Re: The Whole Bible Revealed in Zechariah (was Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?))

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sun Jan 11 2004 - 16:39:47 EST wrote:
> Hi Don,
> Thanks for the additional clarification. Most of your post concerned the
> fact that the phrase "Word of God" often means *more* than just Scripture. I
> don't know why you bothered writing all that, because I said exactly the
> same thing in my last post! Let me repeat. There seems to be three
> fundamental referents to the phrase "Word of God" in Scripture, which are
> often conflated:
> 1) The Eternal Living Word: the Lord Jesus Christ
> 2) The Power of God manifest physically
> 3) The Written Word: sometimes individual Scriptures, sometimes the whole
> Bible.........................................

        I am jumping into the middle of this discussion because I think that there are
important points being missed.
        1st, a serious discussion of this topic can't be confined to occurrence of the
precise phrase "Word of God" in scripture but must be sensitive to ways in which clearly
related phrases are used. E.g., the creation account of Gen.1 never uses the phrase
"Word of God" but the creative effect of "And God said ..." is clearly related to it.
        2nd, 1) & 2) above are not distinct. It's clear, e.g., that the language of
Jn.1:1-18, which is the classic text in which Christ is the Word (but not, N.B.
literally "the Word of God") is related to the powerful creative "word" of Gen.1.
        3d - a point frequently ignored - the oral proclamation of the "Word of the
LORD" by the prophets and the proclamation of Christ is the Word of God. The apostles
were proclaiming Christ, and thereby effectively bringing about faith, before the NT
scriptures were written. See, e.g., Rom.10:9-17, especially the last verse.
        4th, God's Word is accomanied by God's Spirit: Irenaeus called them the two
"hands" of God.
        5th, recognition of the Bible as, in an appropriate sense, the Word of God does
not determine the literary genre of any of its parts.

        I take the liberty to quote here (as I probably have before) part of Article 2
of the constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - not because I think
that that status must compel acceptance but because it's a a very good statement of the
different aspects of the _one_ Word of God. (Karl Barth's treatment of the topic makes
similar distinctions.)

        "a. Jesus Christ is the Wor1d of God incarnate, through whom everythin g was
made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.
         b. The proclamation of God's message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word
of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in
creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the
person and work of Jesus Christ.
         c. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the writtn Word
of God. Inspired by God's Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and
announce God's revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks
to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world."

        & again I emphasize that these are not 3 different Words of God but 1: Jesus
Christ is proclaimed on the basis of Scripture.


George L. Murphy
Received on Sun Jan 11 16:50:36 2004

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