“And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” -John 5:37-40
The Bible is of the utmost importance in revealing the truth. Therefore, it makes perfect sense of why people capitalize the “Word” of God. Without the Bible, we would not have the information to know about Jesus, and without knowing Jesus we would be doomed forever. However, to exalt the Bible is to miss the very message it seeks to teach. Therefore, it’s also right to ask, “Should I capitalize the “word” of God?”
Never Worship the “word,” Always Worship the “Word”
There will always be debates over the Scriptures. Satan knows if he can corrupt our view of God’s written truth he can eventually corrupt our view of God. There are two errors when seeking to have a right perspective on the Bible. The more obvious error, in my opinion, is to have too light a view which does not give the Bible the authority in our lives that it deserves. In pride it is all too easy to sit in judgment of the Bible rather than to humble ourselves and let the truth in it judge us.
The other side of the error is bibliolatry, a term that comes from combining the words for “Bible” and “worship.” It is possible to have such a high view of Scripture one begins to actually worship the book rather than the One the book is written about. In John 5:39-40, Jesus pointed out this error in the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”
The “word of God” Points to the Capital “Word of God”
So should we capitalize the “word of God”? The word of God is not our instructor, our savior, or our ultimate light. The Bible is only beneficial to us when we allow it to lead us to our Instructor, our Savior, and to the true Light of the world. We are still lost if have the Scriptures memorized in our minds but we do not have the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
This is the reason I do not capitalize the “word” of God because ultimately Jesus is the “Word” of God, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1-2). It’s interesting to note that the Scriptures, when referring to themselves with the term “word” do not capitalize it, “I will not neglect your word” (Psalm 119:16).
The difference between Satan and Saints is not their knowledge of the word of God. The difference lies in their love, devotion, and confessed need for the Word of God. To use the word to know the Word more intimately and to glorify him more – this is God’s purpose for the Bible.
The test to know whether you are committing bibliolatry is to examine your life and see if you are using the Scriptures for any other reason other than to draw closer to God, to obey him, and glorify him. May we not be like the Pharisees to whom Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”
Do you know the word of God or do you know the God of the word? For the Bible is of no worth to us if it does not lead us to Christ. We are to seek his face, not his letters written on a page. Eternal life is not found in knowing the word but only in knowing the Word.
(Note: On the flipside, however, there is nothing sinful about capitalizing the “Word of God.” Clearly this is done to show the authority of Scripture over all other words and books. There is a danger though, since you then cannot reserve the capital “W” for when you want to refer to Christ as the “Word” like in John 1:1. A good rule of thumb is to just do what the Bible does when it comes to capitalization.)