…Recently, as I am taking classes online through Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary while working towards my Masters in Theological Studies, I began taking a theology class, Theology I, and we use Millard Erickson’s “Christian Theology, 3rd Edition.” And, it’s a great book on theology, however, that’s not what I am writing about here.
One of the assignments we have is a three-part project in which we have read through Acts, Hebrews and 2 Timothy, and have pulled out all the passages that deal with the Word of God. That is only the first part. The second part is then to write a summary of the Word of God as it is, systematically, through each book, separately. And the third and final piece is to write a Systematic Theology on the Doctrine of the Word of God as it is laid out throughout Acts, Hebrews, and 2 Timothy. Between this post, and two others, I will put my work up here, as it is something that I enjoyed doing immensely! So, without any more delay, here is Part 1:
The Word of God in the Book of Acts
Themes in Acts of the Word of God: OT, NT, Wisdom, Redemption/Salvation,
Acts 1:1-5 – Luke writes of his first book, what we call the Gospel of Luke, and gives a concise description of what is in Luke. Part of God’s word is the book of the Gospel of Luke. Here Luke alludes to how Jesus presented Himself to the people and conversed directly with them after the resurrection, before the ascension.
Acts 1:20 – The Word of God is the Old Testament, specifically in this verse, the Book of Psalms 69:25(one of the books of Wisdom). Here, Luke talks about the land which Judas Iscariot bought and died on and how no one would dwell in it.
Acts 2:14-21 – Here Peter quotes from Joel 2:28-32 and is talking about how the Old Testament Word of God prophesied of what would happen at what we call the day of Pentecost. He was answering the accusations that the disciples were drunk at the third hour of the day. He clearly laid out his case using the Scriptures of the Old Testament Prophet Joel.
Acts 2:24-29 – Here Peter quotes from Psalms 16:8-11 about how David was sure that there would be the resurrection and how Jesus would be exalted at the right hand of God.
Acts 2:34-36 – Here Peter quotes Psalm 110:1, in regards that David was not writing about himself, but about the future coming Messiah, more of the Old Testament pointing forward towards Jesus.
Acts 3:11-26 – Peter gives his discourse to the crowd at Solomon’s Portico, preaching to them about the good news of Jesus and how the man was healed by the power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In this discourse, Peter makes reference to both the life of Jesus, as well as the Old Testament (Deut. 18:15,18,19; Genesis 22:18; Genesis 12:3, and others. In his words, Peter does not mince what he is saying at all, laying upon what would be a heavy conviction, telling them how what they did with Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament and came true a short time before Peter gave that speech.
Acts 4:23-31 – Peter here quotes from Psalm 2:1-2 in confirming that this place, Jerusalem, was truly the place where the leaders came against God’s anointed one, that is Jesus Christ.
Acts 5:34-42 – The Pharisee Gamaliel references Proverbs 21:30, Isaiah 8:9, and Nahum 1:9, in his warning to the other Pharisees, telling them to be careful if these men are really from God, lest you be possibly be found opposing God(Acts 5:39). This harsh rebuke that he made against his fellow Pharisees was one of the smarter things that any of the Pharisees had said, and he had backed it up with Scripture, letting them know that he was rebuking them and to be careful to not get all suited up, ready to go, and be found opposing God, whom no one can truly oppose.
Acts 6:7 – Here, the word of God increases and people come to obedience to the faith. The Word of God is what brings salvation.
Acts 7:1-53 – The Word of God here is not only our History (OT), but Stephen uses the histories of Abraham and Moses to show that God is a redeeming God. He warns us when he quotes Amos 5:25-27 when speaking of the golden calf incident. Stephen goes through a long litany of the Old Testament, showing the repeating nature of God’s redemption of the people of Israel, how it happens over and over again.
Acts 7:1-8 – Stephen speaks of Abraham and the covenants God from the Old Testament… He continues on in
Acts 7:9-16 – telling of a story of redemption of God’s people through the story of Joseph. He tells another story of Redemption through…
Acts 7:17-53 – Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David and others as he continues his discourse on how our God is a redeeming God, and how they had killed the Righteous One whom God sent to redeem the people of Israel.
Acts 8:9-25 – Here, the Word of God is called the good news about the kingdom of God(v.12), and it’s also referred to as “the word of the Lord,”(v.25). This is a recounting of how many in Samaria came and received the word of God, that is Jesus.
