The Word of Men & God
1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV) – And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
God’s Word didn’t float down from Heaven in a perfectly contained form. No, God’s Word came together over the course of nearly 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, and in three different languages. The Scriptures have the unique style of each author. They wrote in the language and vocabulary they possessed. They also didn’t know they were writing Scriptures. Nobody fell into a trance and wrote in a zombie-like spell. The words didn’t come onto the page on their own, and their pens didn’t come to life apart from their hands moving.
Why do I bring this up? Our passage today gives us an incredible insight about the Scriptures formation. We read Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica. He says, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”
Paul says the church received the word of God, which they heard from him and the other apostles. They preached the gospel to them and shared from the Old Testament how Jesus was the Christ. But they also taught them further into the way of Christ. They instructed them on how to live and how to understand God’s character and nature. They taught both doctrine and practice. Notice that Paul says they received this teaching, not as the word of men, but as the word of God.
This is incredible. Paul recognizes that the gospel they preach, and the words they write concerning Christ and following Him, are not just the words and opinions of men. They are the word of God. Paul does not claim to be God. He does not believe he and the other apostles are sinless. He recognizes that this particular message they have been entrusted with is God’s Word. They are stewards of a message from God.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do some people trip over Scripture being written by men? Does this disqualify it from being God’s Word?
- What is the difference between the word of men and the word of God?
- How does this passage help you to understand the work of God in delivering His Word to His people?
Want to understand more about reading the Bible and the different types of literature that are contained within it?
Check out these videos:
Missing the Point: Prophecy & Apocalyptic Literature
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