Logos and Rhema
I just recently learned something very intriguing... or rather something I learned long ago but never have the chance and tools to properly present this till recently.
I remember when I first came to church, one of the things taught to me about the Word is that there is 'logos' word and the 'rhema' word. The 'logos' word is the written word in the Bible that we read everyday. But when it 'speaks' to us, it becomes the 'rhema' word. In some sense, the fact the church uses it widely helps to reinforce the idea that this is indeed the case. Not to mention, there are times when the same verse or passage speaks to you differently at some point in time, thus validating the claim. But is it really the case?
Reading up on a lot of writings by more conservative Christian authors seem to suggest otherwise. Of course, this does not mean they are right, but my contention is that if there are Christians who argue or disagree on a certain point, then there is a need to investigate further. So recently, I finally learned in class how to derive a proper understanding on this distinction, but before I go on, maybe I should state upfront that my stand now, based on the argument that I will be presenting (using the exact verses I was taught in class for the past two weeks), is that there is no distinction between logos and rhema, and the reason you might be stunned how simple it can be.
Firstly, we take a look at some of the verses in our English translations that implies God's word, but juxtapose the relevant words that are translated from the Greek word "logos" or "rhema".
John 2:22 (NRSV) - After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word (logos) that Jesus had spoken. (Note that here, the word is being spoken)
John 3:34 (NRSV) - He whom God has sent speaks the words (rhema) of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. (The word here is spoken)
John 4:37 (NRSV) - For here the saying (logos) holds true, "One sows and another reaps." (The word here 'saying' is spoken)
John 4:50 (NRSV) - Jesus said to him, "Go; your son will live." The man believed the word (logos) that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. (The word here is spoken)
John 5:47 (NRSV) - But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say (rhema)? (The word here is written)
John 12:48 (NRSV) - The one who rejects me and does not receive my word (rhema) has a judge; on the last day the word (logos) that I have spoken will serve as a judge. (The word here is spoken)
John 15:25 (NRSV) - It was to fulfill the word (logos) that is written in their law, "They hated me without a cause." (The word here is written)And thus, the moment of truth came upon me to realise that the Bible actually does not differentiate the usage of logos and rhema as written and spoken word of God. Instead, the word "logos" has been used as the spoken word as well.
This thus brings to the question what is the word of God. But more importantly to the believers today, how do we treat the word of God? How do we allow God to speak to us through His word? Does He only speak to us during the 'rhema' moments? Indeed, if we realise that whether logos or rhema, God's written word - the Bible - speaks to us at every moment we read the word, then the issue is not whether we felt touched or whether we feel that the word is speaking to us, but whether we respond to the word and not end up like the man who looks into the mirror but not do anything to himself?