“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. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:1-13).
When we speak of the word of God we are actually thinking of two aspects of it, for there is the written word (the Bible) and the Living Word (Jesus). To some extent, though they are different, they cannot be separated from one another. Psalm 138:2 tells us that God has “magnified” His “word above” His “name”. 2 Timothy 1:10 says, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” It is impossible to believe in Jesus and reject the Bible, and it is just as impossible to hold the Bible as absolute truth and dishonour Christ by refusing Him as Lord. You cannot have one without the other. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sin” (John 8:24) … “Ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not” (John 5:38).
The written word
The Bible uses some words in different ways to bring deeper understanding to the reader, and it is exactly the same for the word ‘word’ itself. There are basically four different ways in which it is used; the written word, the spoken word, the preached word and the Living Word. The written word is the Bible. The spoken word is the method God used to speak with men such as Adam, Noah and Moses. The preached word is inspired teaching on Biblical truths. The Living Word is Jesus Christ our Lord. While there are some crossover points within these categories, we have to be careful not to confuse them. In this study we will focus on the written word and the Living Word, for the rest are contained in these categories.
Some people over the centuries have distorted the true meaning of Scripture by not staying within its teaching. This is how the cults, and some major denominations, have gone astray. “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17). When the Bible is added to, then it is corrupted of men. This is usually the case when a leader claims to have special revelations not contained in Scripture. The word of God is complete, so there are no extra books to be added and neither have any of them been lost. Then there are those who take away from the Bible by dismissing its content. We live in an age when men cut passages out of Scripture because they find them offensive, or they twist the meaning to make it devoid of power. All modern bible translators are guilty of this. For example, which version does not in some way undermine 1 John 5:7, which is one of the most important fundamental statements in Scripture? So many Christians are reading from a perverted text, and shepherds are not feeding them untainted food.
The Living Word
The Bible as the written word has fallen foul of translators and publishing houses eager to bring money into their coffers, and from preachers who are too lazy to realise that Satan has substituted the true word with the false. Though the written word can be corrupted, the Living Word cannot. God has given us the Bible to point us to Jesus.
The written word is being distorted so that the Living Word is no longer visible. A man can read the Bible and still miss Christ. Is this not the case with the Jehovah’s Witness, who has a corrupt Bible that hides Jesus from his view? Because he cannot see the Living Word, he do not have eternal life. The Bible of itself cannot give eternal life, instead a person must believe in the Christ it presents. The gospel has no effect unless the hearer is willing to accept the Lord Jesus as Saviour. The written word describes our need: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but only the Living Word can remedy it, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). The written word can reveal our sin, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), but it is the “blood of Jesus Christ his Son [that] cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
As we saw in a previous study, Jesus is the Father’s final word to the world, yet we live in an age when both Christ and Scripture are rejected and ridiculed by the majority. How will it end up for them? What hope do they have? Sadly they have refused the only one who can save them and bring them to Heaven. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
We see then the reason why the devil both floods the churches with corrupt translations and inspires the media to mock the Bible. Either way, it is his attempt to bring blindness to the souls of men and damn them for all eternity. We have had almost a year of commemorating the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, but we wonder how many who claim to know Jesus have taken hold of it and rejected the devil’s substitutes. Let us be of the number that continues to lift up God’s true Living Word and written word.