The Word of God
- A Reflection
John’s gospel, the fourth account about Jesus Christ in
the New Testament, starts with: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was
God ... and the Word was made flesh.” (John 1:1,14).
The Word of God is Jesus. He is the human face of God and the one who fulfils and
gives meaning to all of God’s revelation. The many testimonies of God’s love are brought to a climax in
The Word of God also refers to Jesus’ message – the good news of the Kingdom of God
and of salvation – preached by Jesus and after his resurrection by his disciples now empowered through the
Holy Spirit (Luke 8:12; Acts 6:7; 12:24).
The Word of God also includes the inspired writings recognised by the early Christian
community – now known to us as the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. As God’s gift to the church, they
reveal God’s love for humanity. They embody in human word what is embodied in the divine Word who became
flesh. It is through the inspired human words of the Scriptures that one personally encounters the divine
Word – Jesus Christ.
For centuries, Christians have read the Scriptures as God’s Word speaking to them.
They learned about their God, God’s loving providence, as well as their own identity and responsibility
towards the one who called them to live and share the divine love with
The inspired Word of God reveals the fundamental Christian mysteries, gives us a
partial but increasing grasp of them, and shows what is an appropriate response to the divine love. It also
makes us realize our limitations, humbles us, and leads us to the conclusion that we cannot fulfil our
potential in God without God’s ever present help. We are led to prayer, our lives are transformed in response
to God, and as the disciples of Jesus, we then share the divine love shown to us with
An ancient form of meditative, prayerful reading of the Scriptures is
divina. The emphasis in the reading of the inspired texts is on
hearing what God wants to tell us and then shaping one’s life accordingly. In other words, care needs to be
taken not to read into the Scriptures what we want to hear, but rather letting God speak to us through
This form of Scriptural prayer involves the whole person. Through our senses we read
the Scriptures as God’s Word speaking to us. We then meditate on the text using reason and imagination.
Finally we pray and transform our lives into Christ’s image through our will with the help of the Holy
The inspired Word of God is more than just a book. It is a library of books composed
by many authors over the span of centuries. Despite this fact, there is unity throughout this story of God’s
love – accomplished by the Holy Spirit. If we recognize the Scriptures as coming from a loving God, they can
be seen as letters from a lover to the beloved. If we reciprocate in love, the inspired texts will mean more
and more to us as time goes on and our love relationship with God will continue to
(Adapted from Lectio Divina, Praying the Scriptures in Lent and Holy Week
2010, written by Bishop David Walker
DD, with the support of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Mission and Faith
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