Christ, the Word of God

Christ the Word of God

© C. O. Bishop THCF 3/12/2017 Revised 2021

John 1:1-4, 14


Several years ago, I had begun a series in the Gospel of John. We didn’t get very far, but, as I was also teaching through the Life of Christ, in our adult Bible study at the time, the discontinuance didn’t bother me very much.

However, I think perhaps it would be good to revisit John’s Gospel and see what is there for us. In the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) the themes are different, and the Millennial Kingdom is mentioned frequently. John doesn’t spend much time on the Kingdom, nor even on the presentation of Jesus as the King, as Matthew did: John presents Jesus as God. We see the deity of Jesus more clearly there than in the other gospels.

One reason that is important to us, is that the Kingdom age (promised to the whole earth, but especially to the Jews) is not so much directed to the Church. Yes, we will be there, but every single member of the Body of Christ, the Bride, the Church, will already be in his or her new body. We will not be living as fleshly human beings anymore. We will enjoy the Kingdom from a different perspective. So, the Gospel of John is especially important for us to grasp, so that we begin to see who Jesus really is. Follow along in your Bible as we read John 1:1-4, 14.

John 1:1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the Life was the Light of men.”

Throughout the Old Testament, the Word of God can be seen; constantly active in the World. The Word was not only present at the creation; the Word did the creating. God spoke the world into being. Hebrews 11:3 confirms this, saying that “…by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God…” In Hebrews 1:2, we see that same Word identified as the Son of God. “…God has spoken to us by His Son…by whom also he made the worlds…”

So John was certainly not alone in labeling Jesus as the Word of God. Let’s look to the rest of the Bible, and see what John was talking about.

From the Beginning

In Genesis 1:1-3, ff, the description is very obscure—it simply states that God spoke, and the World was created. If we had no further revelation, we could not know that the Speaker was in fact God the Son. But with the additional knowledge of the New Testament, we can come back to re-examine the Old Testament, and see things not otherwise known. We can see not only that God created the World, but that he did so by the Word. We can see at the same time that the Spirit was hovering over the face of the deep…I assume that it means the whole face of the deep…so the omnipresence of God the Holy Spirit seems to be in view, as well as the absolute authority, the omnipotence of God, as one who can speak the world into existence. But in the same passage we see the Trinity, of course. Even the noun Elohim, simplytranslated “God,” is actually a plural noun, in Hebrew. (Not singular; not dual—plural. We don’t have many dual nouns, but Hebrew does, so a “plural noun” in Hebrew, means “three or more,” not “two or more” as in English.)

Whenever God has communicated with Man, at any level, the Word was involved. Sometimes obviously, as a Person, sometimes simply in the form of communication—but we see more and more clearly that the person of the Godhead who does the communication is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, in virtually every case.

The Word was given, throughout the Old Testament, in the form of:

  1. Narratives
  2. Commands
  3. Prophecies
  4. Promises
  5. Warnings
  6. Encouragements
  7. Judgment

(Remember that ALL of these are revelations from God!)

In the Psalms, God’s Word was exalted as being:

  • True
  • Eternal
  • Pure,
  • Holy,
  • Light,
  • The cleansing power of God,
  • The protection of God against sin,
  • Guidance to the traveler
  • Wisdom for living
  • The comfort of the afflicted
  • Food for the hungry
  • Medicine for the sick, etc.

In fact, in Psalm 138:2, the psalmist makes the startling statement that “…Thou hast exalted thy Word above all thy Name!

After all that has been said about the Name of God, and how holy and exalted it is, that we are not to use it inadvisably, never to take it in vain, etc., how is it possible that God can exalt His Word above even that Name? It is because the Word is the Person of Christ. The name that we had been given for God prior to the time of Christ has been lost, effectively—no one really knows now how it is to be pronounced, whether Yahweh, Jehovah, or otherwise; the true pronunciation has been lost, at least for now. But the Name of Jesus, regardless of language or pronunciation, has been given as the ONLY name “…under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) So the Name now exalted IS that of the Word of God—Jesus, The Son, the Lamb, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

As we move forward into the Gospel of John,we see John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of Grace and Truth.

Thus, in John 1:1-4, 14, together, we see clearly, for the first time, that the Word is also a Person. Jesus is the communication of God to Man. If we look back at the forms in which the Word was given, we can see that Jesus still is all those forms.

