Chapter OneTHE TWOFOLD WORD AND THE
The absorbing meditation we are
now undertaking enables us to appreciate
the sentiment of the psalmist
when he wrote, "I have rejoiced in
the way of thy testimonies, as much
as in all riches" (Ps. 119:14; cf. vv.
72, 127). To follow the unfolding of
the testimony Scripture gives of our
Savior is a most enriching as well as an
enlightening and edifying experience,
especially as we remember that the
divine Expositor Himself is near to
guide us to those Scriptures concerning
Himself. Before actually discovering
that the Bible is "the Heaven-drawn
picture of Christ, the Living
Word," there are preliminary considerations
which, when grasped, enable
us to appreciate more fully the inseparable
connection between the
Holy Oracles and the Holy One.
A. The Twofold Word (Living and
Both Christ and Scripture bear the
designation, "The Word," the former
being the living Word and the latter,
the written Word. In the declaration
of the psalmist, "Thou hast magnified
thy word above all thy name" (138:
2), the whole body of Holy Scripture
is included. A translation commonly
accepted reads, "Above all Thy
Name, Thou hast made glorious Thy
Word." John Calvin has it, "Thou
hast magnified Thy name above all
things, by Thy Word." As for Martin
Luther, he translates it, "Thou hast
made Thy Name glorious above all,
through Thy Word." The evident
meaning of the verse is that beyond
all works of creation and providence,
or other ways God has made Himself
known, He has exalted His written
Why has God exalted the Scripture
thus? Is it not because it unveils and
magnifies His Son who came as the
revelation of God's inner Self? In His
Incarnation, Jesus became the Word
incarnate: "The Word was made flesh
and dwelt among men," and it is only
in the written Word that His whole
character and commission have been
revealed. Thus, in prophetic vein, He
could say, "In the volume of the book
it is written of me" (Ps. 40:8; Heb. 10:
7, 8). Our Lord is found in the Word,
that is, in the letter; the Word is
found in Him, in the life. Because of
the identity of the written Word with
the living Word, faith in the infallibility
of the former is essential to the
revelation and authority of the latter.
As Pierson expresses it,
The Holy Scripture and the Person
of the Lord Jesus Christ are so inseparably
bound together, that whatever
impairs the integrity and authority
of the one correspondingly
affects the other. The Written Word
is the Living Word enfolded: the
Living Word is the Written Word
unfolded. Christ is the Cornerstone
of all faith, but that Cornerstone is
laid in Scripture as a bed-rock, and
to disturb the Scripture authority
unsettles the foundation of the believer's
faith and of the Church itself
The Bible is Christ portrayed;
Christ is the Bible fulfilled.
One is the picture, the other is the
Person, but the features are the
same and proclaim their identity.
A devout Hebrew scholar has
pointed out that the Old Testament
is a book of consonants without vowels,
as Hebrew students know. But
Christ came as the Alpha and the
Omega, the initial and final vowels of
the New Testament language, to all
the vowel points to the old revelation;
to be the interpreter of difficulties
and the filler of gaps. And so, as
Luther exhorts, "In the Word thou
shouldest hear nothing else than thy
God speaking to thee."
The Greek term Logos, then, is used
of the Lord Jesus Christ and of
the Scriptures of truth. Logos means
the spoken or written word because
it makes manifest and reveals to us
invisible thoughts. Christ is the living
Word because He reveals the invisible
God (John 1:1, 18). Essentially,
the Bible is not something we have to
interpret, but that which God has
given in order to interpret Himself
and His will to us, in and through the
life and mission of His Son. The Bible
is called the Word of God, or the
written Word, because it interprets
and testifies of Christ. The Holy
Spirit is the interpreter of both
Words, for He receives and shows us
"the things of Christ" through the
printed Word (John 16:14; I Cor. 2:
9-14; 12:7, 8). How solemn is the
charge, "Preach the word" (II Tim.
The Word that is written makes
known Christ the living Word.
The Word that is preached makes
known both the living and the written
The spiritually-minded hymnist Joseph
Hart brings the two Words together
in the verse
The Scriptures and the Word
Bear one tremendous name, The Living and the Written Word
In all things are the same.
