“And the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.” (John 1:14)
God is a communicator. The most characteristic phrase of Genesis 1 is “And God said.” There are three attributes of this communicability that I’d like to emphasise here.
It is personal. It is authentic. It is a secure foundation for life.
First, it is personal.
John Henry Newman wrote “I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: “Go down again – I dwell among the people.”
The God of the Bible is not afar off, nor is he difficult to reach. The whole wonder of the incarnation is that God came to us. But to the readers of the first century, this verse from the opening chapter of John’s gospel was packed with much more meaning.
It meant that the thinking processes of God were being made comprehensible; that the wisdom of God was being unpacked; that the communication of God was now coming through loud and clear. It was as if a long-distorted radio signal was now tweaked into clarity.
The word is coming through!
So that means that God’s voice could be understood and acted upon. If “the word became flesh” then God had become interactive, participatory, conversational! God was providing an audio-message to show the way through the puzzle of life.
And Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” God provides the direction I need to go, the instructions I need to know, and the only satisfying kind of existence I need to experience.
And this is how we approach the Bible, as the speaking voice of God, as the word of God, authoritative and relevant.
So, second, it is authentic.
The Bible claims to be the “Word of God.” 2 Timothy 3:16 states, “All scripture is inspired by God.” 2 Peter 1:21 states, “No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Jesus quoted the Old Testament as a final authority.
The Holy Spirit confirms to us that the Bible is the Word of God. John 16:13 states, “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” The Holy Spirit who convicts the world of sin also assures the believer that the Bible is God’s Word.
We have evidence concerning the transforming ability of the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit.”
Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The Word of God and the Spirit of God actually transforms the lives of people. No other book can make such a claim. This is because the Bible is not a mere book on good living but is literally packed with power. It is the Word of God with the power to change lives.
Third, it is a secure foundation for life. There is a solidity about the Word of God that is very reassuring.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Luke 21:33.
It’s like crossing a stream, stretching cautiously to see whether a rock will support you, and then discovering that it will!
When we come to ask our Father something upon the authority of his word, then we have found that solid rock beneath our feet. So our prayers should be guided by the Word of God. As we study the Bible to gain understanding and to learn about God’s nature, we will have more confidence and direction in prayer.
Nehemiah –for example- based his prayer on what he knew of God’s nature and on the promises in God’s Word:
“‘Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying…” (Nehemiah 1:5,6)
Gandhi once wrote: “Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
But my “weakness” requires the solidity of his words to find a safe place to stand. And that place is eternally secure. His “words will not pass away”!
Lord, I receive it.