teaches a particular doctrine.

Other Implications of the Living Logos Doctrine [Draft]

A new twist on the doctrine of inerrancy…

References

  1. Peter H. Herz, Logology, http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=22
  2. Henry Morris, Defender’s Study Bible, John 1:18
  3. A Logosphany is a term which I just now devised.
  4. John Robbins, Collection 4: Defending the Faith, Level 1, Introduction to Apologetics, Biblical Apologetics: Jesus and Scripture,  http://www.trinitylectures. org/MP3/Biblical_Apologetics,_Jesus_and_Scripture.mp3
  5. John Robbins, Collection 7: Introduction to Christian Philosophy, Thinking Biblically, Propositional Revelation 2. http://www.trinitylectures.org/MP3/Propositional _Revelation,_Part_2.mp3
  6. This is the reason why the Westminster Confession of Faith states that “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.” The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1, Of the Holy Scriptures, Section 6, http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/
  7. Gordon, Clark. God and Logic, http://www.trinityfoundation.org/ journal.php?id=16
  8. Henry Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible, John 1:18
  9. Gordon Clark, What is Saving Faith (The Johanine Logos)
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