  1. Jesus is the historian: he tells us what really happened.
  2. Jesus is the Lord—He is the commander…he gave the command (John 13:34, 35) to Love one another. He also gave the command to preach the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15).
  3. Jesus is the prophet—he has told us what is to come (Matthew 24; Mark 13, etc.)
  4. Jesus is the fulfillment of promise, as well as the giver of promises. (John 5:24)
  5. Jesus has given warnings to those who ignore His Word and his teachings. (John 3:18; etc.)
  6. Jesus offers encouragement to those who hear and believe, and obey. (John 14:1-4, 6, 21, 23, etc.)
  7. Jesus is the revealer, in the Book of the Revelation.(Revelation 4-22)
  8. Jesus is the final Judge of the whole world. (John 5:22; Matthew 25:31, ff; compare Revelation 20:11,12)

Further, we see that Jesus is the source of God’s Grace, in John 1:17, as well as God’s Truth. In fact, if I were to go back and compare all the things that God said about His Word, in the Psalms, I would find that they are all true of Jesus Christ. He is True, and Pure, and Holy. He is the light, and the cleansing power of God (by His blood, especially) and the guidance of God, the protection and comfort of God for us, as we are pilgrims on the way, and, truly the Wisdom and Power of God, according to 1st Corinthians 1:24.

So, what is the primary message God has communicated via Jesus? Interestingly, it seems to be encapsulated by the same Writer, John, in 1st John 1:5-10; 2:1, 2; 5:11-13)

  1. God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1st John 1:5)
  2. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we are actually lying. (1st John 1:6)
  3. If we say we have not sinned, we are making Him a liar. (1st John 1:10)
  4. Jesus is the propitiation (The satisfaction of God’s righteousness) for our sins and for those of the whole world. (1st John 2:2)
  5. Eternal life is in the Son of God, given by the Father. (1st John 5:11)
  6. If you have the Son, you have Eternal life—if you don’t, you don’t. (1st John 5:12)
  7. God wants you to know that you have eternal life. (1st John 5:13)

What about the present, and the future?

Peter tells us 2nd Peter 1:19 that the Word is our ONLY source of light in this dark world. He says that, as we normally treat a light in a dark place (earnestly focusing our attention on what it reveals), so we should focus our attention on the written Word (the black-and-white revelation of Jesus) until the Living Word (the Daystar) arrives. We are not to turn aside to other guides, regardless of how attractive they may appear. Jesus is the Living Word, who is our light, our guide, our Savior, and our Master. We will either use his written Word as He has commanded through Peter, or we will effectively ignore His leading and His light. There is no mistake about the connection between the written Word of God and the Living Word, Jesus Christ.  The connection is solid enough that I believe I can safely say that the way you respond to the Written Word will reveal the reality of how you respond to the Living Word.

Ultimately, the whole world will see Jesus as the Word of God. The Revelation shows him returning as a conqueror, and that his name is called “The Word of God”. On His thigh another title is emblazoned: “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16)

How do you think you might respond to the sight of Jesus arriving as the conqueror, destroying his enemies, and rescuing the remnant of believers? Do you think you might feel at least a sense of awe? Or, maybe “stark terror” would be more accurate? Do you think you would have any trouble staying awake, for instance? Any trouble remembering whatever He happens to say—especially if it were said to you, personally? Bear in mind that this same Jesus that is coming with irresistible force and majesty, and destruction, as well as rescue, is the same one whose Word we have been “playing with” for the last however many years. Sleeping during Bible lessons (I have, too, don’t think I am pointing fingers…), and only vaguely able to recall what it was He said. And we don’t seem to be too terribly worried about it either. We feel a little guilty, and think, “I really ought to study the Bible, but, you know, I have a lot on my plate!” or, “I really can’t memorize things.” (If that is really true, then you need to treat the Written Word just as you do any other vital information that you have to know—read it often, and carry a copy of it with you for quick review.)


If Jesus is the message—the communication of God to you—how are you responding? Have you received the message at all? If so, are you still receiving it? We receive the message of Eternal Life by hearing and believing…that is the obedience required at that point. (John 6:28, 29) But those who believe the initial message are called to continue to respond to the message. Obedience to God’s Word is how we respond to the message of God. But Jesus said that those who KEEP his Word have a special relationship with God, and blessing added to their lives. (John 14:21-24)

What can you do to change?

