It Is Written: The Word of God Incarnate

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1

We have established in previous posts that we possess the written Word that gives us special revelation. When we speak of the Word of God we are speaking of these things: God’s written Word and the incarnate Word. The Bible is the written Word that we both read and hear spoken. The Word gives life. God has revealed himself in act, word, and person – Scripture is the record of this revelation. In this special revelation of the Bible, we see God’s disclosure of Himself in salvation history preeminently is Jesus Christ (revelation in a person) and in the Word of Scripture (revelation as proposition). In other words, we’ve been given the Word of God incarnate, the One about whom the written Word speaks.

Incarnate is an unusual word. We hear it in sermons and Bible studies, we sing the word in hymns all the time, but what does it mean to call Jesus incarnate? How does this word affect the way we see him and understand his role in our lives, and his relation to the Scriptures? Incarnate means become flesh, that is, to become a man. Jesus is the incarnate Word. That is, He is the Word become flesh. He became flesh in order to bring forgiveness of sins and eternal life to us sinners.

God’s revelation in the Bible was progressive, and with the person and work of Jesus Christ at the central focus of the entire Bible. Logos is the Greek word defined as reason, word, speech, or principle. In Greek philosophy, Logos is related to a universal, divine reason or the mind of God. Jesus himself embodies the very Word, the Logos. The gospel of John connected this Greek term with the nature and existence of God and Jesus Christ (John 1:1). John 1:1-5 presents the pre-existent Word and Jesus Christ as one and the same. Jesus is God Himself who brings life and order to chaos. His incarnation was how God connected with the world, and John used the phrase Logos to help his audience connect with Jesus in a way that made sense to them. Notice that John uses a special category for Christ. Jesus Christ is the Word of God – Logos. We find it in Revelation 19:13. The Logos with capital L, translated as Word of God, was incarnated and revealed in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Christ is fully God.

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. - Rev. 19:13
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. - Heb. 1:1-2

In His eternal pre-existence, the Word was with God. From all eternity Jesus, as the second person of the Trinity, was with the Father (1 John 1:2). As the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ is God’s final word to mankind (Heb. 1:1-2). The Word is a person and He is of the same essence as the Father. In the words of Francis Turretin, “Simplicity in respect to essence, but Trinity in respect to persons.” Christ’s revelation is unique: It is his identity, the essence of who he is that makes his words God’s words. The Son is One in essence with the Father and the Spirit.

But the life-giving Lord gives Himself through His living Word. The apostle John wrote, ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life’ (1 John 1:1, niv). The ‘Word of life’ was the living incarnate Word whom they had seen and touched. But it was also something that they had ‘heard’ (1:3). It was a message of life that they heard in words that were proclaimed. Early believers were encouraged to hold fast “the word of life” (Phil. 2:16; see also Acts 5:20). The word conveyed in human words is “the word of life” in that it proclaims the message of true life found in Christ. Even more, through its proclamation it creates life in everyone who receives it.

– Charles Swindoll

The Bible is God’s written Word and Jesus is God’s living Word. In way of church tradition, Athanasius wrote “When we participate in the Spirit, we have the grace of the Word [the Son] and, in the Word, the love of the Father.” John’s disciple, Ignatius, is credited with writing “there is one God, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word, not proceeding forth from silence,” The early Christian apologist, Justin Martyr identifies Jesus as the Logos. In addition, Irenaeus (a student of the apostle John’s disciple, Polycarp) writes that Logos is and always has been the Son.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. - John 20:30-31

How should the reality that God became a man affect your life today? John’s teaching (John 1:1-14) is that this Word of God, Incarnate, this Jesus, must be received personally and believed on. The Logos incarnate is eternal; He is the Alpha and the Omega. Logos is more than words or thoughts. The Logos is the eternal Word in action. When the disciples were gathered with Jesus in the upper room, Philip said to Him in John 14:8–10: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” The Logos is personal. Jesus is the Word made flesh.

The miracles of Scripture, too, culminate in the incarnation, which is the greatest and most central miracle of all. In Christ, who is the absolute miracle, all things are restored and creation is brought back to its pristine beauty, Acts 3:21. 

– Louis Berkhof

Where is this Truth Found in the Bible?

Genesis 15:1; Exodus 19:7; John 1:1-5; John 1:14-17; Revelation 19:13

For further study, I recommend reading from my sources for this series that are found in the intro post, It is Written: An Eight Part Theological Series.

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