No one can over-emphasize the importance of the word of God in our lives. [2 Timothy 3:16 – NIV] says “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. We can read the bible and place such an importance on it’s words that we might do good to treat it as scripture. Since all scripture is God-breathed it can be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Well the Pharisees placed the same importance on scripture, they studied and memorized it and used it to teach others (rather than their own selves). However if you leave the words of the bible there, then it remains as scripture to you. There’s a step further to go and that is to personalize it and treat it as the word of God. [1 Thessalonians 2:13 – NKJV] says “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”. The Thessalonians heard the word and treated it as the Word of God, they personalized it making it God’s word for them, and they greatly benefited from it. The letter to the Thessalonians reveals that Paul was extremely pleased with these people because of their faith in the word of God and its effective working in them.
[Hebrews 4:12 – NKJV] 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”. This is such an amazing verse to me because it shows me that the word of God is living and it is powerful (some versions translate it as active) and that’s what I need in my life, not a word that is inactive, but a word that is powerful and living in me all the time. The word of God is even sharper than a double-edged sword. Sharpness is the quality being described when the word is being compared to a sword, because it has the ability to cut through or divide and that is what is revealed in the rest of this verse.
Many are confused between soul and spirit or think they both are the same, but the word of God divides between the two, they are separate. Joints are the bones and the marrow is contained within it, it is not very easy to get to the marrow, a sharp sword may cut through the skin easily and bleed you. A very sharp sword may cut the skin, cause bleeding and maybe reach the outside of a bone. An extremely sharp sword may do all of the above and cut a portion of the bone, but you would need a really really sharp sword to be able to cut through skin, muscle, tissues and cut through the bone and reach the marrow. But this in essence is also talking about our soul and spirit, our spirit is the deepest innermost part of us that cannot be accessed physically or mentally there is one way we can get to it and that is through the word of God. The word of God tells you about who you are in your spirit. If you believe and have faith in Jesus, your identity in the spirit is revealed to you by the word.
The word of God alone can discern or judge the thoughts and intentions of a person, in other words if the word of God is living and active in me, my every thought and intention can be discerned according to the word and that is how I can be led by God in my life. Without this discernment, I operate from my soulish and physical self and am prone to the corruption of this world, but God has provided for us a way i.e. through the spirit, to escape this corruption. For a better understanding on this, please see my post – Escape the corruption.
[2 Timothy 2:15 – NKJV] says “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We just saw how the word of God divides, but this verse is exactly the opposite, isn’t it? It speaks about us dividing the word. To make it clear let me bring another verse into context [Matthew 9:17 – NIV] says “Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” This verse speaks about new wine going into new wineskins (so old wine should be going into old wineskins). What is this really talking about? If you read the context of Matthew Chapter 9, it talks about Jesus and his disciples doing things different than what the Pharisees and their company did. Jesus came to bring in the new covenant which he signified by the breaking of bread a day before He died. So in essence this verse really speaks that the old covenant had it’s place but there is a place for the new covenant, they are separate and should not be mixed just like the wine and wineskin example Jesus gave.
The new covenant is explained in Hebrews chapter 8. I have shared about the background of the time and the need for the new covenant in my post – The New Covenant , but I will quote from [Hebrews 8:10-13 – NKJV] “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.” So when we read God’s word we need to take into account the old and new covenants and rightly divide it according to them. This will give us a better understanding and will reveal truths that will surely transform our lives.
I hope that you find the word of God active and alive and powerful within you. When you experience this you can know for sure this is the ‘Zoe’ life of God you are experiencing.