The Word of God and the God of the Word

Codex_Alexandrinus_f41v_-_LukeJohn Crowder had Steve McVey on his “Jesus Trip” video podcast recently, and had what I thought was a very balanced discussion on the inspiration of Scripture. I’ve included the video here.

Having dug deeply into these things myself, I would have to say that I agree with what they said. They bring up a lot of great questions and controversy that has arisen about how we should see the Bible.

Do I believe the Bible to be inspired by God? Yes, absolutely. Can we trust it? Yes, again. But when we dig deeper the answers get a little murkier. What translation is the best? Why do they often disagree with each other? Why were some books considered canon and others not? If man decided which books are included, then wasn’t this selection man-inspired? Well, I’m not going to get into all of that here, but I will mention a couple of things before we get to the video.

Can we trust the manuscript copies that often don’t agree? For those of you who don’t know, there are no original letters from the New Testament writers in existence.  We do have about 24,000 copies—over 5,000 in Greek, the rest in other languages.  In fact, we’re finding more copies all the time. This quote is from Wikipedia:

“Every year, several New Testament manuscripts handwritten in the original Greek format are discovered. The latest substantial find was in 2008, when 47 new manuscripts were discovered in Albania; at least 17 of them unknown to Western scholars. When comparing one manuscript to another, with the exception of the smallest fragments, no two copies agree completely throughout. There has been an estimate of 400,000 variations among all these manuscripts (from the 2nd to 15th century) which is more than there are words in the New Testament.” Wikipedia

The reason for these discrepancies are usually due to scribes or monks adding words (which you sometimes have to do when translating from one language to another) or leaving out phrases. Sometimes the omissions are simply because we don’t have that manuscript page anymore (most copies are not complete).

Interestingly enough, at least one copy was found in the trash at a monastery, and this is one of the sources for our modern translations. How’s that for controversy!

Because of these things, there has been much debate over which manuscript copies our Bible translations should be based on. This gets into textual criticism which, again, is beyond the scope of this post.

The reason I’m including this video and bringing all this up is to point out that the Word of God is Jesus. The words of God are in the Bible. Our life is found in Jesus. The Bible points to Jesus.

Jesus is the lens by which we understand God, and the finished work of the Cross is the interpretative lens by which we understand all Scripture.

Let me remind you of what Jesus said to the Pharisees:

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. (John 5:39 NKJV)

Furthermore, John declared Jesus to be the Word of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

Am I saying we can’t trust the Bible? We don’t need the Bible because we have Jesus? Absolutely not! The Bible is supernaturally inspired (not dictated), we find Jesus there, and He is eternal life. I LOVE the Bible, and without it we have no hope of renewing our minds, transforming us from believing in Jesus to believing like Jesus.

I’m saying what John Crowder and Steve McVey are saying on the video. We have to be careful we don’t fall into the ditch of two extremes. One being “bibliolatry” (worship the Bible), practically elevating the Bible to the fourth member of the Trinity, the other extreme, as Steve McVey points out on the video, one that “marginalizes the Bible at best, and dismisses it at worst, so as to suggest that we don’t even need the Bible.”

Beloved, we NEED the Bible! All Scripture is inspired and profitable to us (2 Tim.3:16). But remember it should also lead us into encounters with the Living God, into a love relationship of intimacy and trust with the Lover of our Soul, Jesus. Otherwise, we’re no better off than the Pharisees.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you see the Bible’s place in your personal journey with God?

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 37 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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10 Responses to The Word of God and the God of the Word

  1. Good vid, Mel.

    Well, I come from the “land of the book” – Scotland – so, I defo know what Bibliolatory is!

