Summary: Some believe that the 66 books that make up the Bible are insufficient, so they continuously look for private prophetic words, dreams, or visions for a more meaningful personal experiential revelation from God. - A Multi-Part Message
There is a growing belief in the church today that a person can interpret and give their own meaning to Scripture because Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27-28 ESV), as well as, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20 ESV).
Another argument I read and continuously hear coming from those who want to justify their belief is that they must continuously look for private prophetic words, dreams, or visions for a more meaningful personal experiential revelation and interpretation from God, which supersedes that which is found in the Bible alone, because the 27 “books” of the New Testament were not compiled until after 324 AD, and there was no previous official ‘canon’ (a measuring rod) to determine how to rightly divide the Word of truth in the first century.
Therefore, because the disciples in the first century had to rely on hearing the spoken Word (rhema) from God, the Church should as well because God still speaks today which surpasses His written Word (logos). This belief is being used to validate and justify teaching what is contrary to traditional and historical orthodox fundamental Christianity.
The historical facts are that the first-century disciples considered the letters written by each of the Apostles to be given directly by God as sacred and used them throughout the churches as the final and definitive authority for questions regarding church doctrine. To say that certain verses found in the New Testament were written by specific individuals using their worldly wisdom and opinions to address only cultural issues of the first-century Christians, and are not for the edification and training of the ageless Church universal, is denying the multiple divine attributes of the actual Author of the Bible who used human beings to transcribe them. The Creator of all things would not have let them be placed in the Bible if they were not timeless truths that apply to every person born in the past, present, and in the future.
Rhema vs. Logos
A simple word study of the original Greek language used in the New Testament (NT) quickly reveals that there is no significant difference between the words ‘rhema’ and ‘logos.’ Also, the Bible uses the Greek word ‘graphe’ 51 times to always refer to the written Word of God (Holy Scripture; i.e., the inspired, inerrant writings of the Apostles and other writers of the 27 books of the NT) (see 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 3:16), and ‘logos’ to refer to that which Jesus had spoken (Matt 21:42; 22:29; John 2:22, 5:39, 14:23-24, 17:6,14; Acts 17:11; 18:24; Rom 1:2).
The Greek word ‘logos’ refers to a word, decree, the act of speaking, teaching, reason, account; first sense of collection, counting, conversation; expression of thought, statement; thoughts expressed in words, relates to speaking and thinking, a divine declaration recorded in the Old Testament (OT); systematic and formal treatment of a subject, the content of what is preached'; pertaining to matter.
'Logos' also refers to the gospel as preached by the Apostles, and not to all the Scriptures (Acts 4:4). It is used regarding the supernatural gifts of prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, and tongues (1 Cor 12:8, 14:9). The ‘logos’ is also ‘spoken’ by angels (Heb 2:2, 12:19) and also refers directly to Jesus (John 1:1,14).
The Septuagint translates both ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’ from the Hebrew word ‘dabar,’ which means ‘that which is uttered in speech, or writing; speech, discourse, the subject matter of speech; a minimal unit of discussion, a single word, a focus on the content of the communication.
The words "rhema" and "logos" overlap in their definitions. The actual difference between the words is simply a matter of writing style and expression. The word "logos" occurs 330 times in the NT. The word "rhema" occurs 70 times in the NT. There are 218 times when the word "logos" occurs, and it is translated simply as "word." ”Rhema” is translated 56 times as "word." The word "logos" occurs 50 times and is translated "saying." Nine times "rhema" is also translated as "saying." The words "logos" and "rhema" are equally associated with "word" and "saying."
Jesus spoke the ‘logos,’ and all that exists came into existence (John 1:1-3). Both ‘rhema’ and ‘logos’ are meant to be synonyms and are equated with each other (2 Pet 3:5). The word ‘rhema’ can be seen referring to what was written. Although the prophets ‘spoke’ words from God, they were written to the people (1 Pet 1:25; 2 Pe 3:2,5; Heb 12:19,11:3; Jude 1:17).
The word ‘rhema’ is also used of the gospel of Christ being preached, and not the written word that is used to sanctify and cleanse, or the spoken word (Ro 10:8, 17; Eph 5:26; 1 Pet 1:25). The ‘logos’ word is equated to the ‘rhema’ word that was delivered on the day of Pentecost (Acts 10:44). The ‘rhema’ words of Peter were seen as ‘logos.’