The Word of the Lord

 

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I. Explanation of Key Uses

†††† a. the word from Jehovah††

†††† b. the utterances of our Lord

†††† c. the word concerning our Lord

II. Listing of New Testament Uses

a. the word from Jehovah (3 uses)

b. the utterances of our Lord (2 uses)

c. the word concerning our Lord (9 uses)

 

Explanation of Key Uses

The phrase the word of the Lord, translated from two Hebrew words, dabar Jehovah, appears in the Old Testament about 247 times. Although often translated the commandment of the LORD, another Hebrew phrase, peh Yehovah, literally meaning the mouth of the LORD, is also translated the word of the LORD about 50 times. As a study of Psalm 119 makes plain, there are a variety of Hebrew words and terms that are used of Godís communication with men. In general, the phrase dabar Jehovah emphasized the immediate speech of God, by revelation, to mankind. The dabar Jehovah, the word of the LORD, was absolutely consistent and would absolutely come to pass.

The Greek of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, is inconsistent. It uses the phrase, rhema kurios, 63 times for word of the LORD (dabar Jehovah). Many times, however, the phrase logos kurios is used to translate dabar Jehovah, the word of the LORD.

In the Greek New Testament there are two primary Greek nouns related to God's Word. The first, the logos of God, because it relates to the meaning of the words spoken rather than the speech itself, emphasizes the entirety of the spoken, written, and incarnate word. The second Greek noun, rhema, is connected more to the actual thing that was said. The rhema of God refers to the specific sayings from God or from people. Neither the Latin nor the Aramaic of the New Testament makes much of a distinction between these two. Each uses a single word to translate either rhema or logos.

The meaning of rhema of God (Greek) is directly connected to dabar Elohim (Hebrew) by way of the gnome in I Peter 1: 24-25:

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

But the word (rhema) of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word (rhema) which by the gospel is preached unto you.

I Peter 1:24-25 refers to Isaiah 40:6-8:

The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word (dabar) of our God shall stand for ever.

However, it is important to note that the word (debar) of the LORD that shall never pass away is preached by way of the gospel. The gospel is the word (logos) of truth (Colossians 1:5) and the word (logos) of the Lord (Acts 8:25). Hence, the elements of promise and ultimate authority emphasized by the Old Testament phrase dabar Jehovah are contained within the meaning of the logos of the gospel.

Knowing the key ideas that surround each of the ways that logos kurios is used, allows for rightly dividing the word of truth as to whether either the gospel concerning Christ or Godís specific revelation to man is indicated. While, on the one hand, the operation of the revelation manifestation and their authority in the church pertains to the word of Jehovah, a series of words and ideas that relate to heralding the gospel, its impact, and the spread of the gospel are connected to the phrase the word concerning the Lord. In the Bible, the use of the phrase the word of the Lord emphasizes the total supremacy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although the word concerning the Lord is, basically, the gospel, it is more than simply heralding or holding forth the gospel. The word of the Lord emphasizes the dramatic impact the gospel has on those who receive and walk in its light. In almost every case logos kurios means the word concerning our Lord; however, there is at least one certain exception.

 

A. The Word from Jehovah

 

The word of the LORD, Jehovah means the word originating from Him. All of these uses, basically, have the same sense as is found in I Samuel 3:1 below:

And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

The phrase open vision means Godís revelation to His man or women. In this case there was an absence of His revelation because the man of God in charge of the temple was not walking with God. Because there was no revelation, the word of the LORD was rare and costly. It was precious. The phrase the word of Jehovah, dabar Jehovah refers to His revelation, and its authority, in operation. In the New Testament the one use of the word of the Lord to mean the revelation from Jehovah is in I Thessalonians 4:15:

For this we say unto you by the word (logos) of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

Although in the New Testament, the word (logos) of the Lord primarily refers to the word concerning our Lord, the phrase by the word of the LORD always refers to the authority of Jehovah in His revelation to His people(see: 1 Sam. 3:21; 1 Kgs 13:1, 5, 9, 17f, 32; 2 Chr. 30:12; Psa. 33:6; 1 Thess. 4:15). The apostle Paul foretells to the church, with the absolute authority of the prophets of Old that Christ is coming back for us. He does this by revelation from God.

B. The Utterances of Our Lord

 

One way to check the results of the study in this field is to assume the contrary and then see whether this shoe fits. For I Thessalonians 4:15, the NIB translation perfectly characterizes this other shoe.

According to the Lord's own word (logos), we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

This translation sounds wonderful, and it seems to fit with verses such as the New Testamentís first use of the word of the Lord in Luke 22:61:

And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word (rhema) of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice,

or with the uses in Acts 11:16:

Then remembered I the word (rhema) of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

and in Matthew 26:75:

 

And Peter remembered the word (rhema) of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

However, I Thessalonians 4:15 canít be the word of our Lord as in the examples shown above because there is no record of our lord ever so saying concerning the resurrection of the church. Even more importantly, the gathering together of the church spoken of in I Thessalonians is first spoken of only in I Corinthians 15:51:

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.

It speaks of the truth given by Paul as a mystery. If our Lord had spoken it and it hadn't been recorded, it still would not be a mystery. I Thessalonians 4:15 absolutely should not be translated as, "the word of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Additionally, the Greek of all of the other uses of the word of our Lord referring to his personal utterances is rhema of the Lord. In I Thessalonians 4:15 the Greek is logos of the Lord. Finally, the phrase the word of the Lord meaning the authority and operation of the revelation manifestation fits exactly with the sense of I Thessalonians 4:15. Paul is saying that He has specific revelation from the Creator of the heavens and earth concerning the new body and the new creation. I Thessalonians declares that this revelation of our future as the church of the body of Christ is as absolutely reliable and certain as the word sent by all of the prophets throughout the history of Godís Word.

