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The Living Word of God

To own a copy of the Scriptures, the Word of God, is a capital offense in some countries today. Yet one of the primary prayer requests of today’s persecuted Christians in hostile and restricted nations is “Send us Bibles.” The written, or digital, Bible in their native language is their most desired possession.

The Bible was preserved and came to us in the 21st century after many years of struggle and persecution. The organized church didn’t want people to have access to the Word and restricted it to the trained and untrained clergy. John Wycliffe, (1330-1384), in the early 14th century, was a dissident from the Catholic Church who believed that each individual should have access to the Word of God in his native language. He and his helpers translated the Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate. The Catholic Church hated him, but he managed to survive their hatred until dying a natural death. But the hatred was so great for him that 44 years after his death, they dug up his body, burned the remains, and dumped the ashes into the Swift River.

William Tyndale (1494-1536) understood the common people’s vocabulary and translated the Bible so they could understand. Translating directly from the Greek and Hebrew languages, he did a superb job of making the Bible available to all people in the English language. The Catholic Church and government officials opposed him because he had taken a firm stand for the Bible as the authority rather than the church. They executed Tyndale in 1536 by first strangling him and then burning him. But within a month of his death, a complete English Bible was published with his translation of the New Testament and the Old Testament through Chronicles.

Thank God for Wycliffe and Tyndale’s sacrificial, pioneering work in making the Bible available to us in English.

But even today, the attack against God’s Word continues. The Bible is banned, illegal, or severely restricted in 52 countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, N. Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. Many risk their lives, or prison, or torture for possessing a Bible or portions of the Bible. Yet, Bibles are readily available in free America and other free countries. Some of us have several copies of the Bible, but we let them lie unopened and collecting dust.

What is the Word?

A word is a speech or a series of sounds that symbolize and communicate meaning. John 1 describes Jesus as the Word in John 1:1-3, 14. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” “And the Word 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.” The Word is a representation of everything God is. And since the Word was made flesh, we know that the Word is Jesus. He is God, He is the Creator, He came to show God to man. In Colossians 1:15, He is the image of the invisible God; in Hebrews 1:2, He is the express image of his person.

In Psalms 138:2, there is this unusual statement: “For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” The Written Word introduces and explains Who and what the Word is.

The Word in Creation

Creation was performed by and through the Word of God. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” (Psalm 33:6,9) In Genesis 1, the acts of creation were recorded as performed by His Word. “And God said, Let there,” or “let the” or “let us” is repeated for each day’s act of creation. (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24). When God finished, he declared that “it was very good.” Hebrews 11:3 and 2 Peter 3:5 testify further that creation was by the Word of God.

Jesus’ use of the Word

When Jesus faced temptation, He appealed to the Word of God. In Luke 4:4 and 4:8, He answered Satan with “It is written,” and 4:12, “It is said.” When he taught, he referred the unbelieving Jews to the Scriptures. “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39). In illustrating the principle of the new birth, he referred Nicodemus to a familiar story: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.” (John 3:14).  In John 12:48, Jesus appealed to the authority of His Word. “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” He affirmed the eternal truth of the Word when he said, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18).

The Apostles Writings

Peter, Paul, and John were aware of the fact that God was using them to write Scripture. “Even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:15-16). “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19).

The God-breathed, Inspired, Authoritative Word of God.

Peter’s testimony declares how the Word came to us 2 Peter 1:21. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Paul bears witness to the Scriptures in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Jesus is the Living Word of God. The Scriptures are the Living Written Word of God. First of all, we must love and worship the Lord. Then, we must love, cherish, and obey the Living Written Word of God. “For the word 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.”

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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2 comments

  1. Hello Dale,
    Missed your articles – glad to see you back at the helm!
    Excellent study and word. Such interesting history about the Bible! So informative.
    Have a blessed day and thank you for sharing.

  2. LOVE TYNDALE.. ONE OF MY HEROES

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