    To me, I think the following:

    – The Bible is not God, it is not the 3rd person of the trinity, which many people think it is.
    – The Bible is important, very important. Buy truth and sell it not.
    – You need to read the Bible to renew your mind.
    – The Bible contains words from 3 sources: Man’s words, God’s words, and the Devil’s or Demonic words. Just like the source of all voices in the spirit realm. I’m amazed at the number of Christians who don’t understand this, and think that every word in the Bible is God’s word.
    – It is impossible to fully know the Bible. It is a book of revelation, and the more you know, the more you find out there’s still more to know. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to know it; it’s exactly the opposite, you should.
    – I believe personally, that we’re in a time frame where we’re going to re-write major doctrine concerning many matters in the Bible.
    – Some non-canonical books (in protestantism), like the Aprocrypha, the Book of Enoch, and the Book of Jasher, I believe are inspired. Father told me to buy a Bible with the Apocrypha in it, and take it to church to annoy religious people – the ones who are anti-catholic.
    – You should really try to understand the Bible in Hebrew – this is Father’s language.
    – The bible is full of paradox, just like Father’s kingdom. The truth is always held between two tensions in the Bible, so that you need the Holy Spirit to discern it. It cannot be understood without the Holy Spirit.
    – There are no contradictions in the Bible. It is entirely consistent. It’s just that we cannot (yet) understand it all.
    – An understanding of history helps with understanding the Bible.

    John Crowder is coming to Edinburgh next month, so I’m going nip into town to see him, Mel. Looking forward to that.

    Finally, I say this a lot to people that I speak to concerning the bible: “You may know the word of God, but does the Word of God know you?”

    Peace

    John

    • Mel Wild says:

      Wow, John! You said a lot of good stuff here! I think I would agree with most, if not all, of what you said.

      I thought it was interesting that you brought up the different “voices” in the Bible (God’s, man’s, Satan’s). It is true that many Christians don’t understand that God did not authorize or necessarily condone all the shenanigans and things that took place in the Bible. The “inspiration” was to include it, with all its warts, for our edification. Oftentimes, the Bible simply narrates man’s ignorance of who God is without commentary, or quotes what Satan believes. In fact, as I have pointed out in the past, Jesus said that no one knew the Father except Him, and those He discloses Him to (Matt.11:27; John 1:18). We need discernment, which ONLY comes from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.2:10-16).

      I also very much agree that major doctrines are being re-written (upgraded) in this hour. While the Bible never changes, we should and must. The Kingdom is always advancing; we need to advance with it and not be stuck in old revelation. And revelation did not stop with the Reformers! We don’t discard what came before, we build on its foundation.

      Thanks for your great comments. Blessings.

  2. Forgot to add this. I’m actually shocked, by the way, about the number of Christians who rarely open their Bible, including pastors. Especially in Pentecostal and Charasmatic circles.

    A lot of these inner healing courses – RTF, Sozo etc, – which have segments on Ungodly Beliefs and the renewal of the Mind….while these things are important, I’m convinced that if Christians actually read their Bible, they wouldn’t have as much trouble with the renewal of the mind, and dealing with lies and the liar.

    I love John Sandford, and the Kylstras etc, but I cannot help but feel that they need to emphasise reading the Bible as opposed to parrot fashion renouncing lies in order to pull down strongholds etc.

    There are hardly any good Bible teachers these days’. Bob Mumford is about the best I can think of. Love that guy….incredible revelation of the Father.

    Peace
    John

    • Mel Wild says:

      I would agree with your premise. Renewing the mind starts with knowing Scripture. We MUST know the Bible! There’s no excuse for not knowing God’s “word confirmed” (2 Pet.1:19-21). We just don’t want to idolize it. As I have said to my local church, we don’t study the Bible, we let the Bible study us! Scripture is our compass by which we set our course and how we know what we’re experiencing is from God or not.

      There are some good teachers today that understand the Scriptures and follow the Spirit. They might not dissect it in the style of Bob Mumford (who was very good), they have a profound grasp of Scripture and ability to bring out some of the new things God is revealing.

      Thanks again for your comments!

      • Yeah, Scripture is defo our compass, Mel. Everything has to line up with the word of God. If it doesn’t, it must be discarded, especially prophecy.

        See in Genesis 1, there is a word in Genesis 1:1 that is untranslateable. It is the word “et”. You don’t see it in English or Greek.

        “et” basically means A through Z in our equivilent.

        What it means in Hebrew is that “in the beginning, God brought forth or revealed the aleph and the tav, the alphabet!” He actually created the letters and numbers before he created the heavens and the earth. He created the aleph-bet before he could speak the words in order to create. But who is the Alphabet? It is Christ Himself. He is the Alpha and Omega, or rather the Aleph and the Tav as stated in Revelation.

