The God of the Word

by Bill Denton

Jesus, teaching in the Temple, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. But I have not come by my own authority. I was sent by the One who is true, whom you don't know"(John 7:28, NCV).

In a list titled, "You May Be a Pharisee If...," one of the items reads this way: "You may be a Pharisee if you know the Word of God, but not the God of the Word." - via Sheeptrax' by Brian Hupperts, Jan 30, 2004.

What a line! "You know the Word of God, but not the God of the Word." This one deserves some thought, for the idea that we might be practicing Pharisees has terrible implications to most Christians. After all, Jesus has some of His most serious disagreements and conflicts with Pharisees.

The fact is the Bible itself puts some impressive weight on itself. That is to say, the Bible carries some weighty statements about God's word. For one example, go read Psalm 119 and see the times and ways the Psalmist refers to the law, the testimonies, the precepts, the statutes, the commandments, the judgments, the ordinances, and the word of God. It's impressive.

The New Testament puts it this way in Romans 10:17, "So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ." That is a powerful statement. There is little doubt that knowing the word of God is absolutely essential.

However, it is entirely possible to know the Word of God but miss the God of the Word! Consider this passage: "You carefully study the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. They do in fact tell about me, but you refuse to come to me to have that life" (John 5:39-40, NCV). The people to whom Jesus spoke were thoroughly familiar with the Scriptures. They knew the word of God. But, they missed the One about whom the word spoke.

It's sad to think that people conclude that an academic knowledge of the Scriptures is enough. It's tragic to know that such energy, time and effort have been put into reading, researching, studying and memorizing the word of God for the purpose of knowing the word of God, yet failing in the most important exercise of all - to know the God of the word.

You cannot know God without knowing the Word, but you can know the Word without knowing God. Don't make that mistake. Don't get caught up in some pride-filled academic exercise that leaves you empty and starving for the One who can make you full. The word is means by which we learn about God, but never confuse the two. Know the word. Know God.

© Copyright 2004, Dr. Bill Denton
All Rights Reserved.

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