What is God’s Word

Our focus this week will be about God’s Word. What is it? Why study it? How do we study it?

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, is a Living Book. It’s Alive because the Author is Alive and possesses all Power – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) God’s Word has an amazing impact on the hearts and souls of people who hear it.

The Word of God is “living and powerful, and sharper.” The Greek words are Zon, energes, and tomoteros. Zon means “living, lively, active, enduring.” The idea is that God’s Word is living and endures. There is no end to it. God’s Word will endure forever.  The Apostle Peter wrote, “But the word of the LORD endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.” He was speaking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ that he had preached for so many years. He knew from personal and Apostolic experience that God’s Word would endure forever.

Energes means “active, engaged in work, capable of doing, effective.” The Word of God is active and at work in the lives of people who hear it and believe it. Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Christians about it – “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) The Word of God worked “effectively” in the lives of the Thessalonians because they welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God!

Tomoteros means “to cut, sharp.” God is telling us that His Word has the ability to cut sharper than “any” two-edged sword. Sharpening swords was an art form, a great skill, acquired through years of apprenticeship. For a master craftsman to sharpen a two-edged blade (far more difficult than sharpening a single-edged blade) to the degree that it was the sharpest cutting instrument in the world would be a phenomenal achievement. God is comparing His Word to that type of double-edged sword.

I have a great respect for the sharpness of swords. I began training in the wielding of swords many years ago. My first sword was a Japanese sword my father brought home with him from Japan at the end of World War II. It had a single edge, but was extremely sharp. I learned to respect it and its ability to slice through almost any material object with ease. I later learned about two-edged swords used in Chinese martial arts. The addition of the second sharpened edge on the same piece of metal was extremely dangerous and effective.

God’s Word has the spiritual ability to “pierce,” “divide,” and “discern.” The Greek words are diiknoumenos, merismou and kritikos. Diiknoumenos means “to go through, pass through, pierce through, penetrate.” God says His Word can penetrate even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow. Merismou means “partition, to divide into parts, act of separation.” God’s Word divides the soul and spirit, the spiritual joints and marrow. It is in the process of wielding the Sword of the Spirit that God shows what is real and what is not, what is true and what is not, what is of God and what is not. God’s Word is the Great Divider. It is also a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Kritikos means “that which relates to judging, skilled in judging, able to discern and decide based on critical thinking.” God’s Word gives the skilled student the ability to discern and decide based on critical thinking. We can make decisions and judgments about the “thoughts and intents of the heart” based on God’s Word. What a gift God’s Word is to His people!

I know from my years of experience wielding a sharpened sword that it can be used for good or for bad. It can be used wisely or foolishly. It can cut straight and true or jagged and false. The Apostle Paul wrote this to Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) The words “rightly dividing” are a translation of the Greek word orthotomounta. It means “cutting straight.” It is the idea of handling an instrument correctly so that it cuts straight and true. A swordsman would understand this, as would a surgeon or anyone else who worked with a sharp cutting instrument. It also carries the meaning of accuracy. To cut straight and divide rightly is to handle God’s Word accurately, as He intended.

We have so many examples through the centuries of people who did not handle God’s Word correctly. Inaccuracies abound in the history of teaching God’s Word. The current time we live in may be the worst in history. So many people proclaim that they know God’s Word and that their way of handling it is the only right way. We will see more about this in Friday’s study about how we study God’s Word. Accuracy is the key.

God’s Word is living and active. That means it’s more than ink on a page. It’s more than a thick Book we place on our shelf or book table. Something about it is alive. What makes it “alive” is that the Word of God is a Living Person!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4

We learn several verses later that this Word Who was with God and was God and was in the beginning with God is the Person Jesus Christ: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth … For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:14, 17) Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God! When we study God’s Word, we are studying Jesus. Jesus Christ is the Word (Greek – logos) of God.

“εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος”

Notice the last part of the verse – kai theos en o logos – “and God was the Word.” Amazing! The Apostle John claims in his Gospel account that God was the Word. Who is the Word? Jesus Christ. God is Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is God! God the Word became flesh and lived among men. John and many other witnesses beheld Christ’s glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

These are stunning statements and are either true or false. Either Jesus Christ is God or He is not. Either God is Jesus Christ or He is not. Either the Bible is the Word of God or it’s not. There is no middle ground, no comfortable position in this debate about the Bible. It is what it claims to be or it is not. I believe with all my heart and mind that it is the Word of God.

What you believe the Bible to be will determine your next step. If you believe it to be God’s Word, then you must decide how you will handle it. Will you use it correctly and with accuracy to the “division of soul and spirit?” Will you use the Bible as a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart?” That is what God says His Word is and what it will do in our lives and the lives of people to whom we teach it. God’s Word is alive. It is active and effective. It will change our lives and we will never be the same again.

Remember also that Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He is Living and Powerful, and Sharper than any two-edged sword. Jesus and the Words He speaks pierce “even to the division of soul and spirit.” Jesus is the Discerner “of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” As you study the Words of the Word in the New Testament, you see just how piercing and dividing and discerning He is with both believers and non-believers. What Jesus says has great and eternal meaning. We need to read it, learn it, understand it, and teach others what He says.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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