“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” How many times did we hear or even say those very words when we were kids? Usually it was a sarcastic response used to deflect some distressful comment. But if words can’t ever hurt us, then why do we feel the need to fend off verbal attacks? For this reason — words can hurt — sometimes they even hurt to the point of desiring death.
Words are powerful. With them people can build each other up, or tear each other down. Words can offer up expressions of positive sentiment, friendship, devotion, and love or these utterances can level expressions of negative sentiment, dislikes, division, and hate. With words we can forge unities such as families, friendships, peoples, and nations; with words we can also shatter and destroy all forms of solidarities. Why is that? Because the spoken word is a divine gift from our Creator, and we can exhibit His attributes of loving-kindness with each sound we make or wield an invisible, yet forceful, weapon of destruction.
How do we know that speech is a divine gift? Because, of all the earthly creatures God created, only mankind was given a portion of the Almighty’s very own self (Genesis 1:26-27). When Elohim did this, He bestowed upon man god-like abilities and attributions, one of which was the gift of speech. Oh sure, the rest of creation can communicate amongst themselves, even humanity in some cases has learned to communicate with the animal kingdom, but to annunciate precise expression of thought in detail requires a higher and more divinely inspired form of intelligence. You and I were given this gift.
We also know that speech is a divine gift because before humanity nothing else existed, save for God and His heavenly hosts, that could speak. In fact the first act of God’s powerful self exhibited in the Bible is His ability to speak, and with that speech creation came into being:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1:1-3).
God said, “Let there be light,” and there it was. Power! Just consider that for a moment. We can form lasting unities amongst ourselves with words, but when was the last time you created something from nothing by simply speaking it into existence? Words are powerful, and not because they are exacting thoughts being expressed, but because they are divinely empowered. Without God’s Spirit behind them, the words “Let there be light” would mean nothing. Without portions of God’s Spirit existing in us, our words would be mere sounds, as well. With words God has made us and with words we display to all of creation, and to each other, the divinity that lives in each of us.
Ah, yes, but what about the evil words, the utterances of hate and destruction? These are surely not from God. No, but they are audible exhibitions of our fallen nature. Audible visuals of our separation from the divine Creator, Elohim. There is hope of restoration, though. For just as God created mankind with words, and just as humanity separated themselves from God with words (Genesis 3:1-19), so did He redeem mankind with His very Word — Jesus.
“Wait a minute,” you say. “Jesus is a word?” Not so much a word, necessarily, but the Word — yes, Jesus Christ is the very Word of God. Look with me at the Gospel of John. In the first chapter we see this pronouncement:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John [the Baptist]. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through Him all men might believe. He [John the Baptist] himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-14).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” These are two of the most important sentences written in Scripture, for from these two groups of words we learn that not only did God speak His Word, but His very Word had existence with Himself, was Himself, and became human so that God, Himself, could live and experience our life and restore mankind to Himself. God’s Word existed as God, because His Word was God, is God, and thus became the incarnate God, Immanuel (God with us) — Jesus. Jesus, the Christ, is the living Word of God.
The Hebrew word for “word” is davar. Davar means both the “word,” itself, and its accompanying creative act. For example, in Isaiah 55:11 the “davar” (Word of God) goes out of God’s mouth to accomplish a task. That task being what ever God desires or purposes His Word to accomplish. If God’s “word” were simply a sound, devoid of life, then this statement would make no real sense, but as this is His “Davar,” His existing Word (Jesus) we can understand how God’s Word can return to Himself having accomplished a certain task. Only a being can have existence, be given a directive, and accomplish that directive. Jesus, the Christ, is the living Davar of God.
The Greek word for “word” is logos. Logos has an interesting definition, as it refers to a universal divine objective, exalted in nature, rising above all oppositions and imperfections in all of creation, including humanity. An eternal and unchanging truth present from the time of creation, available to every individual who seeks it. Restoration of mankind to God is Christ’s divine objective, His very nature being holy, perfect, and exalted. Christ rose above the imperfections of creation by living a perfect human life and did so in spite of His opposition. As Scripture notes, Christ is eternal and is God’s unchanging truth incarnate, and He knocks at the very door of your soul offering His gift of redemption to those who will answer and receive (Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:5-10; Revelation 3:19-21). Jesus, the Christ, is the living Logos of God.
When we take the time to study Scripture, we aren’t just studying words concerning the story of God and His people. We aren’t just reading messages of faith, hope, and love. No! We are reading and studying Christ, Himself — God’s Word.
Based on what John said about Jesus being the Word of God made into human form, and based on what he wrote concerning Jesus being the light of God’s Word to mankind, read and meditate on Psalm 119:11 & 105:
I have hidden Your Word [Jesus] in my heart that I might not sin against You [God].
Your Word [Jesus] is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Finally, we know that Jesus is the incarnate Word of God, because He is named so. Read with me these words from Revelation, chapter nineteen:
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.
Jesus’ name is above all other names, because His name is the spoken Word of God. Jesus is to be highly lifted up, because He is the begotten, incarnate Word of God. Jesus is the existing Word of God, because He IS — the self-existing One, Yahweh, Jehovah, divine Creator — God.
His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.
The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.
If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason Ministries‘ Twitter account or Facebook page.