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Bible verses about Word of God
(From Forerunner Commentary)

When working with biblical symbolism, one must follow two cardinal rules. First, understand that several different symbols may represent the same reality in the Bible. For instance, the church is symbolized as a woman, a building in which Christians are living stones, a human body of which Christ is the Head, and a family of which Christians are brothers. Be sure to check the context in which a symbol appears and do not try to force a symbol where it does not fit.

Secondly, allow the Bible to interpret its own symbols. In Revelation 1:20, within the context of John's vision, Christ explains the meaning of the seven stars and the seven lampstands: "The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches." The meanings of other symbols may be harder to locate, but usually the Bible explains itself to those who study it diligently.

Even so, sometimes a symbol is shrouded in mystery and difficult to understand. Perhaps we fail to understand the symbol because we are unfamiliar with the reality. Imagine the apostle John's struggle with symbols that represent twentieth-century warfare! Likewise, we struggle with the symbolism of sheep with whose characteristics we in turn are unfamiliar.

In the end we must learn to see symbols as pictures drawn by the hand of God through which He teaches us things that might otherwise be all but incomprehensible. It behooves us not to take them lightly. In studying symbols, take the time to research the characteristics of the symbol to deepen and clarify your understanding of God, Christ, and Their purpose.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Biblical Symbolism


 

Food is a type of God's Word in the Scriptures. Likewise, if our spirit is denied this manna from heaven, we become spiritually weak and would eventually die spiritually. If in our pride we reject God's food, even though we may have a form of godliness as shown by performing the formalities of worship, our weakness will become apparent through sin—the strength of God's Word is missing. His Word is spirit, and it is life (John 6:63).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Separation and At-One-Ment


 

What did God lead us to that sparked this saving faith in us (Ephesians 2:8)? He led us to His Word. We can glean a measure of faith from observing God's creation, but this faith cannot save because it does not reveal His purpose. It gives us no direction or outlet for the soaring thoughts and creative energies of the God-given gift of a mind trained in His image. But we do find God's purpose and His revelation of Himself in His Word. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

Of course, this does not mean that all who hear the message will understand and accept it. Without the message, however, there would be nothing to believe in, nothing that one could trust to lead him to salvation. In practical application, this means that one should always most carefully evaluate the message being preached rather than the man or the corporate body he represents. It is essential that we put our trust in the right teachings. Most of the people who claim to be "Christian" are living by false gospels.

The Bible shows this principle from beginning to end. Adam and Eve put their trust in Satan's message rather than God's (Genesis 3:1-6). The children of Israel listened to Korah, Dathan, and the two-hundred fifty leaders (Numbers 16:1-3), and later they succumbed to the Moabites' appeal to sexual license (Numbers 25:1-3). In each case, many died as a witness to us. After Solomon's reign, Israel followed Jeroboam's false message. Christ prophesied that many would proclaim that He (Jesus) is the Christ yet deceive many.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Wandering the Wilderness in Faith


 

When we compare God's works with man's, what a difference we see! The closer we look at man's, the more flaws we see. Yet, when we scrutinize God's works, we just see more perfection. Man is finite; God is infinite. Man is mutable; God is immutable. Man is imperfect; God is perfect.

Consider how adept God is in using one creation to do many different jobs. Air, for instance, is invisible and appears to be weightless, yet it will support the flight of an airplane weighing many tons. In supplying the lungs with oxygen, it supports life. Air also supports combustion, but when separated into its component parts, some of its gases can put out a fire (carbon dioxide), while others greatly intensify fire (oxygen, hydrogen). Air conveys heat and cold, scents and sounds. It holds moisture, moves ships and other things besides. In contrast, man must create special tools for every purpose, and our attempts are often quite clumsy.

Because we have been subtly trained since infancy to seek quick answers, our studies of His Word tend to overlook how profound He is. We often just accept what God says without really searching it out. But like His works, God's Word is just as much His creation as air.

How infinitely deep and broad God's Word is! Its uses are virtually inexhaustible. Consider how the ministry applies a familiar scripture to one subject, and a few weeks later, another will use the same scripture to illustrate a different subject altogether!

The writer of Psalm 119 waxes rhapsodic about God's Word: "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me. My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times" (Psalm 119:18-20). He had the correct idea! We are pilgrims on our way to the Kingdom. We have no idea how long the journey will be, nor have we ever been this way before. If we ignore God's Word, we will surely wander aimlessly; we will stray from the path.

So we cannot merely look on its surface—we must delve into the Bible! Digging is hard work! God's instruction is scattered throughout His book (Isaiah 28:9-10). Each section—even each verse!—may have multiple purposes, even as air does in the physical creation. From this principle, it is easy to see that we can understand the Bible on many levels and give them several applications.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christ, Our Passover


 

Exodus 6:5-8

God promises to bring the Children of Israel out of their bondage, and we understand this also applies to us in that He is bringing us out of spiritual bondage. In us, He is getting to the root of the problem.