Set a time during which you WILL be in the Word, daily—make an appointment, and keep it—God will be there, whether you are or not. (You keep human appointments regularly—why not keep one with God?) Set the clock and get up early, so you can read while it is still quiet. Begin with prayer…Confession is a good prayer to begin with, then cast yourself on God’s mercy, and look to Him to teach you as you read.

Take notes as you read. Choose a key verse to memorize, and write it out. Take it with you and review it often. Read for the purpose of seeing Jesus face to face. Search the scriptures for direction for your life. Look for tools to make it easier to explain the Gospel to others…scriptures that speak clearly to you, in your circumstances.

Psalm 119:9 asks, “How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy Word.” God’s Word is the ONLY thing he promises can change your life. The psalmist goes on to say, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.” That could easily refer to memorization, but even memorization can potentially be just rote memory, with zero application. Meditation on the Word, and deliberately applying it your life is a necessary part of “hiding the Word in your heart”. Memorization is important too, but application is what changes lives.

In the end, what you do with the Word will be one of two things—you will either obey, or disobey. Consider who it is you are actually dealing with, and reconsider how you feel about obedience. Are your sins paid for? Yes. Are you free from condemnation? Yes. But how you affect those around you, and how you will feel when you see Jesus are both completely dependent upon your obedient response to His Word. Bear in mind that He is the Word, and the eternal Judge.

Make a commitment to change how you respond to the Living Word, and receive His eternal reward as a result. God’s blessing upon you as you seek to follow His Word, the Living Word of God—Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see You, the Living Word, as we study the Bible, the Written Word. Help us to truly see it as or only source of light, and our only guide by which to travel. Give us a growing hunger for your Word and use it to transform our lives.

Finding Jesus in Genesis: Lesson Nine

Finding Jesus in Genesis: Lesson Nine

© C. O. Bishop 2012; Revised 2018

Genesis 18


We have been working our way through Genesis: In this chapter, there are several amazing points for us to consider:

  • One is that God and his angels can show up in human form, indistinguishable from normal humans: they can walk, talk, eat, etc., and pass for humans without question.
  • Another is that Jesus, God the Son, is the only member of the Godhead to show up in visible, human form, and He usually is soon revealed for who he is. He has not come to deceive us, in any way, but rather to communicate on the level of a human.
  • Jesus is the Communication of God…the Word, incarnate: He “declares God.”
  • Jesus is also the Judge of all the Earth, not just the Savior of the World.

Genesis 18

“The LORD appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre.” This clearly says Abraham was talking to God. We may feel a slight problem with that, because when Moses asked to see God’s face, God said, “No man can see my face and live…” and the Gospel of John (John 1:18) confirms that, but explains briefly, by saying “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared him.” So we conclude that this was God the Son, declaring and revealing the Father, as he has done throughout all the ages.

This concept is called a “Christophany”—a pre-incarnate appearance of the Christ: God the Son. There are others…the one who most frequently appears, though, is the individual called “the Angel of the LORD.” In every case, when the “angel of the LORD” (not “an” angel of the Lord) appears, it turns out to be the LORD himself…when he speaks, it simply says, “The LORD said…” That is what happened in this particular case, too:

Abraham was sitting in the doorway of his tent, in the shade, as it was hot out. Three men appeared on the road. Abraham saw them and ran to meet them. He was courteous and hospitable toward these three strangers, and he begged them to accept his hospitality: he offered to feed them, and they accepted his offer. Then, as they ate, he stood by them and served them. He offered them freshly cooked beef with freshly baked flat-bread, cooked beside the fire, and butter, and milk…possibly other things, but we are only told those four items. And they ate…which is interesting to me, considering who they turned out to be: Then they spoke up and he began to find that he had literally been entertaining God, and, evidently, two angelic beings as well. Let’s see how Abraham responded to them (watch the changing pronouns, here, too):

God Incarnate; the Living Word

(v.9, 10) They said “Where is Sarah, thy wife?”  He (Abraham) said, “…in the tent.” Then, HE (God) said, “I will certainly return next year and your wife, Sarah shall have a son.”

From that point on, it is this spokesman, alone, who speaks with Abraham. Bear in mind that, in John 1:1, Jesus is referred to as the “Word.” It says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” A few verses later, in John 1:14, it says “and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth.” Finally, in John 1:18, he says, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the father, he hath declared him.” What a powerful revelation concerning all the appearances of God in the Old Testament!

