Friday, November 4, 2016

ONE WORD FROM GOD CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth:
for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
(Psa 138:2)

This is a powerful statement with which few Christians will argue.

However, they will argue over whether it is the written word or the spoken word—the logos or the rhema—that is the most powerful.

ONE WORD FROM GOD CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

There was a book written with this title, and the concept has swept through the charismatic branch of Christendom. Hopefully, other branches of the Church also buy into this truth.

The Bible is filled with examples that show us how powerful just one word from the Lord can be.
Think of Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Saul/Paul, James and John, Peter, Zacchaeus, and all the Mary’s of the gospel accounts. They each had a word spoken to them that altered the course of their life from that day forward.

We can see, therefore, that this subject of the Word of God is very important. It is not something that can be taken lightly or just put into our mental catalogue of “Oh, yeah. I know about that.”

What DO you know about the Word?

Do you know what God says about His word?

Or, do you only know what preachers like me have told you about the Word?

More to the point,
what is your experience with the Word of God?


Amy Harmon, in “A Different Blue” wrote:
“What we believe affects our choices, our actions, and subsequently, our lives. The Greeks believed in their gods, and this belief affected everything else. History is written according to what men believe, whether or not it's true. As the writer of your own history, what you believe influences the paths you take. Do you believe in something that may be a myth? I'm not talking about religious beliefs, per se. I'm talking about things you've told yourself, or things you've been told for so long that you just assume that they are true.” (source for quote here)
This is a widely held belief that has much research behind it showing its veracity.

What you believe affects your life.

As a Christian, what you believe about the Bible affects your life.

What you believe about the Word of God
affects how you live your life.

What you believe about the difference between the logos and the rhema affects your walk with the Lord. 

THE REASON FOR THIS SERIES

I have been pondering this teaching for a few decades, never committing to one belief or the other. Something didn’t “feel” quite right, but I did not want to harm anyone with some sort of “zeal without knowledge.” (Rom. 10:2 KJV; Pro 19:2 HCSB)

In the last few months, I have begun serious research into the teaching of logos/rhema. I’ve read numerous articles both pro and con, and I’ve done word studies within the Bible.

One night as I was reading the 119th Psalm, it occurred to me to see how the Septuagint (LXX) translated that psalm. The LXX is the Greek translation of the Old Testament done 250 years prior to Christ. It is the version of the Tanakh (OT) most commonly used during the New Testament times.

Psalm 119 is often referred to as “The Psalm of The Word of God,” with words such as statutes, testimony, law, word, precepts, etc. in abundance throughout the psalm.

“Word” occurs 38 times in the King James Version of the psalm. Two different Hebrew words are used—imra (19x) and dabar (23x). (NOTE: the discrepancy of number of uses occurs because I counted the number of times the particular Hebrew word was used, and they were both translated by other words than just “word.”)

Here’s the kicker—the only word the LXX uses for either of these words in the 119th Psalm is logos.

In a discussion of the difference between logos and rhema in Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words, Otto Procksch writes concerning the 119th Psalm:
“As the creative power of (dabar) = logos came forth out of nothing (Ps. 33), so in poetry revelation is effected by the Word (Job 4:12)….from this it is clear that the author is thinking especially of the Pentateuch as the written Word of God. The Word stands in heaven (v. 89). Its sum is truth (v. 160) It is a light on the path (v. 105). It has the content for life, for according to its measure God quickens the righteous (v. 25, 107, 154) and gives him understanding (v. 169). It demands obedience and observance (v. 57, 101). It thus has moral significance for man. It is both promise and hope, demand and power. As one may say that both the motivation and the rest of faith and of the moral life are to be found in the (dabar) Word, so one may find these in the Word because it contains God’s revelation. Since its quintessence is truth, one can rely on God’s Word absolutely.”
(Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words, vol. 4, p. 100)
That last sentence refers specifically to the written Word we know as the Bible.


We can rely on God’s Word, the Bible, absolutely.
We need nothing else.

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