The Old Covenant was weak through the flesh. We are no different from the Israelites; human nature has not changed, nor has Satan or the world. God certainly has not changed, nor His Spirit or His truth. All of these things being constant, the problem is still in us.

The solution has to be a change of mind by the pure Word of God. We learn from John 8:32 that truth shall make us free. We also find, in John 8:44-45, that Satan was a murderer and a liar from the beginning. He was the one who tempted Adam and Eve, and we can understand, then, that our bondage is directly tied into lies and deceit.

This is what we have to be broken free from. God never lies; His word is always true. We can rely on it, and if we use it, it keeps us free and protects us from falling back into the world once again.

Usually, God does not remove us from one geographical location to another when we are called. We have to come out of our own personal, spiritual bondage, regardless of our location, because that is the real problem. We physically remain where we are, but something else has to be added.

Life takes its values from its goals and purposes. Most people's purpose in life is merely physical, so the things that they pursue in life and the means that they use to accomplish their goals are what are bringing everyone into bondage. The goals are carnal, and the ways of reaching them are also carnal. They involve lying, murder, adultery, fornication, stealing, coveting, breaking the Sabbath, taking God's name in vain, or building statues to God. Breaking the Ten Commandments are involved, but it is much bigger than that.

In Christianity, its great goal causes a person to set the very highest of standards. The goal is the Kingdom of God. No goal has higher standards. It takes a pure word to keep one strengthened to accomplish this goal.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

Leviticus 1:9

Regarding the priest washing the parts with water, Ephesians 5:26 immediately comes to mind. Paul teaches that we—the offering as well as the offerer—are washed by the water of God's Word. However, the emphasis in Leviticus 1:5-17 is primarily on the operations of the priest. We begin to see Christ's intercessory work in this imagery, indicating that everyone, regardless of his seeming capabilities, needs the outside help of our High Priest.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Two): The Burnt Offering


 

Deuteronomy 8:3

Some time ago, in his "A Moment of Hope" radio commentary, a local preacher spoke of the power of words and how, if we want our lives to be hopeful, we need to keep our speech positive. He then quoted Proverbs 18:21 as wisdom on the subject: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

So far, everything was fine—and then he went and spoiled it by saying (paraphrasing), "You can find that in the Jewish Testament of your Bible."

The Jewish Testament? What is that? There is no such thing! We could call the Old Testament "the Hebrew Testament" with some legitimacy because it was written in Hebrew, but what would make it Jewish? Was he trying to say that, if we read only the Old Testament, we would become followers of Judaism? Or, that the Jews somehow own the Old Testament? Or, that because the Old Testament is revered by Jews as their holy book, it is somehow inferior to "the Christian Testament?"

Certainly, the Bible never calls the Old Testament "the Jewish Testament." Paul calls it "the Holy Scriptures" in II Timothy 3:15. Jesus calls it "the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms" in Luke 24:44. In many places, the writers simply refer to it as "the word [of God or of the Lord]" or "the Scripture(s)." The only hint that the Old Testament "belongs" to the Jews is a misinterpretation of Romans 3:2, "to them were committed the oracles of God." This means only that the Jews are responsible for their accurate transmission throughout history, not that they apply only to Jews or that Jews exclusively possess them in some way.

No, this all stems from the mistaken idea that the Old Testament is the Old Covenant, "becoming obsolete and growing old . . . ready to vanish away" (Hebrews 8:13), while the New Testament is the New Covenant. Thus, to a "Christian" under the New Covenant, anything that appears in the Old Testament is of lesser value than what appears in the New Testament. This error has led to countless misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the message Jesus brought to mankind.

In fact, the New Testament cannot be understood without the foundation of the Old Testament—and not just in historical terms. Paul is not overstating things when he says the church is "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20). After His resurrection, Jesus "beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, . . . expounded to [the disciples] in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27). Later, "He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures" (verse 45). Which Scriptures? The Old Testament, of course, the only ones written at the time!

Just these few verses say that we New Covenant Christians cannot understand Jesus Christ, His doctrine, His church, and God's plan without the Old Testament. We can see this by how frequently the apostles quote from the writings of Moses, David, and the prophets to support and fill out their doctrinal teachings. There is hardly a page in the New Testament that does not have a quotation or allusion to the Old Testament on it. It is a vital part of New Covenant—New Testament—Christianity!

Lack of space does not permit an explanation of the differences between the Old Covenant and the New. However, let it suffice to say that the major problem in the Old Covenant was the people with whom God made it (see Hebrews 8:7-12; Romans 8:3). The New Covenant is modeled after the Old with its basic law, the Ten Commandments, retained in all its force and wisdom. In fact, Jesus makes it plain that He added intent to the law's scope so that it is now stricter under the New Covenant (Matthew 5:17-48)!

In the end, we must conclude that the Bible is a whole with two parts, which came as a result of the ministry of Jesus Christ and the languages in which the two parts were penned. The theology and the goal of the instruction in the two are the same. The same God who never changes rules, acts, and speaks in both. Those who believed and lived by faith in both eras will receive the same gift of eternal life (I Thessalonians 4:14-17; Hebrews 11:40).

