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Breaking down Logos, Rhema, Scripture and the Bible (part 1)

Bible
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John 1:1-2: "In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word (Logos) was with God, and the Word (Logos) was God. The same was in the beginning with God." 

Logos (Word) is not just a name identifying the pre-incarnate Jesus. Logos identifies Jesus in His essence and function. He is the Wisdom, the Word, the Way, the Truth, and the Life that continually emanates from the Father. He is always in ontological union with the Father, in substance equal, and eternally co-existing with the Father. This is why He is the exact expression of the Father.

The sacred scriptures were God-breathed or inspired, which is why they are often referred to as the logos (word) of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Jesus is the logos or the visible Yahweh that emanates out of the bosom of the Father or invisible Yahweh.

When the prophets spoke words recorded as the canonical sacred text, it was the Spirit of Jesus speaking through them as the Logos or Word of God.

1 Peter 1:10-11 says, “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.”

The Rhema is often used as the “spoken” word, made personal and experiential to us through the Holy Spirit. Romans 10:17, “Now faith comes through hearing and hearing through the Word (Rhema) of God.

The Rhema can also be interpreted as a specific word from God to a church or individual.

Scripture

When referring to the written word, Jesus and the apostles used the term “Scripture,” not Bible (which means “book of books”) (See Luke 24-32, Luke 45, John 5:39, Acts 17:11, 1 Corinthians 15:3, 2 Peter 3:16).

The writers of the gospels and epistles never separated the Old and New Testaments. They looked at all of the writings as the Scriptures.

They knew that the new covenant was founded upon better promises as the unveiled fulfillment of the first testament, but they never separated the Scriptures into two parts.

In fact, when Paul said God inspired all scripture and stated that Christ died and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures, he was referring to what we would call the Old Testament (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:16).

Having a Christilogical hermeneutic

I once heard Father John Behr refer to the Luke 24 story of the “Road To Emmaus” as a depiction of what should happen every time we assemble in church. We understand who Jesus is through the Sacred Scriptures and the breaking of the bread.

Behr continues, “Even after His resurrection, the disciples still did not recognize Him until they experienced these two things.”

Consequently, the hermeneutic regarding how to understand and frame the Scriptures starts with the passion of Christ according to Luke 24:44-47:

“Then he said to them, 'These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures and said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'”

This is why we see Moses and Elijah (who represented the law and the prophets) speaking about Christ’s passion in the mountain of transfiguration.

After the disciples fell on their faces when the glory cloud came down (which was reminiscent of God speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai), only Jesus was left. Moses and Elijah disappeared. Why? Their disappearance implied that all their writings and ministry pointed to and were fulfilled in Jesus.

Moses and Elijah were talking about Jesus’ exodus. They connected the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt to Jesus delivering the church out of the bondage of the world.

Thus, hermeneutically, the life of Jesus framed the scriptures of the old testament. The preaching of the gospel then expanded into the epistles of Paul, Peter, and others.

The gospels largely came after the epistles. (The gospels recounted the ways the good news was preached by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.)

The first generation of Christian preachers in the apostolic age largely did not have the letters and writings of the New Testament.

It is obvious then that the apostles were able to come up with a full Christology and understanding of the role of the Messiah through the Holy Spirit's revelation of the Passion of the Messiah in the Old Testament narratives. This was even before the New Testament was written.

The only exception to this was when Paul, the apostle, received revelation and insight concerning what he identified as the mystery of the Old Testament regarding the church and its role.

Ephesians 3:1-10 “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel…to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places...”

Part 2 will be coming soon.

Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant, and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church, and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition.

To order his books or to join the many thousands who subscribe to his newsletter, go to josephmattera.org

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