Logos, Rhema, and Graphe!
These are three Greek words often rendered “word” in English Bible translations. This is not due to a laziness in the linguists but rather to a limitation in the language – the English language. Greek is very rich. Many Greek words contain nuances of meaning which similar words in many other tongues do not. Logos, Rhema and Graphe are examples of this.
Logos is God, the Word, the third Person of the Trinity “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” (John 1:1-4)
The Logos has been expressed (i) creatively “And God said, ‘Let there be…’” (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26), (ii) prophetically through the O.T. prophets, and lastly (iii) incarnately (in flesh) through Jesus Christ: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” (Heb. 1:1-2).
Jesus is the incarnate Logos (Word, God), the Logos (Word, God) in bodily person, the Logos (Word, God) made flesh.
In Rev 19:13 John sees Jesus as a great Warrior riding upon a white horse. The rider is called Faithful and True. His eyes are like fire, on His head are many crowns, and He wears a blood-dipped robe. Who is He? “His name,” writes John, “is the Word [Logos] of God.”
Graphe is the written text, the Logos inscribed, the scriptures, the ‘Holy Writ,’ the collected scriptures which form the Bible. In most English Bibles ‘graphe’ is translated ‘scripture,’ but in current usage Christians also call the Scriptures ‘The Word.’ The Bible is unique in many ways, it is like no other writings. It is inspired (in-Spirit-ed). God is its Author using human writers who “were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” (1 Peter 1:21 – NLT). We could think of it like this: The Logos (Word, God) gave men the Rhema (Word, Revelation) and the men penned the Graphe (Word, Scripture).
Rhema is the spoken or revealed Word. Have you ever experienced a text “leaping out at you,” perhaps bringing you great comfort, assurance, peace or conviction? That is a clear example of the Rhema of God. Specific Truth from the Graphe (written word) is made alive by the Holy Spirit (becomes Rhema) and applied to the reader’s heart and mind.
“My sheep hear My voice,” said Jesus (John 10:27). But “the person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Cor. 2:14).
This is why it is important to pray before reading the scriptures, to pray as the psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18), pray that God would grant you spiritual illumination, that He would reveal to you the Rhema you need today from the Graphe of God.
Note: If I’ve lost you in today’s blog don’t you worry about it one bit! Just pray, keep reading your Bible, and press on in knowing and loving Jesus!
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