Did you know there is another more ancient Word of God than the Bible? Keep reading to learn about it. Last week I started a series in which I am looking at common sayings Christians use and believe, thinking those sayings are biblical, but they are actually false, not in the Bible. OR the sayings are partially false, perhaps needing more explanation.
We started by fact-checking common statements about the topic of sin. Statements like, “All sins are the same,” or it’s opposite: “All sins are not equal.” And then the famous phrase, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” None of these are in the Bible, thought we found while all the phrases are based in biblical teaching, they needed explanation to avoid confusion.
In this week’s series of posts we are fact-checking what we believe about the Bible itself. Here are the statements, and you might be surprised that I would say we need to fact-check them:
- If everything in the Bible is not literally true, the whole thing falls apart.
- The Bible is the Word of God.
Looking at those two statements are you wondering what could possibly be wrong about them? They seem totally true, right? Maybe, maybe not. So let’s fact check what we believe about the Bible!
First of all, we Christians believe that there is another Word of God. The Bible is not the only word of God. Did you know that? In fact, the Bible itself tells us that there is another Word of God. Turn to John 1 and read the first couple verses.
What do we see there?
The Word was God, and was with God in the beginning? What is this Word John is talking about here? Jump ahead to verse 14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us? When John refers to “the Word,” he is not talking about a book containing God’s written word. In the Old Testament, when an author mentions “God’s Word” they sometimes do refer to the written word, like the Law of Moses we studied in the Deuteronomy series. But even in the OT, there is so much more to the concept of God’s Word than the written word. God’s Word is creative, it is powerful, it is not just speech, it is truth, and thus it is intimately bound up in who he is. God’s Word is so much more than just voice or language. Think about what happens in Genesis chapter 1 which sounds an awful lot like what we just read in John 1, doesn’t it? “In the Beginning…” In Genesis 1, in the beginning. God creates through the power of his word.
In John 1, we learn more about that Word. Specifically, we learn that Word is Jesus. Furthermore John says Jesus is full of grace and truth. So We Christians have this unique belief. We believe that truth is not ultimately bound up in statements written in human language in a book. Instead we believe Truth is a person, named Jesus.
That is the first step to fact-checking the idea that the Bible is the Word of God. We need to remember that Jesus is the Word of God.
But you might say, “Yeah, but isn’t the Bible also the word of God?” We do call it that, but it is certainly not the Word of God in the same way that Jesus is. Not even close. Here’s an example of what I mean. The earliest Christians did not have Bibles. The New Testament wasn’t written yet when the church got its start. Copies of the books of the Old Testament were so expensive that the common person could never dream of owning even just one book of the Old Testament. So think about that. The first Christians didn’t have Bibles. The Bible is so central to our expression of our faith that we might think there is no way the early church could have survived without it. The reality is that they thrived.
Why? Because they still had the Word of God, Jesus. That should help us put into proper perspective what we are all about as Christians. We are Jesus-followers.
But maybe now you’re thinking, “OK, I get that, but isn’t the Bible still really important?” Good question.
Let me answer that by asking you a question, “What is the Bible?” You say, “Well, that’s obvious, Joel, the Bible is the Word of God.”
Yes, that is the obvious answer, but it is also not enough. It is true that the Bible is the Word of God, but it also needs some explanation that we don’t normally think about. Let me illustrate with a question: Where did the Bible come from? Did it just drop out of sky, like a miraculous gift from God? Check back in to part 2 of this series, as I’ll seek to answer that question!