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Rhema vs. Logos

It happens every now and again. Well, it happened yesterday again!

Somewhere, sometime, someone came up with the idea that the Greek word ‘rhema’ has a totally different meaning to that of ‘logos.’ I do not know who started this mythological hoax, but once again the church fell for the hoax!

Yesterday, one of the pastor’s at church preached a sermon that included Mt 4:4, “But he answered, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.“‘” The Greek word for ‘word’ here is rhema. The claim is that rhema does not refer to the Bible like logos does, but to a fresh word from the mouth of God.

What follows is a little study on the uses of ‘rhema’ and ‘logos.’

It is a little long, but I hope it is worth the reading.

1. Introduction

In the Charismatic world we have been inundated with all kinds of teaching from all over the world. Some of it legitimate, and others not. In the last two decades or so the teaching has been spread that there is a major difference between RHEMA and LOGOS. Is there a difference? If so, what are the differences between these two words? If not, how do they relate to each other? It has been taught that rhema is the spoken Word from God to each individual or to a people today, whereas logos is God’s written Word as we have it in the Bible.

One thing that we must not be, is scared of what our studies of the Word of God will reveal. We should also never come to the Scriptures with preconceived ideas. We should also not always merely accept what we are taught from the pulpit or in conferences by “reputable” teachers. We should be like the Bereans that kept on comparing what Paul preached with the Scriptures they had.

In the final analysis we are all responsible for our own faith and system of doctrine. If we are to mature as Christians, then we have to “be diligent to present [ourselves] approved unto God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (NASB 2 Tim. 2:15). This study is not just a matter of semantics. Is it semantics that separate us from the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons? It is the true meaning behind common words that we use. There are many words that are shared between them, and us, yet they have vastly different meanings. So, it is important to know exactly what a word means as set forth in the Scriptures.

2. Meanings

  • Rhema

First, let us look at some lexicons and a theological dictionary.

The following resources were used:

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance from the Online Bible.
Gerhard Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament abridged in one volume and translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley.
W.E. Vine’s Expository dictionary of New Testament words.
Thayer’s A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament.
Louw and Nida’s Greek-English lexicon, recognised by many Greek scholars as one of the best works on Greek lexicography.
Bauer’s A Gr
eek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature, recognised by many Greek scholars to be the best work on Greek lexicography.

This is what I gleaned from the above resources about rhema.

[what has been uttered by the living voice, sound from the voice with a definite meaning, words joined together to form a sentence; something expressly stated like an announcement or treaty, the Septuagint translates both logos and rhema from the Hebrew dabar, that which is uttered in speach or writing; speech, discourse, the subject matter of speech; a minimal unit of discourse, single word, focus on the content of the communication, differences between logos and rhema is a matter of style; thing, expression]

  • Logos

This is what I gleaned from the above resources about logos.

[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 OT; systematic and formal treatment of a subject, the content of what is preached; matter]

3. Translation

  • Rhema


The following verses related to rhema all show its usage with the general meaning of “speaking”.

Mt 4:4; Mt 12:36; Mt 18:16; Mt 26:75; Mt 27:14; Mr 9:32; Mr 14:72; Lu 1:38; Lu 1:65; Lu 2:17; Lu 2:19; Lu 2:29; Lu 2:50; Lu 2:51; Lu 3:2; Lu 5:5; Lu 7:1; Lu 9:45; Lu 18:34; Lu 20:26; Lu 22:61; Lu 24:8; Lu 24:11; Joh 3:34; Joh 5:47; Joh 6:63; Joh 6:68; Joh 8:20; Joh 8:47; Joh 10:21; Joh 12:47; Joh 12:48; Joh 14:10; Joh 15:7; Joh 17:8; Ac 2:14; Ac 5:20; Ac 6:11; Ac 6:13; Ac 10:22; Ac 10:37;

Ac 10:44 “”While Peter was still saying these things (rhema), the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word (logos). Here the logos is equated with the rhema that Peter delivered unto them.