Jesus is, and always has been, the communicator of the God-head: the one who “declared” God. So, this is Jesus, speaking as God, and declaring His Divine intent for Abraham’s life. He is the incarnate God, God-in-the-flesh, and he has appeared periodically throughout human history. It was He who walked in the Garden in the cool of the day, and met with Adam and Eve. It was He who wrestled with Jacob, and met with the parents of Samson. He is the One who fully communicates God to man, and, according to the book of Colossians, in Him the entire Godhead dwells in bodily form. (Colossians 2:9)

The Omnipotence and Omniscience of Christ

Notice, too, that Sarah also heard the voice of God, promising that she would soon be pregnant with her only son, and, (just as Abraham had earlier done, openly) she laughed inwardly at the thought, thinking “After I am this old, and my lord (husband) is even older, I’m going to have a son?”  Notice that she evidently made no sound! But God heard it anyway: He spoke and challenged her, saying “Why did Sarah laugh?” She was afraid, and tried to deny it, saying “I didn’t laugh!”, but God (in the Person of Christ) said, “No, you did laugh!” Knowing her thoughts shows that Christ is all-knowing: Omniscient. The fulfillment of the Promise (later) demonstrates that he is all-powerful: Omnipotent, as well as Trustworthy: He keeps His Word.

It might seem a small thing, but this is actually why Isaac was named Isaac! Isaac means “He Laughs!” It was God’s little “the joke’s on you!” response to their temporary unbelief. I like this because it shows that God has a sense of humor. Every time they called Isaac’s name, for the rest of their lives, they would remember why he held that name. I also like the fact that they were not rebuked for their initial response. God knows our limitations.

This is a good reminder for us, that The Lord has no trouble reading our thoughts exactly. Every thought is open to His observation, examination, and appraisal. What kind of thought-life are we practicing? This is the reason why, over in 2nd Corinthians 10:4, 5, he says that we have been equipped (as believers) to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” It is something to think about, isn’t it? Maybe we ought to take that more seriously.

Judgment is Coming

(v.16-33) The three “men” got up from the meal, and headed toward Sodom. Abraham, gracious host to the end, walked with them to see them on their way. The LORD (remember, this is Jesus) volunteered to share His plan with Abraham, saying “I know that Abraham will keep my word, and will teach his children to keep my word.” Jesus wants us to know His will and His plan, but it may depend upon our being willing to obey Him, and follow His will for us.

God told Abraham that he was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, for their extreme sin. To me, this is a very sobering passage, as I see our nation (and indeed, our current world) sliding deeper and deeper into the very kinds of sin that Sodom and Gomorrah were famous for, as well as the violence that covered the earth before the flood. How long can we expect the judgment of God to tarry? It may be instructive to compare the old judgment (the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) with judgments yet to come (The Great Tribulation, Armageddon, etc), and see whether there are other parallels. (Both texts are in the Bible: I am not suggesting that we have “figured out” the future of our country or any such thing.)

To begin with, it is good to notice that Abraham did not say, “Well, good! It’s about time you burned those nasty sinners out!”, but rather, he was immediately concerned for any righteous who might still be living there. We may assume he was primarily concerned for his kinsman, Lot, but he started with the premise that there might be fifty righteous there. Apparently he had a pretty good idea what the city was like, if he thought fifty might be the maximum. He also recognized that God has the right to judge sin, and did not complain that God was “being too harsh” on sin, but was simply fearful that those who were believers might be destroyed with those who had fully rejected the authority of God. Meanwhile, the two other characters (angelic beings, who simply looked like humans, at this time) took off toward Sodom, and the LORD was left alone with Abraham.

It is interesting to note, in verse 25, that Abraham addressed the LORD as “the Judge of all the Earth,” and protested that destroying the righteous with the unrighteous was not something he would expect from the righteous Judge. Let’s stop a moment and be reminded of just who the Righteous Judge, the “Judge of all the Earth” had to be: Turn to John 5:22, and see that Jesus said “…The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son….” Jesus is the Eternal Judge, as well as the only Savior! He truly is “God in the flesh!”

God said “If there are fifty righteous, I will spare the whole place!” Abraham kept “whittling” the number down, and even at ten, God said he would spare the whole place for the sake of ten righteous. But at that point God broke off the conversation, and left. The fact is: God already knew how many were there who would respond to Him at all. That is why he sent two angels, rather than only one: one alone could easily have destroyed the cities, but they had to drag out four people, to salvage them from the destruction: so, one hand for each human: two angels!

