The Word, The Word, The Word is The Word

There are two ongoing threads concerning Sola Scriptura. I discovered that there are two identified types of Sola Scriptura that I designated Sola-L and Sola-C, for Liberal and Conservative respectively, based on a Liberal Protestant statement noted below.

I also discovered a point of view, reproduced below, posted in another thread as to authority, that is the denial of all authority except the Bible as the basis of The Bible alone. This point of view points out that in fact there is a reliance on numerous authorities when determing the elements of a passage of Scripture as one proceeds to apply The Bible alone.

I have reproduced one passage from Hebrews, and as we all know, nowhere does Hebrews say it is written by Paul. So the question is, what does this passage mean? Does it mean the Bible? I have heard Protestants say that this is so. Can we get agreement on one Word? Is the “word” word referring to the Bible? That is the question.

12For the **word **of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The Case of Sola-L and Sola-C Thread

Liberal author Marcus Borg comments:

“Conflict about how to see and read the Bible is the single greatest issue dividing Christians in North America today. On one side of the divide are fundamentalist and many conservative-evangelical Christians. On the other side are moderate-to-liberal Christians, mostly in mainline denominations. Separating the two groups are two very different ways of seeing three foundational questions about the Bible: questions about its origin, its authority and its interpretation.”


Re: Do Protestants really follow the Bible alone? Thread

Post 178

Bible-only theology sounds fine as long as it remains an abstract principle (or slogan). The reality is much messier. At least the following authoritative layers would need to be peeled back before a strict Bible-only theological method could succeed.

Linguistic – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative translators.

Translational-Interpretational – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative interpreters.

Hermeneutical-Philosophical – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative philosophers.

Historical-Cultural – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative historians.

Applicational – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative teachers.

Mystical – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative personal views.

Textual – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative text critics.

Canonical – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative Church decisions.

Traditional – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative traditions.

Theological – to avoid having to trust non-authoritative theologians.

In the real world, reliance on extra-biblical authority is found at nearly every step of Bible study. Even if our average-Evangelical-in-America-today had the time, materials, and intellect for such an endeavor, he would still realistically have to rely on a host of extra-biblical authorities (teachers, authors, researchers, principles, etc.) to learn all that he would need to know to become a trustworthy [yet extra-biblical, and thus still fallible!] authority himself.

For clarity I repeat the question. What is the word, in this passage of Hebrews, referring to based on whatever tradition you choose?:blush:

I have had to stop having this discussion with Protestants. When Christ said “I am the Word”, apparently some of them believe that to mean that Jesus is the Bible, and so existed from the beginning. I just kind of stared open-mouthed and had to leave.


So then you would say that the “word” is Jesus.

Not directed at me, but I’ll say that the Word of God is Jesus per the Gospel of John, but also the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed (for isn’t the existence of Jesus Himself precisely the Gospel? Salvation through Him? Thus, Jesus=Word=Gospel). This doesn’t necessarily mean only what was written down, or the written Gospel separate from the oral, living Sacred Traditions also passed down from the Apostles.


Copt what exegesis are you thinking OT/NT?

I thought the Bird is the Word… :stuck_out_tongue:


I do not understand your question. I am asking what everyone thinks about this “word”.


someone got the drift of the post…as you know Catholic answers always has something like this ie Fathers Know Best.

I think that English is a lousy substitute for Greek:D


The tragedy is that many “just Christians” get a Bible, are taught a theology, and then read into every English word what they think it means and as you say the answer lies in the Greek.


You really have to wonder. Here are some examples from the net…

This site below, a PhD, admits that this is what he was taught. How many “just Christians” or “Evangelicals” are taught this very thing. Does it take a PhD to figure out that what you memorized and were taught is other than the teaching? It should give pause to what else did I memorize, what was I taught and what else should I question?

I memorized this passage many years ago. I was taught that this verse teaches us about the power of Scripture – the written word of God. But, does the phrase “word of God” in this verse reference written Scripture? Let’s look at the passage in context.

Now look at this site that just outright says that it is Scripture…and people read this and believe it.