Ac 11:14; Ac 11:16; Ac 13:42; Ac 16:38; Ac 26:25; Ac 28:25;

Ro 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Should we believe that here the rhema refers to the spoken word? No, here it has nothing to do with the word being a spoken word or a written word. The word here is the gospel of Christ being preached.

Ro 10:18; 2Co 12:4; 2Co 13:1; Heb 1:3;

Heb 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

God spoke and all that exist came into existence. In 2Pe 3:5 it is the logos that was spoken and the heavens existed. Here it is clear that rhema and logos are meant to be synonyms.

Heb 12:19 “and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages (logos) be spoken to them.” Here once again logos is equated with rhema.

1Pe 1:25 “‘but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” The rhema of the Lord here is the gospel that was preached.

2Pe 3:2 “that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.”

The rhema of the prophets that the New Testament disciples knew in those days were written, yet they are referred to as that which was spoken by the prophets. In this case rhema can be seen as referring to that which is written. Although the prophets spoke those words, to the people that Peter wrote to, they were written. See also Jude 1:17.

Other than spoken

Lu 1:37 “For nothing (no word) will be impossible with God.”

Lu 2:15; Ac 5:32;

Ro 10:8 “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);” The word of faith being preached is the gospel. The gospel today is part of the written Scriptures. Should it not then be known as the logos? During the early years of preaching the gospel, it was not written down yet, but the gospel is just as well contained in the OT as it is in the NT. Anyway, the word of faith is preached here and not written.

Eph 5:26 “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,” Here there is no reason to go either way as to what rhema is referring to. It could be pointing to the gospel that is cleansing us, or to the whole of the Bible that has a sanctifying effect on us.

Eph 6:17 “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Is the sword of the Spirit that which is spoken or that which is written, or both? Something that I just thought of is this: Do the Scriptures refer to that which God has spoken or to that which is written when it uses the phrase word of God? I am almost sure that it uses the former meaning. Whether it uses the phrase rhema of God, or logos of God, it still points to that which is spoken.

Heb 6:5 “and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,” In the context the Scriptures are speaking about salvation and related subjects, and I would venture to say that in this case “word of God” refers to the gospel as that which is good.

  • Logos

For the sake of time and space we will not dis
play all instances of logos or its derivatives which amount to about 320. Selected verses will be used here.

In the gospels logos is used as a spoken word in the greatest majority of cases. We can learn from this that logos is not to be interpreted as that which is written alone. It is to be suggested that the word used to refer to the written word of God is graphe. When a reference is made to logos as that which is written and especially when a quote is made from the Old Testament, is seems never to show the whole of the Old Testament as the logos, but rather a book or even just a verse. e.g. Lu 3:4 “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”‘”, Joh 12:38 “so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?'”, Joh 15:25 “But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.'”


Mt 5:37; Mt 7:24; Mt 7:28; Mt 8:8; Mt 8:16; Mt 10:14; Mt 12:32; Mt 12:36; Mt 13:19; Mt 15:12; Mt 15:23; Mt 21:24; Mt 22:15; Mt 24:35; Mt 26:44; Mr 5:36; Mr 8:38; Mr 10:24; Lu 1:20; Lu 4:22; Lu 4:36; Lu 5:15; Lu 6:47; Lu 9:28; Lu 10:39; Lu 23:9;

Joh 2:22 “When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture (graphe) and the word that Jesus had spoken.” Here John uses the word graphe to refer to the written Scriptures, and logos to refer to that which Jesus had spoken.

Joh 4:39; Joh 4:50;

Joh 14:23-24 “Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” John is not using logos here as that which is written, but rather as those words that Jesus spoke to the disciples.

Joh 17:6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.” Verse 14 will clear up what the logos here refers to. It refers to that which Jesus spoke to them.

Joh 17:14 “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

Joh 17:20;

Joh 18:9 “This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken:” Logos here refers to a portion of the Scriptures, and not all the Scriptures.