Please be aware of this false notion of the Old Testament's inferiority to the New, as it colors a great deal of "Christian" biblical commentary. The Word of God is God's Word, whether spoken in 1400 BC or AD 60. Above all, remember our Savior's instruction, quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Essays on Bible Study


 

1 Kings 19:5-6

God sent an angel, possibly the Word, the Angel of the Lord (cf. verse 7; Genesis 22:15; Exodus 3:2), to give Elijah food and drink (verse 5). He needed revitalized after expending so much energy in God's service. But after eating, Elijah did a typically human thing—he went back to sleep (verse 6)! How often have we studied deeply into God's Word, consuming meaty material, then sunk back into spiritual drowsiness after we were satisfied?

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Elijah's Dose of Reality


 

Psalm 119:105

God's Word is a lamp, a light that illuminates the darkness. If a person walks through the woods at night, he is well served to have a flashlight with him to shine it on the ground in front of him so that his feet do not trip over a snag in the path, or his shins do not encounter a boulder or fallen log. That is what light does: It illuminates or reveals.

God's Word illuminates the path of our lives. If we keep God's Word shining along the way, then we will be far less likely to trip. We will not be easily deceived. Because we are following the light, we will see what the light reveals in the path ahead of us. It is only when we turn the light off (before we have actually arrived at our destination) that something could spring up in the dark and trip us. Therefore, if we keep the light of God's truth shining brightly ahead of us, then we have a greater chance of avoiding deception.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Preventing Deception


 

Proverbs 30:1-6

Agur claims no great intelligence or superior understanding. He feels his education is lacking in the more important areas of life, like the proper way to live and the knowledge of God. He is only a common man with no special abilities, powers or privileges—in fact, he would like to know the person who could do some of these things.

In verses 5 and 6 he states his conclusion: To get the most and the best from life, we should believe God, not presuming that we can comprehend the effects of our actions without advice from God in His Word. God's Word cannot be improved upon; every word of God is pure, as gold and silver are pure (Psalm 12:6). The value of God's Word cannot be increased by adding to or taking from it, anymore than gold can be increased in value by alloying it with something else. He advises that we strive to do nothing that God forbids and leave nothing undone that God commands. This is the approach of a man whose sole aim is to please God, and who does not want to do or not do anything that might strain the relationship.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christmas, Syncretism, and Presumption


 

Proverbs 30:5

The word translated as "pure" is actually more closely related to the word "refined." "Pure" is not wrong, but refined means "reduced to a pure state." Every word of God has been reduced to a pure state.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 2-3 and Works


 

Proverbs 30:5-6

The word "pure" might be better translated "refined." Its background is putting something to the test and it works. The advice has been refined; it is as pure as it can be. Then he adds, "Don't add to it, and it will be a shield to you."

Why will it protect us?

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven [similar to refined, tested, pure]; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (Psalm 18:30)

Protection from what? We need protection from all of the things that bondage and sin imply. If we lack the refined, pure, unadulterated Word of God, the only alternative is the word of men! Nowhere in God's Word does He says the word of men is pure, true, or refined. The word of men is limited to the experiences of men and by their prejudices. Even though a man may try, with all sincerity, to report something as honestly and accurately as he can, he does not have the breadth of experience or the unprejudiced mind of God.

If we trust the words of men in place of the words of God, we will not be protected from bondage. We will slide back into it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

Isaiah 11:1-4

Each of the qualities of the mind is named to encourage us that this One, Jesus Christ, will hand down judgments of the highest quality. "Spirit" is the general word used to indicate those internal, immaterial, and unseen qualities of mind that energize and activate. We can see, both from God's Word and also from our own experiences, that they can be good or evil, edifying or destructive, clean or foul, generous or miserly, selfless or selfish, cheerful or depressive, positive or negative, etc. However, spirit always affects: It moves, activates, generates, impels, and creates in the direction of its force.

Why are cheerleaders used at football and basketball games? Is it not to generate a spirit? One cannot see the spirit that is energized. It is invisible, unseen. This illustration is no different in principle from what the Bible means by its use of "spirit."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 2)


 

Daniel 11:32

The word translated "know" (Hebrew, yada; Greek, ginosko) is foundational when considering God's sovereignty. Yada appears in Daniel 11:32: "Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." "Know" indicates a close, warm, and even passionate intimacy combined with head knowledge that produces an "edge" in a person's life. This enables us to trust God and, at the same time, to perceive what He is doing. It is this factor that makes God's Word authoritative to us.

This warm, close, and passionate relationship forms the very foundation of a true, working willingness to submit to His sovereignty. Do we really believe that, because God is holy, His anger burns against sin? That, because He is righteous, His judgments fall on those who rebel? That, because God is faithful, His promises of blessing or cursing are absolute? That, because God is omnipotent, nobody can resist Him? That, because God is omniscient, there is no problem He cannot master? "The people who know their God" do! Because God is what He is, we are seeing His prophecies of the end of this age being fulfilled in the world and in the church, and that translates into tumultuous, difficult, and sometimes scary and confusing times.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Introduction


 

Amos 5:10

If a person does right, people will begin to persecute him. It may, very sadly, even happen right inside the church.

