By: Jazmin Frank
“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 (ESV)
Hebrews 4:12 is a familiar passage, often quoted when we talk about the importance of Scripture and its relevance in our lives.
But if we’re honest, sometimes the value of Scripture gets lost in our pursuit of the spiritual disciplines.
I find this especially true when I’m working through a reading plan.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love reading plans. I think they are helpful and they keep me on track in my goal to read my Bible every day.
There are days, however, when I find myself skimming over passages that don’t feel particularly insightful to my own life.
Days when I’m reading just to check off that box on my reading plan.
When I get to this point, I need to take a step back and remember what this is all about.
Our spiritual disciplines aren’t about checking off boxes; they’re about building a relationship with God.
Reading the Bible is about more than finding something that impacts our lives; it’s about knowing God intimately and entering into conversation with Him.
In Hebrews 4:12 we find four truths that take us beyond the discipline to help us build a relationship with God through His Word.Reading the Bible is about more than finding something that impacts our lives; it’s about knowing God intimately and entering into conversation with Him.
Truth #1: God’s Word is Alive
I love that this is the first statement the author of Hebrews makes about God’s Word. “For the Word of God is living…” The Bible is the inspired Word of God, and God is very much alive and at work in our lives through His Word.
It’s helped me to think of my Bible reading time as a conversation with the Creator.
God started the conversation when He inspired authors and poets and prophets and historians to record His words and interactions with the world. Every time we open the Bible we get to enter into that conversation—a conversation with a God who is alive.
Though the words of Scripture were written down thousands of years ago, God continues to speak through them today.Though the words of Scripture were written down thousands of years ago, God continues to speak through them today.
God’s Word is not antiquated or irrelevant. It is one of the ways He invites us into a relationship with Himself. Through the work of His Spirit, God enables us to hear and understand what He has to say.
His Word is alive in that no matter what we’re going through, we can go to Scripture and learn something about God or ourselves.
God’s Word is alive because it reveals the God who is alive and who desires to be known.
Truth #2: God’s Word is Active
Scripture functions in a mysterious way that other literature cannot duplicate. Because the Bible is God’s Word, God moves through it to shake, heal, form, create, and inspire us to draw near to Him.
If we allow it, God’s Word will become an active force in our lives, and equip us to engage in conversation with the Lord.Because the Bible is God’s Word, God moves through it to shake, heal, form, create, and inspire us to draw near to Him.
Often times, when I am searching for direction or comfort, God meets my needs through His Word.
This happened just the other day, as I opened to the next chapter of Psalms on my reading plan.
I’d actually fallen behind in my reading and felt kind of guilty about it, but that passage in Psalm 36 was exactly what I needed that morning.
In fact, it was a direct answer to something I had scribbled only minutes before in my journal.
I told God how hard it is to trust that He’ll take care of me; He provided a fresh burst of faith through His Word.
Although this Psalm was originally written down thousands of years ago, it’s still living and active today.
Truth #3: God’s Word is Revealing
The words in the latter half of Hebrews 4:12 offer an intense description of God’s Word.
“Piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” isn’t exactly a friendly statement.
In fact, this passage makes me cringe a little.
I know what’s in my heart and mind—the thoughts and intentions that make up my internal world. I’m well aware of my wounds and my shortcomings and my sin.
These words make me feel exposed and ignite the intense desire to run far and fast from God’s Word.
But then I remember, this word comes from my loving and compassionate Creator.
This is the word of our Heavenly Father who loved us so much that He sent His only Son so that whoever believed in Him would have eternal life (Jn 3:16).
The very same God who did not leave us to live the rest of eternity in sin, but set out to pursue us and win us back and set us free!
While the idea of God’s Word revealing and exposing what’s actually in our hearts and souls is certainly intimidating, it also offers eternal hope and freedom from our sins.
Yes, God’s Word reveals what’s really inside of us, but it also reveals the heart of our Father who would go to great lengths to draw us into a deeper relationship with Him.God’s Word reveals what’s really inside of us, but it also reveals the heart of our Father who would go to great lengths to draw us into a deeper relationship with Him.
Truth #4: God’s Word is Life-giving
Our Heavenly Father is not out to get us. His Word reveals what’s inside of us so that He can heal, redeem, and restore.
Remember Jesus’ words in John 10:10?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The devil is the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to give abundant life.
We have a very real enemy who would love to convince us that God is not good and He isn’t good to us, but it’s a lie.
When God does convict us of sin or call us out on something or call us back to Himself, it is done as a loving Father who wants what’s best for His child.
God’s Word is living and active; it is revealing and life-giving.God’s Word is living and active; it is revealing and life-giving.
In the Bible, we find the truth of who God is. We get to read about His interactions with other humans, but we also get to enter into His story ourselves.
The Bible is worth reading, not merely just to establish discipline, but so that we might come to know God better through His living and active Word.
As we read God’s Word, He will speak to our hearts.
Sometimes He might poke at something inside us that needs healed, changed, or eliminated altogether.
When God does this, it’s so that, through the process of transformation, we might come to know abundant life in Him.
Draw near to Him through His Word, and you will discover the “way, and the truth, and the life” He created you to enjoy (Jn 14:6).
Jazmin N. Frank is a teacher and speaker on all things Bible, and the author of the Bible study, “Name Above All Names: An Invitation to Remember who Jesus Really Is.” She believes Scripture is living, active and relevant, and desires to help ordinary people love God and love His story. Jazmin is on a daily journey of learning to live freely as God’s beloved child. You can connect with Jazmin on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.