Joh 18:32; Ac 2:22; Ac 2:40;

Ac 4:4 “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.” Logos here refers to the gospel as preached by the apostles, and not all the Scriptures.

Ac 5:5;

Ac 10:44 “While Peter was still saying these things (rhema) , the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.” These words (rhema) of Peter were seen as a logos. Here we have a direct equation between these two words.

Ac 11:22; Ac 13:15; Ac 15:27; Ro 3:4;

Ro 9:6 “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,” The word of God here most probably refers to the promises God made to Israel. In verse 9 the word is shown as the promise to Abraham.

Ro 9:9 “For this is what the promise said: ‘About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son.'”

Ro 13:9; Ro 14:12; 1Co 1:5; 1Co 1:18; 1Co 4:20;

1Co 12:8 “To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,” One of the most conclusive evidences that rhema does not refer to the spoken word and logos to the written word is found here in this passage where logos is used to refer to the spoken word as found in the logos of wisdom, and the logos of knowledge. It has been said so many times by popular preachers that the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and prophecy are to be seen as the rhema of God to His people, yet here in this passage it is clear that they are the logos of God.

1Co 14:9;

1Co 14:19 “Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” When speaking in a tongue it is not a rhema from God, but a logos from God.

1Co 15:2; 1Co 15:54; 2Co 1:18; 2Co 10:11; 2Co 11:6; Ga 5:14; Ga 6:6; Eph 4:29; Eph 5:6; Eph 6:19; Col 3:17; Col 4:6; 1Th 1:5; 1Th 4:18; 2Th 3:14; 1Ti 4:12; 1Ti 6:3; 2Ti 1:13; Tit 2:8;

Heb 2:2 “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,” Here the logos is spoken by angels.

Heb 4:2; Heb 7:28;

Heb 12:19 “and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words (rhema) made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.” Again, here the logos is equated with the rhema that was spoken.

Heb 13:22; Jas 3:2; 1Pe 3:15;

2Pe 3:5 “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, . . . 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” When God spoke the heavens into existence, the Scriptures do not use the word rhema, but rather logos. What does this show us? When God speaks we cannot make a difference between rhema and logos.

1Jo 3:18; Re 12:11.

Other than spoken

The gospel

Lu 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (12) The ones along the path are those who have heard. Then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” I would suggest that logos here refers to the gospel, because it is by this logos that “they may [ ] believe and be saved.”

Joh 5:38 “and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.” Jesus said this to the Pharisees because they did not accept the good news about Jesus, “for whom he sent, him ye believe not.” The word here then refers to the good news about Jesus that they did not want to accept, and therefore did not abide in them. For, if it was, they would have believed in Jesus.

Joh 8:31 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,” Jesus did not have any technical meaning for logos except to say that in order to be a disciple of His, one has to “continue in My word.” (NASB Updated edition) This word then points to the gospel that Jesus brought to them. It is a word that Jesus spoke to them from the times of His own baptism.

Ac 6:2 “And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.'” The logos here again refers to the gospel, and not to all the Scriptures. When we keep on reading we can see what the twelve meant by the word of God in verse 4, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The gospel is intended here.

Ac 6:4;

Ac 6:7 “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” How does the word of God increase, unless it means that the gospel kept on spreading.

Ac 8:4 “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” I would suggest that the word here again refers to the gospel.

Ac 8:14; Ac 8:25; Ac 10:36; Ac 11:1; Ac 12:24; Ac 13:5; Ac 15:7;Ac 15:35; Ac 16:6;

Ac 17:11 “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures (graphe) daily to see if these things were so.” In this instance the logos is set in contrast to the written Scriptures.

Ac 19:20; 1Co 14:36; 2Co 2:17; 2Co 5:19; 2Co 6:7; Eph 1:13; Php 1:14; Php 2:16; Col 1:5; Col 1:25; Col 3:16; Col 4:3; 1Th 1:6; 1Th 1:8; 1Th 2:13; 2Th 3:1; Tit 1:3; Tit 1:9; Heb 5:13; Heb 6:1; Heb 13:7; Jas 1:18; 1Pe 1:23; 1Pe 2:8; 1Pe 1:23; 1Pe 2:8; Re 6:9.


