TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  General

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Chapter 8  Part I

General

God’s word is our window to God. For through it we learn about God and his relationship with us. Moreover, its unique characteristics and functions have the imprint of God.

Note that in the headings of this chapter “word” is generally used to refer to, or at least apply to, God’s written word – the Bible or Scripture. In the verses themselves, more specifically “word” usually refers to either: Scripture itself (as a whole or in particular to God’s laws, promises or prophecies); words that God spoke (many of which have been included in Scripture); or the gospel message (which of course is contained in Scripture).

What God’s Word Comprises

God’s word primarily is Scripture

Scripture is the writings contained in the Bible.

2Tim 3:16a  All Scripture is breathed out by God … ▤ 

All Scripture “is inspired by God” (GNT, NASB, NLT, NRSV), which means that effectively all Scripture “is God’s Word” (CEV).

Dan 9:2  … in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. ▤ 

The “books” were, or included, the writings of the prophets – the “Scriptures” (NCV™, NIV®).

John 10:35  If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— ▤ 

This speaks of Scripture as “the word of God”.

Rom 3:2  Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. ▤ 

This refers to the Jews being entrusted with the “the oracles (the brief communications, the intentions, the utterances) of God” (AMP) in the OT Scriptures. In doing so it indicates that the Scriptures are – or at least contain – “the very words of God” (NIV®).

Eccl 12:11  The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. ▤ 

This appears to be a claim of God’s inspiration for Ecclesiastes – it being “given by one Shepherd” – and perhaps also for the other “wisdom” books of the Bible.

2Pet 3:15-16a  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. ▤ 

This is not expressly saying that what Paul wrote was God’s words – referring to wisdom from God rather than actual words from God – but it does point to this. Additionally, note that in 1 Corinthians 14:37 Paul claims: “…the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.”

Rev 19:9  And the angel saidd to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” ▤ 

d Greek he said

The final statement is referring to the earlier one and the preceding verses, but it is also applicable to the whole of the book of Revelation (cf. 22:6) – and the Scriptures in general.

God’s word includes his laws

See also:

Ex 20:1-3  And God spoke all these words, saying, 2“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3“You shall have no other gods beforef me. ▤ 

f Or besides

This introduces the Ten Commandments (cf. vv. 1-17) – as being spoken by God – followed shortly afterwards by further laws of the old covenant (cf. chs 21-23).

Ex 24:3-4a, 12  Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules.g And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” 4And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. ▤ 12The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” ▤ 

g Or all the just decrees

Note that 32:16 says of the tablets, “The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.” As such they were “written with the finger of God” (Deut 9:10), who “wrote on the tablets … the Ten Commandments” (Deut 10:4).

Ps 147:19  He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rulesh to Israel. ▤ 

h Or and just decrees

Isa 2:3b  For out of Zion shall go the law,i and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. ▤ 

i Or teaching

Isa 5:24  Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

God’s word includes his covenants and promises

Ex 34:27-28  And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.e ▤ 

e Hebrew the ten words

This speaks of words of God forming God’s covenant with Israel.

Deut 33:9b  For they observed your word and kept your covenant. ▤ 

This associates, even correlates, God’s word and his covenant.

Ps 105:8-9  He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, 9the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, … ▤ 

2Sam 7:28  And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. ▤ 

1Ki 8:25-26  Now therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ 26Now therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David my father. ▤ 

Ps 119:49  Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. ▤ 

Here God’s “word” is his “promise” (CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

God’s word includes his prophecies

2Ki 20:16-17  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. ▤ 

Jer 36:2  Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today. ▤ 

Prophecies regarding the future of nations are referred to here, ones which are included in the book of Jeremiah.

Ezek 6:1-4  The word of the Lord came to me: 2“Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, 3and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. 4Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols. ▤ 

Dan 9:2  … in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. ▤ 

Zeph 2:5  Woe to you inhabitants of the seacoast, you nation of the Cherethites! The word of the Lord is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines; and I will destroy you until no inhabitant is left. ▤ 

Rev 1:1-3  The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servantsj the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servantk John, 2who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. ▤ 

j Greek bondservants

k Greek bondservant

God’s word includes the gospel, proclaimed by his people

Most of the following verses do not actually use the word “gospel”, but it is clearly what is being referred to in the references to God’s word.

Acts 8:25  Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. ▤ 

Acts 13:5  When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. ▤ 

1Cor 15:1-2  Now I would remind you, brothers,l of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. ▤ 

l Or brothers and sisters; also verses 6, 31, 50, 58

The “word” (v. 2) Paul preached to the Corinthians was essentially God’s word – “the gospel” (v. 1).

Phil 1:14  And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the wordm without fear. ▤ 

m Some manuscripts add of God

The text note indicates that some manuscripts add “of God”, clearly indicating that the gospel spoken by the believers was “the word of God”.

