And the word of God continued to increase… (Acts 6:7)
But the word of God increased and multiplied. (Acts 12:24)
And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. (Acts 13:49)
There are lots of ways to talk about the growth of the church. It strikes me, though, that we don’t normally talk about it like this anymore.
David G. Peterson explains what Luke meant when he coined this term:
The word of God ‘grew’ in the sense that its influence extended and the number who believed it grew. In Scripture, ‘the word of God’ is viewed as a vital force, reaching into people’s lives and transforming situations according to God’s will…Thus, Luke coined an expression which means that the church which is the creature of the word grew. (Pillar Commentary
I love that: the church is a creature of the Word that grows.
Jonathan Leeman writes:
God’s Word, working through God’s Spirit, is the most powerful force in the universe and in the church. Father, Son, and Spirit conspire to pour forth their power through speech, to accomplish their single will through words. (Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People
He’s right. God works through his Word. Maybe we need to borrow and use this term from Luke a lot more than we do. True church growth is growth of the Word.