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This question asks what it means to say that the Bible is the Word of God.

The answer to the question is that the phrase is being used improperly because it is not The Word of God, Christ is. So “what does it mean”? It doesn’t have proper meaning. That’s the answer to the question asked.

I’m sorry that you don’t like that correct opinion, so you better squelch it in your normal censorious way.

https://christianity.stackexchange.com/a/84351/54533

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  • For example what if the question was “What does it mean to say ‘Christianity is not a religion’ ? The answer would be it doesnt have proper meaning because Christianity is a religion. So asking what this means, when the Bible doesnt ever say it’s “The Word”, is analogous. But you dont like that opinion.
    – Al Brown
    Oct 4 at 4:52
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    It's only your opinion that the phrase is being used improperly. You gave no evidence that any other Christians, let alone noteworthy groups of Christ (which is the topic of this site, remember), think that the phrase is being used improperly. Personal opinions are off-topic. And given that the question wasn't "Should the Bible be called the 'Word of God'?" your whole post is misplaced. You haven't written a valid answer because you haven't attempted to explain what Christians mean when they say "The Bible is the Word of God".
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 4 at 5:02
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    I stand by my comment: The question doesn't ask what λόγος and ῥῆμα mean in the Greek NT, it asks what Christians mean today when they use the English phrase "Word of God". You make a good case that they shouldn't call the scriptures that, but that's not what this question is about.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 4 at 5:04
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    The question didn't ask "Where does the Bible call itself God's Word?" Whether it does or not is actually irrelevant to the question of "What do Christians mean when they say 'The Bible is the Word of God'?" Lots of Christian terminology is not used in the Bible. You don't have to use extra-Biblical terminology if you don't want to, but arguing against it is not an explanation of what is meant by those who do use it.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 4 at 5:07
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    It doesn't matter how many references you add if you don't answer the question that was actually asked. The question is about what people who do call the Bible the "Word of God" mean when they call it that. Any answer that argues they should stop calling it that is an invalid answer and will be deleted.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 4 at 5:09
  • Heres a book entitled “the bible is NOT God’s word”. The first sentence says “Jesus is.” xlibris.com/en-nz/bookstore/bookdetails/… You’ll have to pull another rule out of the air to apply
    – Al Brown
    Oct 4 at 5:10
  • We'll continue to apply the same rule: that your post is not a valid answer as it is attempting to answer a different question.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 4 at 5:11
  • No it’s not. It answers the question directly.
    – Al Brown
    Oct 4 at 5:14
  • Can you explain the question in your own words?
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 4 at 5:14
  • Did you not read this post. If someone says what does it mean to say XYZ, and XYZ is false, then the answer is “it doesnt mean anything XYZ is false”. That the answer.
    – Al Brown
    Oct 4 at 5:15
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    You don't get to unilaterally determine what are the right and wrong uses of every term in Christianity. If you want to do that, you can start your own denomination and be your own pope. But on this site we respect other people, and we acknowledge that when we disagree with others we can have meaningful discussions with them. Even when we have terminological differences we can talk about our terminology, clarify the differences and identify the similarities, so that we are not always talking past each other.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 4 at 5:20
  • I provided three references in the new version. This is what the bible says The Word is, and many besides me have read the Bible and noticed. I can provide more saying same thing
    – Al Brown
    Oct 4 at 5:43
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    As I said, you don't have to use terminology from outside the Bible, but other people on this site will, and you can't force them to use terminology your way.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 4 at 6:45
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The rules of the game are, you can only refute the premise of the question from inside the doctrinal framework asked for. So, to take the ubiquitous and oft repeated question about "Why do Catholics worship Mary?" You can answer, "Catholics do not Worship Mary, and this is why ..."

Now, that may seem obvious, because "Catholics" is in the question, but lurking within every question that is not closed for obvious reason is a hidden doctrinal framework that asserts X is true. If this weren't the case, we'd have to close a lot more questions on the site and it would be pretty much impossible for non-denominational Christians to participate.

By answering in a contrarian way like this, you're practically forcing us to close the question and be much more rigid, perhaps you'd prefer that, so in a fastidious way doctrine you do not adamantly disagree with isn't displayed as fact - I can certainly appreciate that sentiment. But I don't want to deal with the consequences, I prefer the site being a little flexible.

As G.K. Chesterton said, "there is a thought that kills all thought" and I would prefer that thought remain elsewhere.

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  • Youre the only mod even trying to be reasonable. I dont think you are but I appreciate the attempt and even understand the logic, may write whats off about it in my view but Im (have been) busy lately. Have a good day
    – Al Brown
    Oct 15 at 11:26
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What does it mean to say the Bible is the "Word of God" and how is it justified?

This is the question to be addressed!

We must be aware that the word of God has several meanings, but to state that the Bible is NOT “The Word” of God; It is the words of God., is simply not true in the eyes of the vast majority of Christians.

Each Sunday at Church, we have several readings from Sacred Scripture and at the end of each reading the Lector exclaims: The Word of the Lord.

Great to provide to sources in your revision, but you cite nothing within these sources. Not too long ago, I got downvoted for using The New York Times as a source. That tells me that we should be careful of the sources we use with certain topics here. To many people, the sources we choose are quite important in developing a good response to a question.

The word of the Lord has several meaning, but none to the exclusivity of the other definitions. This you fail to support.

The Word of God - Threefold Meaning

That the Scripture is the ‘Word of God’ is addressed in various ways in related entries on this website. To further develop an understanding of what this might mean, the reader is encouraged to locate reading material that is more comprehensive than can be found on this site. As always, the aim here is to present a few salient points intended to provide some stimulus for thought.

