E. W. Bullinger
The first great and essential principle which must be ever present with us, when we study the Word of God, as a whole, is not to treat it as something which we have to interpret, but as being that which God has given in order to interpret Himself and His will to us.
i. This applies to Christ; as the Living Word.
When we speak of the "Word" we can never separate the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; and the written word, the Scriptures of Truth. Each of these is called the "Word," because the Greek word Logos is used of both. Logos means the spoken or written word, because it makes manifest, and reveals to us the invisible thoughts. It is used of Christ, the Living Word, because He reveals the invisible God. "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, He being in the bosom of the Father, This one [hath] declared [Him]" (John 1:18).
It is not that we have to explain Christ, but that His mission is to explain God to us. He interprets the Father. And we have to believe Him. The word "declare" in John 1:18 is important in this connection, and deeply interesting. It is from ek (ek), out of, or forth, and hgeomai (hegeomai), to lead. Hence the whole compound verb means to lead forth, to make known, to guide, interpret, unfold, reveal, and expound (Luke 24:35).* It is from this verb that we have the cognate noun Exegesis which means Exposition. Wycliffe renders it "He hath told out." The best Meaning is to make known.
This is why Christ is called "The Word of God," because He makes known, reveals, and explains the Father. This is why the Scriptures are called "the Word of God," because they make known the Father and the Son, by the Holy Spirit, the author of the Word. Christ is "the Way" to the Father (John 14). He makes God known to us in all His attributes, will, and words. "I have given them Thy Word." It is always "THY Word" (John 17:8,14,17).
ii. In like manner the Written Word, the Scripture, is given in order to interpret, and to testify of Christ; and this is why (as we shall see as our next essential principle) Christ is the one great subject of the Word.
This is why the Holy Spirit is the interpreter of both. His mission is to glorify Christ (John 16:14). He receives and shows the "things of Christ" (John 14:15). But He shows them in the Written Word (1 Cor 2:9-14). And this is why it must be He and He alone who enables us to preach that Word. Thus we have the Word in three manifestations:
The Written Word,
The Preached Word.
There is no other. Christ reveals the Father. The Scripture reveals Christ. The Spirit reveals both in the written and in the preached Word (1 Cor 12:7,8). How wonderfully does this magnify the preached Word; and show the solemnity of the charge in 2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the Word."
It shows how small and worthless are all the schemes, tricks and contrivances of present-day evangelists and mission preachers with their ever-new fashions and modern methods, when we see what a high and dignified place God has given to the Preached Word. How careful should we be that nothing in our manner or matter should lower that dignity, or imply in the slightest degree that the Written Word has lost any of its power; or needs any handmaids or helpmeets.
is the all-sufficient assurance of the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to the Father. He did not say I have given them Aids to devotion. He did not say I have given them a Hymn-book, or I have given them thy Word AND something else.
He did not give anything instead of, or in addition to, that Word. And that being so, we are assured that the Word which He gave is all-sufficient, in itself, to accomplish all the purposes of God. The Word that is preached makes known the Written Word; the Word that is written makes known Christ the Living Word; and Christ makes known God our Father.
Bear one tremendous name,
The Living and the Written Word
In all things are the same.
This may be seen by noting carefully, in our reading, how precisely the same things are predicated of both one and the other.
We give a few by way of example:
"His name is called THE WORD OF GOD,"
The Prince of PEACE, Isa 9:6.
Jesus said,..."No man cometh
unto the Father, but BY ME," John 14:6.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am
THE WAY," John 14:6.
"I am...THE TRUTH," John 14:6.
Christ"Full of grace and
TRUTH," John 1:14.
"Jesus Christ. This is the true
God, and eternal LIFE," 1 John 5:20.
"A bone of Him shall not be broken,"
"I am the Living Bread...if any man
eat of this Bread he shall LIVE for ever," John 6:51.
"With Thee is the FOUNTAIN OF
LIFE," Psa 36:9.
Jesus said, "I am the LIGHT of the
World," John 8:12.
"The Life was the LIGHT," John
"Thou art my LAMP, O Lord,"
2 Sam 22:29.
"I, saith the Lord, will be unto her
a wall of FIRE," Zech 2:5.
