Is every word written in the bible the word of God?
The Living Word
John1:1-3, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In the case of the above scripture, one would reasonably conclude that the reference to the word here is Jesus. We know that because further in John 1, the word is described as the Word that became flesh. Therefore, we can surmise that ‘The Word’ is a Title to the person of Jesus. It is another name for Jesus Christ. Many theologians characterize Jesus in that instance as the ‘Living Word’. However, this is not the same as the spoken verbiage out of the mouth of God. There are instances where Jesus spoke for God: “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his work” (John 14:10). In this scenario, this is the verbiage of God but through an intermediary.
The Spoken Word
In addition to Jesus, there are numerous occasions where other people spoke for God. Amos, the prophet said, “For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, seek ye me, and ye shall live” (Amos 5:4). Ezekiel 38:23: Thus, will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord. Thus, speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart (Zechariah 7:9-10). These are clear occasions where people, in this case, prophets spoke for God. These instances are referenced as the Spoken Word. The Greek for that iteration of (spoken word) is Rhema, literally means an utterance (https://www.gotquestions.org/rhema-word.html). This is a typical message that one delivers directly from God.
Man’s words, contained in God’s Words
The question will remain however, if the words are not directly spoken by God but inspired by him, is it still his word? Does it mean that any message that projects the will of God be understood to be his word?
The two passages that follow may shed light on these questions:
1 Cor. 7: 10-11, To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.
Paul, in those two passages contrasting an instance where the word is from God, and another where he seemed to be expressing an opinion. However, both statements find themselves in the bible. In the case of his opinion, can one conclude that it is the word of God Just because it is stated in the bible?
The Word in the Old Testament
I believe, holistically, it all represents God’s will. The bible says that all scripture is written by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine and correction (2 Tim 3:16). The reference to scripture here is related to the Old Testament because the author of that text did not yet have the New Testament. In that case, he was pointing to the Torah, (the 5 books of Moses) and the multiple prophetic writings in that part of the bible. And even though there were other voices and characters in the Old Testament, Paul viewed the entire thing as inspired by God. Based on Paul’s view, we can conclude that even with all the different voices and actors in the scriptures, the whole document still represents the word of God. But what about the New Testament?
The Word in the New Testament
Let’s start with the words of Jesus: I did not come to destroy the Law or the prophets but to fulfill them. Jesus, in this initial statement established congruence between his teaching and that of the Old Testament. Remember that the Law and the Prophets is reference to the books of Moses and the writings of the other prophets. So, he connects himself directly to what was referenced as scripture in his time. This establishes his teachings as part of the comprehensive Word of God.
But what about the other New Testament writers?
To start, Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Another writer says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2). These writers explain the connection between Old and New Testaments adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It means that the degree to which they follow Jesus determines their inclusiveness in the Word of God.
Although this short message does not exhaust the full description of what comprise the Word of God, it does establish that from the prophet-of-old to Jesus, and then his followers, the notion was that scriptures carried a message of God’s intention for man. And as long as that is the goal, the bible has to be viewed as the Word of God. So, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39).