“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12
Many scholars attribute the author of the Book of Hebrews to the Apostle Paul. Hebrews was written around 64-69 AD. Since the author does not mention the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and wrote like the sacrificial system was still in existence, we can mark the date before then.
The purpose of the book of Hebrews was to exhort Jewish Christians to persevere in the face of persecution (Heb. 10:33). It also highlighted the importance of Christ being the substance of all the shadow types found in the Tanakh.
For instance, Jesus was greater than Moses and the prophets (Heb. 3), the priesthood culminated in Him (Heb. 4:14-16), and his death, burial, and resurrection fulfills the purpose of the sacrificial system. The book truly encapsulates the whole narrative of God’s unfolding plan, from Genesis to Revelation.
This specific verse highlights how the word of God is where you can find the narrative of God’s unfolding plan: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. The whole story of God’s redeeming plan is found in Scripture. Not only that, but Scripture itself is alive and active. It is sharper than any double-edged sword. It has power, authority, conviction, and all the necessary information to know God and worship Him in spirit and in truth.
The Bible also has the power to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrows—it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. This life force is described in John 1, where it states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In verse 14, it states the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
2 Timothy 3:16 adds to this incredible phenomenon of the Bible’s power and authority: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Do you remember when God breathed into Adam and he became a living soul? Here we are told that Scripture is God-breathed. It is alive. It is more than just ink and paper. It convicts and leads people to repentance and faith in Jesus.
In churches, the best way to resolve a theological dispute is by searching the Scriptures—not adhering to a doctrinal statement. A doctrinal statement has it’s practicalities, but over time, it becomes impractical. It may ward off heresy but then it turns into an Achilles heel for the church when it becomes the lens by which leaders interpret the Bible rather than the Bible itself.
Finally, the constructs believers build for systematic theology don’t derive from sophisticated theologians; they arrive from the Word of God. The creeds are not to be elevated to the supremacy of the unadulterated Word of God. Church history, the prayers by the Puritans, the papacy, or any other invention by man must never usurp the role of a simple reading of biblical text—that’s why we call it the perspicuity of Scripture because it can be understood plainly as it is.
Let’s not complicate our faith. For the word of God is alive and active. It is sufficient enough to lead us to the truth. It is clear enough to help us understand. The Word is convicting enough to change our hearts and lead us into a right relationship with God. Nothing else is needed. Therefore, let’s put all our zeal in the Bible!
Article written by Chad A. Damitz