The Word of God
When the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Thessalonica, he expressed his gratitude for the fact that they welcomed the message about Christ “not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”
Paul’s words get me thinking about the nature and the impact of the Word of God (the Bible).
The nature of the Bible: Paul emphasizes that the Christian message is not merely the words of men but the word of God.
How can he say that? God did not drop the message of Christ straight into Thessalonica from heaven. It came to Thessalonica via Paul and his companions. No book in the Bible magically appeared on earth straight from heaven. Every book in the Bible was written or dictated by a person. So how can we say that it is the Word of God rather than the words of men?
Perhaps this analogy will help: Over the span of 35 years (from 1676-1711), Sir Christopher Wren built the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Sir Christopher Wren never actually placed a single stone in that magnificent structure, but he devised the plans and directed the entire operation. Even though he did not place a single stone, every stone is where He directed it to be placed. The stone masons did the work that Sir Christopher Wren designed. Likewise, God designed and directed the construction of the Bible. Truly, the Bible is not the words of men but the Word of God.
The impact of the Bible: Paul stresses that the Word of God is “at work in you who believe.”
D.L. Moody pointed out, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.” I would add that the Bible was not given to us to use as a hammer with which we can thump somebody else; the Bible is given to me to change my life (and to you to change your life)!
I love Mark Buchanon’s perspective on the Bible in his book, Your God is too Safe: “The Bible is useful for this: Shaping and training you to be the kind of person who walks in righteousness and is ready to do good works, God’s works, in a fallen world. If you are not using the Word of God for that, you’re misusing it.”
So what we have with the Bible is the Word of God (designed and directed by God) to change our lives…if we take it in to us, listening conscientiously to the “shaping and training” God would do in us through His Word.