Youngís Literal Translation and the Douay-Rheims translation of the Latin both read, ďFor this we say unto you in the word of the Lord.Ē This translation of the preposition en as in rather than by is possible. A believer is in the Lord when he or she lives Godís word faithfully towards others in the household; however, the phrase in the logos kurious does not exist anywhere else in the Bible.

 

C. The Word Concerning Our Lord Jesus Christ

 

1 Thessalonians 1:5-9 contains tremendous truths about the phrase of the word of the Lord meaning the word concerning Jesus Christ the Lord:

For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake

And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

The Thessalonians received the gospel and so embodied its truths as examples that Paul did not need to speak anything. They carried the gospel throughout all Asia and Macedonia. Because Paul did not need to speak anything, THE word concerning our Lord Jesus must be the all revelation of the church epistles that our Lord himself promised in John 16:9-14. Thessalonians encourages the saints to continue in this all truth by giving specific details concerning the promise of Christís return.

II Thessalonians 3:1:

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

closes the epistles to the Thessalonians asking for prayer that other areas can receive the gospel and also so live Godís words that whole regions can be set free and walk in Godís great grace. This verse isnít about receiving the gospel truths by revelation from God. This verse is about the impact of the gospel, the word concerning the Lord (Jesus Christ). The word of the Lord was glorified and exalted to its rightful position in the life of the sons and daughters of God who lived in Thessalonica almost 2,000 years ago. The Thessalonians became followers, imitators, of the Lord. The word of the Lord became the sole rule of believing and practice for the church of God at Thessalonica. The truth given in I Thessalonians 3:1 is a summary of the reasons that the word of the Lord sounded out in all Asia and Macedonia. As believers magnify the word of the Lord and become imitators of Paul and his ways in Christ, Godís word will sound out to all of the areas in which they live.

Also, the words the faith in II Thessalonians 3:2

And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for (ou gar ho pistisó not all the faith) all men have not faith,

continues the context of the spread of Godís word. The words the faith are part of a phrase that is involved in an ellipsis. The verb is left out. The words the faith refers to the faith that comes from believing the gospel, the faith, or the complete redemptive believing, of Jesus Christ for all men. Completing the ellipsis shows us a tapinosis (an understatement) that emphasizes the further truth that youíve got to serve some one. When the word of God is fully declared, as it was under Paul's ministry, people either accept the truth or become unreasonable and wicked. Prayer is always needed for the continued spread of Godís Word.

These truths are echoed in the other scriptures that also refer to the word of the Lord (Jesus Christ). Look at Acts 13:48-49:

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

And the word of the Lord was published (diapheroócarried through) throughout all the region.

The Judeans rejected the Word of God in Acts 13:46, judging themselves unworthy of eternal life. Then, in accordance with Jehovahís commandment in the Old Testament, Paul and Barnabas made known the light of Christ, the word of the Lord, to the Gentiles. As did the Thessalonians, these Gentiles also received the gospel in the presence of much affliction. They too received it with great joy and magnified, glorified, the word of the Lord. This, as in Thessalonica, had the absolutely certain result that the word of the Lord sounded out, was published, exalted to a prevailing status, throughout the entire region.

The understanding of the use of the word of the Lord given in I Thessalonians also shows that, even if the Aramaic of Acts 19:10:

And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord (Jesus, both Jews and Greeksóomitted in the Aramaic),

which omits Jesus, both Jews and Greeks was correct, the use of word of the Lord would refer to the gospel. It is the word concerning the Lord Jesus Christ that is repeated over time and is spread throughout whole regions of people freely.

However, although they seem like obvious word of the Lord uses, the Aramaic of Acts 15:35-36:

Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching (didasko) and preaching (euaggelizo) the word of the Lord, with many others also.

And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.

has the word of God in both verses. Furthermore, in 15:35, Paul and Barnabas are in Antioch teaching Godís Word to those who have already received the gospel. This further instruction is less in line with the spread of the gospel as revealed in I Thessalonians. The Aramaic could easily be correct. However, if the Greek, if the word of the Lord, then surely this is the word of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 16:32 is the word concerning our Lord, the gospel:

And they spake (laleo) unto him the word (logos) of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

This is obvious because what is preached is the word concerning our Lord. The context of 16:31 also makes this very plain:

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house,

Clearly, the subject is Jesus Christ, and his resurrection, and because 16:33:

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway,

shows that the jailer and his entire house were then baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus.

II. Listing of New Testament Uses

 

I. Explanation of Key Uses

††††† a. the word from Jehovah

††††† b. the utterances of our Lord

††††† c. the word concerning our Lord

II. Listing of New Testament Uses

††††† a. the word from Jehovah (3 uses)

††††† b. the utterances of our Lord (2 uses)

††††† c. the word concerning our Lord (9 uses)

A. The Word of Jehovah (OT Phrase 21)

Luke 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word (rhema) of God (Some Latin editions have Lord. If so, then Jehovah: Old Testament phrase 21) came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word (logos) of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

1 Peter 1:25 But the word (rhema) of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word (rhema) which by the gospel is preached unto you.

B. Our Lordís Utterance:

 

Luke 22:61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word (logos: STE, TIS, SCR, BYZ; rhema: BNT, WHO) of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice (rhema in Matthew 26:75 and Mark 14:72).

Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word (rhema) of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

C. The Word Concerning Our Lord

 

Acts 8:25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word (logos) of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word (logos) of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Acts 13:49 And the word (logos) of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

Acts 15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word (logos) of the Lord, with many others also.

Acts 15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word (logos) of the Lord, and see how they do.

Acts 16:32 And they spake unto him the word (logos) of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

Acts 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word (logos) of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

1 Thessalonians 1:8 For from you sounded out the word (logos) of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word (logos) of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: