This is not used as a general term, of the Scriptures or of the Bible, as such: but in a special sense, not uncommon in the Old Testament, of the |word which comes from God,| or which He speaks. Hence, a prophetic message, e.g.,
1 Sam. ix.27. Samuel said to Saul: |Stand thou still awhile, that I may show thee the word of God.|
1 Kings xii.22. |The word of God came unto Shemaiah, the man of God (i.e., the prophet), saying.| (Compare 2 Chron. xi.2; xii.15.)
1 Chron. xvii.3. |The word of God came to Nathan.| (So 2 Sam. vii.4.)
It is difficult to distinguish between the written Word and the Living Word. Both make known and reveal God.
In Gen. xv.1, we read |The Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield,| etc. Here, it is evidently the Living Word, though it may include both.
When we come to the Apocalypse, we are at once prepared for both -- Vision of the Living Word, and also the prophetic word of the Living God; both making known to the servants of God the visions and words of |this prophecy| (ver.3).
Five times we have this expression in this book. Not in the common sense, as in the Gospels and Epistles, but in this special sense of a prophetic message.
In i.9 John tells us he |was in the Isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.| Leaving the latter expression for a moment, we may remark that the popular interpretation of the word |for| is based on a tradition which doubtless sprang from a misunderstanding of these words. There is no idea of banishment in them. It was no accident which lead to the giving of this prophecy. John went to Patmos |for| the purpose of receiving it (as Paul went into Arabia, Gal. i.17). |On account of| is the meaning of the word here used, for |for.| If his preaching of |the Word of God| was the cause of this being in Patmos, another expression would have been used. See Exposition below, on i.9.
Verse 2 tells us that |the word of God| consisted of |the things that he saw.| How could John be banished to Patmos because of, or by reason of, the things which he saw in Patmos!
No, the truth here recorded is that John was there on account of (i.e., to receive) |the word of God,| i.e., the prophetic message, even |the words of this prophecy.|
There is a second descriptive title which stamps this book. It is called