“To be or not to be, that is the question…” William Shakespeare, Hamlet
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” J.R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
There are many notable lines in classic books but I can’t recall ever meditating on them for long periods of time. Though gifted writers all, the persons who penned the sentences etched in readers’ memories are all human beings and their written words probably don’t reach the status of ‘life-changing.’
We know human beings wrote the Bible too, but there is a unique quality to Scripture that sets words in a different category. How can a person read the same passage over and over and gain fresh insight previously undiscovered? Why do believers constantly go to Scripture for sustenance? How can unbelievers be convicted and radically changed by encounters with God’s Word?
God’s Word cannot be disconnected from the Father, Son, and Spirit. The apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)
Led by the Spirit, the apostle John calls Jesus ‘the Word’ in his writings: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) And “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.” (Revelation 19:13)
The Word of God is supernatural: “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates to dividing soul and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)
No one handled Scripture as well as Jesus, and He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us “rightly divide the Word of truth.” Many during His days on earth knew the words but missed the Message. “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.” (John 6:39-40) Jesus knew that He is the main Message of Scripture.
Jesus also knew the power of His Father’s written Word. Three times in the wilderness He resisted the devil with: “It is written…” followed by enemy-defeating Scripture. (see Luke 4:1-13) Surely Jesus aims for us to use the same Sword of the Spirit as we stand against the one who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
I’m a proud Grandpa when I hear our four grandchildren quote memory verses their parents have helped them memorize. David wrote: “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) My prayer for my grandchildren, my children, my wife, myself, and all of us is to allow the Holy Spirit to bring Scripture to life in the way the Father intends and to let us experience the ‘life-changing’ Message of Christ, the One who loves us and died for us — Jesus, the Word of God.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4