The Spirit and the Word

One thing that every Christian is encouraged to do is study the scriptures and our theme for this month is “Excelling in the Word of God” (Psalm 1:2-3). It is key therefore to have some fundamental understanding of the word of God. Psalm 119 describes the word of God as the statutes, ordinances, commandment, precepts, law or judgement of God. All of these descriptions tells us that God’s word is legal and binding. Therefore once it goes forth all of heaven’s forces go into operation to cause that word to come to pass (Is 55:10-11). When we come to read the word it is important that we take it as God actually speaking to us. In spite of the fact that it might have been a word that was written in times past, God’s word is a settled word.

“Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

The scriptures (graphe in greek) is what is written on paper that we call the bible. In 2Timothy 3:16, the bible says that all scripture (graphe) is given by inspiration of God through the Holy Spirit. When we read the scripture it translates to us in two forms distinguished by two other greek words (Logos and Rhema). Logos as referenced in Luke 8 in the parable of the sower, Heb. 4:2, 12 and in John 1:1 reflects the essence, character and thoughts of a person. Indeed the bible refers to Jesus as the logos of God and so the word then becomes God Himself. “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ” (John 1:1,14).

Rhema on the other hand is used in Luke 5:5, Rom 10:17, Eph 6:17 to represent the spoken word of God. Jesus says those words are spirit and life. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

For us new testament believers all of scripture has become the written word even though at the time when some of it was spoken they were actually words that became life (rhema). For example, all the times when Jesus and the prophets of the old testament spoke and situations were changed. But sometimes as christians we read these same words and it has no effect on us (James 1:5). It is important that scripture become logos, not mere stories written on pages but we encounter Jesus in all His glory and power. The key focus here is to get us to the place of taking the written word and turning it into an active word specifically meant for us (rhema). It is only then we begin to take possession and experience the victories we desire. This require us to go through a process to encounter Jesus in scripture. We must come to that place of interacting with the one who inspired scripture, the Holy Spirit. There are 4 things that we must do with the word to achieve this:

  1. Hearing – We hear by listening, reading and seeing the word of God.
  2. Receiving – We receive by meditating on the word. We must interrogate the word and memorise it because if God is to highlight any word for you in certain seasons of your life it will usually be from what you already know.
  3. Loving – To love the word of God is to give it priority in your life.
  4. Obeying – Psalm 119:17. Also James 1:22-25 teaches that the one who gets blessed is the one who obey the word of God.

As we go through this month of May, desire to become like the Bereans in Acts 17 who carefully studied the scriptures and ask God to reveal wondrous things to you (Psalm 119:18).