Mt 5:32;

Mt 15:6 “So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.”

In this case the logos of God may refer to the whole of the Bible, but I would suggest that in the context in this case logos refers to the commandments given by Moses to the Israelites. In verse 3 Jesus asks them “why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”, and then Jesus quotes one of the commandments.

Mt 18:23; Mr 1:45;

Lu 3:4 “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet.” Here the written part that logos refers to is that verse which Luke quotes here, and not the whole of the Bible as the “written word of God.”

Joh 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Here logos undeniably refers to Jesus as in the following verse. Joh 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Joh 12:38 “But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled.” Again, here word refers to a portion of the OT found in Isaiah.

Joh 15:25 “But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.'” Logos here refers to a portion of the law, and not all the Scriptures.

Ac 1:1 “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach.” Logos here refers to that which Luke wrote before, yet it only refers to the book of Luke and not the whole of the Bible.

Ac 15:15; Ac 19:40;

Ro 9:28 “for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” Isaiah is here quoted saying that the Lord will execute His logos quickly. What was Isaiah referring to if indeed his own prophecies were part of written Scripture? Is it logical here to say that the logos refers to the written word? Logos most likely refers to a portion of Scripture, or even the spoken word of God.

2Co 4:2; Php 4:15; Php 4:17; Col 2:23;

1Th 4:15 “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.” The word of the Lord here probably refers to that which the Lord revealed to Paul, and is not written somewhere else.

1Ti 4:5; 1Ti 5:17; 2Ti 2:9; 2Ti 2:15; 2Ti 4:2; Tit 2:5; Heb 4:12; Jas 1:21-23; 1Pe 3:1; 2Pe 1:19; 1Jo 1:10; 1Jo 2:5; 1Jo 2:14; Re 1:2; Re 3:8; Re 17:17; Re 19:9; Re 22:7.

4. The phrases “Word of God” and “Word of the Lord”


Word of God

Lu 3:2 – God spoke to John the Baptist in the wilderness.

Eph 6:17 – The sword of the Spirit.

Heb 6:5 – Tasting the good word of God.

Heb 11:3 – The worlds were prepared by the word of God.

Word of the Lord

Lu 22:61 – Peter remembered the word of the Lord about the rooster.

Ac 11:16 – Peter remembered the word of the Lord concerning the Holy Spirit.

1Pe 1:25 – The word of the Lord endures forever; the gospel is this word.


Word of God

Mt 15:6 – The word of God being invalidated by the traditions of men.

Lu 8:11 – The seed that is sown is the word of God.

Ac 6:2 – The apostles are not to serve tables with the effect of neglecting the word of God (the preaching of the gospel).

Ac 6:7 – The word of God (the gospel) kept on spreading.

Ac 8:14 – Samaria received the word of God (the gospel).

Ac 11:1 – The Gentiles received the word of God (the gospel).

Ac 12:24 – The word of God (the gospel) continued to grow.

Ac 13:5 – They began to proclaim the word of God (the gospel).

Ro 9:6 – The word of God concerning Israel did not fail.

1Co 14:36 – How did they get to know about the word of God (the gospel).

2Co 2:17 – Many peddle the word of God (the gospel).

2Co 4:2 – Not adulterating the word of God (the gospel).

Php 1:14 – Speaking the word of God (the gospel) without fear.

Col 1:25 – Paul was called to carry out the word of God (the gospel).

1Th 2:13 – The Thessalonians received the word of God (the gospel).

1Ti 4:5 – Foods are sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

2Ti 2:9 – The word of God (the gospel) is not imprisoned.

Tit 2:5 – The word of God (the gospel) must not be dishonored.

Heb 4:12 – The word of God is living and active.

