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Your Word Relationship: Jesus as the Light

(This is the first segment of the chapter on “Your Word Relationship: Jesus as the Light,” in the book Hand in Hand: Deepening Your Relationship with Jesus Christ.  The publication date will be later this year.) 

If writers recorded all the acts of Jesus, no library could hold the volumes.  And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. John 21:25. Moreover, what if God would have revealed not just His acts, but His thoughts as well?  The universe isn’t big enough to have covered it all.  The significance of this speculation is this: God condensed all that He wanted us to know into a relatively miniscule sixty-six books of the Bible.  Thus, the value of the Word of God cannot be estimated.  Each chapter, each verse, each word possesses an eternal message for us, a message that must not be ignored, glossed over or diminished in importance. 

Our relationship with God dictates to us the priority of the Word of God in our lives.  The more intimate our relationship, the more important His Word is to us.  We find the keystone of this priority arch in Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible.  Almost every verse in the chapter contains a synonym for the Word of God: statute, law, way, commandment, judgments, testimony, etc.  It was written as an abecedarian piece, in which each stanza follows the order of the Hebrew alphabet.   The theme of the chapter starts out in the first four verses:  Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD!  Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. Psalm 119:1-4. Not only does our relationship to God make His Word valuable to us, it also informs us how we must relate to the Word of God.  Reverence for God translates into reverence for His Word. Let us explore these implications for this relationship. 

The Word of God Is Intrinsic to God Himself 

The Apostle John is the first one to identify the Word of God with God Himself.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1. Later, in the same chapter, he equates the Word with Christ.  And the Word became 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. John 1:14. “[John] means to jar you, touch your heart, leave you in awe of a God who would reach down from heaven and embrace his children at their level. It is all accomplished by God’s Word in living, breathing flesh—the bringer of eternal light and life for all who receive it: Jesus Christ.”  ( 

No greater emphasis can be placed on the Word of God than the “logos Christology” of John.  This truth receives a final affirmation in the book of Revelation.  Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:11-13. 

So interwoven is the Word of God with the very Spirit of God, that to hear the Word represents the voice of God speaking to you.  When you read the Bible, you interact with the mind of God.  God cannot vary from, violate nor contradict His Word without undermining His own nature. Jesus, in His flesh, offered this prayer to the Spirit of God, Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. John 17:17. From a relationship standpoint, this fact is paramount because it speaks to integrity.  Trust is predicated on integrity, and trust is the cement that holds relationships together. 

The Word of God Is Forever Settled 

The writers of the Bible were specially called men who were anointed to give us the Word of God.  For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21. When the original authors of the Bible died, no more additions or changes to the Word of God occurred. Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances, for all are Your servants. Psalm 119:89-91. We can have confidence that the autographs (original writings) remain static to this day. 

The imperatives of this truth establish the solemn attitude necessary when reading the Word of God.  This is what we call a “hard truth,” as opposed to “soft truths.”  Soft truths are seen as fluid, and flexible, indexed to times and cultures.  The hard truth of the Word of God means that it transcends time and culture, impervious to trends, history and the fickle nature of humankind.  First, if the Word of God is malleable with culture, then God would have to follow man instead of man following God.  Second, the question is begged concerning which culture out of many on planet earth would or should God follow? North American?  Asian?  African?  Middle Eastern?  It would force God into a state of confusion. Such views are heretical on their face.  For I am the LORD, I do not change. Malachi 3:6. 

The Word of God Is Not for Private Interpretation 

Many systems of false doctrine base their success upon redefining scriptural terms. Their entire theologies frequently turn on highly specialized and often twisted definitions of key words. Once prospective converts accept the tortured definitions, they can be led into a radically different theological paradigm with relative ease. Either peddlers of false doctrine have limited training in principles of Biblical interpretation, or they disingenuously prey upon the untrained minds of others. 

Apostolics must carefully examine all new ideas blown in on the winds of doctrine, especially those that deal with the person of Jesus Christ or with the doctrine of salvation. Current trends in “pop” religion, far-out strains from the religious fringe, old heresies in hip clothing or someone’s private interpretation may look good at first blush, but all of them are constructed upon faulty hermeneutics. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. 2 Peter 1:19-20.  Moreover, we must remember that every change in scriptural definitions ripples into profound implications for the entire body of scripture and doctrine. It is imperative to accurately define terms before embracing any doctrinal position. Without getting into deep theology, there are a few principles in good textual interpretation that all students of the Bible ought to know. 

Canon. The canon, or the accepted text of Genesis through Revelation (excluding the apocryphal books) form the basis of all true theology. A doctrinal idea must never force itself upon the text, but must be born out of the text itself. 

Convention. Conventional definitions of terms always provide the best place to start. In most cases, words mean what they are normally taken to mean, unless overwhelming evidence exists to the contrary. This is also called the “common sense” method. When someone subjects a simple, ordinary word to a freakish or hybrid meaning, it should arouse suspicion. 

Context. The same word can mean different things, but it depends upon the context. For example, when one reads the word wings in a verse concerning a bird, we have a reasonably good idea of its definition. When wings appear in a verse about God, however, the context suggests a very different meaning. 

Consistency. Other things being equal, words should be defined the same way each time they appear in scripture. In most cases, only the context may permit a variant rendering. A capricious changing of a word in a key verse signals defective interpretation. 

Original language. Those who appeal to the Greek and Hebrew to challenge Apostolic doctrine ought to cause red flags to go up everywhere. Many times pseudo-scholars look through the list of definitions of certain words found in a lexicon, and simply choose the one that best fits their views. Thus, a little knowledge truly is dangerous.

Highly specialized definitions of scriptural terms generally indicate a weak doctrinal position. Proponents may even claim that believing this hybrid interpretation is necessary for salvation. They know that without a narrowly defined set of terms, their doctrine falls apart.

Erroneous definitions are extremely dangerous. They force error upon every verse in which the terms appear. As a result, all contradictory passages get dismissed as uninspired or mythical. They dramatically realign the Bible into a very different book. 

When faced with an unusual definition, ask these questions: Is it based upon Bible truth? Does it make common sense? Does it fit the surrounding scriptures? Is it based on consistent usage? Does the author have the academic credentials to appeal to the Greek or Hebrew? Proper definitions are critical to sound doctrine.

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