Bear in mind, through this entire exchange, that it was the Lord Jesus who was speaking with Abraham. Abraham was correctly addressing Him as the Judge, and begging him to save the righteous. Think back to Genesis 15:6, and remember that God declares a person righteous, only on the basis of faith! Abraham was praying for the believers!

We believers pray for our nation, our leaders, the various peoples of the World, and for Israel, knowing that judgment is coming. The fact that we know judgment is coming does not render our prayers ineffectual or hopeless. 2nd Peter 3:9 says that the reason God is taking his time about judging this world is that He is being very patient, and giving people the opportunity to repent. Sodom apparently had simply run out of time, and God’s judgment finally fell.

Judgment is coming in our world as well, and we are acting as God’s ambassadors, attempting to offer reconciliation and salvation to any who will accept God’s terms. How do we do it?

Bad News and Good News

The word “Gospel” means “good news,” but we need to remember that part of the Gospel is the Bad News: the bad news of sin and the coming Judgment. Virtually all “good news” is predicated upon at least the previous possibility of something “bad” that either did not happen (hence the good news) or which did happen, requiring that we hope for Good News of a remedy of some sort.

I frequently cite the example of the “Good News” from a number of years ago, when Australian medical researchers had developed a “catch-all” antivenin, which would serve as the antidote for 85 different varieties of venomous snakes on that continent. So what was the bad news, obviously? They have at least 85 different kinds of venomous snakes in Australia! (Yow! Yes, that’s bad news!) Actually, I looked it up more recently, and, it turns out, that if we count sea-snakes, they actually have 140 varieties of venomous snakes there, but that “only” about a dozen of ‘em are regularly a hazard to humans. (Oh! Well, then, that’s not so bad, right?)

If we hear that the “…huge fires over in the wheat fields have been brought under control,” that is good news, but only because it is predicated upon the bad news that there were “huge fires in the wheat fields!” Do you see what a completely foolish thing it is, to attempt to preach the “good news” of the Gospel without also explaining the “bad news” of our sin, and the coming judgment of God upon sin? Why would someone who believes themselves to be righteous see any need for a savior?

The entire message of the Bible is this one central theme of God’s redemptive plan for fallen mankind: The Person and Work of Christ. If it were not for the fact that we are a fallen race, there would be no need for a Savior; no need for a Redeemer!

The story began back in Genesis 3, and continues through the entire Bible, culminating in Christ, both in the Gospels and in the Revelation. The last plea for the lost is made in the last few verses of the Revelation, inviting “whosoever will” to freely come. But all the way along, God makes it clear that we are a lost race, because of sin, and that no one is excluded from that condemnation. Our only hope, to be freed from our lost position in Adam is to be transferred into a safe position in Christ. Just as we saw Noah, safe, only because of his position inside the Ark, we are invited to receive God’s redemptive plan, and take up a new, safe position: in Christ.

I don’t usually feel the need to tell someone that they are a sinner: very likely they already know that. But I do tell them that I am a sinner, so they know I am not looking down on them in any way; that I am just a beggar, telling another beggar where to find free food. I am just one sinner, saved, and telling another sinner where to find the Savior.

If they fail to see themselves as a sinner, and they actually verbalize that idea, I can outline the sort of thing that God calls sin; every little selfish motive or angry thought is a symptom of the fatal disease called Sin. I can show them, from God’s Word, that every single human is a sinner, and needs a Savior. He says, “All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” I can tell them the rest of the bad news, that Judgment is coming: God says, “The wages of sin is Death.” But I can finish with the Good News that Jesus Saves! “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” I can explain that we are “saved by Grace, through Faith”: specifically, “faith in His shed blood at the Cross.” We trust in His finished work, for our salvation.

If they are at all interested, then, I can share with them Jesus’s promise that “he that heareth my Word, and believeth on Him who sent me, hath everlasting life (now) and shall not come into condemnation (ever), but has crossed over from death into life.” (It’s a done deal!)


That is really all I have to offer. Paul said, when he arrived in Corinth, that he was determined to “know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” He had seen how all the philosophical preaching he had done in Athens had really accomplished very little. So: in the next town, which was Corinth, he simplified his message, and went “back to the basics.”

I think that we need to take a similar approach, and not muddy the waters with our clever ideas, but just try to share the simple message of salvation from Sin, and the promise of eternal life, directly from God’s Word.

Lord Jesus, open our hearts to the lost around us, and give us the compassion and courage to share with them the Bad News and the Good News of your salvation. Make us a light to those around us, and let us serve you faithfully.