"The Light of Israel shall be
for a FIRE," Isa 10:17.
"To you which believe, He is
PRECIOUS," 1 Peter 2:7.
"My beloved is...chiefest among
ten THOUSAND," Song 5:10.
"His Mouth is most SWEET," Song
"His Name shall be called WONDERFUL,"
"Christ, the POWER OF GOD,"
1 Cor 1:24.
Lord, "Thou art GOOD, and doest
Good," Psa 119:68.
"Ye have known Him that is FROM
THE BEGINNING," 1 John 2:13.
"From Everlasting to EVERLASTING Thou
art God," Psa 90:2.
"The Lord shall ENDURE for ever,"
"Christ ABIDETH for ever," John 12:34.
"Worship Him that LIVETH for
ever," Rev 4:10.
Christ's Kingdom "shall STAND
FOR EVER," Dan 2:44.
The STONE..."on whomsoever it shall
fall, it will grind him to powder," Luke 20:18.
Christ, "A STUMBLING Stone,"
"Lo, I am with you ALWAY, even
unto the end of the world," Matt 28:20.
"Christ may DWELL in your hearts
by faith," Eph 3:17.
Christ said, "ABIDE in me, and
I IN YOU," John 15:4.
"Hereby we know that He ABIDETH
in us," 1 John 3:24.
Christ called, "FAITHFUL and
true," Rev 19:11.
"Out of His mouth goeth a sharp
SWORD," Rev 19:15.
* Heb 4:12 probably refers to both the Living Word and the written Word also.
"The Lord TRIETH the Righteous,"
Christ a "TRIED Stone," Isa
SIMILAR EFFECTS ATTRIBUTED TO "CHRIST" AND "THE SCRIPTURES
We are "BORN OF God," 1 John
"The Son QUICKENETH whom He
will," John 5:21.
"You hath he QUICKENED who were
dead," &c., Eph 2:1.
"He that eateth me, even he
shall LIVE by me," John 6:57.
"Christ hath made us FREE," Gal 5:1.
"The Blood of Jesus Christ...CLEANSETH
us from all sin," 1 John 1:7.
Christ "is able also to SAVE
them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him," Heb 7:25.
"SANCTIFIED in Christ Jesus,"
1 Cor 1:2.
"SANCTIFIED through the offering of
the body of Jesus Christ once for all," Heb 10:10.
"Christ Jesus, who of God is
made unto us WISDOM," 1 Cor 1:30.
Christ "HEALED them," Matt 4:24.
"Striving according to His Working
which WORKETH in me mightily," Col 1:29.
"The Lord Jesus Christ...shall
JUDGE the quick and the dead," 2 Tim 4:1.
"I will go unto God, my exceeding
Joy," Psa 43:4.
Thus we see that the Living Word and the Written Word cannot be separated. And we can understand also why they cannot be separated in the preaching of the Word. To preach the Written Word without preaching Christ is not preaching at all. Neither is it done in the power of the Spirit.
When Paul went to Thessalonica, he ("as his manner was") "reasoned with them out of the SCRIPTURES" (not as is done to-day, out of the newspapers, or out of the preacher's own head or experience); but he did not end there. We are immediately told that this preaching consisted in "opening and setting forth that CHRIST (the Living Word) must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ (the Messiah)" (Acts 17:1-3).
If the Living Word and the Written Word cannot be separated, we learn that in sitting down to the study of the Word and Words of God it is to hear His voice, to choose that "better part"; to sit at Jesus' feet, and hear HIS word (Luke 10:39).
And it is only a "part." The best is to come; when we shall "behold His glory" (John 17:24), the glory of our Ascended Lord; as the glory of our Incarnate Lord was beheld when on Earth (John 1:14). Then, in the future, as in the past (as now by the Holy Spirit), the wonderful "Word"our Glorified Lordwill continue the blessed work which He began as our Risen Lord, "expounding in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself"; and will declare and make known the Father to the Saints, who shall then have been gathered together unto Him (2 Thess 1:10, 2:1).