Amos confirms that the first thing that occurs if we really are undergoing transformation—if we have had an encounter with God—is that we will turn to God's truth. Our attitude will change toward God's truth. The author of Psalm 119:97 says, "O, how I love Your law!" He was in love with it. To him, it was so good to be able to look into God's Word. If a person loves something, what does he want to do with it? Talk about it! Share it with other people. Is that not what happens to the newly converted person? Indeed, it is. One can almost guage a person's conversion by how he loves the Word of God, for "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Amos states these truths so succinctly. All we need to do to understand it positively is turn what he says around backward. If we really do seek God, we are going to love His Word. We will hang on everything that comes out of His mouth—because we will see it for what it is. The most valuable thing a person can possess is the Word of God.

These people in Amos showed every evidence of a refusal to be governed by truth in their lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Seeking God


 

Malachi 1:6-7

Malachi contains a powerful theme that applies to the end-time church. God charges the priests (ministry) with giving Him disrespectful service and despising His name. The priests ask, "How?" God replies that they consider His altar contemptible, as their poor quality offerings plainly show (verse 7). God calls their actions evil!

The altar represents the service they performed as ministers in behalf of God for the people, and the "food" is the Word of God. So bad is their attitude, the priests call their responsibility to offer up the best to God "a weariness" and sneer at it (verses 12-13)! In a modern context, too much time and effort are required to prepare meaty and true sermons.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Who Is Doing the Work of God?


 

Matthew 4:4

There is a dimension to life apart from food and water, and that dimension is given life by the Word of God. God's Word provides it strength and the ability to grow. The Word of God adds an absolutely vital dimension to a person's life—if he wants to live the abundant life and eventually have eternal life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

Matthew 6:11

In His sample prayer, Jesus teaches us to ask, "Give us this day our daily bread." Though Jesus was no doubt including physical bread and physical needs, more often than not He was thinking spiritually. We also need to pray that God provide us our daily spiritual bread, the kind that leads to life, not the kind that perishes. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

Staff
Have You Had Your Manna Today?


 

Matthew 8:8

Christ compliments the centurion's faith because it is faith in His Word. When the centurion says he is unworthy of Christ's presence, he tells Him that he believed that all that He had to do was speak and the miracle would happen. To explain his understanding of the principle, the centurion says, "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, 'Go,' and he goes" (Matthew 8:9). He recognizes the power of the spoken word because he is familiar with authority, yet he also believes that Christ's word has power and authority even over disease. In asking Jesus to heal simply by speaking, the centurion shows that he accepted the authority of Christ's word. No one can have real faith if they reject the Word of God.

It is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Many people doubt whether God's Word is sufficient. If they have a problem, they run instead to hear what the world's doctors and psychiatrists have to say. Today, many professing Christian churches do not show very much confidence in God's Word either. The centurion's "only speak a word" is not an applicable command for most churches. These days, churches use a lot of entertainment to draw people into their membership, believing that it is essential to their success. Yet, "only speak a word" is the true essence of spiritual success. Without the Word of God, the church will not maintain a solid foundation of truth and grow.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Centurion's Servant (Part Three)


 

Mark 7:6-9

In the religious Jews of His time, Jesus faced man's proclivity to add to and take from God's Word. The Jews added thousands of regulations in a sincere effort to make their obedience to God as complete as they possibly could. Their traditions were different from ours, but the principle is the same. Their religious life did not depend on listening to God but upon clever arguments and interpretations of the experts, the rabbis. They substituted human ingenuity for God's law. Jesus called their ingenuity vain and hypocritical, and their additions resulted in nothing good in terms of the Kingdom of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christmas, Syncretism, and Presumption


 

John 1:1-4

What poured out of Jesus Christ while He was here? Words—God's words, which are spirit and life (John 6:63). What are God's words, in total? The truth! The truth makes us free (John 8:32). Where does the truth lead? To eternal life! Put all of those concepts together, and we come to what John says so succinctly: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." How do we get to the Kingdom of God? By following God's words—the Light (see Psalm 119:105).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Preventing Deception


 

John 1:3

Paul adds in Colossians 1:16, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him." These verses reveal the Word, who became Jesus Christ, as the agent of creation, performing the work necessary to carry it out. He is not only God but with Another who is also God. "Through Him" implies that this other Being authorized the works of creation carried out by the Word. Does this not indicate two distinct Personalities, both called God by inspiration, working in harmony to accomplish a work?

John W. Ritenbaugh
God Is . . . What?


 

John 6:44

It is the work of God to open our minds to enable us to respond in a godly way - that is, by faith - to the manifestation of Himself through His Word, the manifestation of Christ through His Word, the manifestation of God's works through His Word. He does this so that we can see the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, which means that God has given to each one of us the capacity to do what Moses did (Hebrews 11:26-27). Maybe not as well, not having to trust in exactly the same way or to the same degree, but nonetheless, we can follow the same principle.

