Bible - Inspiration & Authority

The Word of God Is 'Alive' - What Does This Mean?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Only a Book that possesses this characteristic can do what Scripture does.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part 3 of a series. Read part 2.

Only a Book that possesses this characteristic can do what Scripture does.

In our study of the supernatural character of Scripture we are focusing on the Bible's clear and rich declarations of the vital truth. Our anchor passage for this study is Hebrews 4:12-13:

For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

In our last article we focused on the definition of "the Word of God" - that it is revelation given by inspiration, and did not originate in the heart and mind of sinful man. It is the only supernatural Book.

Today we come to the first characteristic of the Book. Verse twelve tells us that "the Word of God is living." Literally, the Word of God is "alive". That is the essence of the supernatural character of Scripture.

Ever Worthy, Ever Authoritative, Ever Powerful

The word in the original language that is translated "living" or "alive" in this verse has to do with the manifestation of Divine power in support of Divine authority. Furthermore, it speaks of the fact that Scripture is worthy of the name "the Word of God" for the very reason that it is alive.

The word also signifies the fact that this is the present and ever continuing condition of the Word of God. It is never dead. It is never without authority. It is never anything less than the Word of God. It is ever worthy of the name. It is never less than, or anything other than, the expression of God's actual thoughts.

In the original language of this verse, the Greek literally reads, "alive is the Word of God." The word order in the Greek gives that emphasis - the living character of the Word of God. Acts 7:38 tells us that when Moses received the law of God on Mount Sinai he received "the living oracles of God." First Peter 1:23 declares to us that we have been "born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever."

The words of mere men are dead words. They may live for years, centuries, or even millennia after them in some form. But they will perish when this present world is destroyed and "the elements shall melt with fervent heat" (2 Peter 3:10). But the written Word of God, the only supernatural Book, is alive forevermore just as the living Word of God, Jesus Christ, is alive forever.

The Gospel Brings Life Because the Word Is Alive

In verse 25 of the same chapter, Peter emphasizes that this living Word "is the Word by which the Gospel was preached to you." The Gospel and the Word of God are inseparable. The Gospel is only the Gospel, and the Gospel proclaims life from the dead, because the Word of God is alive, reveals the mind of God, and declares it with Divine power and Divine authority.

As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians,

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works [more literally, actively operates to accomplish its purpose] in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

Only a Word that is "alive" can do that.

Next: The Power of the Only Supernatural Book

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