Pew Theology: An Introduction to the Doctrine of God’s Word


There is nothing more potent, captivating, or essential than God’s Word. There is nothing as true, pure, or necessary as God’s Word. It is the only source of absolute truth for all things about which it speaks, and God’s Word is fundamental to the Christian and the Christian faith.

Without God’s Word, we would have no guide for the Christian life. We would have no source of absolute truth. We would have no sure knowledge of God’s nature and character. We would be left to pure speculation as to the condition of man, left to trust only in our own fickle feelings and vain imaginings.

Without God’s Word, we would have no true knowledge of Christ, no way to know the truth of who Christ is and what He has done, no sure way to redemption, and no knowledge of the gospel, which is the power unto salvation.

Even faith, we are told in Romans 10:17, “comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” There is nothing more necessary for the Christian than God’s Word. And there is nothing more revealing about Christians than what they believe about God’s Word. This is why the doctrine of the Word of God, or “Bibliology,” is a vital doctrine for the Christian to understand. 

It is all too common today to hear someone profess to be Christian and yet reject the Bible as God’s authoritative, infallible, inerrant, all-sufficient Word. Inevitably such individuals are weak in faith, if they are even truly in the faith, and find themselves struggling, suffering, hopeless, helpless, and anemic in their faith. This is the future for Christians who have a low view of God’s Word.

Contrarily, the Christian who is full of life and vigor, walking circumspectly, fully assured by the truths of Scripture, and constantly pointing others to the same, will be the Christian who holds the highest view of God’s Word. The healthy Christian will be the one who has a sound theology of the doctrine of the Bible and lives his life in light of that knowledge.

It is necessary when considering the doctrine of the Bible, to answer the question: what do you mean by “God’s Word?” The phrase is used in more than one way in Scripture. First, we understand that the phrase is used of Jesus Himself. In John 1:1–4, we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” 

Looking down to verse 14, we read, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” So here, we understand that the Word is referring to Jesus. Then, in Revelation 19:3, Jesus is again called “The Word of God.” So, sometimes the Word of God refers to Jesus. This is important to us because it means that Jesus is the primary person of the Trinity who conveys to us the will of God. He is the living Word of God.

We understand “the Word of God” in other places in Scripture to be when God the Father speaks, such as in Genesis 1 where God spoke light into existence and He created, by His Words, the world. We also see other forms of God’s Word, such as when God has spoken directly to people (e.g., Adam and Eve, Moses, et al.).

Then there is God’s Word that comes through His servants. These are God’s very Words communicated by human lips. God told Moses in Exodus 4 that He would give Moses the words to say to Pharaoh. Therefore, when Moses spoke to Pharaoh, it was God speaking through Moses. When the Apostles spoke in the name of the Lord, they did so inspired by God and therefore were speaking the Word of God.

Lastly, we have God’s Word in written form—the Bible. The Bible is the combination of all of the other forms of God’s Word put together. This makes it a book unlike any other. The Bible isn’t merely a book; it is the Book. It is the very Word of God. The Old Testament alone attests to the fact that this is the Word of God over 2500 times. In the New Testament, we find the phrase “the Word of God” over 40 times.

Peter preached the Word of God. The record in Acts 11:1 says, “Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the Word of God.” The Apostle Paul defends his teaching as the very Word of God in 2 Corinthians 2:17, which says, “For we are not like many, peddling the Word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.”

In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul again refers to his teaching as the Word of God, “And for this reason, we also thank God without ceasing that when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the Word of God, which also is at work in you who believe.” Of course, everyone is familiar with the 10 commandments, which were first written with the finger of God in Exodus 31:18; then, as Moses neared the end of his life, we see that he wrote God’s Word: “So Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel” (Deut 31:9).

In Isaiah 30:8, God tells Isaiah, “Now go, write it on a tablet before them and inscribe it on a scroll, That it may serve in the time to come As a witness forever.” Of course, all that Jesus preached was the Word of God and so, too, is all the Words of the Apostles recorded in Scripture.

By now, you can see why this is so vital for us to understand because when we think of the Bible rightly, as the very Word of God, it should change how we view the Bible. For many believers, the Bible is many things—a good book, a book that contains some of God’s Word, a book that is about Jesus, or about God’s Word, or perhaps they even refer to the Bible as God’s Word, but they’ve never really thought through the implications of that.

This means that when you are reading the Bible, you are hearing from Almighty God. The reason the congregation traditionally stands at the plain reading of the Word is because God’s Word is to be elevated above all others. There should always be a sense of awe and fear in those who hear the Word of God because God’s Word is not like man’s word. It is holy, righteous, and powerful. 

When you open your Bible, you are hearing from the same God that spoke to Moses on the mountain, the same God that spoke from Heaven at Christ’s transfiguration. You are hearing from God Himself, in written form. This is the God that created the world and all that is in it, the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent sovereign of all creation.

Theology should never be merely a mental exercise, so how does this brief understanding of God’s Word affect us? How does this change the way you view the Bible? This should change everything about how we handle the Bible. When you read the Bible, you are reading God’s very Word; when you interpret Scripture, you do so carefully, prayerfully, and obediently because you are handling God’s Word.

For the one who really gets this, the Bible comes alive as that which it truly is, not merely a book about God’s Word but actually God’s Word. This theology of the Bible should impact your life because when you open your Bible, understanding that it is the very Word of God, you are deeply impacted by verses like Hebrews 4:12, which says, “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

This is such a fundamental truth of the Christian faith because if you get this doctrine wrong you are left to mere speculation, human imaginings, and deceptive experiences and are left to wander aimlessly through this life without fixed truth. But the one who comes to grasp the true nature of Scripture will see God, hear God, and be filled with the joy, hope, encouragement, and training that God grants through the knowledge and obedience to His Word.

Christian, the Bible is the Word of God, every page, every book, from beginning to end, and the one who embraces it, obeys it, and lives in it will see Christ and live. As Justin Peters often says, “If you want to hear God, read your Bible and if you want to hear God audibly, read it out loud.” 

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Nathaniel Jolly

Nathaniel is the pastor and church planter of Homer Reformed Baptist church in Homer, Alaska. He and his wife moved to Alaska in 2020 to begin church plant work. He is the host of the Truth Be Known podcast, is currently enrolled in the DMin program for expository preaching at The Master’s Seminary, and is working towards ACBC certification.