For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
-- Hebrews 4:12-13, ESV
Just as God is One but three, so is the word of God. Preaching, when rightly done, is the word of God, albeit not ex cathedra, for preachers and popes are not perfect. The Bible supremely is the word of God, in its original autographs, and there are many modern translations that are amazingly accurate. And God Himself, in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is from age to age the eternally perfect Word of God.
Preaching is the word of God.
Preaching is the word of God from person to person, but personally speaking not all preaching is the word of God. I listen to prosperity gospel preachers from time to time, and they are not preaching, they are fundraising. I listen to some of the megachurch preachers, too, and they are not preaching, they are entertaining. Some of the more popular pastors I hear are not preaching, either, they are building skyscrapers (putting one story on top of another).
Preaching can be the word of God delivered personally to you. You know it when you hear it. Soren Kierkegaard said, "When you hear the word of God, you must constantly be saying to yourself, 'It is talking to me, and about me.'"
Right preaching that provides the word of God to the people of God is like drawing water from a well and serving it to thirsty people. The well, or the source, is the far most important thing. For preaching to be the word of God, it must come from a single source, it must be drawn from the well of the word of God, the Bible.
The Bible is the word of God.
The Bible is the word of God because it is inspired ("living and active"). In 2 Timothy 3:16 the word "inspired" is the translation of a key Greek word that literally means "God-breathed." God is alive and He gives power for others to live before Him, to actively worship and serve Him, through the preaching, reading, and acceptance of His word expressed in the Bible.
The Bible is the word of God because it is inerrant ("sharper than any two-edged sword"). God is the sharpest person in the room, bar none. He is perfect, sinless, incapable of making any mistake.
Therefore, His word must be without error, mistake, or fault. God's Spirit used select men of God to pen perfect words, born through their personality, expressed through their own historical contexts, and sealed with His approval as the word of God.
The Bible is the word of God because it is infallible ("piercing ... discerning ... "). God cannot fail to accomplish what God wills to do. This is what makes Him God. To call His people to Himself, God has ordained the preaching, telling, writing, reading and reception of His word, God's word, the Bible.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God.
Preaching and the Bible provide fitting applications to what the author of Hebrews is saying in verse 12, but only the person and work of Jesus Christ completely fits the context of verse 13. Jesus is the ultimate Word of God! Preaching is senseless and the Bible is useless if it does not point us to Jesus, and the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Him, the Word of God.
You can hide from the preacher, you can hide your Bible away on a shelf, but you cannot hide from the Lord Jesus Christ, who is coming again to judge the living and the dead.
What will be the basis of Jesus', the Word of God's, God's judgment? Did you give your ear to the preaching of the word of God, repent and believe the gospel? Did you devote your eyes to the study and obedience of the word of God, the Bible? Did you give your heart, soul, mind, and strength to follow the living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ?
He knows, because He is the Word of God, thanks be to God!
Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs. Call him at 501-525-8339 or email [email protected]