Acts 8:26-40 – Here, Philip helped the Ethiopian Eunuch understand the scroll of Isaiah, an OT prophet, and who the scroll was talking about. The scroll was that of Isaiah 53:7-8, and is prophesying the coming of Jesus and His purpose on the earth.
Acts 9:1-19 – Here is the description of the conversion of Saul(soon to be called Paul) on the road to Damascus to further persecute the church. Here, we see that the Word of God is Jesus, as Jesus speaks from the heavens to Saul, giving him instructions on what to do and where to go and what is going to happen. Jesus then speaks to Ananias, also giving him instructions on where to go and who to see.
Acts 9:20-22 – After his Conversion, Saul kept preaching Jesus, that is the Word of God, in the synagogues.
Acts 10:9-16 – Jesus again speaks, but this time to Peter. And He is giving instruction to Peter, teaching him to not call anything unclean that God had made clean. In Acts 10:24-33, Peter realizes the meaning of this, that he is supposed to begin to take the Gospel to the gentiles.
Acts 10:34-43 – Peter preaches the good news, this time of peace through Jesus. The word of God brings peace.
Acts 11:1 – “Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
” (Acts 11:1, ESV). The gentiles were experience salvation, something previously held, for the most part, to those of Jewish descent.
Acts 11:16 – Here, Peter is referencing Jesus’ words as the word of God
. We see as him referencing what Jesus said in Matthew 3:11, however, Peter was referencing the fact that he personally heard Jesus say those words.
Acts 13:2 – “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
” (Acts 13:2, ESV). Here, the Holy Spirit spoke, giving them direction. And, since we know that the Holy Spirit is from God as a helper(John 14:26), we know that this is God speaking(obviously also because we know that the Holy Spirit is God the Spirit.
Acts 13:32-41 – Here we see Paul speaking of the Good News of Jesus Christ, quoting from Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 55:3, and Psalm 16:10 to show that Jesus was the Christ, talking of His birth, being holy, or set apart, and the blessing of David, and that He would see no corruption, no sin. In verse 36, he brings up David’s death that came after having served God’s purpose. Just as David died, so did Jesus die to serve God’s purpose. However, unlike David, Jesus rose from the grave.
Acts 13:42-52 – As the people begged for Paul and co. to continue to teach on the next Sabbath day, they agreed. However, when they did, they were driven out by jealousy-filled Jews. Paul quotes Isaiah 49:6 to declare that since the Jews are rejecting them, they are going to take the Word of God to the gentiles, just as God said they would in Isaiah.
Acts 14:7 – The good news is referred to as the gospel.
Acts 14:21-22 – They continued to preach the Gospel, the Word of God.
Acts 14:24-28 – They were speaking the word, that is, preaching the Gospel
Acts 15:5 – The Word is partly the Law of Moses. The word here is described as a law, something to hold people accountable.
Acts 15:7 – “the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.”
Acts 15:12-21 – Here, James speaks, quoting Amos 9:11-12, talking of how they will rebuild the tent of David, and that God would call the Gentiles by His name. Here, he shows us that the Word of God gives direction and assistance to His people.
Acts 15:35 – The word of the Lord is what is to be preached.
Acts 16:30-34 – Here, they were speaking of how to be saved and they spoke the “word of the Lord,” they went and were all baptized. They finished by having a celebration in regards to how they had believed in God along with the entire household.
Acts 17:1-9 – Here, Paul and Silas were in Thessalonica and used the Scriptures, the Word of God, to reason with the Jews there. And, during this time, some were “persuaded” by the Word to join Paul and Silas while others were indignant and fought whole heartedly against them, to the point where they had to leave the city. This just shows that the Word of God is refreshing to some and offensive to others.
Acts 17:10-15 – The Scriptures here are seen in two lights. First, the Bereans use the Scriptures as the ultimate source of truth and information. They examined the scriptures daily before they fully accepted the word of God.
Acts 17:22-28 – Paul is addressing the Areopagus here, and is speaking about God and His Sovereignty, referencing Job 12:10 and Daniel 5:23, to explain this and how it is in Him that we have our lives.
Acts 18:5 – Here, Paul is said to be “occupied with the word,” something that we need to do more of in our lives. He was occupied, spending his time in God’s word, which was mostly considered the Old Testament back then, to reason with the Jew.
Acts 18:9-10 – Here, God speaks directly to Paul in a vision.
Acts 18:28 – Paul shows that the Scriptures prove that the Christ was Jesus. The Scripture are our ultimate proof, truth, and the thing we need to always compare things to.
Acts 19:10 – Paul spent time telling everyone about God, and did so until all the residents of Asia had heard the word of the Lord.
Acts 19:20 – “So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
” (Acts 19:20, ESV). It’s like the Word of the Lord here is described as the Kingdom of God, or the Church.
Acts 20:24 – The Gospel is God’s grace
Acts 22:1-21 – Paul gives his testimony, relating the words of Jesus that were spoken to him at his conversion.
Acts 23:5 – Paul quotes from Exodus 22:28 to relay that he really didn’t know he was talking to the high priest by saying he knows the rules regarding speaking evil of a ruler of the people.
Acts 23:11 – Jesus spoke to Paul.
Acts 26:12-23 – Paul once again relays his conversion experience, of how Jesus changed his life and spoke to Him. And from there, how he related these events, and all that had happened with Jesus and how Jesus is the Christ, using God’s word(Which was the OT at this point in time) to show that Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 27:23-24 – God’s word is often relayed through Angels, as it was here on the ship prior to the shipwreck. He was encouraging Paul and letting him know that he would get to Rome, eventually.
Acts 28:23-31 – Paul preached for a long time to any and all who came to see him in Rome. And many of the Jews who were there disagreed with him and left him after he rebuked them with Isaiah 6:9-10.
Themes: The power of the Gospel and how it needs to be the foundation of everything in our lives.
2 Timothy 1:8-10 – The Word here is referred to as a “testimony about our Lord,” where the word for testimony, martyrion
, is like the attestation of a witness that we would hear in court. And we know that this testimony will be later compiled as the New Testament. Also here is a reminder to the power that is in the Gospel, that is the Good news of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 1:14 – Here lies the gospel and how it is entrusted to us, committed to us, by Jesus and opened to us through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides us through the Scriptures and helps us with wisdom and discernment. The Word of God is something that we must treasure.
2 Timothy 2:8-10 – Here, Paul once again alludes to the power of the Gospel. This is a reminder that we need to keep Jesus, our Savior, in the forefront of our minds
2 Timothy 2:14-19 – Here Paul writes to Timothy to make sure he is “rightly handling the word of truth.”(v.15). That is, rightly handing the Word of God, as it is a firm foundation, and not something to mishandle. We need to base our foundations on God’s Word, not trivial things.
2 Timothy 3:10-17 – Paul here is exhorting Timothy to hold firmly to the Scriptures, and uses his own life as an example for Timothy. In this passage, Paul is telling that the sufficiency of Scripture will help Timothy be well equipped for helping lead the church once he, Paul, is no longer around. If we hold firm to the Word of God, through thick and thin, it will prepare us as Christians to lead.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 – Paul tells Timothy that he needs to use all his training in the Gospel and us that for teaching, instruction, training, rebuking, correction, etc. This is all laid out at the end of 2 Timothy 3 in verses 16 and 17. The Word of God is our foundation for everything we do and our motivation comes from the desire to glorify God in all that we do.
Major themes of the Word of God in Hebrews: Jesus’s preeminent superiority over things of old, such as the sacrificial system and high priests, etc.
Hebrews 1:1-2 – Here, the author refers to the Word of God as the words spoken to their fathers through the prophets, as well as more recently through his Son, that is Jesus Christ. Here, be describing Jesus as the “heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” the author is showing how much better the Word of God through Jesus is, as it is the Word of God being spoken by the Son of God, who is God the Son.
Hebrews 1:5-14 – Here the author is quoting several times from the Old Testament. He quotes Psalm 2:7, 2 Samuel 7:14, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 104:4, Psalm 45:6-7, Psalm 102:25-27, and Psalm 110:1. And he does this in a bid to showcase the superiority of Christ over even the Angels, never mind his superiority over peoples and prophets. I like how he quotes Psalm 110:1 in verse 13, using the same quote Jesus did to display his authority while confusing the religious leaders in Luke 20:41-44.
Hebrews 2:1-4 – Here the Author talks of a “great salvation” which, as we know, is Jesus Christ. It is reliable as we hear it, for it was first seen and spoke of by eye witnesses of Jesus, hearing his words, hearing of his resurrection. “It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,”(v.3b).