Here are a few illustrations of how
precisely the same things are proclaimed
of both the one and the
other. Both produce the same effects
in our lives. When Paul went to
Thessalonica he reasoned with the
people there "out of the Scriptures,"
and then we are told immediately
that his preaching consisted of "opening
and setting forth that Christ . is
the Messiah" (Acts 17:1-8). The
reader may be able to add a few
more evidences to the following list
of similarities, all of which can come
under the category of prophecies. To
save time and space we have used
"W." for "written Word" and "L." for
W. - "They pressed upon him to hear
the Word of God" (Luke 5:1).
L. - "His name shall be called the
Word of God" (Rev. 19:13).
W. - "The gospel of peace" (Rom.
10:15). L. - "The Prince of Peace"
W. - "Make me go in the path of thy
commandments" (Ps. 119:35). L. - "No
man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
W. - "Teach me, O Lord, the way of
thy statues" (Ps. 119:33). L. - "Jesus
saith . I am the way"
W. - "Thy Word is truth" (John 17: 17; cf. Pss. 119:151; 19:9). L. - "Jesus
saith . I am . the truth" John 14: 6; cf. 1:14; Rev. 3:7).
W. - "Begotten . through the gospel"
(I Cor. 4:15). L. - "Begotten
. by . Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 1:3).
W. - "Thy precepts . with them
thou hast quickened me" (Ps. 119: 93; cf. v. 50). L. - "You hath he
quickened who were dead" (Eph.
W. - "Desire the sincere milk of the
word that ye may grow" (I Pet.
2:2). L. - "He that eateth me, even
he shall live by me" (John 6:57).
W. - "The truth shall make you free"
(John 8:32). L. - "Christ hath
made us free" (Gal. 5:1).
W. - "Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken" (John 15:3).
L. - "The blood of Jesus Christ .
cleanseth us from all sin" (I John
W. - "The engrafted word, which is
able to save your souls" (James
1:21). L. - "He is able to save
them to the uttermost" (Heb. 7: 25).
W. - "Sanctify them through thy
truth" (John 17:17; cf. I Tim. 4:5).
L. - "Sanctified through the offering
of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10; cf. I
W. - "The holy scriptures . able to
make thee wise unto salvation" (II
Tim. 3:15). L. - "Christ Jesus, who
of God is made unto us wisdom"
(I Cor. 1:30).
W. - "He sent his word, and healed
them" (Ps. 107:20). L. - "Jesus .
healed them" (Matt. 4:23, 24).
W. - "The word of God, which effectually
worketh also in you that
believe" (I Thess. 2:13). L. - "Serving
according to his working which worketh in me mightily"
W. - "The word that I have spoken
. shall judge him" (John 12:48).
L. - "The Lord Jesus Christ .
shall judge the quick and the dead"
(11 Tim. 4:1).
W. - "Born . by the word of God"
(I Pet. 1:23). L. - We are "born of
God" (I John 5:18).
W. - "Thy Word was unto me the
joy and rejoicing of my heart" (Jer.
15:16). L. - "I will go . unto God, my exceeding joy" (Ps. 43:4).
W. - "Holding forth the word of life"
(Phil. 2:16). L. - "Jesus Christ .
eternal life" (I John 5:20).
W. - "The scripture cannot be broken"
(John 10:35). L. - "A bone
of him shall not be broken" (John
W. - "Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word of God"
(Luke 4:4). L. - "I am the living
bread . if any man eat of this
bread he shall live for ever" (John
W. - "The law . is a fountain of
life" (Prov. 13:14). L. - "With thee
is the fountain of life" (Ps. 36:9).
W. - "Thy Word is . a light unto
my path" (Ps. 119:105; cf. Prov.
6:23). L. - "I am the light of the
world" (John 8:12; cf. 1:4).
W. - "Thy word is a lamp unto my
feet" (Ps. 119:105). L. - "Thou art
my lamp, O Lord" (II Sam. 22:29).
W. - "Is not my word like as a fire, saith the Lord .?" (Jer. 23:29; cf. 5:14). L. - "I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire"(Zech. 2:5; cf. Isa. 10:17).
W. - "Exceeding great and precious promises" (11 Pet. 1:4). L. - "To
you . which believe, He is precious"
(I Pet. 2:7).
