“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Where’s your Bible? Have you picked it up lately? If you find it, does it have an inch of dust and a couple of water-rings on it where you’ve been using it as a coaster?
“No way!” You say. “I’d never abuse the Bible like that. I keep it in the box it came in when my grandmother gave it to me for graduation. Look, it’s got my name on the front and it still has that new Bible smell.”
Here’s the thing. The Word of God is not the leather binding. It’s not the gold-gilded tissue thin paper. It’s not even the ink (whether black or red). The Bible is not a magical charm to be held up in the air to claim health, wealth and prosperity. Nor is it a talisman to put under your pillow to ward off nightmares and such.
Listen to what C. H. Spurgeon said about the right way to handle God’s Word:
“What is the right way, then, to handle the Word of Truth? It is like a sword, and it was not meant to be played with. That is not rightly to handle the Gospel; it must be used in earnest and pushed home. Are you converted, my Friends? Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Are you saved, or not? Swords are meant to cut and hack, wound and kill—and the Word of God is for pricking men in the heart, and killing their sins. The Word of God is not committed to God’s ministers to amuse men with its glitter, nor to charm them with the jewels in its hilt, but to conquer their souls for Jesus Christ!” – C. H. Spurgeon
The Word of God must be read and heard to have its effect on us. When we read and study the Bible it comes to life in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is no longer a dry, dusty book. It is “living and active.”
There are four steps that we can follow to experience its “living and active” effect on our lives:
- Observation. Open and read the Bible asking questions like: who, what, when, where and how. Write down your observations.
- Illumination. Ask the Lord to give you light to understand what He is saying. It is His Word, not ours. We don’t want our own multiple interpretations. We want His. Not, “this is what it means to me,” but “thus saith the Lord.”
- Interpretation. After observing and meditating on God’s word for illumination. Write down what the text meant in the time period and setting it was written. Then, write down the timeless principles that you see emerging.
- Application. Ask, “How does this apply to me and what changes do I need to make in my life?” This is where the Bible gets its nickname, “The Sword.” Perhaps if the author of Hebrews were writing today, he would have called it a “scalpel,” because God’s Word works like a surgical instrument to reveal and excise sin in our lives.
So, get those Bibles out, blow off the dust, find a quiet corner and read. Ask God to speak to you today.