Heb 13:7 – Remember those who led you and spoke the word of God to you.

1Pe 1:23 – We are born again through the living and enduring word of God (the gospel).

2Pe 3:5 – It is by the word of God (God spoke) that the heavens existed long ago.

1Jo 2:14 – The word of God abides in the young men.

Re 1:2 – John testified to the word of God.

Re 6:9 – Some were slain because of the word of God (the gospel).

Word of the Lord

Ac 8:25 – They testified and spoke the word of the Lord.

Ac 15:35 – Paul and Barnabas taught and preached the word of the Lord.

Ac 19:20 – The word of The Lord (the gospel) grew mightily.

1Th 1:8 – The word of the Lord (the gospel) sounded forth from the Thessalonians.

1Th 4:15 – Paul spoke to them by the word of the Lord.

2Th 3:1 – Thessalonians were to pray for Paul that word of the Lord (the gospel) would spread rapidly.

5. Conclusion

After what we have learnt concerning the uses of rhema and logos, we have to conclude that there is no reason for us to speak of rhema as the spoken word of God, and of logos as the written word of God. Both have the potential to be used in either way. It has become one of the Charismatic ways to bring in all kinds of unverified teachings that no-one bothers to study. If it ever happens that someone differs on something they feel is essential to their Charismania, they will come with counter attacks such as “you are not in submission to your elders”, “you are critical”, and “do not resist God’s anointed”, etc. Many Charismatic churches are still in the trap of believing that whatever the pastor says must be adhered to, because you need to remain under someone’s covering. This is what I would liken unto Charismatic witchcraft. Witchcraft is the art of manipulation, and boy, do these Charismatics manipulate! Do not get me wrong! I am a Charismatic (Reformed/Calvinistic) myself, but I am daring to stand up and be counted for correct doctrine. I want to handle the word of truth correctly. We cannot do this unless we study the Scriptures for ourselves. We are to be mature Christians, and not just be spoonfed from the pulpit. Ultimately we are each responsible for our own spiritual lives.

My purpose for writing this paper was not to trample on toes, or to deviate from that which is the truth. Rather, it is a calling back to that which is the truth. How many times have we not heard that someone said, “I received a rhema from God last night.” It is accepted to such a large extent – not truthfully – that there exists a major difference between rhema and logos, that it almost seems impossible that people’s perception would be changed. Who wants to stand up and say “All of you are wrong, and I am right.” The sheer opposition to that would already put most people off. Yet, when we know that there is wrong teaching in the church we need to stand up and speak the truth the best we know how.

After all this rambling, what is the connection between rhema and logos? One thing I have found is that rhema is never used to point to a quotation in the OT in the same way that logos is used. E.g. Joh. 12:38 “that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, …” Logos is used in this way several times where such a quotation from the OT is made, but never do we find any conclusive proof that logos is directly connected with the whole of the Bible. Rather logos is used as a part of a book or as a word. Looking at all the passages quoted above that relate to both rhema and logos we have to conclude that these 2 words are in reality synonyms for each other. As with all synonyms the “synonomic” (just coined) words do not always have exactly the same meanings or domains. There could be different shades or nuances, but synonyms, nevertheless.

I hope this study brought you, the reader, some enlightenment, and that I was able to bring the facts across clearly, and without ambiguity.

May God bless you as keep on searching for, and living out the truth.

Just thinking…

2 October 2009 – This blog post has now been translated into Swedish at Glandberger.net.

  1. 18 August 2010 at 9:54 am

    Panoplia (Delwyn?),I could consider coming back to this post one day, but then I will need a lot of time. The scale of doing research on a subject as this is not a trivial matter.Currently I do not have the time, so the post will have to remain as is.Anyway, when I wrote this post it was never intended to be as long as it is, and it was not intended as a lengthy thesis.It kind of just grew to this point.

