The Word of God Must Grow
October 9, 2014 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
The apostles of the early church esteemed the Word of God greatly, even before the Bible was complete in its final form.
Peter and James state that we are given new life, become Christians, by the Word. “God brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18). “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23).
The writer to the Hebrews uses the same adjective as Peter in describing the Word of God. “The word of God is living and active” (Heb. 4:12). This life-giving word is a living word unlike any other written book.
Paul also affirms that new life comes from the Word of God. He speaks of the Old Testament as being “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). And in Romans 10:17 he says that this faith that receives the gift of salvation “comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Lest we assume that the Word of God is effective for only initiating our new life with God, Paul continues in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable… that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” The Word is sufficient in equipping for every good work God would call us to.
Even Jesus held the Word in this high esteem. In his parable of the sower he says, “The seed is the word of God” (Lk. 8:11). As applied to those who hear the Word and receive it by faith, Jesus says, “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience” (8:15). Jesus’ closing exhortation then is “Take care then how you hear [the word]” (8:18).
Such high esteem for the Word of God did not spring out of nowhere in the New Testament. From the earliest days of the nation of Israel (Josh. 1:8) to the reflections of the psalmists (i.e. Ps. 1 & 119) to the prophets (Is. 55:11) the Word of God was esteemed as life-giving and effective for equipping the people of God.
How do you esteem the Word of God? A high esteem of the Word of God would be manifest in our lives and church in three ways.
1. If we believe the Word of God is life-giving, we would soak our minds and souls in Scripture every day. The psalmist says, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (119:97). Love for the Word grows when we understand how good it is. The Word of God brings hope (Rom. 15:4) for those moments of darkness and death caused by sin. Let us “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls” (James 1:21).
2. If we believe the Word of God is sufficient to equip us for every good work, we would not look elsewhere for quick fixes. Once again, the psalmist, reflecting on the one who delights in the Word of God, says, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water… In all he does, he prospers” (1:3). The Word of God is profitable that you may be equipped for every good work… loving your spouse, raising your children, developing good work ethic, sharing your faith, serving your church, overcoming sin and temptation, etc. Do you see areas in your life where you fall short in “good works”? Well, are you planted in the Word of God?
3. If we believe that new life comes from hearing the Word of God, we would be eager to share the Word with “those who are perishing.” Faith comes from hearing. How can we expect our friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors to come to faith in Jesus Christ without hearing the Word? Invite them to church to hear the Word. Invite them read the Bible with you. Do not be ashamed to speak the Word of God in love with them.
Are you availing yourself of the life-giving Word of God? Are we as a church seeking to grow and build ourselves by the Word of God? “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose” (Is. 55:11).