Once we become believers, how does God convict and restore us when we sin or grow distant from Him? One way He does this is through the Holy Spirit, imparting wisdom to those who call Him “Savior,” and showing us the need for repentance through His indwelling of us.

Another way He does this is through the reading and understanding of His Word; let’s examine this one more closely.

God gave us the Bible, His Word, so that we may hear from Him. So that we can be challenged. So that we can be encouraged. So that we can be changed. Hebrews 4:12 is one of several passages in the Bible that explains the power of God’s Word:

Then look at Spurgeon. He starts out by saying that it could be this, could be that and says he won’t draw a conclusion. He makes it sound like it is so difficult to figure out and then concludes it is the Bible…and people read this, accept it, and translate this as accepeted truth?:eek:

Those who are fond of a labyrinth of exposition will find a maze perplexing to the last degree if they will read the various commentators and expositors upon this verse. This is the question—By the Word of God, are we here to understand the Incarnate Word, the Divine Logos, who was in the beginning with God? Or does the passage relate to this inspired Book, and to the Gospel, which is the kernel of it, as it is set forth in the preaching of the Truth in the power of the Holy Spirit?

But Holy Scripture does not sanction this flattering estimate of our condition. When we are gathered together the prayers are for us all and the preaching is for us all, as being all God’s people—all born so, or made so by Baptism, no question about that! Yet the way the Word of God talks is of quite another sort.

It talks about the dead and the living—about the repentant and the impenitent. It talks about the believing and the unbelieving—about the blind and the seeing—about those called of God and those who still lie in the arms of the Wicked One. It speaks with keen discrimination and separates the precious from the vile. I believe there is nothing in the world that divides congregations, as they ought to be divided, like the plain preaching of the Word of God. This it is that makes our places of worship to be solemn spots, even as Dr. Watts sings—

I think that, as a Catholic, being a “stubborn American” can be a good thing. We, as a People, ask “Why?”. Why should I, why do I have to, why do you think that, they’re all great questions when you have a man learned in theology, philosophy, and (and I believe equally important) history. We can not understand Scripture without an understanding of context. I believe that a principal role of the Priest should be to prevent heresy by being there for such questions. Instead of “Well, it says here that men shouldn’t have long hair, so having long hair must be wicked!” we can go to our priest who will talk about context and the culture of the time, and explain what was meant and the message of that letter.

My poor understanding has me thinking that the “word” in Hebrews is the same as the “word” or “logos” in the incarnation - the word made flesh.

John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”

Please don’t let my poor understanding reflect on other wiser Lutherans, and I would invite correction.

And how does “I am the Word” equate into the written word alone? I did not know Jesus was discussing about a nicely compiled volume with 66 books?

Christianity is NOT a religion of the book,but of the person: Jesus. The Bible is merely part of it,not the ONLY thing.

In a sense, that’s what we all do, I think. We can’t all be PhD’s in theology, or spend years in seminary, so we read the Bible, listen to preachers, read books by learnéd people, and ask our pastors questions. The trick, IMO, is to stay ‘teachable’ and open, and not ever think we’ve got it all worked out.

I totally agree. Interpreting Scripture is a complex business, and you need to consider, amongst other things, historical context, and the meaning of the original language, to reach the right conclusions.

What do I think about Hebrews 4, v12? I don’t know Greek, but I think it includes Scripture, and also the “Word made flesh”. I certainly don’t think it only means the Bible.

Absolutely! :thumbsup:


You are correct. In context it is none other than Jesus is a two edged sword.:slight_smile:

That just proves what I said, that the meaning of logos includes Scripture or the Bible, but is not limited to that, no?

The 69 occurances include these meanings, as far as I can see: utterance, communication, written word, the Gospel, and Jesus. Certainly all of those occurances couldn’t be translated as Jesus or Christ, or am I missing something? :confused:


This may come as a revelation to you, but as you know there was no Bible as these words were written.

Not at all. I am fully aware the Bible was compiled later. :slight_smile:

I think I am missing your point. :confused:

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