Hebrews 3:1-6 – Here the author once again shows the superiority of Christ by building on the high esteem the Jewish people held, and hold, for Moses
Hebrews 3:7-19 – Here the author of Hebrews is telling us that we need to not harden our hearts. On the other hand, we must look to God’s word to help us do the opposite. We also need to exhort one another to not harden our hearts, to encourage one another, knowing that Jesus is greater, the greatest.
Hebrews 4:1-10 – Here the author of Hebrews continues to talk about the Exodus, and this time about entering the rest and how the Word of God is salvation. Those who received it and were united in faith were allowed into the rest. However, those who received it but were not united to the others in faith(or those who did not receive it at all) were not allowed into the rest.
Hebrews 4:12-13 – Here, the author tells us, almost as warning, that the Word of God is alive. God’s Word is constantly working in the lives of His people in such ways that everything He does for us is somehow intertwined. And, ultimately, there is nothing that can hide from the Word of God. Some peoples’ hearts are hardened, but, in the end, they will still be held accountable against it.
Hebrews 5:5-6 – Once again the Author of Hebrews is showing the superiority of Jesus.
Hebrews 5:11-6:1 – We need to be aware of moving away from the Word of God and how that is a bad thing. The Author also alludes to maturing as Christians, saying that we need God’s Word in larger doses, as mature humans eat solid food, while babies and young children drink milk that they are fed by their mothers. As Christians, we need to mature and move away from the bare basics and learn more of the meaty stuff of
God’s Word. And that meaty stuff will help us grow in our walk with Christ, finding wisdom and discernment and further understanding of God’s word.
Hebrews 6:4-6 – Here the Author talks about those who have heard and seen the power of God, through Jesus, and his Word in action, and have rejected Jesus. Jesus, The Son of God, God the Son, is whom we read about in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and to believe in the God of the Bible is to believe everything about Jesus. If we reject anything of the God of the Bible, whether it be one little, itty-bitty portion, or all of Him, we then aren’t worshipping Jesus or the God of the Bible, but a false God made up in our own hearts and minds. And, someone who is rejecting Him is breaking the Second and Third Commandments, especially being that most of the people who do this profess to be Christians.
Hebrews 6:13-20 – The author of Hebrews is showing that God’s Word is a promise to His people, with the best known example of this being His promise to Abraham in Genesis 15. We always have to look forward to the promise of God, even if we don’t see it, we need to believe it as Abram did. “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”(Genesis 15:6)
Hebrews 7:11-22 – Jesus is compared to Melchizedek, but better than Melchizedek. While all the High Priests before Jesus were sinful and had to atone for their sins, Jesus is our Eternal High Priest, having never sinned, and still alive at the right hand of God interceding for us.
Hebrews 7:26-28 – Jesus again is talked about as the high priest. “For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
” (Hebrews 7:26, ESV)
Hebrews 8 – God’s Word is a covenant with His people. Here, the author of Hebrews is quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34 where God is creating the New Covenant with His people.
Hebrews 9:11-28 – This speaks of the superiority of Christ as the ultimate sacrifice, high priest, and mediator of the new covenant. Because of Christ’s sinless sacrifice and resurrection, He has become the eternal high priest and mediator of the New Covenant God has with His people.
Hebrews 10:15-18 – In quoting Jeremiah 31:33 the Author of Hebrews show us how the God is a forgiving God to His chosen people. God cares for His people, making a covenant with His people and giving them rules to live by to help them be successful.
Hebrews 10:23 – The word of God is our hope, “the confession of our hope”
Hebrews 10:29-30 – Rejecting the word of God is like rejecting Jesus. The author of Hebrews is telling us that the Word of God is Jesus(John 1:1-2,14).
Hebrews 11:1-3 – Here we see that the Word of God gives us our hope, which is often in something that is not seen, such as Jesus Christ. We know that through faith God created everything by His Word. And now, we can see God’s attributes in creation.
Hebrews 12:1-2 – Jesus, the Word of God, is the author and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews 12:18-29 – The author of Hebrews is warning the readers, just as the Hebrews were warned so many years ago, to not reject the one who is speaking, that is Jesus. To reject any portion of Him is to reject Him in His entirety. It’s an all or nothing deal(See note on Hebrews 6:4-6).
Hebrews 13:5-6 – We need to be content with the Word of God, with what we have, because as soon as we lose our contentment with God’s word, we start whoring after other things, things we call idols, and we become idolaters.
Hebrews 13:8 – God’s Word will forever be the same. It doesn’t change over time and doesn’t change to fit a culture or time period that wants it to change.