  2. 18 August 2010 at 5:37 am

    From the entry rhema "The Complete Biblical Library," Classical Greek– rhema never developed the place of prominence in philosophical discussion that logos did. In the New TEstament, is is used far less than logos (70 times versus 300 times), and is less comprehensive in terms of the connection to wisdom or thought than logos is. In writing what you have written, you proved too much, while attempting to correct a charismatic error, you made another one of your own. While you acknowledge that the two words might not be exact synonyms, that is a small admission compared to the stream of rejection that there is any difference that the rest of your article proclaims. It would be good, if you are going to discuss a language issue, to have some citations from reputable sources, rather than simply innumdating us with a concordance of usage, closing with a statement that is mostly a description of what the two words don't mean, rather than what they do mean, adn why they are seldom, if ever, used interchangeably in the same. discussion

  3. 1 July 2010 at 11:01 am

    Hi Godwin,Concerning Rom 10:8, you need to look at what the context says."But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);"This word that is being proclaimed is not any subjective inner message that we receive from God. It is the "word of faith that we proclaim." This "word of faith" is none other than the gospel that was given to us through Jesus and the apostles. So, the word "rhema" here is not used as some private inner voice we hear, but rather the established gospel given to us.It is always important to note that even synonyms can have slight differences within their semantic domains, and that the contexts in which they are used will make those differences clear.

  4. 27 June 2010 at 7:08 am

    Very interesting article. Thank you for the effort you have put into this. I'm not as knowledgeable in this topic as you are, but I was reading your article with a baised point of view and it helped me come up with some discrepancy about your study.Some of the examples you gave were regarding why was Logos used here, and why was Rhema used here, it doesn't make sense in the literal meanings of Logos and Rhema, so you must conclude that they are interchangeable. But for the same examples, I didn't use the literal meaning of Logos and Rhema, but I read those verses using my experience of Logos and Rhema with God, and they seemed to fit.For example, Ro 10:8 is using Rhema, but you felt that in this context it should be using written. But I think actually spoken fits the bill here better. Because in your heart is where God speaks to you. So I'm not really sure why you think it should be written.And then I looked at some of your other examples, and came with the same conclusion. I think it might have something to do with the approach you had with this study which would yield a different conclusion.

  5. 16 April 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks for your sharing. IMHO, although rhema and logos in many cases are difficult to distinguish each other, I still consider there are differences between them in usage / meaning. In NT, there are four cases that they (rhema and logos) appear in the same verse, they are: (Mat 12:36) But I say unto you, That every idle word(4487) that men shall speak, they shall give account(3056) thereof in the day of judgment.(Joh 12:48) He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words(4487), hath one that judgeth him: the word(3056) that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.(Act 10:44) While Peter yet spake these words(4487), the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word(3056).(Heb 12:19) And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words(4487); which voice they that heard intreated that the word(3056) should not be spoken to them any more:The speakers have choosen to use a different word in the same verse should have different meaning / application(may be small). Anyway, I still cannot figure out the difference and may be anyone here can dig it out. For me, I will continue to try…

  6. 12 April 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Hi Anonymous (the one right above),I am glad my post was of some help to you!

  7. 5 April 2010 at 8:14 pm

    In preparing to teach to the ladies at my church, I was led to do a study on the words, dabar, logos, and rhema. I could not find a significant difference between the meanings of the words after having studied several hours. I headed to the internet and discovered your article. I was so glad to read your findings. As a Charismatic, I thought perhaps I was being led astray. Thanks for your research.

  8. 4 November 2009 at 6:33 am

    Please read the book "Faith To live By" by Derek Prince. He has one of the best explanations of this difference.

  9. 17 August 2009 at 6:17 am

    Good work Bill, I have also heard there was a big difference between logos and Rhema.I to come to the same conclusion as you did. They are interchangeable.Also I like to use the principal of first mention. Gen 15:1 is were you first find the word “word”.It’s dabar like you said and it means the same thing as logos and rhema.

