The word of God: Meditation for the second sunday in advent
The Collect for the day is loaded with important points about the written word of God:
• It is the “Blessed Lord Who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written.”
• The Holy Scriptures are written for our learning.
• It is not enough to have the letters of the word of God written in the Bible, the lessons are also to be written in our hearts.
• Our minds need to be prepared to receive the word of God.
• For efficient utilisation and appropriation of the word of God in the Holy Scriptures, we should hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them.
• The hope of everlasting life is embraced and upheld by means of God’s Holy Word.
The word of God is, therefore, indispensable in our spiritual pilgrimage, particularly as we prepare for the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word of God is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Ps 119:105).
The word of God is the embodiment of divine communication. Jesus Himself is the Word of God, which was in the beginning and became a man (Jn 1:1). God has fully spoken to us through his Son, Who became a man. We no longer receive revelation bit by bit through servants. It is now through a full revelation in a family member (“a son,” cf. Heb. 1:2; 3:6; 5:8; 7:28). This made Jesus the Incarnate Word of God, which in turn is translated to the Written Word of God – the Bible. The Bible reveals God, Christ, man, the past and the future. But above all, the Bible conveys the very life and Spirit of God. When we open ourselves to the speaking and revelation of the Bible, we open ourselves to the seed of life that enlivens refreshes, strengthens and transforms our inward being.
Therefore, the question of hearing the word of God or hearing God speak to us today is actually the question of ascertaining from the Bible what God’s revealed will for us is. The living and Sovereign God, is, however, not limited in the ways He speaks to us today. But it is not in His character to contradict Himself. So, no “word” of God can contradict the Bible, which is the ultimate and perfect Word of God.
The supremacy and sufficiency of the scriptures in our Christian life and salvation are very clear in our articles of belief as Anglican Christians. The 6th of the 39 Articles, for instance, declares that: “Holy Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary for salvation.”
Likewise, the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration, which upholds the 39 Articles as “containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s word” (Article 4), also specifically affirms the belief in the Holy Scriptures to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation.” It goes further to expatiate that the “Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.” (Article2).
The Venerable Dr. Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC. is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.