Not Sure I Agree with This

I was just looking through the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible and I came across this little aside at Matthew 4:4:

I’m on board with the first part that says “That which is said or spoken, an utterance…” BDAG similarly says, “that which is said, word, saying, expression, or statement” (BDAG, 905). I don’t even have an issue with the contrast of rhema with logos “which is the expression of a thought, a message, a discourse.” Again, BDAG similarly says, “a communication whereby the mind finds expression, word” (BDAG, 599). But it gets a bit hinky when it says that the entire Bible is logos while individual verses are rhema. How does that work exactly? What if the entire Bible is uttered? Is it rhema then? And is that point really illustrated in Ephesians 6:17? Or is it being creatively inserted?

Sure, at Matthew 4:4 Jesus quotes a single verse, but I think the way that Matthew intends that single verse, indeed all of the verses Jesus quotes in this section, is to draw the reader back to the exodus narrative as a whole. Matthew is narrating his story in such a way as to depict Jesus setting right Adam & Israel’s wrongs. In every place that Jesus succeeds in the temptation, Adam & Israel failed. Adam is God’s son, as is Israel, but Jesus is unique. He’s the beloved Son in whom God is well pleased. But the point here is that the individual verse stands in place of a larger story. The story is brought to life in Jesus’ action, not in his speaking one verse out of many, if that makes any sense. Thoughts?



5 thoughts on “Not Sure I Agree with This

  1. The first part certainly holds true, in terms of to what the word rhema refers (i.e., spoken rather than written word), but only within the New Testament. The words seem to have some overlap in other Greek literature like the LXX. The second part, I think, is trying to say too much with it. The word logos can refer to a spoken word as well, however, within the NT. So the most we can say is that within the NT, rhema only refers to an audible verbal expression, whereas logos can refer to both.

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