About the expression “Word of God”

The Catholic Church uses the expression Word of God at several places of the Holy Mass. The Ordo Lectionum Missae specifies that two of the four Bible readings are to be concluded with the words “Verbum Dei” (translated to “(This is) the word of God” or “Acclamons la Parole de Dieu” or “Wort des Lebendigen Gottes” or “See on Jumala Sõna”). And the other participants of the mass are then to answer “Deo gratias” (“Thanks be to God” or “Louange à toi Seigneur” or “Dank sei Gott dem Herrn” or “Tänu olgu Jumalale”).

Don’t misunderstand this formulation as a form of biblicism. The Word of God is far more than what is written in the Bible. Like a love story is not the same as love, the Bible is not the same as the Word of God. Don’t mix up the photograph of a cat with the cat. The Word of God cannot be formulated as a collection of texts in human language. We can hear it, but we cannot grasp nor reproduce it.

Word of God

(1) The assumed immutable eternal message revealed by God to all humans through Jesus Christ.

  1. In Jewish tradition, a synonym for their Holy Scripture.

Note expressions like “the word of the Lord came to Jonah” (Jonah 1:1), which rather describe a divine inspiration, i.e. a concrete divine message perceived as such by a particular human.

God’s plan

The assumed divine plan God has for humanity and the whole Universe.

Will of God

Something God wants to happen as part of his divine plan.