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Particulars of Christianity:
310 Pentecostalism,
the Charismatic
and Faith Movements

The "Rhema" and "Logos" Word (Part 2)

Specific Doctrines of the Charismatic Movement/Faith Movement
Kenotic Theology
The Anointing and Being Under Authority (Part 1)
The Anointing and Being Under Authority (Part 2)
Sickness and Healing (Part 1)
Sickness and Healing (Part 2)
Prayer, Asking and Receiving (Part 1)
Prayer, Asking and Receiving (Part 2)
Christians and Material Wealth (Part 1)
Christians and Material Wealth (Part 2)
Christians and Material Wealth (Part 3)
The "Rhema" and "Logos" Word (Part 1)
The "Rhema" and "Logos" Word (Part 2)
Those Who Speak in Tongues Necessarily Understand Themselves

Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4
| Section 5

Having covered both how these words are defined and how these words are translated, we can compare how these two words are used interchangeably in the New Testament. For example, suppose the same statement is quoted by two different authors only one author uses the word "rhema" and the other uses the word "logos." This indicates yet again that there is basically very little distinction between how the Greeks of the first century used these two words. Consider the following 6 instances in which New Testament Greek writers used "rhema" and "logos" interchangeably.

Matthew 26:75 And Peter remembered the word (4487 - rhema) of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Mark 14:72 And Peter called to mind the word (4487- rhema) that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Luke 22:61 And Peter remembered the word (3056 - logos) of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

1) Jesus' word to Peter that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Matthew and Mark accounts refer to Jesus' word that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed using the Greek word "rhema" for Jesus' "word." The Luke account, however, refers to Jesus' "word" that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed using the Greek word "logos" for Jesus' "word." By comparing these 3 accounts side by side we can see that both "rhema" and "logos" can refer to a prophetic spoken word.

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (4487 - rhema) of God:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word (3056 - logos) of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

2) Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12 both describe the word of God as a sword, but Ephesians uses the Greek word "rhema" for the "word" of God, while Hebrews uses the Greek word "logos" for the "word" of God. Should we assume that there are two different "swords" of God's word, one that is a rhema word and one that is a logos word? No, the obvious answer is that it's the same sword being described in both cases and that the words "rhema" and "logos" are not distinct enough to justify creating two different categories of the word of God.

John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying (3056 - logos); who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words (4487 - rhema) that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words (4487 - rhema) of eternal life.

3) In John 6 Jesus has just finished telling the disciples something they find hard to accept. First, the disciples refer to these difficult words that Jesus had just spoke using the Greek word "logos" translated as "saying." Then, Jesus' confronts the disciples about their reluctance to accept his statement and refers to his remarks using the Greek word "rhema." At the end of the short interchange, after being asked if they, too, would leave him because of these hard to accept statements, Peter responds to Jesus, and states that they won't leave him because Jesus alone had the words of eternal life. In his response Peter this time refers to Jesus' words with the Greek word "rhema." This again indicates that both "rhema" and "logos" can both be used interchangeably to refer to the spoken word.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words (4487), the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word (3056).

4) Acts 10 describes Peter proclaiming the Gospel to Cornelius' household. Verse 44 uses both the Greek word "rhema" and the Greek word "logos" to refer to the "words" Peter spoke to them. Once again, this indicates that "rhema" and "logos" are both interchangeably associated with the spoken word.

Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words (4487 - rhema) might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word (3056 - logos) of God.

5) Acts 13:42 records Paul and Barnabus' evangelistic work in Pisidian Antioch. In verse 42, this passage records that the Gentiles sought Paul and Barnabus to preach their words to them the next Sabbath. The Greek word "rhema" is used for Paul and Barnabus' "words." Just two verses later, verse 44 records that on that next sabbath Paul and Barnabus did in fact comply with the request of the Gentiles. This time, in verse 44, the Greek word "logos" is used to refer to the "word" of God" that Paul and Barnabus preached to them and which almost the whole city came together to hear.

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word (3056 - logos) of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word (4487 - rhema) of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word (4487 - rhema) which by the gospel is preached unto you.

6) In 1 Peter 1:23-25, Peter describes how we are born again by the word of God. In verse 23, when he saying that the Word of God (by which we are born again) is incorruptible, Peter uses the Greek word "logos" for the "word" of God. In verse 25, after contrasting the Word's incorruptibleness with the corruption of the world, Peter restates that the Word (by which the gospel is preached to us) endures forever. This phrase "endures forever" is simply a rephrasing of the description "incorruptible," only in this verse, Peter uses the phrase, "the word of the Lord" to refer to the "word of God" in verse 23. But, this time Peter switches and uses the Greek word "rhema" for the "word" of the Lord. This is yet another occurrence where we see "rhema" and "logos" being so indistinguishable that they are used interchangeably.

The fact that "rhema" and "logos" are used interchangeably by New Testament authors is yet another demonstration that there is not enough distinction in the Bible between the two words to substantiate the Charismatic doctrine in which "rhema" words and "logos" words are two different categories.