So, even though we have a spiritual capacity by nature because of the spirit in man within us - all of mankind has this spiritual capacity - a true spiritual relationship can really be made only by those whom God calls. We have been given a gift of God that enables us to have the kind of faith that Moses and the apostle Paul had.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 3)


 

John 6:63

Notice what one of the main manifestations of God's Spirit is: words. The entire revelation of God - the Bible - is composed of words. If His Word is not a manifestation of God's Spirit, we do not know what is! Many of these words are the words of God Himself. Many of them are words of God's servants that have been written down for our admonition.

Everything, though, comes down to words because the way of God is a set of ideas. These ideas we put down on paper as words, or when we speak, we speak them as words. We cannot understand them otherwise.

The servant of God may do other works. He can perform healings, which are not necessarily manifested as words, although often words accompany a healing, specifically a prayer. Casting out demons is similar, as there is usually a prayer involved. Miracles, too, often involve certain words that are spoken to beseech God to act. But the works themselves - the healings, the casting out of demons, the miracles - are not words, but they are manifestations of the Spirit.

However, the primary job of a servant of God is to speak or to write words to convict people of God's truth. So, in the speaking or in the writing of words, he witnesses for God. In the end, in the final analysis, the witness of the Two Witnesses is words. They will give evidence, testimony, for God.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 4)


 

John 8:31

This abiding or continuing in His Word requires that the disciple be continually fed, which, according to Ephesians 4:11-16, is why Christ gave the ministry as a gift to the church. The ministry's purpose is to help perfect the saints "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Who Is Doing the Work of God?


 

John 17:17

The extent to which we grasp and believe the truth of the doctrines determines our desire to be holy. By this holiness created within us we become sanctified. The gospel is "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16). The gospel's power lies or resides in its words produce in our minds. That is all the gospel is'words: "The words that I speak unto you are Spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

Those words lead us to the faith of Christ, and there is nothing mysterious about this. When we believe what Christ believes, we have His faith. It may not be to the same intensity, but we have His faith. Jude told the later first-century church, "Return to the faith once delivered," because that was the faith of Christ. It came through His apostles, who gave it to the church. The power resides in the words, if we will only use them to live.

Putting those words into practice sanctifies us because they comprise the truth. We become sanctified by applying them. Because we apply them by faith, God will empower us by His Spirit so that the strength to do what He says in the gospel comes from Him. If we just make the choice and begin to do it, He pushes us over the hill. That is what grace is, the gift to overcome.

We all had "our conduct in times past, in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" (Ephesians 2:3). If we really believe that God quickened us'that He not only rescued us from death, but gave us the seed of His Kind, the God-kind, and with that, the quality of life that is eternal life, the way that God lives'and if we believe what He is offering us and the instruction for attaining it, the sheer awesomeness of it all, combined with logic, drives us to submit to becoming holy'sanctified.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 5): Ephesians 4 (B)


 

John 17:20

We are reading their word right now, that is, the word that the apostles wrote. Jesus' prayer, then, is that those of us who now believe through the writings of the apostles may be one with the Father and the Son, and that oneness may come through the reading of the word that they wrote.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

Acts 9:5

Before conversion, the apostle Paul was certainly well-schooled in the Scriptures, as far as the Jews could teach him. The Bible says he studied at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He was very intelligent and incisive of mind, a man of conviction and determination. Yet, this same man God had to physically blind and thoroughly humble before he could see Him. Even though Paul had a command of the Scriptures that few people have ever had at their calling, he could not see God working in the infant Christian church.

Christ, in a mild rebuke, says to Paul on the way to Damascus, "It is hard for you to kick against the goads." We should take this reproach to heart as well because it teaches us that the carnal mind will reject the evidence that God gives, even though it is suffering and in pain. Thus, God's calling and His predisposing us to see spiritually and to identify with His Son are of no avail unless His Word becomes integrated within us.

How are we hearing God's Word? Disinterestedly? Skeptically? Cynically? Critically? Indifferently? Eagerly? Remember, "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Hearing starts the processing of the revelation of God, and we must consciously work at it. It includes what we are "hearing" this moment, as well as what we have heard over the last six months, the past year, the past decade, and the whole time of our conversion! How are we listening? Do we follow through on the things that we hear? Unless we do, we are not hearing - and we will not truly see God!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)


 

Romans 10:17

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, the Bible. Unless the words spoken conform to it, they are merely doctrines of men and do not reflect the true God, for those that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. This requires searching the Scripture as the Bereans did to verify if the preacher's words are true (Acts 17:11). One cannot know the true God unless one knows the truth of God.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: Faith Toward God


 

Romans 10:17

First, in the spiritual sense, "eating" occurs primarily when one hears and reads. A person ingests messages and concepts into the mind through words, which establish and nourish his pattern of life. Those words, if one permits it, create a faith upon which one bases the way he lives. This faith is almost entirely dependent upon the quality of what is heard and whether a person believes it enough to follow it. These verses reveal only the words of God or Christ, His gospel, His truths, will form the faith that leads to salvation because they will form the correct beliefs and thus the correct way of life. This is the faith of Christ; the person who has it believes what Christ believes. This is a simple, understandable, true formula.

