Do some Protestants believe that the Bible itself is also God?

Hi,

I had a question about the usage of the words "Word of God’. I had a conversation once with a former Protestant who is practicing the Catholic faith at my parish, but who is very Protestant in some of his beliefs still, because I don’t think he knows the difference between what Protestants believe and what Catholics believe. But he always talks about the Bible as the Word of God, and I think he is confusing this usage of the phrase Word of God with the usage from John chapter 1 referring to Jesus as the Word of God. Do some Protestants think that Jesus and the Bible are the same thing, both being the same “Word of God”. I wasn’t sure what to make of what he was saying. There seems to be a bit of confusion in what he was saying. How do Protestants distinguish the Bible’s authority from the authority of Jesus?

Come, Holy Ghost, and give us understanding.
Joshua

The glossary of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, page 1257, explains the term:

Word of God: A phrase that refers to several different things in the Bible, including the Son of God, the decrees of God, God’s words of personal address, God’s words spoken through human lips, and God’s word in written form, the Bible. It is this last form of the Word of God that is the focus of systematic theology, since it is the form that is available for study, for public inspection, for repeated examination, and as a basis for mutual discussion.

Ask any question about Protestant belief and you’ll get a plethora of answers.

As a former Protestant, I can only give you my own personal answer. Protestants don’t believe that the Bible is God, but definitely believe that it is His Word. I never thought of Jesus as the Word, the way I do as a Catholic. And I never asked where we got the Bible, and was never told that it came from the Catholic Church.

How do Protestants distinguish the Bible’s authority from the authority of Jesus? For me, as a Protestant, they were one and the same – and the Bible was the only authority. Of course, I was my own authority in interpreting the Bible. That made me the final authority in what the Bible meant :D. Of course, that extended to others as well – and explains why there are thousands of Protestant denominations.

Joshua,
Of course there is a distinction between the Word of god (Christ), and the word of God, scripture. There’s no confusion here. But to the point of your thread, maybe the link might be an indication of the Lutheran view of the authority of scripture.

bookofconcord.org/gospelandscripture.php?setSidebar=min

Jon

As a former sola scriptura practicing Christian, I never encountered someone who went that far myself, but I have heard of it. At most they are a very small minority.

In my 40 odd years of being involved in one fellowship or another…the only time I ever heard of the idea that Protestants think the Bible is God since it’'s called the word of God…is when a Catholic has made the claim that Protestants believe this.:shrug:

I seriously doubt it.

The definition is rather confusing. For clarity perhaps one should not define it that way where the Word of God can both mean God and God’s word. Does that result in the title of this thread, Protestants believe that the Bible is also God?

In Catholicism, it is more distinctive. The Word (with the cap) of God is Jesus (the Word made flesh) while the word (small letter) of God is the Bible.

I’ve never heard anyone say that the bible is God.

Most protestants don’t think of Jesus as the word of God, I don’t think. but the Bible is the final, and only infallible authority to them. It’s really the only thing most protestants really trust to be 100% accurate, so it’s highly revered. Pretty much the same as Catholics revering the Magisterium and the Pope as being infallible, and people mistaking it as worship.

This is wrong. Protestants know that Jesus is the Word made flesh.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Of course protestants think of Jesus as the Word of God.

Jon

Sorry :blush: I meant that that they know he is, but in general when they think of "the word of God’-the Bible comes to mind, and Jesus isn’t normally referred to as the Word, even if he is known to be.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I was in a protestant evangelical church, I am certain there were people who didn’t understand that the “Word” was Jesus. It was always about the Bible, always. When I realized that, it started becoming clear to me that I needed to go back to the catholic church.

Well we don’t go around saying, “the Word died on the cross for my sins and washed me white as snow.” But then again, I don’t hear Catholics saying that either. Do you guys use "the Word of God’ as a title for Jesus in everyday language?

Sorry for this interjection but you are right. We don’t in everyday language. The Word of God is often a reference to Jn 1 as Jesus the Word made flesh and seldom you would use it in any in other way. Frankly I don’t believe that Protestants as to be so simple as to believe that the Bible is God but being not too familiar with them I would not know either.

I have never come across a Protestant that believes such a thing, and it’s nothing I have ever read in traditional Protestant writings. If you have come across such a person they are probably a member of a church that is part of the fundamentalist movement. A lot of those churches are independent and interpret scripture without any references (they regard history as being unimportant and something they should not read or learn from). They often change their teachings to fit whatever new discovery they made in their bibles, so someone might have come up with that in one of those independent churches, but it’s probably isolated and not a very popular view.

We do distinguish them. As the Word of God (John 1:1, Revelation 19:13, and perhaps 1 John 1:1), Jesus Christ in his person as well as in his words has the role of communicating the character of God to us and expressing the will of God for us. In Scripture, we find God’s words put in written form.

I think its helpful to think about it like this. Jesus is the Word of God because he spoke the very words of God. He spoke the words of God in a greater measure than any prophet ever did because he was not speaking on behalf of God, he was God.

The Bible though is a book commissioned by God. The Holy Spirit influenced the human writers of Scripture to write what they wrote. Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God because it contains the thoughts and plans of God toward us. Not only does it contain actual decrees and statements made by God, its overall message and theme flows from the heart of God.

So we don’t think that the Bible = Jesus. But the Bible is authored, ultimately, by the Trinity. So the Bible doesn’t equal Jesus, but it does equal the words of God.

The person I was talking to, who is a good friend of mine, and a devoted follower of Christ, is somewhat fanatical about certain things. And I am pretty sure he said verbatim during the conversation “The Bible is God.” Perhaps I heard wrong, but I am pretty sure I did, because I would never have thought of that if he did not say it. That idea had never crossed my mind until that conversation. I’m very good friends with him, but I am wondering how I can sort of make sure he is aware of the fallacy of this idea that the Bible itself is actually God. Because he has slipped into a form of idolatry almost if this is the case. He can be a very confused person spiritually, and is kind of pushy, and overbearing on people. I am wondering if this belief in the Word of the Bible being God has something to do with this behavior. But please pray for my friend, that somewhere myself or someone else will have a good chance to correct him on this issue, using a good pastoral approach, so that he really gets the idea, and is able to understand where he is mistaken. Because I am pretty sure he said explicitly in these exact words “The Bible is God.” I personally have never heard anyone in all my reading and conversations any Protestant say that outside of this particular instance with this person, but I had to ask.

Any prayers for this person, will be greatly appreciated. And any advice on how to gently correct this mistaken notion of the Word of God will be loved with great gratitude.

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