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Christianity is a religion of words. That may be an odd statement to some. Isn’t every religion a religion of words? It is true that most major religions have some texts they consider sacred. Islam has the Q’uran, Judaism the Talmud, Hinduism the Vedas, and the Buddhists the Tripitakas. Various offshoots of Christianity, such as Mormonism, too have texts they consider holy alongside the Bible. Even religions that don’t have organized sacred texts rely upon oral traditions for their practices and beliefs.

Why is Christianity, with the Bible as its sole sacred text, unique in its relationship to words?

Words are the basic unit of language. They carry the content of intelligent thought. Contrary to the opinions of our modern philosophers, words signify something meaningful about reality. Language is not the creation of men but is intrinsic to God Himself.

The Gospel of John says this about God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

The implications of these verses are immense.

When God created the universe out of nothing He did so by His Word. In the first chapter of Genesis the phrase “God said” occurs ten times. All of creation owes its existence to God’s Word. Words existed before mankind ever spoke a syllable.

Words are not just sounds. They are not just the organization of noises that animals make. They are spiritual because they originated from God and not from man.

For the word of the Lord is upright, And all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

Psalm 33:4-9

There are many ideologies at Indiana University that teach you to doubt words.

Some people say that words have no meaning at all. Words are just social constructs that signify the felt realities and experiences of the persons who speak them. Words are subjective: “My truth tells me that God doesn’t exist.”

Others say the idea that words have reference to objective reality is dangerous and authoritarian: “That language is hateful.”  

Then there are those who weaponize words for their own social advancement and glory: “No one can tell me what or who I am.”

We Christians on campus doubt words too. We often do this, not by the words we say, but by the words that we do not say. We are silent when we should be witnesses for the Gospel. When opportunities arise for us to give a defense of the hope that is in us we don’t say anything because of our fear. We self-censor because we are afraid of being Jesus freaks. And what does our Lord say of us?

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

Mark 8:34-38

Are we ashamed of the words of Jesus? Will we listen and obey His words or the words of men?

Words are important. They are the channels by which truth is communicated. They carry moral weight. Words can build up and they can destroy. They can bring life or death. They can carry truth or lies. What do our words say about us? Are we Christians who speak truth? Are our words seasoned with grace? Are we content with scrolling through TikTok to view images and videos that distract us from the words of God in Scripture?

Hear again what our Lord says in the Gospel of Matthew:

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Christianity is a religion of words because our God Jesus Christ is the Word. Other religions may have their “holy” texts. But we have the living Word, who came down to us from heaven. Scripture is the holy revelation of God because it was given to us from God to bear witness to the eternal divine Word whose name is Jesus Christ. We are not just a religion of the book. We worship and obey and love and follow and glorify the Word who is God.

Finally the designation ‘word of God’ is used for Christ Himself. He is the Logos in an utterly unique sense: Revealer and revelation at the same time.

All the revelations and words of God, in nature and history, in creation and re-creation, both in the Old and the New Testament, have their ground, unity, and center in Him.

He is the sun; the individual words of God are His rays.

The word of God in nature, in Israel, in the New Testament, in Scripture may never even for a moment be separated and abstracted from Him. God’s revelation exists only because He is the Logos.

Herman Bavinck