Zephaniah 3:1-2 shows what happens when a person rejects or disbelieves His words: "Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, to the oppressing city! She has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; she has not trusted in the LORD; she has not drawn near to her God." That person comes to great dismay. This does not mean we cannot have words other than God's in our mind, but the children of God must filter everything through God's words to test their validity before they allow themselves to believe them firmly enough to make them part of their belief system.

Put another way, there is faith and then there is the faith, the faith that brings salvation. This faith arises from believing God's words. What we believe will determine our conduct and attitudes whether or not we stop to think about those beliefs because what is contained in the heart will come out (Matthew 12:34-35). Only God's words truly produce spiritual strength. In our recent past, "eating" and believing the wrong words set the church up for the scattering that has occurred. For quite a while, worldly things gradually corrupted the spiritual health of God's children, weakening them through spiritual malnourishment and changing their faith.

I Corinthians 1:10 provides a first-century account of a congregation suffering from this process of ingesting the wrong words: "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." Division troubled this congregation because the members held dissimilar views on beliefs that are basic to spiritual unity. I Corinthians shows disorder, confusion, argument, and offense as symptoms of spiritual weakness.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Seven)


 

1 Corinthians 2:10-12

God had the gospel preached to us through the medium of words. We believed them, and having been freed from enslavement to deception and spiritual ignorance by God's calling and forgiveness through Christ's blood, we now have access to a new and infinitely larger dimension of life. Beyond that, we now possess the raw material for our minds to produce the fruit of Spirit of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit


 

1 Corinthians 4:6

The marginal comment on this verse in the New Revised Standard Version is, "What is written, in Scripture, thus avoiding speculations." Apparently, some of the ministers in Corinth were speculating on things that were not revealed in the Bible. They were using human reasoning to explain things that were not spelled out in the Word of God. This was probably one of the reasons that some members preferred some ministers over others, because they were "more interesting" than others.

The lesson we can learn from both the Corinthian experience and observing the fruits of theological speculation is that, to understand spiritual truths and grow in knowledge of the spirit world and spiritual principles, we must humble ourselves before the Word of God. In such matters, human logic and wisdom are totally worthless. Our understanding of God's nature is limited to those things that are revealed in His Word. All of our beliefs and practices must be based on the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Can Theology Define God's Nature?


 

1 Corinthians 5:8

We are generally familiar with the word "truth," the same word that appears in John 17:17, "Your word is truth." This word is used in a number of ways in the New Testament. It can mean "genuine" or "real or reality" as opposed to mere appearance. In John 17:17, it is used in the sense of something derived from a pure and holy God that declares the will of God, as compared to that which is from the world, which is sullied by the experiences of men.

Here in I Corinthians 5, it is used in the sense of truth in conduct. In other words, the truth has been taken in by means of words, believed, then been put into practice. "Truth" in the Greek is very similar to sincerity, which precedes it, and is contrasted with malice and wickedness, which are works of the flesh. The word translated sincerity means "pure or clear." The English word "sincere" is an accurate translation of the Greek word. Sincere comes from the Latin and means "without wax," implying that nothing at all contaminates it. It describes behavior that is not contaminated. The word of God in I Corinthians 5:7 has been imbibed by the person, and it has resulted in a pure, sincere, realistic, and genuine behavior or conduct.

The connections there are obvious. As surely as strength and vitality falls on the heels of eating the right kind of food, so does the vitality of the mind—that is, by the Word of God the life of God in us is strengthened so we can grow into an adult. Eating unleavened bread is symbolic of eating the pure and unadulterated Word of God, which is spirit. That spirit, in turn, becomes the basis for thinking within new parameters—parameters that always take God into account.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Christians are to be in union with Christ. This explains why it is so important to study the Bible, to meditate on it, to spend time trying to understand it, to communicate with one another with the Word and with the Father. What are we doing as we absorb God's Word? God's Word is part of His mind, His personality, His character. It is the way He thinks.

We cannot be in union with someone we do not know or who we have no relationship with. We cannot be in union with someone we never think about.

The more we think about Him, the more we carry His word in our mind. The more experiences that we have with Him, the deeper, stronger, sharper, clearer, and more real the union becomes. It all pivots around the Word of God. Jesus says, "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

They are an invisible force and power because, if we believe His words, they begin to work in our lives because we use them. They begin to produce what God intends them to produce. As we use them, we become more one with Him because we are becoming like Him. Our lives begin to be operated by His mind expressed in His Word. The more we use them, the more we become like Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 4)


 

2 Corinthians 5:21

The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, never sinned; there was never a life so completely unleavened as His. Jesus Himself says, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). What came out of Christ's mouth were words that were uncorrupted, untainted by a carnal heart in any way. They were totally and completely spiritual and eternally pure. The Word of God, in terms of His words and His example, has been given to us to be the basis of our thinking.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

2 Corinthians 11:3

Simplicity means single, without ulterior motive, pure, sincere, and unambiguous. Vincent's Word Studies (vol. 3, p. 346), defines it as "single-hearted loyalty." It is the opposite of deceit, guile, error, and wandering.

