It was a warm and sunny September morning as the new freshmen entered their first class at Bible College, BIB 102: New Testament Survey. As they took their seats, the professor entered the room. He was in his mid thirties, dressed in jeans and a polo shirt, quite unlike what they had expected of a Bible College professor. He glanced up at the clock, and seeing that it was now 8 o’clock, he called the class to order.
Grabbing a marker, the professor wrote a question on the board: “What is the Word of God?” and turning back to the students he said in a commanding voice, “What is the Word of God?” There was silence; the students weren’t quite sure what he was getting at. “Anyone?”
A bright faced freshman in the second row ventured, “The Word of God is the Bible!”
“Are you sure about that?” retorted the professor.
“Yes, the Bible is the Word of God.”
Picking up a Bible, the professor held it up for all to see. He opened it and turned to the publication page and read aloud, “‘All rights reserved. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 73-174297. Published by The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids Michigan. Printed in the United States of America. ‘ You sir have told me that this is the Word of God, but I will tell you that this is a book. What is the Word of God?”
Another student had the answer, “The Word of God is what’s in the book.”
“What is the written Word called?”
A long pause, and then from the back, “The written Word is called the Scriptures.”
“Excellent, and where do we find the complete record of the Scriptures?”
“In the Bible.”
Yes, in the Bible, very good. Now then, what is the Word of God?” No answers; lots of puzzled faces. ” Need a hint?” There was general agreement in the room that a hint would be helpful. “Maybe the Scriptures can shed some light on this. Open your Bibles and turn to John chapter one. Someone read verses one through three.”
A voice from the third row: “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.”
Smiling, the professor said, “now please read verse 14.”
‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Now the professor was smiling broadly. Looking around the class, making eye contact with each student he said, “The Word of God is not an ‘it’, the Word of God is a ‘He’. The Word of God is a Person, the Person of Jesus Christ. The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing soul and spirit. The Word is not merely words on a page, nor is the Word a mere academic discipline, a set of doctrines or a book full of teachings and rules, the Word of God is a Person, and we must approach the Word as such. This is the most important lesson that you will learn in your four years here: The Word of God is a Person! My job in this classroom is to bring each of you face to face with the Word of God.”
Sadly, by the end of the week, most of the students in the class had already forgotten about the first day’s lesson. It would be many years before most of them re-learned it, and some never did. Maybe it had gone over their heads, or maybe they learned from their other professors that this guy was something of a loose cannon. Whatever the reason, even though they all remembered that the Word is a Person for the purposes of their midterms and final, they never really got it.