The Power of the Word of God

The Power of the Word of God

The Word of God is living and powerful as Hebrews 4:12 says. But what is meant by the phrase “the word of God?” In the Bible, there are actually several different meanings taken by this phrase. So before going any further, it is important first of all to distinguish these different senses.

The Different Forms of the Word of God

A. The Word of God as a Person: Jesus Christ

Sometimes the Bible refers to the Son of God as the Word of God in John 1:1. Clearly, John is speaking of the Son of God here, because if we continue to John 1:14 he says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us …”

Also in Revelation 19:13 where John sees the risen Lord Jesus in heaven and says, “He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.”

B. The Word of God as God’s Decrees

At other times God’s words take the form of powerful decrees by God. A decree of God is a word of God that causes events to happen or even cause things to come into being (Genesis 1:3, 24 & Psalm 33:6).

Genesis 1:3 NKJV

These decrees of God do not only include the events of the original creation but also the continuing existence of all things, for Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ is continually “upholding all things by the word of His power…”

C. The Word of God as God’s Words of Personal Address

Sometimes God communicates with people on earth by speaking directly to them. There are examples throughout Scriptures, such as when God commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17) and after they sinned, God still spoke personally and directly to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19.

Another prominent example of God’s direct personal address to people on earth is found in giving of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-3) and at Jesus’ baptism wherein God the Father spoke from heaven (Matthew 3:17).

D. God’s Words as Speech through Human Lips

Frequently in Scripture God raises up prophets through whom He speaks. In Deuteronomy 18:18-20, God speaks to Moses about raising up for the Israelites a prophet from among them just like him, puts His words in his mouth and will speak to them all that He will command.

God made a similar statement to Jeremiah: Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth’” (Jeremiah 1:9).

Although it is evident that these are human words spoken in human ordinary language by ordinary human beings, the authority and truthfulness of these words are in no way diminished; they are still completely God’s words as well.

E. God’s Words in Written Form (the Bible)

The Power of the Word of God
Photo Credits: Bible Gateway

But we also find in Scriptures several instances where God’s words were put in written form. The first of these is found in the narrative of the giving of the two tablets of stone to Moses on which were written the Ten Commandments (Exodus 31:18; 32:16 & 34: 1, 28).

There were further additions to this book of God’s word by Joshua (Joshua 24:26), Isaiah (Isaiah 30:8), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 30:2; 36:2-4, 27-31 & 51:60) and in the New Testament by Jesus (John 14:26) and the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Peter 3:2).

Once again, it must be noted that even though they are written down mostly by human beings and in human language, these words are still considered to be God’s own words.

Of all the forms of God’s Word, the Bible, which is the written Word of God and how powerful it is, is the focus of this article.

How Powerful is the Word of God?

The Word of God is so powerful it can actually bring about a tremendous change in the life of a believer if they would just let it.

The Word of God Corrects

There are many symbols used to illustrate God’s Word that can be found in the Bible itself.

It can be thought of as a mirror in which the sinner or saint looks and sees a true reflection of himself as portrayed by the Lord Himself (James 1:23-25), a seed regenerating the hearer (1 Peter 1:23), a lamp that illuminates and guides the believer day by day (Psalm 119:105), a sword that convicts the hearer (Hebrews 4:12), and even as food that feeds and nourishes the soul of the hearer (Hebrews 5:12-14).

But the Bible also serves as a measuring rod or ruler. Many teachers have used wooden rulers in their classes not only to give the right measurement but, on occasion, to correct a misbehaving pupil. God’s word likewise can do both on these things. It should be used as a standard against which to measure our beliefs.

As Mike Mazzalongo said, “God’s Word is a standard against which all philosophies, ideas, and proposed solutions for the human condition can be measured for accuracy. If God’s Word approves it, we can run with it; if the Word rejects it, nothing we can do will make it work, make it acceptable, or make it right.” 

What about certain religious groups which claim Christ was not God, or that the Bible is filled with silly tales? Immediately we can reject such claims by using our divine written ruler to discover that such arguments simply do not measure up.

The Power of God's Word

Sometimes our heavenly Father uses His written ruler to correct us when we are in the wrong. Israel’s great King David once experienced this. “You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word . . . Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word” (Psalm 119:65, 67).

There are times when God’s Word can correct believers when they are in honest and unintentional error. Aquila and Priscilla, a godly Christian couple, use the Scriptures to help a powerful young preacher Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). Paul does the same thing for some former disciples of John the Baptist he meets in the city of Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7).

