The Rhema / Logos Misunderstanding.
A look into the Greek words Rhema and Logos and how it is understood in the churches today.
There are two words used in the English language for Word.
Translated from the Greek, one is Logos (Strongs concordance No 3056) and the other is Rhema (Strongs No 4487).
Rhema in Greek literally means an "utterance" or "thing said". It is a word that signifies the action of utterance.
So Rhema is the spoken Word of God and Logos is the written Word of God.
However, both words refer to the written Word of God. It does not mean that there are two Words of God, one written and one spoken.
In philosophy the word Rhema was used by Plato and Aristotle to refer to propositions or sentences.
The Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek uses the terms rhema and logos as equivalents and uses both for the Hebrew word dabar, as the Word of God.
These two words can be interchangeable.
Some modern usage distinguishes rhema from logos in Christian theology, with rhema at times called "spoken word", referring to the revelation received by the Apostles, when the Holy Spirit "speaks" to them and also when Jesus or the Apostles quoted from the Old Testament.
In these cases the Logos (the Word of God) becomes a Rhema, (the spoken Word).
Therefore a rhema is a verse or portion of Scripture that the Holy Spirit brings to our attention with application to a current situation or need for direction. When the Logos is spoken it is a Rhema.
In the Bible the Greek word used for “Word” is either Rhema or Logos.
We can see this in the words of Jesus, Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”.
Jesus also stated, “The words [rhema] that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
We can understand it this way also when we read of the application of the Word:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word [rhema] of God” (Romans 10:17).
Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God”.
Ephesians 5:25–26 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word [rhema]”.
John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words [rhema] abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”.
In these cases we see that it is the Word of God (the Logos) that is quoted (spoken) or applied, and is translated as Rhema.
Again we see the word Rhema used as the spoken Word or the applied Word or the remembered Word.
When Jesus told Peter to cast the fishing nets on the other side of the boat, Peter answered, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word [rhema] I will let down the net”(Luke 5:5).
When the angel told Mary that she would have a child, “Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word [rhema]” (Luke 1:38).
Simeon recalled the promise that he would see Christ before he died: “Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word [rhema]” (Luke 2:29).
God gave John the message he was to preach as a forerunner to Christ: “The word [rhema] of God came unto John”(Luke 3:2).
God reminded Peter of His Word: “Then remembered I the word [rhema] of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 11:16).
Jesus told Peter he would deny Him. “Peter remembered the word [rhema] of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Matthew 26:75).
So then, how is there a misunderstanding today by the use of this word Rhema.
There are many today that believe and teach that Rhema and Logos are not referring to the same thing (The Logos – the written Word of God).
We have to remember that the book of Hebrews tells us:
Heb 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
There is no more new revelation from God. God has given to us His final Word and this Word is all sufficient in its Teaching, Instruction and guidance for us in our Christian walk.
Those people that are advocating Rhema as a spoken word from God are separating it from the Logos (The written Word of God).
This is very prevalent in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement. It is also a very prominent teaching in the Apostolic Reformation. Those, that believe that the position of Apostles has been restored to the church today.
However, none of these self styled apostles have the Biblical qualifications to be an Apostle of the Lamb.
Toward the end of his epistle, Jude writes, “But, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17).
The apostles of Christ were sent to carry out the work of edification among the churches of our Lord in order to bring about unity among God’s people through proclaiming God’s word. However, it is important to note that this work was only conferred upon a few select individuals.
“And you also shall bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning” (Jn 15:27).
The qualification of an Apostle of Jesus Christ was only conferred on those that had been with Him from the beginning.
All of Christ’s apostles were personally called and chosen by Christ himself.
Luke writes that Jesus “called unto him his disciples; and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” (Lk 6:13).
Christ carefully selected twelve men from all of his disciples to serve as apostles.
Paul refers to himself as, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead)” (Gal. 1:1).
No man had or has the right or authority to take it upon himself to become an apostle of Christ.
According to the Scriptures, only those who were personally chosen by Christ could qualify to serve as apostles.
However, there is a ministry within the church, of apostle but this is not the same as an Apostle of Jesus Christ but an apostle of the church. (One who is sent by the church). Today he would be a church planter.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13).
Neither are there any men that receive new revelation from God outside of the Bible.
What they are advocating is that God still speaks beyond the accepted written Word of God (the Bible), in things such as tongues and interpretation, prophecies, visions, dreams and words of knowledge etc.
To claim that anyone receives words from God outside of Holy Scripture is deceit.
"Now the Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils' (1 Tim. 4:1).
This is what has been seen in the Church of Rome with Ex Cathedra statements by successive popes. It is what has been seen in the numerous cults like Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventists and many others that claim that new revelation has been given to their leaders.
This is nothing else but doctrines of devils.
We are warned in scripture not to receive any other Gospel, by way of revelation.
Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
In view of all this. Is there a place for Rhema?
How do I “get” a rhema? (a spoken Word of God)
In the regular course of our daily reading of God’s Word (the logos), we need to ask God to speak to us through His Word and give us insight into it.
The Holy Spirit can cause certain passages to stand out with significant meaning or application for our lives. These are the rhemas of Scripture and should become a part of our daily thoughts and actions.
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
When the Word of God is read from our pulpits or in our Bible studies, we are receiving a Rhema. When we share the Gospel with others and quote from the scriptures, we are giving a Rhema.
We cannot and must not separate a Rhema from the Logos.
The Bible is the Word of God and everything that is said and done must be in adherence to this Holy Word.
It is the foundation for our faith and we must stand on it, as many through the ages have done and even died for it.
Satan is attacking the Word of God, It is slowly being eroded and put to one side. With the advent of modern translations and paraphrased versions, the Bible is slowly being perverted.
It is being replaced by modern day prophets and teachers and is constantly being replaced by supposed manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the Pentecostal/Charismatic gifts.
It is very interesting to notice that in a meeting, if someone says “the Lord has spoken to me”, or “thus says the Lord”, how peoples ears prick up.
But if someone quotes a verse from the Bible, very often it does not have the same impact.
In the past, I have been in charismatic meetings where you could not tell the difference between that meeting and spiritualist meeting.
I have encountered leaders of these meetings saying things like, “The Lord is speaking to me now and telling me there is someone in the meeting that has this problem or that malady”.
The most commonly accepted phrase in the charismatic world is, “the Lord told me”.
If God is speaking new revelation today, why do we need the Bible?
No, there is no new revelation, we have all that we need in the Bible, the all sufficient, inherent, infallible Word of God.
The Reformers were correct when they coined the phrase “Sola Scriptura”, only the scriptures.
If only Christian’s would stand on the truth of the Word. The church is in desperate need of getting back to Sola Scriptura, it is the only way to counteract this attack on the true church.
Instead of seeking a deeper mystical experience, desperately wanting signs and wonders and feeling God’s presence, it would be much better to depend on the Bible for our assurance, knowledge and guidance.
As was once stated by Karl Barth, the greatest theologian of the twentieth century.
When he was asked, “What is the most important insight to God you have ever discovered?” The aged Barth paused for only a moment, smiled, and answered, “Jesus loves me this I know; for the Bible tells me so.
We cannot trust our feelings, we certainly cannot trust any extra revelation outside of the Word of God.
Any utterance must be tested by and based on the Word of God.
The canon of scripture is closed, with the book of Revelation, the Bible the revealed Word of God is complete.
Scripture is a closed system of truth, complete, sufficient, and not to be added to Revelation 22:18–19
Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
It contains all the spiritual truth God intended to reveal.
Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.