        So, the whole point in the Bible to me is that it reveals Christ. He is woven all throughout it. From Genesis 1:1 to the very end. And, then Christ in turn reveals His Father. That’s what the Bible means to me, Mel. And, that’s why we should study it.

        It’s simply a reveleation of Father, His Son, and His Spirit. I am astonished at the Bible, really. It’s supernatural.

        Peace
        John

        The bible is not meant to be read tbh as you rightly say. The Creator never asks you to read it, He asks you to study it. Why? Because it reveals the Divine Nature.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Amen, Good word, John! The Scripture comes alive every time I read it because I’ve met the God of the Word! Blessings.

  3. Cindy Powell says:

    This is really good. I definitely grew up spiritually in an environment that often seemed to exalt “Word of God” (as in the pages,not Jesus), above the God of the Word. While I love that I got a lot of great teaching (most of it actually was good), I have also had to unlearn lots and lots of things–not the least of which has been learning to read scripture through the right lens. I think the video is really thought provoking and helps keeps things in the right tension. By the way, been listening to quite a few of John Crowder’s videos lately. The guy is really kinda scary brilliant. I’ve heard/read some of his stuff before–I’ve always had an appreciation for some of what he had to say (some not-as-much,ha ha)– but lately he has just been on it. Don’t know if he changed or I did (maybe a bit of both :-)) but I’ve really chewing on a lot of his teaching! Thanks for posting this one. Blessings!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Haven’t we all had to unlearn a lot of stuff! But reading the Bible with the right lens is critical, and that lens is Jesus.

      John Crowder is an enigma for sure! He’s sort of the crazy, wacked-out, mystical, intellectual, nutty professor, all rolled into one! LOL! He comes across offensive to some at times on the surface. Early on he was very offensive to some with his “tokin’ the ghost” kind of stuff. Probably was a little over the top. But he actually has some deep understanding and spiritual maturity under all that. His books are very good, by the way. What I do like about about him is that he’s eclectic, bringing in very different spiritual streams–the Charismatic, the grace movement, the Kingdom of God, the Father’s love, the early church fathers, even the Eastern Orthodox, all rolled up into one. I’m kind of like that myself! 🙂 Whether we like his style or not, he’s on the front end of what God is doing right now.

      There’s a major shift going on in Christianity and even with our understanding of the Bible, and while there will certainly be excesses and course corrections along the way, the change is here to stay. Pretty exciting, actually. Get ready for upgrade!

      Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments, Cindy. Blessings to you too.

  4. Mark Seeley says:

    Hey Mel,
    The first time I listened to Steve and John I thought I heard Steve say that all Scripture is inspired and profitable to us. That all Scripture is written for us but not all scripture is written about us. But when I went back and listened for the 2nd and 3rd time I couldn’t find it. so maybe it was the Spirit speaking to me. Anyway, I am really learning the Christocentric approach to reading the Bible in context and trying to understand to whom the author was speaking to in the passage. I really appreciate guys like Jonathan Welton and John Crowder who do such a good job of placing us in the time, place, culture and traditions of the first century authors. We need so much more revelation and understanding to then apply the Bible to our lives. I need to apply it to MY life and to our lives as individuals. Because as soon as I start to apply the Bible to your life it then becomes a weapon that I use to whack you upside the head. No more thumping! I missed reading the parable where Jesus takes the scrolls and beats the homosexual with it. Wow, how did I get there?

    So I am excited for more and more of the revelation of Jesus Christ in our lives and in His kingdom here on earth.

    Peace brotha,
    Mark Seeley

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, Mark!
      I think what was said is that all Scripture was written for us but not all is written to us, but I don’t remember where it was on the video.

      I agree totally on the Christocentric lens by which we’re to read the Bible. As Bill Johnson has said, “Jesus Christ is perfect theology.”

      You said, “Because as soon as I start to apply the Bible to your life it then becomes a weapon that I use to whack you upside the head. No more thumping!” Amen to that, too!
      Everybody likes to quote Romans 1 to rail against atheists and homosexuals, but they don’t keep reading to Romans 2! Paul goes on to say, “Who are YOU to judge!” It’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance, not our vitriolic “thumping.” 🙂 Blessings.

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