Some things in God's Word are difficult to understand (II Peter 3:16), but the Bible nowhere tries to produce doubt, confusion, or division by any means (I Timothy 6:3-5; II Timothy 2:14). Even Balaam knew that "God is not a man, that He should lie" (Numbers 23:19)! Jesus says, "[God's] word is truth" (John 17:17). The doctrines of God follow a logical and true sequence, locking together like a picture puzzle to comprise the true gospel.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Damnable Heresies


 

Ephesians 4:14-15

Verse 14 speaks about us no longer being children, tossed to and fro. This obviously means that a purpose of the ministry is to protect the church from false doctrine. In many respects the ministry has done fairly well in this over the past several years. We have really tried to get back to basics, back to Jude 3 and "the faith once delivered," and to re-prove the doctrines so that the members will know what they should know, be assured of them, and go forward in confidence in them.

Notice in verse 15 that it seems to say that the ministry does this—that they help people no longer be children, guarding them from false doctrine—by speaking the truth in love, and that this causes maturity, moving them from being spiritual babes to taking on the character of God and Christ. When we speak the truth, we expose error, like a light shining in a dark place. The Word of God is often compared to a light. When one turns on a light, darkness is dispelled. So truth exposes error, trickery, craftiness, and deception. It calms and settles, guides and directs. Psalm 19 and Psalm 119 show what the Word of God is and does. It is a worthwhile study to read them to become re-grounded in the effective working of God's Word.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
It Takes a Church


 

Ephesians 5:26

Until God calls us, we are subject to the constant bombardments of the words—the thinking and the ideas, the hopes and dreams, and the ideals and standards—of this world. Some of them also come from God. It is a mixture. But would it not be far better to use the pure thing? Every Word of God is pure. If we want our thinking to be pure (I John 3:3), then our minds must be fed with what will make our thinking pure.

We have the use of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Then we must put God's instruction into practice so that it becomes inscribed on our hearts. This is done by making those behaviors habitual. God gives most of us a long time to do this. He gave the Israelites forty years to inscribe it on their hearts. He gives us so much time because it takes an awful lot of time to change a carnal mind—to purify it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 8)


 

2 Thessalonians 2:15

How frequently the servants of God have had to say this! John uses almost the same words at the beginning of I John 1: "Look, our hands have handled Him. We have looked at Him with our eyes and heard Him with our ears." Who is the we? He speaks of the apostles, intimating, "Get back to what we taught you." Jude and Peter say the same thing.

These men were not confronting the same people, but they probably were confronting elements of the same philosophical system that affected the church so strongly even as early as the AD 50s and 60s. Human nature always has a strong drive to make the way of God more attractive to the senses by blending it with traditions that are not part of God's Word.

This is what is found in Exodus 32, which God included in His Word so that we would see it etched vividly. The Israelites tried to introduce the Egyptian religion they had just left into the way of God. They used the bull to represent the nature of God. No wonder God was so upset! They were trying to syncretize paganism with the truth of God, just a few chapters after He gave them the terms of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant was signed, sealed, and delivered in Exodus 24, which was a very short time chronologically - and they were already trying to twist the nature of God into something radically different.

We see elements of this in the book of Colossians. The theological term for this is, as has been already mentioned, syncretism. It means "a joining, a meshing, or a blending together," "an alloying." Is anything purer than the Word of God? How could a person think to improve it by adding something foreign?

The outstanding historical example of syncretism (at least in terms of what we call "the Christian religion") is Catholicism. It is a universal religion precisely because it has absorbed traditions of worship from cultures all over the world. Its Protestant daughters, having come from the same system, have not rid themselves of most of the sycretic beliefs, having thrown off only the governance of the Pope and several of the more blatant pagan practices.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 22)


 

2 Timothy 4:1-2

The New King James Version puts an exclamation point after "preach the word." That is an emphatic command. That is what a true minister is to do—that is his job. Preach the Word!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Itching Ears


 

Hebrews 4:1-2

The Israelites would not use their faith; they would not step out. They held back because the bottom line was that they did not really believe it.

Do we believe what we are hearing from the Word of God? If we do not believe it, we will do nothing. We only do what we believe.

Everybody in the world operates by this principle—they do what they believe! But do they believe God? No. We are in God's church because we believe, and because we believe in the right way, we obey God. In Hebrews 3, Paul equates "belief" and "obedience." It makes for an interesting study. Despite being significantly different, the effect of one should be the product of the other.

This is why one can find words like "belief" or "unbelief" in Scripture, and see in the margin that "obedience" or "disobedience" can be an alternate translation. The words can be taken either way.

We do what we believe. The real problem is becoming apparent. The reason the Hebrews were apathetic—the reason they were neglecting their spiritual priorities—was because their belief system had undergone a serious change since the time that they had first heard.