W. - "The law of thy mouth is better
unto me than thousands of gold
and silver" (Ps. 119:72). L. - "My
beloved is . chiefest among ten
thousand" (Song of Sol. 5:10).
W. - "How sweet are thy words unto
my taste!" (Ps. 119:103). L. - "His
mouth is most sweet" (Song of Sol.
W. - "Thy testimonies are wonderful"
(Ps. 119:129). L. - "His name shall be called Wonderful" (Isa.
W. - "The gospel is the power of
God" (Rom. 1:16). L. - "Christ, the power of God" (I Cor. 1:24).
W. - "Thy judgments are good" (Ps.
119:39). L. - "Thou art good, and
doest good" (Ps. 119:68).
W. - "Thy word is true from the beginning"
(Ps. 119:160). L. - "Ye
have known him that is from the
beginning" (I John 2:13).
W. - "The righteousness of thy testimonies
is everlasting" (Ps. 119: 144). L. - From everlasting to
everlasting, thou art God" (Ps. 90: 2).
W. - "Thy testimonies . thou hast
founded them for ever" (Ps. 119: 152). L. - "Thy throne, O God, is
for ever and ever" (Heb. 1:8).
W. - "The word of the Lord endureth
for ever" (I Pet. 1:23, 25).
L. - "The Lord shall endure for
ever" (Ps. 9:7; cf. John 12:34).
W. - "The Word of God . liveth
. for ever" (I Pet. 1:23). L. - "Worship
him that liveth for ever"
W. - "The word of our God shall
stand for ever" (Isa. 40:8). L. - "[His]
kingdom . shall stand for
ever" (Dan. 2:44).
W. - "Is not my word . like a hammer
that breaketh the rock in
pieces?" (Jer. 23:29). L. - "That
stone . will grind him to powder"
W. - "[They] stumble at the word"
(I Pet. 2:8). L. - "[Christ] a stumblingstone"
W. - "Thy commandments . are
ever with me" (Ps. 119:98). L. - "Lo,
I am with you always, even
unto the end" (Matt. 28:20).
W. - "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Col. 3:16). L. - "Christ
may dwell in your hearts
by faith" (Eph. 3:17).
W. - "The word of God abideth in
you" (I John 2:14; cf. John 15:7).
L. - "Hereby we know that he
abideth in us" (I John 3:24; cf.
W. - "Thy testimonies . are very
faithful" (Ps. 119:138). L. - "He .
was called Faithful and True"
W. - "The Word of God is . sharper
than any two-edged sword"
(Heb. 4:12). L. - "Out of his
mouth goeth a sharp sword" (Rev.
19:15). (Can it be that two-edged implies both the living Word and
the written Word?)
W. - "The word of the Lord is tried"
(Ps. 18:30). L. - "[He is] a tried stone" (Isa. 28:16).
We cannot meditate on these pairs,
and others we could cite, without recognizing
how Christ and the Scriptures
are one. It is to be doubted
whether Jesus had any books beyond
the Bible - which was only the Old
Testament at that time - and Himself.
But He read in these two great
Books of God till they became one
Book in His hand, and He, Himself,
the living embodiment of Scripture.
He could say, "My Father and I are
one." It is likewise true that the living
Word and the written Word are one.
As the eternal Word, Christ compared
the inviolability of Scripture
revealing Him to the permanence of
the very heavens and earth (Matt.
5:18; John 5:46, 47).
B. The Twofold Witness
Of the Scriptures, Jesus could say,
"These are they which testify of me"
(John 5:39). In turn, as "the true
witness," He testified to divine inspiration
of the Scriptures (John 17:8,
14, 17). It is a most absorbing study
to trace how the Word testifies of
Jesus, and how He witnessed to its
1. The witness of Scripture to
Christ. The master key to a spiritual
understanding of any or of all books
of the Bible is our Lord's explicit
declaration concerning them: "These
are they that testify of me." It is only
with this key that we are able to unlock
the precious treasures of the
Word and arrive at the hidden meaning
of words and hints. There are apparently
casual expressions, circumstances,
and events, which in themselves,
and apart from Christ, are
meaningless, but if we use this key
prayerfully and carefully, then we
come to share the wonder and joy of
those who found, "him of whom
Moses in the law, and the prophets,
did write" (John 1:45).