The Bible as the Living Word
I often hear Christians talk about the Bible in terms that uninitiated people often find strange. One of those terms, referring to the Bible, is the Living Word. This can be very confusing to those who see the world in a Western way. We in the West, pride ourselves in seeing most things in black and white, in a facts-only way. The idea of words penetrating our worldview, our autonomy, seems impossible. However, the Bible does claim to be the Living Word. How can that be?
The Bible claims to be a true story. It is God’s story of how the world is, a worldview, and as such, gives believers both instructions for and a meaning to life. It talks about the relationship of God to His people, His creation of them, His love for them, and His plan for them as they live the lives He gave them. Those who believe the Bible believe it to be truth. In many ways, they believe it to be absolute truth and they believe that God wants all people to know Him. However, they know that each person is responsible for how they answer God’s call, without which, it is impossible to believe.
The Bible transcends culture by creating a transcendent worldview of its own, and at the same time speaks to all people everywhere. Every worldview has a story about how life is. They are either right or wrong. Every worldview or culture believes something and all require faith in something to believe.
The Bible is a text for a called community. Those persons who respond to God’s call become part of that transcendent community and at the same time remain in their own culture. Their worldview changes, often radically. The Bible says of itself that it addresses the hearts of persons, individually and collectively, within their worldview, often interrupting that view and calling the believer to a higher place; often a discordant one. That’s what was wrong with Jesus in the Jewish culture. It is why He made people angry, because He told them that what they held dear was wrong. Who wants to hear that?
Jesus, within the first century culture, spoke of a new Kingdom, one not of this world, that would be established forever. This Kingdom, He said, was even then in the world. The Bible is the text for the Kingdom people. Their Kingdom view of the world penetrates every area of their lives. It changes their worldview. They see their individual culture with brand new eyes. The Bible is their guide. It addresses all the issues of life that are important. It addresses every area that they need for a life that pleases God, also for themselves.
The Bible is the Living Word because it addresses all people. All people come from many cultures. There exists no worldview or culture not addressed in the Word of God. The language may be different, but the people are the same. It is the story of Jesus who is The Living Word.