  10. 23 June 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you so much for this research. I did it myself today because i wanted to do a teaching about this issue. But I always do research myself before i just proclaim something as fact´. The more scritures I looked at the more i doubted. And finally I came to the same conclusion that you made, too. After my research I just looked it up on the internet and found…you!I am a carismatic Pastor in a free church by the way. Greetings from Germany!

  11. 17 June 2009 at 4:31 am

    very timely article and sound research. I agree that there is not distinction between the written and spoken "word" of God … however i think there is a subtle distinction between Rhema and Logos. Logos expressing idea or rationale. ie: what is your Logos .. your idea? The gospel is better translated Logos because its a complex idea. In the beginning was the Logos – or Gods idea or rational of creation… Rhema on the other hand is more simply just words …. spoken or written. ie: this comment is not just a bunch of rhemas … its a logos … anyhoot … my 2c

  12. 5 March 2009 at 9:36 pm

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume that rhema and logos are synonymous. But let’s deal with the heart of the real question. Does God speak to people today? Does He speak to people through means other than Scripture? ie. a still small voice. I’m going to say yes.We can all agree that “hearing God subjectively” needs to be submitted to Scripture as being the final authority on the Word of God. But let’s not diminish our personal relationship (ie. dialogue) with God to merely an intellectual reading of Scripture.I do believe that is what is at the heart of the rhema/logos debate.

  13. 24 January 2009 at 6:22 pm

    As a charismatic, let me say thank you for writing this. I have always been a skeptic of sorts, checking facts whenever possible. The modern charismatic movement has kept me very busy! With so many people looking for the next “Holy Ghost high” or “slaying in the Spirit”, they forget to actually study God’s word and see what it says. That’s why it is charismatics who, in my opinion, lead the way in apostasy and outright heresy. They rip verses out of context to make them seem more powerful, concoct doctrines from thin air, and make distinctions in Hebrew and Greek that just don’t exist. All this to keep their audience, who are always looking for something new, claiming it to be that “new thing” of Isaiah 43.When I began hearing preachers make distinction between rhema and logos, I was automatically on guard. It sounded too much like word-faith doctrine to me. Upon more research, it can be proved that indeed this distinction began with the word-faith fathers.I am glad that there are sites like yours that stand to clarify Biblical truth where it has been muddied and distorted by power hungry preachers.

  14. 3 December 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Hi William,Thanks for this article. I was just doing a brief survey of these words when I thought surely some must have done this before and so I searched on google.I still have a lot of work to do in defining exactly what is the “word of God”. It means a lot more than just “scripture”HOw about this:The “word of God” is his revelation of himself and his will to us. This is done ultimately through Jesus who is the Word. Scripture is also the word of God. As it is written and unchanging it is the universal measure by which the Church discernes truth and knows God. God speaks to us outside of scripture through prophecy, visions and words of knowledge. Such revelation must be true to the revealed and tested word of scripture, or else proved false.The physical words of the Scripture are not magical in and of themselves, but only of effect as spoken by God through his Spirit. This is why not everyone has the same reaction upon hearing the all-powerful gospel, but rather it only has effect when the spirit speaks/applies the words to the hearer.How does that last point sound?I am still figuring this one out!

  15. 6 October 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Hi William,Firstly i would like to say thank you for such a clear exposition of linguistics. My question to you would be related to what i consider being the for major words for “speaking” in greek. Logos, Lego, Lalios and Rhema.As said by someone, it really stirs me up the fact that we can get different meanings from a lot of different words just to say one thing.I am stating the progression of those words in ones life. starting with the Logos (which are those things which are put together in thought or gathered together in the mind and expressed in words), flowing into Legos (which is the substance of what is said); moving toward the act of speaking, Lalios (which would be to emit a voice, make oneself heard, to form words with the mouth, or to use words in order to declare one´s mind and disclose one´s thought), culminating in Rhema (being any sound produced by the voice and having a definite meaning).What is nice for me is actually the closeness of those words, but the particular distinctions that they also have (as you have said yourself), starting in the mind with the Logos until that place where those words make sense in us and through us. I believe that´s the distinction the charismatic make to those two words, using unfortunately wrong associations (like you said, the written and the spoken).Thanks a lot for your time in researching God´s Word and sharing it with us so we may be able to accurately live in the Kingdom.

