Bible - Inspiration & Authority

The Word of God Is 'Sharper Than Any Two-Edged Sword...' - What Does This Mean?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Scripture is supernaturally incisive. It cuts through outward appearances, and exposes inward reality.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part 5 of a series. Read part 4.

Scripture is supernaturally incisive. It cuts through outward appearances, and exposes inward reality.

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.  (Hebrews 4:12-13)

The Word Of God Is Incisive

As we continue our study of the supernatural character of Scripture, we find that Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is incisive - "sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow."

The Word of God pierces. The word in the original language speaks of something that penetrates. It also denotes something that is not diverted by obstacles. The literal rendering of the words here speaks of a supernatural quality. Literally, the Word of God is "superlatively sharper than any two-edged sword." The Word of God infinitely excels any human device or human method in doing the work that it does.

Scripture Pierces Outward Appearance to Expose Inward Reality

And what is that work? That work is that the Word of God divides asunder - "piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow." Those words speak figuratively of making a division and a distinction between outward appearance and inward reality. Only the Word of God can do that.

A person may appear outwardly moral, but God's Word declares that inwardly he is a depraved sinner. A person may appear outwardly religious, but God's Word declares that if he is trusting in that outward religious facade, then he is still inwardly rebelling against God.

A person may appear outwardly confident and serene, but may be experiencing inner turmoil, or may be suppressing that inner turmoil and guilt by various psychological means. The Word of God declares that such things will do him no good. Man may "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" as we read in Romans chapter 1. But he is only suppressing that which he knows to be true about God and true about himself.

We read in First Samuel chapter 16 that when the Lord sent the prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint a king of Israel to take the place of the corrupt King Saul, Samuel looked at David's older brother Eliab and said, "Surely this must be the Lord's anointed!" But then we read this:

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

The man whom God had chosen to be the next king over Israel was the youngest of Jesse sons, the young man David. This was the one that God called, "a man after My own heart."

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that what is true of the living God is also true of the living Word of God. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God's Word looks at the heart. It is because of Scripture's supernatural incisiveness that "all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

The Word of God probes, searches, questions. It gets to the heart of the issue. It is never deflected by sinful man's excuses, evasions, or his efforts to change the subject. With God there is but one subject: "What will you do with My Son? Will you receive Him as Lord and Savior, or will you reject Him?"

Next: The Word of God Is A Judge

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