One of the oddest arguments by professing Christians in the most recent Steve Chalke dispute is “The Bible doesn’ claim to be the Word of God.” It’s an odd claim because:
1. That’s the sort of claim that is made by Arians, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims when they want to deny the divinity of Christ and the truth of the Trinity. The word Trinity never appears in the Bible and Jesus never claims to be God according to them.
2. They are keen to insist that Jesus is the infallible Word of God but does he actually make that claim for himself? You see, if Scripture is not infallible then we cannot rely on another writer like, say John getting it right. After all, when John calls Jesus “The Logos” how do we know that his incomplete view of God isn’t being shaped by his mixture of Jewish roots in wisdom literature and a healthy dose of Hellenistic philosophy. Maybe calling The Son “The Word” isn’t that helpful and may causes us to over-emphasise word based ministries. Wouldn’t it be more helpful in today’s culture if we think of Jesus as the Living Dance, the eternal sculpture or the Infallible picture? You get my drift. John doesn’t actually say that Jesus is “The Word of God.” That formula isn’t there. He is simply given the title “The Word.” He is with God and He is God.
Now, do I accept the above arguments as reasons for not calling Jesus God, not believing in the Trinity and not saying that Jesus is the Living Incarnate Word of God? Of course not. I recognise them as non-arguments. You see, we are not looking for a specific formula. Jesus clearly says things like “Before Abraham was, I am” and makes himself equal with the Father. Jesus claims the power to forgive sin. Jesus shows his authority over creation, sickness and death and even over life and death. It is clear that he is God. And because Christians know that Steve Chalke is wrong when he denies the infallibility of Scripture, we can rely on the Word of other Scripture writers that point to the divinity of Christ.
Similarly, from his words, actions and the testimony of Scripture, I know it is right to describe Jesus as The living Word of God because he is the one who reveals the radiance of the Father just as my speech commnicates who I am. I know Jesus is infallible because he is God.
So, in the same way, I don’t need a specific formula “This is the Word of God” to know from how Scripture speaks authoritively, how it self attests as God inspired, how it is able to rebuke and correct, so I must let it disagree with me that it is claiming to be God’s Word. When I see Jesus treat Scripture as God’s true and reliable word, then again I know that it is God’s true and infallible Word.