  16. 8 August 2008 at 3:59 am

    This is a great article. Keep up the great work, because there are many more people like you out here than it may seem. Only intimacy with truth brings freedom . . .=)

  17. 10 February 2008 at 6:16 am

    Thanks John D!Just to clarify. I called no-one witches. I simply made a comparison between what many charismatics get into or allow onto themselves. I likened the maipulation of the flock to witchcraft.I said:”Many Charismatic churches are still in the trap of believing that whatever the pastor says must be adhered to, because you need to remain under someone’s covering. This is what I would liken unto Charismatic witchcraft. Witchcraft is the art of manipulation, and boy, do these Charismatics manipulate!”I did not say it is witchcraft, but simply made a comparison between the manipulation aspects of witchcraft to the art of manipulation in charismatic churches.Instead of teaching the flock the clear unmistakable truth of the Scriptures, many of the churches manipulate their people through fear and the complete misinterpretation of the Scriptures to get the desired results… absolute obedience!

  18. 8 February 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Fair enough WilliamAlthough beware of calling the many Charismatics witches!You sound like a reformed presbyterian sour mouthed Protestant!We all know the problems they have had in Norther Ireland -hardly converted anyone!The love was missing.Good teaching but watch the hardness.It will lead you into sin!

  19. 8 October 2006 at 2:36 pm

    Having a bias toward something does not prove being closed to something else. Most sane people have a bias toward the fact that the moon is white and that it is basically a big rock with dust on it. That bias is based on the facts we currently have. While the opposite has not been proven yet, we still have the same bias! So, if someone says that the moon is really a big ball of yellow cheese we can dismiss that comment since it has already been proven to be false.Openness does not mean opinion-less! While being open to other ideas, we could still have opinions based on the facts we currently have, until proven otherwise.In fact, concerning this article, some years ago I believed exactly what this article now disspells. So, I was open to be proven wrong before, and that is how I came to my current opinion.

  20. 8 October 2006 at 4:22 am

    One observation. You mention early in your article that we should approach God’s word open to what we might find and then go about eager to prove your point with an obvious bias.

  21. 23 August 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks responding to my comments so quickly and for your advice and references. I appreciate your diligence in putting all this together! There is so much richness and further insight as we dig deeper into God’s Word. Your research and insights have encouraged me to dig deeper into meanings of words and phrases. Thanks, William.

  22. 23 August 2006 at 4:14 pm

    Although Vines is nice as a quick lookup of words, there have been new discoveries (since Vines) in the use of ancient Greek. The lexicons of Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker (BAGD) and of Louw & Nida reflect the results of this research. Before I use Vines, I would rather look at a lexicon like BAGD for indepth research and study.Thanks for your comments!

  23. 23 August 2006 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks William. One other small point. Vines does disagree with you on the point that logos refers to a “part of a book or as a word”. On page 463 of Vines, it gives just the opposite view that you have. I think that within the “different shades or nuances” there is a key Biblical truth about the differences of these words, their applications to our life, and their meanings. As I look up the verses where rhema is used vs. logos, I find powerful insights and applications for my life…all under the authority of Scripture.

  24. 21 August 2006 at 8:23 am

    Synonyms do not necessarily need to mean exactly the same all the time. Synonyms can cover different domains in which there can be variations, however, within the same context meanings are the same. When the context differs, the different nuances of synonyms come to the fore.

  25. 19 August 2006 at 9:57 pm

    Hi William. Great research. One comment, however. Vines Expository Dictionary does indicate that there is a difference between logos and rhema. In fact, it is pretty clear on the subject. I don’t agree with what the pastor preaching said about the “flesh” vs “God”, but these two words are not synonyms. Just my $0.02

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