Study 4 GOD’S WONDERFUL WORD – THE BIBLE!
HIGHLIGHTS IN HEBREWS
by Francis Dixon
(Key verse: Hebrews 4:12)
Of all the inspired titles which the Holy Spirit uses concerning the Bible, perhaps the most precious is “the Word of God” – compare Ephesians 6:17; 1 Peter 1:23; Hebrews 4:12. We must ask the question, Does our key verse refer to the Bible (the written Word) or to the Lord Jesus Himself (the Incarnate Word)? – look up John 1:1. Some Bible students emphatically state that the reference here is to Christ the incarnate Word; verse 13 would seem to support this view. On the other hand, others with equal conviction feel that the reference here is to the written Word. In fact, both views are right. The two ‘Words’ are inseparable. The only revelation we have of the incarnate Word is in the written Word and the incarnate Word always leads us to an appreciation of the whole of the written Word. In this verse we notice five important things about the Bible.
1. IT IS DIVINE IN ITS ORIGIN
Where does this ‘Word’, our Bible (written by about forty different writers over approximately 1600 years) come from? Certainly it came from the hands of the various writers but they were only the human instruments, for God is the author of the book; it is the Word of God. In some ways it is similar to any other book, being printed on paper in many languages and being divided into chapters; but from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 it is the Word of God, by which we mean that the whole was recorded by divine authority and under divine supervision. It doesn’t mean that God spoke all the words contained in it, but that He overruled in all the words recorded, whether spoken by Himself, by men, by angels or by demons. The Word of God is of supernatural origin and is therefore unique – look up 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21.
2. IT IS LIVING IN ITS NATURE
It is spoken of as being living or full of life. How did it become a living book? A comparison of Genesis 1:26 and 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us. As God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul, so He has breathed into this book so that it has become a living book. It is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). In what way is the Word of God ‘living’?
- 1. It is living in itself. Look up John 6:63 and compare Proverbs 6:22.
- 2. It is life-giving, that is, it imparts life. Compare James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:23. Seeds don’t appear to contain life, any more than Bibles do! The fact is that seeds do contain life – and so does the Word of God; and wherever the Word of God (which is incorruptible seed) is sown it brings a harvest (Psalm 126:6).
- 3. It is out-living, that is, it outlives all other books and this is one of the greatest wonders of the Word of God. Men have burned it and the Devil has tried to exterminate it, but it is still the most widely-read book! See what 1 Peter 1:23-25 says about the durability of God’s Word. Read Matthew 24:35 too.
3. IT IS POWERFUL IN ITS OPERATION
“Living and active”, that is, it is effective. It does things – look up Ecclesiastes 8:4. How does the power of God’s Word operate?
- 1. It cuts like a double-edged sword – both edges are sharp. How many experiences some of us have had of the sharpness of the Word to convict of sin – look up Acts 2:37!
- 2. It penetrates the inward parts. Look up Psalm 51:6. God must have reality and sincerity, and the instrument He uses to penetrate the inward parts of our nature is the Word of God. Look up Acts 7:54; Revelation 19:15.
- 3. It discriminates between soul and Spirit. Man is a tri-partite being as we see in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – but who can divide between spirit, soul and body? The Christian has two natures (Galatians 5:17) – but who can discern between these? We cannot accurately discriminate between the desires of the flesh and those of the Spirit, but if we allow the Holy Spirit to apply God’s Word to our lives, only then will this correct diagnosis and precise discrimination be made.
4. IT IS FINAL IN ITS JUDGMENT
The Word of God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”. This is very significant because it teaches us that we are not to criticise the Word of God but must let it criticise us. A critic is someone who passes judgment upon a subject or person, and God’s Word passes judgment upon man; because that Word is divine in its origin, and therefore infallible, the judgment that the Word passes upon us is final. We are surrounded by two kinds of critics – those whose criticism is destructive and those whose criticism is constructive. God’s Word always gives constructive criticism. We may not always like it but if we will take it, it will always be for our good. For example, look up Jeremiah 17:9 and Mark 7:21. Do we believe that, accept that? – yet it is true, and we can only profit by admitting it and believing it.
5. IT IS CLEAR IN ITS DEMAND
Notice the first word in our key verse – “For the word of God…” This links us with the previous verses and indicates the two-fold demand that this Word makes upon us:-
- 1. Faith, or trust – as indicated in verse 2.
- 2. Obedience – as indicated by verse 11.
The way to be happy, holy, useful and to glorify God is to read the Word of God, believe it (trust it) and obey it!