Here we reflect on the different nuances of the phrase ‘Word of God’. The purpose of this is to demonstrate the multi-layered meaning of that phrase, each layer contributing to a more rounded understanding of what these words intend.

We begin by noting that a simplistic ‘black and white’ response to the Scripture is deeply unhelpful. It is no more appropriate to relate to the Word of God that way than it is to relate to a living, breathing human being in that fashion. As with any relationship, there are hidden depths to be discovered, and close attention is to be paid. It is why we must all learn what it means to contemplate the Scriptures. We are in a relationship with the Word of God.

That the ‘Word of God’ can be understood in three distinct, yet deeply connected, ways highlights the wonder of the relationship into which we have been invited. By ‘Word of God’ we mean 1. The Second Person of the Trinity, 2. The Good News of our Salvation, 3. You and me and all creation. To have any hope of understanding the Scripture (meaning two) we must have some understanding of meanings one and three.

The primary meaning of ‘Word of God’ is as the Second Person of the Trinity. St John puts it this way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) We are dealing with a very profound theological point here; one that we cannot hope to do justice to in its entirety. However, we can say this: the Word is the Father’s expression of himself, the full articulation of everything he is, except the fact of being ‘Father’ or ‘Origin’. The Father speaks who he is, and the Son is the embodiment of that speaking: he is the Word that is spoken. As God exists outside time (God exists in eternity) there was never a time when this Word was not spoken. The Son is as eternal as the Father.

However, we are time-bound. So at a particular time, the Word was spoken into human time and events. He was foreshadowed by the prophets; expressed in their Spirit-inspired attempts to address God’s words to human beings. In the fullness of time the Word was spoken into the life of the Virgin of Nazareth: a Word to which she responded ‘yes’. So we have the person of Jesus Christ, the perfect human expression of the eternal Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, fully human and fully divine. He is God’s expression of himself in human language so that we might understand and learn of the invitation God has extended to us: to be reborn as the sons and daughters of God. For this is the word (the Good News) that the Word of God came to offer us; that we may be reborn in him and thus enter into the eternal life of the Trinity. So we have the second sense of ‘Word of God’ – the Good News of our redemption and salvation grounded in the love God has for us, a love so deep that he sent his only Son (cf. John 3:15) so that his Word might dwell in our midst. It is this Good News that comes down to us in the Scriptures.

These two senses of ‘Word of God’ (the Second Person of the Trinity and the Good News) are deeply connected, as both are the articulation of all that is true as spoken by God. This is where we come in, and we begin to see that in a certain sense, we too are ‘the word of God’. What we mean here is that we are called to live in the light of the truth God speaks and to be transformed by it. In this transformation (offered to us in baptism and nurtured by a life in the Sacraments) we participate in Jesus’ mission to bring God’s Word to the world. The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

We are called to witness to the Good News. As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to speak to the world in the way he did: each in accord with our particular vocation. The only way we can do this is if we stay intimately connected to the first two meanings of the “Word of God” - the person of Jesus and the Good News he brings.

God prefers to work through the human In light of all this, we hold that the Scriptures are the pre-eminent manifestation of God’s revelation of Godself and God’s plan of salvation, second only to the person of Jesus Christ himself. That both are considered to be the ‘Word of God’ is not without significance here. Both represent the intersection between the divine and the human. To speak about the human is not to diminish the divine.

The Word of God (Jesus Christ) was born into a particular People with a particular history and a particular way of seeing the universe. While he was the revelation of something new, this revelation built on a long and deep history – the experience of a People as God worked in, through and around them for millennia. This Word of God belonged to this People, and they belonged to him. He was, in a genuine sense, the product of human forces outside himself, which he could not help but integrate and to which he could not help but respond.

The same is true for the second Word of God (the Scriptures). That God utilised human means to communicate his Word should not be surprising to any who hold to the doctrine of the Incarnation. In the Incarnation, God sets up a paradigm that extends both backwards and forwards in time like ripples in a pond. Jesus is the divine stone, dropped into the human pond, whose very existence changes everything: everything before this event and everything after it. The divine and the human henceforth cannot be seen as being mutually exclusive. In fact, because of Jesus, Christians come to understand that the human is the medium through which the divine is revealed. Therefore, to say that the Scriptures were written by human beings is not to downplay their divine origins. The two go hand-in-hand in the Christian experience of God.

Conclusion

To relate to the Scripture in any other fashion is to fail to understand what the Scripture exists to do. The Word of God has been given to us to inspire and guide us in our relationship with the One who caused it to be written in the first place. We have been given God’s Word so that that Word can become incarnate in us.

God speaks his Word to us individually but calls us into communion, as a reflection of God’s own communal life – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To understand and so live his Word, I must pray, reflect and share my faith with those who are on the same journey. If I try to go-it-alone I ultimately threaten to undermine the communion into which I have been called.

I may believe that the Scriptures are historically accurate in every detail, or I may be sceptical about that. However, whatever I think on that score, I remain committed to discovering in this sacred text what God is revealing to me about himself and about who I am (and who we are) in response to who God is.

I may not know every passage of Scripture off by heart, but I know that I am called to contemplate his Word and by so doing learn what it means to live my vocation to bring God’s Word to the world.

Sacred Scripture is the written testimony of the divine Word, the canonical memory that attests to the event of Revelation. However, the Word of God precedes the Bible and surpasses it. That is why the centre of our faith isn't just a book, but a salvation history and above all a person, Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh. [Pope Francis, Address to Pontifical Biblical Commission, April 12 2013]

By the way, I forgot to mention:

Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. - Matthew 4:4

Once again your post does not answer the question being asked: What does it mean to say the Bible is the "Word of God" and how is it justified?

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