When I was a christian, I was just as conditioned as everyone else is to call the bible “the word.” But, is it really the word? Is an English translation of scripture what the scriptures themselves mean when they speak of “the word”?
In a word, no.
Just as English translations of scripture completely muddle the doctrine of salvation by calling several different words used in the original languages “sin,” or “sins,” they confound the facts surrounding what, or who, the “word” is.
We see in several OT passages that the word came and spoke to the prophets. When was the last time you saw a book, or even a scroll, actually come up and speak to anyone? In those passages, the Hebrew word “dabar” got translated as “word.”
While the word “dabar” refers to “utterances,” its focus is not on the physical words that are uttered, but on the one who is communicating the utterances. Thus, the Word of God (dabar of Elohim) refers to the living being who is directly communicating the utterances of Elohim. In those passages, the “word” is the Holy Spirit.
In the Greek, the equivalent of the Hebrew “dabar” is “logos.” So, the logos is the living being who communicates the utterances of God—the One who speaks as Elohim. The logos is the “word” spoken of in John 1, and it refers to both the Son and the Spirit. Verses 11-12 speak of the Holy Spirit (receiving the Holy Spirit is what gives believers the privilege of being children of Yah). And then, in verse 14, John speaks specifically of the Word being made flesh, who is Messiah Yahoshua.
But, because the Bridegroom (Messiah) HAD to go away to prepare a dwelling place—a Jewish wedding tradition that requires a period of separation, meaning that the bridegroom and bride cannot have direct contact—another was sent in His place to be the word (logos) to the bride.
Since Messiah’s ascension back to His Father, the Holy Spirit was sent as the Word—so, passages in the New Testament that speak of the logos “word” are speaking of the Holy Spirit (verses like Hebrews 4:12 speak not of scripture, but of the Holy Spirit).
Acts 17 speaks of a group of people—the Bereans—and it states that they heard, and were receptive to, the word (logos), but then they searched the scriptures to verify that what they heard was true. Obviously, the word and the scriptures are not the same thing.
English translations of scripture also refer to something else as the “word,” which commonly confounds readers. In the Hebrew, it is the “imrah,” which also means “utterances,” but its focus is on the physical words themselves. The Greek equivalent is “rhema.”
The physical words inspired by the Holy Spirit that the writers of scripture penned are imrah/rhema. However, so too are the actual words that the Holy Spirit gave the apostles to preach. The dabar/logos inspires the imrah/rhema of Yah. So, English translations make it difficult to grasp, because, according to the English translations, “the word inspires the word.”
The Hebrew word “imrah” can also refer to “commandments.” So, when David speaks in Psalm 12 about the “words” (imrah) of Yah being preserved forever, the context of David’s focus in the Psalms is Yah’s commandments—the law, which is a foreshadow of the Holy Spirit. Also, the ten commandments were the old (physical) covenant, which was a foreshadow of the new (spiritual) covenant.
To “preserve (keep) the commandments” is a foreshadow of possessing the Holy Spirit. So, when David says that Yah’s IMRAH are preserved forever, he is speaking of the role of the Holy Spirit, for Yah’s IMRAH/RHEMA are preserved forever in the DABAR/LOGOS. David is not speaking of any translation of the scriptures there, even though the “KJV Only” cult commonly distorts that passage as a cult proof-text.
The dabar/logos is the one who inspired the imrah/rhema that comprise the scriptures. Those original words He gave to the writers are the imrah/rhema. Human translations of those original words are just that—translations. They are not the imrah/rhema, because they are human estimations of the meanings of the original imrah/rhema. They are not inspired by the Holy Spirit, but are human ideas about the words that were inspired by Him.
Thus, your English translation of scripture is not the “word,” but a translation of the words that were originally inspired by the Word, who is the Holy Spirit. And, there is much evidence that much of the original scriptures has been manipulated and distorted by men, especially the texts identifying the Father and the Son. So, without the LOGOS, it is impossible to fully understand His RHEMA, and the spiritual meanings within them (Luke 24:45, 1 Corinthians 2:14).
For more information: Christianity’s Holy Spirit – Some Water and a Book