The Bible is unlike any other book. It contains every form of literary style: poetry, history, wisdom, philosophy, prophecy, letter, persuasive, narrative. It’s expansive, covering many topics. It’s been printed more widely than any other book.
It’s an amazing book. Yet, it’s so much more.
The Bible says a lot about itself. Hebrews 4:12-13 says,
“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. And no creature his hidden from his sight but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
According to this passage God’s Word is living, piercing and authoritative.
The Bible is living
The Bible is not dead. It’s living, moving and breathing. It breathes life into everyone who reads and hears it. It does not change, yet it is continually relevant no matter how much the culture changes. “I change he changes not, the Christ can never die; his love, not mine, the resting place, His truth, not mine, the tie.”
How is this possible? How is a book written almost 2,000 years ago relevant today? The only explanation is a divinely inspired book. No man could have written such a masterful and eternally relevant book. Even the greatest minds of history: Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, couldn’t have written such a book. Yet the Bible was not written by extraordinary minds by the standards of this world, but by authors otherwise unknown for their wisdom and writing. Some of the writers were simple fishermen by trade.
It wasn’t the greatness of the writers that made the Bible so relevant and eternal, but the God who wrote it through them.
God’s word is living, and stands today as the unchanging rock of truth that remains unweathered by the pounding waves of cultural change and attacks. If the Bible is indeed a sword, it hasn’t been rusted and dulled over time but remains sharp, able to engage and resolve issues even in 2016.
The Bible is piercing
The author of Hebrews describes the Bible as an incredibly sharp sword that is able to pierce to the division of soul and of spirit. The language can be confusing here because the soul and spirit seem to be the same. John Calvin argues that most of the time these two words mean the same thing unless they appear together. In that case the spirit means the thoughts and the soul means the will or intentions. This makes sense considering the following verse: “and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Today not much attention is paid to the “inner person.” Meaning the thoughts, desires, intentions and motivations of a person. Everything is focused on actions. “Actions speak louder then words,” is the old adage. But God cares about the whole person, not just what’s on the surface. In other words he not only cares what someone does, but why they do it. As we read the Bible God reveals motivations and hearts desires. He will draw distinctions between what we think and want; what we know is right and what we believe to be true. This is a very small and pervasive distinction to make, which is why the author compares it to splitting joints and marrow. Marrow is inside a bone. To split them would take a razor sharp scalpel and a gifted physician. So it is the great physician who pierces our hearts as we read his word. Reading God’s word can certainly be intellectually beneficial, yet it cannot stay that way. To engage God’s word is to engage the heart and intentions. It will reveal things in your heart you never knew were there, good and bad. “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” Psalm 20:5.
The Bible is authoritative.
The Bible makes us realize that we are accountable to someone and there is a standard we must meet. Of course as you read the Bible you will learn in it’s pages that the only way to meet this standard is to not meet it at all, but to put your faith in Jesus who has met the standard and gave his life for those who couldn’t.
William Barclay in his commentary on Hebrews lays out a possible explanation of this last verse. When a criminal was being lead through the city to the court for trial, a knife would be placed under his chin so he couldn’t bow down to conceal his face from others and therefore hide his shame. Reading the Bible can have the effect of forcing us to look into the face of “him to whom we must give account.” God’s word is powerful and indicting. This power and authority I believe is sensed by every person who reads God’s word.
This book is unique. Every one of it’s pages is written by the God of all creation (2 Tim 3:16). To read it is captivating, even piercing. To read it brings wisdom, knowledge and instruction in the way of life. It will convict, expose, encourage and comfort in every culture, country, and time period. It portrays the heart of the God of life who spoke life into existence. It’s richness is simple enough for a child to grasp yet deep enough that the greatest minds on earth will never exhaust it’s knowledge. It’s the classic, best-seller and the must read book of the winter, spring, summer and fall of every year. It’s the good book…in fact an amazing book. If you don’t have one buy one, if you have one read it. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” Isa 40:8.