The Word of God

John Frame's Systematic Theology
Part 4: The Doctrine of the Word of God
Chapter 23 - God and His Word

The Bible has a pattern of God saying what He will do, doing it, and then explaining it.
The Word of God is His speech, the way He reveals and expresses Himself.
His words bring creation, judgment, healing, conversion.
God is inseparable from His Word, and His Word is inseparable from His Spirit and the Son.
The Bible speaks of the Word as God Himself (John 1:1), and as something other than Him that He uses (Psalm 33:6).  This is a Trinitarian mystery, but it means we can say that the Word is an essential attribute of God, and is Jesus Christ, and is all His communications to Himself (1 Cor. 2:10-11) or to us.

God as true
An internal standard governs the Word of God: His truth.

  • God is true metaphysically: He is all He should be, the genuine article, the ultimate and only (Jer. 10:9-10; John 14:6).
  • God's Word is true propositionally.  It matches reality, won't mislead us.  He is the standard of truth Himself, and does not conform to some standard above Him.  Liberalism denies Scripture is propositionally all true.  Neoorthodoxy grant the Word power, but not still does not affirm the propositional truth of all of Scripture.
  • God is true ethically, in that He is faithful.

Metaphysical truth leads to propositional, which leads to ethical truth.  Genuineness leads to speaking  true words and doing faithful deeds.  Going the other way, to be ethically faithful requires saying what is true, and that requires knowing what is really so.

God's Word shows His control, authority and presence

  • Control.  The Word both hardens our hearts in judgment, and converts and blesses us in grace.  God does His work by His Word.  God's Word is never impotent, though it may appear so (Isa. 55:11).  The Word is always "doing something to you," not the other way around!
  • Authority.  God's Word imposes obligations on us, like when He spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden.  To question it and claim autonomy for our decisions and standard of truth is to follow Satan.
  • Presence.  God is near us in His Word (Deut 30:11-14; Rom 10:6-8).  Jesus the word came and dwelt with us, as the tabernacle was with Israel.  The Spirit is now with us, as He hovered over creation at the beginning, and He inspired the Word in the first place.

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