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The Word was in the beginning; the Word was with God and the Word was God. Right at the beginning He was with God. All things came into existence through Him.
- John 1:1-3a
What is the primary function of the Word of God?
Genesis 1 emphasizes this and reemphasizes it by showing God speaking, and whatever God speaks, becomes so. Psalm 33:6-9 makes this explicit.
Psalm 104 first emphasizes the power of God's spoken Word (Psalm 104:7), and then the continuing nature of God's creative activity. Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:1-3; 14), the ultimate form of God's message to humanity (Hebrews 1:1-3).
Even salvation is an example of God's creative power in action, this time through the Word made flesh. "Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new." - 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEV).
What does the teaching that everything is created by the Word of God imply about the natural world?
While we cannot get the same information from studying nature that we can through God's revealed Word in scripture and through the gift of prophecy, we can get truth which comes from studying the Word of God in action.
When we engage in scientific study truthfully and honestly, we are studying the Word of God. We can approach it with prayer, reverence, and an openness to what God wants us to learn.
What ways other than examining creation give us access to the Word of God?
In the past God has spoken to us in many ways. He has sent angels (Genesis 18), He has spoken directly (Genesis 22, Exodus 19:16-25), He has given visions (Ezekiel 1, Isaiah 6, Acts 10) and dreams (Matthew 2:19 & 20), and through direct prophetic utterances.
Many of these are recorded in the Bible and throughout Christian history.
What acts of inspiration or Holy Spirit guidance are required to make a piece of writing Scripture?
Someone must receive the Word from the Lord. Listeners must then receive that communication as a Word. Without the inspiration of the listeners, the Word cannot become scripture.
It must then be passed to the broader community-other churches, synagogues or other centers of worship. Further, it must be found to be applicable over a long period of time.
There is no single set of characteristics of the original writing. A great variety of types of literature have become scripture. Some of the historical books of the Bible, such as Kings and Chronicles, bear evidence that they were written based on existing chronicles. The writer researched, compiled and organized his material.
All of this happens under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
How does a message get identified as the Word of God?
When the body of Christ (the church universal) receives scripture as authoritative, then it becomes scripture. No single group or denomination can make new scripture. They may have Word(s) from the Lord, but those do not have the authority of the Bible without the acceptance of the whole body.
The LORD's voice is mighty and marvelous. - Psalm 29:4
All scripture quotations taken from the Contemporary English Version, Copyright © 1995 American Bible Society.
Copyright © 1999, Henry E. Neufeld
Taken from the Participatory Study Series