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There is the written Word of God, and then there is the living Word of God. Each has a role to play in our salvation.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” With this majestic declaration the Gospel of John opens. In the beginning was the Logos, the outspoken expression of the Almighty God. From eternity the Logos was abiding within the bosom of the Almighty, and the Logos was of the substance of the Almighty God.

When was the beginning? We do not know. But it was before the world was formed. It was previous to the creation of the heavens. It preceded the existence of the cherubim and seraphim, and the rest of the heavenly hosts and orders. Before any of these, the Word of God reclined in the center of the Divine Power and Majesty.

“All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” This Divine Substance called the Word contains the Divine energies of God. The fullness of the creative power and might of the Most High is resident in Him.

This creative power was sufficient to call forth into being almost unthinkable numbers of heavenly bodies of very great size, vast distances from one another, yet moving with wonderful geometric precision. When we contemplate these creations we realize that nothing is impossible to the Word.

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Also resident in the Word was, and is, life. The life which is in the Word is the only life which can cause a human to live in the presence of God. The Logos of God is full of power and life.

“And the Word became flesh and tented among us.” All of this eternal power and life was poured forth from Heaven in the person of Jesus Christ. As He moved among men He was as a mighty river of life moving among the dead sons of Adam. This river flowed on its course, saving, healing, making alive whatever it touched. The lowly were comforted. Here was the fulfillment of every pure human desire. Truly this was Emmanuel (God with us).

In First John, beginning with verse one, we are told these words. “That (that glorious life and all sufficiency) which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with out eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life; (for the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;).”

Now we come to a thought which could be misconstrued. We would not even bring it forth, except for the fact that it has a definite practical value in our everyday Christian lives. This thought is the difference between the Living Word and the written Word of God.

First, let us state clearly that we hold to the infallibility and full, verbal inspiration of the Bible. Now we wish to bring out a thought here with the intention of bringing into fuller view the all-glorious, all-healing, all-sufficient glory which is our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Word spoken of in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and in the first chapter of the first epistle of John, is not the written word but the Living word. There is a world of difference between the Living Word and the written Word, and yet an essential connection.

The world of difference is that you can have a head full of the written Word, and not a saving drop of the Living Word. The essential connection is that the written Word bears testimony to the Living Word.

So great is the difference between the written Word and the Living Word that the learned Pharisees and the priests, who I suppose would die rather than change the Scriptures; men who knew the Old Testament and memorized much of it; crucified the Living Word. These highly orthodox preachers cried out, “Let His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Orthodoxy of belief is often willing to crucify the Living Word whenever He appears.

So great is the essential connection between the written Word and the Living Word that neither one jot nor one title of the written Word shall pass away until all is fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away but the words of Jesus, and I believe His words through His apostles and prophets, shall never pass away.

Under the first covenant the Living Word came, from time to time, to certain sanctified men. In Jesus Christ the fullness of the Living Word was poured into an earthly tabernacle.

In the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John we find these words, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” There is no life in the written Word as such—no salvation, no healing. In fact, the letter kills. The life is in Jesus.

How often we have tried to use the Scriptures mainly as a method, or formula for spiritual success. This is not only useless but positively anti-Christ. Is not this the foundation of denominationalism, the blight which turns our eyes away from the lovely Person in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily?

The Scriptures, Old and New Testament, are for one reason and that is to bring us to Him in Whom is light, life, all-power, and unlimited glory. May God deliver us from the wickedness of using the Scriptures only as a spiritual formula. May the Scriptures serve their intended purpose to the Church, that is, to introduce her (the Church) to Jesus, her lover.

Oh, the glory of the Living Word! In Him is power divine, the milk of consolation for every thirsty soul. He is the shield and buckler in the time of battle. He is life which drives out death. He is divine health, ready to take the place of sickness and corruption.

He is miracle working power to move mountains. He is perfect wisdom to the simple. He is the creator of the worlds and Lord of the universe, yet the most tender, most loving counselor to the humblest soul. This is Jesus Christ, the Living Word.

As well as we might know the written Word, let us remember that it is the Living Word which produces results. The Living Word works through the written Word. When a man teaches or preaches the written Word, the Living Word must pass among the people, touching their hearts and their bodies. When the written Word is preached over the air, it must be that this same Jesus is passing into each home, healing and speaking peace and comfort.

May the day soon come when the Living Word wholly possesses us, so eternal life may be imparted to a dead creation.

(“The Living Word”, 3223-1)

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