WHAT ABOUT THE “RHEMA”?
BY JIMMY YOHE
There is a dangerous teaching today originated in the charismatic but unfortunately is now being expounded in some of our own churches. This teaching is based upon a wrong interpretation of Romans 10:17, “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We are told that “word” in this verse comes from the Greek word, “rhema,” which means an utterance from God. We are further told that Romans 10:17 has nothing to do with the preached word, nor the Bible itself, but a voice speaks to the believer, giving direction or promising something to him, and he has faith because of that voice.
It is not my intention to question whether God can speak directly to a believer, or not. It is a normal occurrence to all who strive to walk close to Jesus Christ. But to make a doctrine out of it, to place such an experience higher than the Bible itself is extremely dangerous.
If the reader will simply read for himself Romans 10:14-17, the falseness of this teaching is easily seen. Now for the facts:
While the word “rhema” definitely means “an utterance” (Strong’s Concordance and Greek Dictionary of the New Testament), it is not limited to the voice of God although it usually refers to the Word of God. Examples:
1) “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word (rhema) of truth, the gospel of your salvation…” (Ephesians 1:12). This was no word floating down through space, but Paul ministering the word of God to twelve men in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6).
2) “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Does this really mean those still, small voices that we hear, or does it have reference to the written word of God?
3) “…every idle word (rhema) that men speak, they shall give account thereof…” (Matthew 12:36).
Other scriptures where “word” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “rhema:” Matthew 18:16; 26:75; 27:14; II Corinthians 13:1; Ephesians 5:26; 6:17.
The purpose of placing “moves of the Spirit” above the word of God is so that men can compromise with the doctrines of the Bible. Normally those who stray off into these false doctrines soon let down the standard of holiness – and before long baptism in Jesus’ name is not even essential.
Let us live by the Word of God and by the spirit of God. The Spirit of God will give us a right understanding of the Word, and help us to submit ourselves to it. Such submission brings victory into our lives – not bondage!
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