The Word was God

A quick study of John’s Gospel makes it evident that he has one thing on His mind: to prove to his readers that Jesus is God so that they would read and believe on His Name.  The full knowledge of God was wrapped up in One man that was designated as “The Word.”  Everything that God wants us to know about Himself– the knowledge, understanding and wisdom that may be known of Him– He put into The Word.

All the things that God wrote, He wrote for our knowledge.  The Word made flesh made His appearance on the world’s stage and historical records back His existence.  But the number one record we have as proof, not only of His existence, but also of His deity, is the Bible.  The same purpose God had in sending Jesus, is the same purpose for the Scriptures: that we may know Him and grow from that knowledge.

There is so much more that could be said, but for now, let this be said: the written Word of God is what we have to gain deeper insight into God.  I sit here with my coffee to start my day and have at my left hand an open Bible.  I read it because God has something to say to me.   Typically, when people get together for coffee, they have a stimulating conversation.  Why should it be any different with God?  He gave us His Word because He has something to say that He thinks is important for us to know.  If it is important enough to be said, it is important enough to be heard.

I hope you have time for coffee with God this morning.  I know He looks forward to a conversation with you too.

Have a conversation- listen to what God is saying, and reply with something that relates to the conversation.  That is how friendships grow!

Have a conversation- listen to what God is saying, and reply with something that relates to the conversation. That is how friendships grow!


The Word was with God

I have noticed Jehovah’s Witnesses targeting my neighborhood.  I like talking theology but I’m not so keen on arguing just for its own sake. I tend to not have ready answers, but like considering my answer at length, so that I can give a thoughtful and reasonable response that doesn’t draw a knee-jerk reaction.  What if I can carefully construct a question that leads them to re-consider their position?  Debating the nature of the “Word” with a JW is just the kind of thing I’m talking about.  Their MO is to hopscotch around meanings and prooftexts and never give you a chance to just stay in one place and read the verses before or after.

When it comes to John 1, they jump onto the first 4 verses, replace (supply) an indefinite article as if willy-nilly word insertions are no big deal and it’s the kind of thing we do in everyday conversation.  “In the beginning, the policeman knocked on my door.”  Hmmmm  let’s take out the word “the” since it isn’t really there in the Greek.  “In the beginning, policeman knocked on my door.”   On second thought, let’s insert an indefinite article so that it makes sense in our language: “In the beginning, a policeman knocked on my door.”  Much better now isn’t it?  Except that you have fundamentally changed the meaning!

The definite article indicates a particular one is in view, not just a random any old policeman.  And when you read the verse together in just that short order, it is apparent that there is indeed a single “Word” the author is singling out.  He is THE Word and THE God; and the implications become stark when you finish reading the chapter.

How do you keep a JW in one place?  It’s like wrestling a salmon… They will not allow you to read to the end of the chapter- instead, they will flip you over to Colossians 1 or back to the Psalms and start an entirely different conversation about angels.

I would love to share THE Word with them, but trying to have a word with them ends up being a fool’s errand.  If you know of a way to get them to admit that there is just one Word and can get A word in edgewise, I’d like to know.  In the meantime, I will let my love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance do my talking for me.  Maybe I can change their minds without a word with THE Word!

…was the Word

OpenBibleThe single best book anyone could read. The Bible. It has stood the test of time, and though many oppose it, ignore it, or even try to destroy it, it hasn’t gone anywhere.

Some want you to read it for its literary value- I say read it in the King James Version. If there is one book every Christian should have on their shelf, it’s a King James Bible. But even someone who isn’t a Christian should read it because it has shaped western thought indelibly. It has its own flow; word choices make you stop and mouth the word over to see how it feels across the tongue and lips; it has a rhythm and a time and place far removed from here and now. Be transported to ages past, the birthplaces of civilizations, foreign cultures. There are parts that repulse you and there are parts that move you closer to God and your fellow man. There are parts that make you want to scream, “God- what are You thinking??!!”

It contains wisdom of the ages by shepherds, prophets and farmers. Kings and poets, sometimes one and the same, flame their enemies and justify their own misdeeds.

But it is more than the sum of its parts- it is the transcendent God’s disclosure of Himself. Everything He wants us to know, He wrote down for us. It’s not merely a history of the world from the dawn of civilization through to the nuclear implosion. It draws down Heaven to our mundane lives and breathes into us the life He intended— if we will listen…

Do you hear Him calling? “Adam, where are you? Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” He asks you and asks me, and He waits for our response.

Communication is sharing- the mutual exchange of information. There is a speaker and a listener, then they trade places. God spoke, Adam heard; Adam spoke, God heard. God did not speak to the light, the seas, the firmament, or the fish, fowl and beasts; He spoke to His image-bearers because they were spiritual beings like Him.

And sin entered when Adam flexed his freedom to take what he knew was forbidden. God didn’t stop talking, even when Adam stopped listening. And though the canon is closed, God is still talking. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word still speaks. It speaks to me and it speaks to you.

Are you listening?

In the beginning…

Word.  There it was- data, sounds, forms, meaning.  A first cause speaking into nothing and creating something.  Whether you buy that there is objective truth and that meaning lies with the one who gives it meaning (as opposed to the hearer giving it whatever meaning they want), there is something COOL about writing, speaking, hearing, reasoning, and – this is key- responding.

I loved sitting in my college classes and interacting with the text, the professor, and the class.  I would take the experience away and process it as I would re-read the books and collateral material and think ahead to the subjective essay, formulating my response in the entire process.

In my dreams, I’m the professor, not teaching “what” but challenging my students with the “why” and “how”.  It isn’t enough for me to simply speak into a void.  What value does learning have if it isn’t useful?  What are the odds I would end up on Jeopardy with my vast knowledge of useless information?  And what I think is valuable might not be for you.

Nonetheless, here is my classroom. I will speak using the written word.  I will ask a lot of questions and propose a few answers (which will undoubtedly lead to more questions!).  I will speak of knowledge that is useful for everyday life.  Religion and politics are not off limits because they are a part of life and dig to the root of our beliefs.  And what you think and feel come out in what you say and do.

So respond.  Read and listen, think and understand, question and process, and tell me when you think I’m wrong.

I can’t wait.  WORD!