Read Hebrews 4:12
What makes a book come alive? A book by nature is pages of paper with words written upon them bound together with a cover surrounding them. If you are like me, there are a number of books scattered all around your house. Yes, these days many tend to purchase more copies of digital books to read on e-readers than physical books. None of these books are alive until someone picks them up and begins to read them. Once a person reads from a book, the words become alive in the person’s mind. Images form as the words are read. Scenes take shape, characters materialize and a person is transported to another place in the mind’s eye. The words come alive metaphorically.
The verse today speaks of a special type of “Word.” In Scripture this specific word has multiple meanings. One understanding can be the written or spoken form of communication, i.e., Scripture. Another understanding comes from the prologue to John’s Gospel. Here the reference is where it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) In this verse, the writer speaks of God’s word as living and active, Jesus Christ. When considering the reference being associated with Jesus, we are reminded of the resurrected and living Christ. If applying the first sentence to Scripture, it points us to the importance of human interaction with the Bible. Our reading and/or hearing of the verses contained in the Bible is what causes them to come alive and move them into action in our own lives.
The second sentence in the verse stands as a warning to us. We are told that the Word will cut through all the human pretenses. The true aspects of our humanity will be made visible as the following verse states. Again, this is true of both Christ and Scripture. Jesus could penetrate the hearts and minds of people he encountered. Throughout the Gospel accounts we see scenes where Jesus cuts through the facades created by individuals and shows forth the true natures and intentions, especially among the Jewish leaders. When read or spoken, the Bible verses can call us to account and disturb our own self image.
The Word of God is not a dead entity that no longer impacts lives. The Word is active in and through each of us, not to be hidden away and only brought out on special occasions.