The Word of God for the people of God

We often use these words after we read from the Bible in worship: The Word of God for the people of God.

But I wonder if we always mean it.

Do we mean it when we call the Bible the Word of God? Many of us do not. We do not take the words of scripture to be the words of God to us. They are not from God, but about God. They are the words of humans grasping at an invisible and unknowable truth. That is what many of us believe, even if we do not say it in so many words during worship.

What would it mean for us to be a people who actually lived as if those words we speak out of liturgical habit were held in our hearts and not just on our lips? If the Bible is the Word of God rather than a word about God, shouldn’t we take it much more seriously?

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5 thoughts on “The Word of God for the people of God

  1. Coming from a daughter denomination to the UMC, we do not often uses liturgical phrases and responses. However, when at ATS et. al., I frequently hear those and gladly participate in them. Across the years I have questioned why the Word of God is only for the people of God. In keeping with Wesley’s concept of world as parish, it would seem more appropriate to reflect his evangelistic fervor by stating “The Word of God for all the people of the world.” “For the people of God” insinuates that the speakers/hearers are those people, or followers of God. If the insinuation leans toward the human race, which I doubt would be the general interpretation, confusion could be cleared up by clearly stating it’s for everyone. Cf. Jn. 20:31

  2. Thank you John for pointing out a very important distinction.

    “We do not take the words of scripture to be the words of God to us. They are not from God, but about God. They are the words of humans grasping at an invisible and unknowable truth.”

    The problem with this is if we believe the words are not from God, but just about God, then we seem to inevitably have to come up with explanations and rationalizations to help us understand the truth, when it is there for us to understand all along, by faith and by the wisdom of God, not our human wisdom alone.

    The Bible [i]is[/i] the word of God, and we [i]should[/i] take it much more seriously.

  3. John Wesley stated in many of his sermons, “unless one is born again they are not children of God”. John 1 says, “he gave them power to become children of God, born not of flesh and blood but born of the water and spirit”. Thus, if we haven’t yet accepted Christ by grace through faith we are not yet “children of God”. Made in the image of God yes, but not yet children of God. Thus, we would represent Wesleyan theology better if we said, “The Word of God for the people of God and those who have yet to belong to the family of God.” Yes, this would be awkward to say aloud in leading worship but it would be more accurate to our Wesleyan Faith.

    1. Charles, you’re spot on but how about word smything to “The word of Gid for all people” simply because it applies to both believers through faith an to unbelievers through declaration of truth.

  4. When Aaron spoke all the words that God had said to Moses, the text says “The people believed; and when they heard…they bowed down and worshiped” (Exodus 4:30-31). There’s that link, as Charles Kyker alludes to, between the Word and its respondents. The Word is refreshing to the people of God, but alarming and disarming to those who are not (or not yet).

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