When Satan wants to divide or destroy a church, he often does so through inspiring changes in the doctrines. When the doctrines change, the belief system changes accordingly. And when the belief system changes, those who believe the same basic way will flock together, and those who believe a different way will coalesce into another group.

When a belief changes, a change in conduct must follow. This is what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness. They did not believe God, and they failed. They all died. That whole first generation died as a result of their disbelief.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Hebrews: A Message for Today


 

Hebrews 4:12

God's Word is alive! This means it is eternal, always current, always essential, always true, pure, and refined. Other writings fail when measured against these qualities, and they pass into oblivion. The Word of God is a discerner, a critic, of the heart's inner workings. It is penetrating, scrutinizing our desires, and we should test our thinking against what Scripture says is good.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment (1998)


 

Hebrews 4:12-13

Depending on our motivation, God's ability to "see" into our heart can be either good or bad. He will see whether our sin was one of weakness, whether we went down fighting with all our being, or whether we just casually gave in to a self-centered impulse and deliberately proceeded along the course of sin (James 1:12-16).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Innocent Victims?


 

Hebrews 8:8

Note the plural pronoun "them." To this time, there was only one covenant, so if he were referring to the covenant, he would have had to say, "for finding fault with it." But God did not find fault with the Old Covenant. Everything that God does is of the highest order, and the covenant He gave to Israel was more than adequate for His intention at the time. It was not the covenant that failed. It was them—the people—who failed. They did not live up to what the covenant stipulated.

Everything God does is pure, right, and true. People who say the law is done away and the Old Covenant was a failure imply that there was something wrong with what God gave the people to do. God does not do things like that! We cannot afford to allow that kind of thinking to get into our minds because it puts us on the trail to error and will not help us in our relationship with God. It will greatly affect the way we approach the Bible—the Word of God.

The Old Covenant is part of the Word of God, and Proverbs 30:5 says, "Every word of God is pure." Therefore, the problem was not with the covenant but was in the people. Specifically, the problem was in their hearts; they were uncircumcised, to use the Bible's term. Their hearts were filled with self-will and therefore rejected what God had to say.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 8)


 

1 Peter 2:2

This is a clear teaching. The Word of God is necessary for growth. We do not have it instantaneously upon conversion; it increases in us little by little through study.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 19)


 

1 Peter 3:15

Sanctify means "set apart." It means, in this case, "make God the focus of one's thoughts, of one's approach to life, of the circumstance that one finds himself in."

Is this not what Peter forgot to do in Matthew 16? Satan's disinformation was the focus of Peter's response to Jesus—not God's thoughts. If God's thoughts or words had really been sanctified in Peter's heart at that time, he never would have said what he did. He would have said something like, "Yes, Jesus, I understand. That's what the scripture says." But instead, he disagreed with God. When one sanctifies God in his heart, then the Word of God becomes the focus, not the word of the spirit of this world.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 4)


 

2 Peter 1:16-21

Peter is probably referring here to the transfiguration recorded in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9. Peter, James, and John were eyewitnesses to that event, and it confirmed to them the prophecies made of old. He then urges us to press forward in faith knowing that the guarantee of the prophecies in God's Word is that they originated in God, not in men. The prophets spoke or wrote as God motivated them by His Holy Spirit. God's very words came through them to us. The Scriptures are not the invention of creative and imaginative men. They are not fairy tales, and we can trust them right on up to the return of Christ and our resurrection because the reputation and power of God are their surety.

John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Promises Are Sure!


 

Revelation 2:17

The manna that fed Israel was spread on the ground for all to see and gather (Exodus 16:4, 35). Hidden manna, symbolizing God's Word, is concealed from the rest of the world; it is special insight from God that feeds the soul and sustains spiritual life. In the ancient world, a white stone was given to one under judgment as an absolution from guilt, a black stone to the condemned. A white stone signifies innocence through forgiveness and grace to enter the Kingdom of God. The new name reflects the holy character built by the repentant overcomer. These gifts, though certainly special and wonderful, are available to every true child of God.

Staff
The Seven Churches: Pergamos


 

Revelation 10:8-10

This little book is the Word of God. When we first hear the truth—when we first eat it—it is marvelous and exciting to us, and we try to devour even more of it. But as we begin to make it a part of our lives, begin to assimilate—digest—it, we find that putting it into practice is not always easy. Sometimes it is downright painful!

Jesus says it is "the strait way, the difficult way, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). In addition, we find that the Word of God contains things within it that are very bitter indeed in terms of what it says in Revelation—terrifying, painful, oppressive, horrible things described in symbolic language. God is not at all pleased that such things must happen.

And, of course, Scripture can bring upon us a great deal of sadness as well. It may taste good going in, but once in, we find it can be very bitter in application to our lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 10 and the Laodicean Church


 

Revelation 20:11-12

The Great White Throne Judgment will occur during a hundred-year period (Isaiah 65:17-25). At this time, those of the second resurrection will be judged by the same standard as everyone else - the Word of God.

Staff
Basic Doctrines: Eternal Judgment


 

Find more Bible verses about Word of god:
Word of god {Nave's}
 




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