The Word of God Cleanses

One of the pieces of furniture in the Old Testament tabernacle was called the bronze laver (Exodus 38:8). It consisted of a huge upright bronze bowl filled with water resting upon a pedestal. The priests would often stop at this laver and wash.

The Word of God may be thought of in terms of that laver, for it also has the power to cleanse. But while the Old Testament laver could only remove the physical dirt from human hands, the Scripture possesses the ability to take away our moral filth (1 Peter 1:22).

You can learn  more about the Old Testament laver in this article: The Origin of Christian Praise & Worship

So what areas of our lives can the Word of God cleanse?

a) It can cleanse us from wrong thoughts.

Sometimes we are tempted to think critically of others; God’s Word can prevent this (Psalm 1:2). On other occasions fearful thoughts may race through our minds; the Scriptures will prevent this also (Joshua 1:8).

In fact, the Bible will establish our total thought-life if we but allow it to do so (Philippians 4:8-9; 2 Peter 1:5-10).

b) It can cleanse us from wrong words.

Of all the Bible authors, James seems to be God’s expert on the sins of the human tongue. In the first chapter of his book, he deals with this very thing and shows the absolute necessity of dependence upon the Scriptures to keep our words true (James 1:22-26). See also Psalm 119:172.

c. It can cleanse us from wrong actions.

Jesus promised us this would be the case when He says in John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

The Power of God's Word

The Word of God Equips

In a general sense, it can be said that the Bible was written to convict sinners of sin and to equip believers for service.

a. It equips us for evangelism.

Philip the evangelist uses the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah to point the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ in Acts 8:26-35. Peter in his most powerful sermon at Pentecost when he quoted from the prophet Joel and preached to the crowd, who were mostly devout Jews, repentance and the last days in which God would bring to completion His plan of salvation for humankind (Acts 2:14-41).

Believers must also have the knowledge and proper understanding of the Word of God as they go about sharing the Gospel message of salvation to the lost. Without the Word of God as our weapon, we won’t have anything to use to usher in souls into the Kingdom of God.

b. It equips us for using our spiritual gifts from God.

A spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit to the believer for the purpose of edifying the church and glorifying God. Paul says in Ephesians 1:17-19, 11-14 that a knowledge of God’s Word will provide us with the maturity we need to use our gifts in the most effective way.

c. It equips us to battle with Satan.

In Ephesians 6:10-17 Paul likens the believers’ armor to that used by Roman foot soldiers. In this comparison, the Word of God is likened to the soldier’s sword.

The Word of God Confirms

To confirm means to fully establish truth or fact. The Bible should be used to confirm the truth in our own hearts.

a. It confirms our salvation.

Often times many Christians are troubled with doubts about their conversion experience. Did God really save them when they asked Him to do so? Are they still saved today? A number of verses may be used to confirm our salvation and one of the strongest is Jesus’ own words in John 5:24. We have assurance of salvation as God promised in His Word.

You may want to compare John 3:16; 6:27, 35, 37, 40; 10:27-29 and Romans 8:1.

b. It confirms the hand of God in all of life’s bitter disappointments.

Undoubtedly the most important verse of reassurance and comfort in the hour of great need is Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

c. It confirms our forgiveness when we sin.

Admittedly, there are times when we carry an unnecessary burden of guilt over our past sins and failures. And although we have already confessed them, we have difficulty believing that God has truly forgiven and cleansed us.

But time and time again the Bible assures us that all confessed sin is instantly and eternally forgiven (Psalm 32:5; Isaiah 38:17).

Conclusion

2 Timothy 3:16-17The Bible which is the Word of God itself is truly inspired and infallible. Although it was penned by ordinary human writers, it has only one author – the Holy Spirit.

We can be confident that every word in the Bible has come directly from God and it has the supernatural power to correct, cleanse, equip and transform every believer into the kind of person that God wants them to be. The Word of God also confirms all the promises of God.

Have you made a personal decision to “be in Christ” by first acknowledging that you’re a sinner in need of a Savior? Have you repented of all your sins and received God’s gift of salvation and eternal life?

If you have been born again, are you immersed in the Word of God and are allowing it to change and empower you so you can be an effective witness for Christ and live the victorious Christian life?


*References:

  1. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
  2. NKJV Prophecy Study Bible

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