This month’s theme is a reminder of the important connection between God and words. God is not an impersonal force or a conceptual abstraction. He is a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The personal nature of God means that it is possible to have a relationship with Him. The Bible describes God as a being who reveals Himself and makes relationship possible by using words. God has revealed Himself to us in four “words.”
First, God has revealed Himself in His own words. The God of the Bible is a God who speaks. He spoke and creation came into being (Genesis 1). He has the capacity to enter into conversation with those He has created.
We should note, however, that although God speaks, His audible voice is rarely heard. But it doesn’t mean that God does not communicate to us. The second “word” that God uses is creation. God “speaks” through what He has made. The heavens declare the glory of God (Ps. 19:1). This is nonverbal, divine self-revelation, a communication without words. Creation clearly and accurately reveals something about its Creator. The “voice” of creation testifies to God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. Even though our natural tendency is to suppress this knowledge, the witness of creation leaves us without excuse (Rom. 1:20).
Fortunately, God in His grace has accompanied this “silent” witness of creation with a third word. This is the written Word of God in Scripture. Although God does not often speak audibly to us, He has chosen to reveal Himself through these writings of people, His chosen instruments who “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Their writings, employing their own vocabulary and reflecting their individual personalities, are God’s primary means by which He makes Himself known to us. The Holy Spirit, who made certain that the writers’ words were “God breathed,” speaks to us through what they have written (2 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 2:27).
Through the words of Scripture we come to understand and experience the grace of God. God’s Word serves as a “means of grace” because it speaks to us of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus is God’s fourth and ultimate word (Heb. 1:1–2). He is the Word made flesh (John 1:14). Jesus reveals more about God than anyone else can because He is God (John 1:1). His death and resurrection make it possible for us to approach the Father and address Him as friend.
For Further Study
To learn more about God's relationship to language, read The Divine Voice by Stephen H. Webb (Brazos).
By John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies
John Koessler serves as chair and professor of pastoral studies at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of Folly, Grace & Power: The Mysterious Act of Preaching (Zondervan), A Stranger in the House of God (Zondervan) and served as general editor of The Moody Handbook of Preaching (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.