Lastly, having covered both how these words are defined, translated, and used interchangeably, we can also examine more specifically how these words are associated with certain specific New Testament concepts and phrases. And this is really where we run into the biggest problem for this doctrine.

In the New Testament, in the specific phrase "the Word of God," "logos" is used 39 times and "rhema" is used 10 times. In the phrase "Word of the Lord," "logos" is used 10 times and "rhema" is used 2 times. "Logos" is also used 3 times in the phrase "Word of Christ." In the phrase "Word of Life," "logos" is used 2 times and "rhema" is used 3 times. In the phrase "Word of Truth," "logos" is used 6 times and rhema is used 1 time. In the phrase "Word of Faith," "logos" is used 1 time and "rhema" is used 2 times. In the metaphor of a sword, "logos" is used 1 time and "rhema" is used 1 time. When indicating the Gospel message, "logos" is used some 30 times and "rhema" is used 3 times. When referring to the sayings or words of Jesus, "logos" is used 33 times and "rhema" is used 13 times.

This means that the New Testament uses "rhema" or "logos" in such a way that neither has a greater association with "Words from God," "Words of the Lord," "Words of Life," "Words of Truth," "Words of Faith," or the sayings of Jesus. The only thing that we might conclude is that "logos" is used much more than "rhema," but that really doesn't tell us anything that would establish a categorical and doctrinal distinction between the two words.

And concerning the specific Charismatic assertion that the Greek word "rhema" is more associated with the spoken word while "logos" is associated with the written text, we find the following. When indicating an "utterance," "logos" is used 6 times and "rhema" is used 1 time. When indicating a spoken word, "logos" is used approximately 55 times and "rhema" is used 20 times. So, the use of these words in the New Testament does not indicate that "rhema" is more associated with the spoken word at all. As we can see "logos" is used quite often to refer to the spoken word. In fact, in terms of mere numbers, "logos" is used MORE often than "rhema" to refer to the spoken word.

Also interesting is the extent to which "rhema" and "logos" are associated with prophetic statements and words from the Holy Spirit. When referring to words spoken through angels, "logos" is used 1 time and "rhema" is used 1 time. When associated with the words of the prophets, "logos" is used 11 times and "rhema" is used 2 times.

Furthermore, the word "logos" is associated with the Holy Spirit 5 times. 2 times "logos" is used with regard to the charismatic gifts of words of wisdom or knowledge. "Logos" is used 1 time with regard to speaking in tongues. "Logos" is used 10 times with regard to prophecy or words of prophecy. "Logos" is used 3 times with sign and miracles or power. "Logos" is used 1 time with casting out demons. And "logos" is used 3 times with regard to healing. That's a total of 24 occurrences.

On the other hand, "rhema" occurs only a total of 3 times in relation to such subjects. 2 times "rhema" is associated with the Holy Spirit. And 1 time "rhema" is associated with power.

So, once again, we can see that in terms of mere numbers, the word "logos" is used much more often to refer to words from the Holy Spirit, prophetic words, and other charismatic gifts. Therefore, we must conclude that of the two words, if we were to construct a doctrine based around distinguishing between these two Greek words, "logos" would be the word that is associated with the charismatic gifts including prophetic utterances given by the Holy Spirit.

In conclusion, from the above comparisons we can see that these two Greek words "rhema" and "logos" overlap so much in terms of their definitions, translation, and usage that there is no room for creating a doctrine based around the notion that "rhema" words and "logos" words are two distinction categories. Likewise, this extensive overlap between the New Testament usage of these two words demonstrates that it is completely inaccurate to define "rhema" words as spoken word and "logos" is the written word. Such distinctions are entirely imaginary and find no substantiation in scripture. And any doctrines based around such imaginary distinctions are completely invalid. Such ideas come down to the modern Church from heretical groups such as the Ranters and ecstatic groups such as the Quakers who both emphasized the subjective "inner guidance" over the written scripture and formal doctrine.

There is one last point that we should touch on before we close this section about the Charismatic doctrine of receiving "rhema" words from God. Christians should be very careful and hesitant to proclaim that God spoke to them or that they have a word from the Lord. In the Old Testament this practice occurred regularly in the lives of God's prophets and priests. However, there were also those who claimed that they had a word from God, when in reality God had not spoken to them. The Bible clearly condemns this practice in both Testaments, warning us not to engage in it cavalierly and to beware of those who falsely speak in the name of God. Here are a few verses demonstrating God's strong disapproval of those who presume to speak a word from Him when he has not, in fact, given them a word.

Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

Jeremiah 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. 15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.

Jeremiah 23:21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied...25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. 26 How long shall [this] be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, [they are] prophets of the deceit of their own heart;...30 Therefore, behold, I [am] against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. 31 Behold, I [am] against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. 32 Behold, I [am] against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 29:22 And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of Judah which [are] in Babylon, saying, The LORD make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire; 23 Because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and [am] a witness, saith the LORD.

Ezekiel 13:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; 3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!...6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. 7 Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken? 8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD. 9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD. 10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:

Ezekiel 22:28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered [morter], seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.

Zechariah 13:3 And it shall come to pass, [that] when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you...

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.