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Hebrews 4:12 Meaning of The Word of God Is Living and Active

Explanation and Commentary on Hebrews 4:22
The Word is a mysterious and powerful force. It refers to the will of God (Gal 1:4), the truth of God (Jn 17:17), the good news of Jesus Christ (1 Pt 1:25), the decrees of God (Jer 22:29), the Holy Scriptures (Mt 15:6), and the Son of God (Jn 1:14). The Word is eternal.

It has been said that if we read the written Word with faith, then it begins to read us. Nothing is hidden from God. Nothing about our own motives, our own desires, our own hearts, is hidden from the Word of God, though it is hidden from ourselves. God is alive and active, so his Word is alive and active. Our hearts are laid bare before his Word, his Truth, and his understanding.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Hebrews 4:12
#1 “For…”
The author has been explaining that the Israelites were saved out of slavery in Egypt and promised a great “rest” in the Promised Land as God’s children. But they did not enter that rest because of their unbelief. They fell away and perished without the promise having been fulfilled. Therefore, because the Word is living and active, the promise still stands, as does the warning.

#2 “…the word of God…”
Christ is the Word made flesh. The Bible is the Word written. This case of usage refers to the revealed will of God, and the message to his people to persevere to the end. It is part of the grace of God for the eternal security of the true Christian that we would be admonished not to fall away as part of his plan to keep us from falling away. By his Spirit and his warnings, the true believer will do what the Israelites had been unable to do and enter into his eternal rest.

#3 “…is alive and active.”
“Today, if you hear his voice,” (Heb 3:8). Today is still today because the Word is for every day. It is alive. It moves and breathes. It never changes, but the specific application and the audience change with each passing moment.

#4 “Sharper than any double-edged sword,”
Christ appears in Revelation with a two-edged sword from his mouth (Rev 1:16). Sometimes a double-edged sword refers figuratively to something with a positive and a negative consequence. Perhaps the meaning is the same here, but in any case, a double-edged sword is more effective at laying open the heart to expose what is in it.

#5 “it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
The Word will read you through and through. It is both powerful and rare for someone to truly know themselves. The Word will show you who are really are, your thoughts and what’s behind them, along with your heart attitudes and postures. Christians don’t grow when they don’t want to know themselves. Allow the Word to penetrate into your soul and let God in.

Bible References

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord.

And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

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