Col 1:25  … of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, … ▤ 

1Thes 2:13  And we also thank God constantlyn for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. ▤ 

n Or without ceasing

Titus 1:3  … and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; … ▤ 

Note: Jesus Christ is the Word of God

See also:

Many people link the description of Jesus Christ as the “Word” of God with God acting by or through his word (cf. God made and maintains all things by his word or command; and Note: God acts by his word). This link reflects the fact that God works through Jesus Christ (cf. Epilogue: God Works through Jesus Christ).

Rev 19:13  He is clothed in a robe dipped ino blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. ▤ 

o Some manuscripts sprinkled with

John 1:1, 14  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ▤ 14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ▤ 

John’s description of Jesus Christ as “the Word” points to Jesus Christ’s deity, as well as the claim that God spoke through Jesus Christ, with him being the Word of God.

1Jn 1:1  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life ▤ 

Commentators differ over whether “the word of life” refers to Jesus Christ or to the gospel message. Most modern translations capitalize “word”, implying the former. One could argue from this that the title “the word of life” alludes to Jesus Christ as being the one in whom God’s message of life was manifested, and as such to him being “the word of God”.

  • Paul’s writings included Jesus Christ’s commands:

1Cor 14:37  If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. ▤ 

In Paul’s letters, “Lord” is usually understood to refer to Jesus Christ. Thus this indicates that what Paul wrote contained or included commands of Jesus Christ and so – in light of the above teaching – was in effect God’s word.

Pray for persecuted Christians

God’s Communication of His Word

See also:

God has given his word by the Holy Spirit . . .

See also:

2Pet 1:20-21  … knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. ▤ 

Neh 9:30  Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. ▤ 

Zec 7:12  They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

Undoubtedly many of these “words” that God sent by his Holy Spirit through the prophets include passages recorded in the OT.

2Sam 23:1-4  Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel:p 2“The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; his word is on my tongue. 3The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, 4he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rainq that makes grass to sprout from the earth. ▤ 

p Or the favorite of the songs of Israel

q Hebrew from rain

As with the following passages, it can be inferred from this that God spoke by the Holy Spirit (recorded here through David).

Ezek 11:5  And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, “Say, Thus says the Lord: So you think, O house of Israel. For I know the things that come into your mind. ▤ 

Acts 4:25  … [God] who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,r said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? ▤ 

r Or child; also verses 27, 30

Heb 3:7-11  Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, 8do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. 10Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ 11As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” ▤ 

The fact that God was speaking through the Holy Spirit is reflected by the quotation being attributed to the Holy Spirit (v. 7), while in the quotation “I” refers to God (vv. 9-11). This assertion is supported by Hebrews 4:3 which in quoting Psalm 95:11 (quoted here in v. 11) directly attributes the words to God, “…as he [God] has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest’”.

Heb 10:15-17  And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” ▤ 

As per 3:7-11 above, the quotation is attributed to the Holy Spirit (v. 15), while in the quotation “I” refers to God (vv. 16-17) – thus implying that God was speaking through the Holy Spirit.

. . . Further mention of Scripture coming by the Holy Spirit

Mark 12:36  David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.’ ▤ 

As with the following couple of references from Acts, this illustrates Scripture or God’s Word coming by the Holy Spirit in attributing an OT quotation to him.

Acts 1:16  Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. ▤ 

Acts 28:25-26  And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: 26“‘Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. ▤ 

Eph 3:4-5  When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. ▤ 

The “mystery of Christ” – God’s message about Christ – was revealed through the Holy Spirit to God’s “holy apostles and prophets” (v. 5), presumably inclusive of all the writers of the NT. As such this points to the NT generally as being God’s word revealed through the Holy Spirit.

1Pet 1:10-11  Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. ▤ 

That referred to here as what the prophets spoke of (v. 10) is that which the Holy Spirit “predicted” (v. 11) – i.e. the sufferings of the Messiah given by the Holy Spirit in OT prophecies.

Rev 2:7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. ▤ 

The book of Revelation is the word of God as testified to by Jesus Christ (cf. 1:1-2). The fact that here Jesus Christ specifically refers to parts of it as being “what the Spirit says” (cf. 2:11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22) suggests that the Holy Spirit played a key role in the imparting of it (cf. Rev 1:10-11 ).

  • John was “in the Spirit” when he began receiving Revelation:

Rev 1:10-11  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” ▤ 

The term “in the Spirit” is understood by a number of commentators as referring to a heightened state of spirituality, through the Holy Spirit. Two other possibilities, similar to this one, are that: it speaks of the Holy Spirit’s enablement and influence – “the Spirit took control of me” (CEV, GNT); and it refers to John being “in tune” with or in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. These interpretations are not mutually exclusive and all three point to the Spirit having a critical role in John writing Revelation.

God gave his law through Moses

See also:

Ex 24:12  The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” ▤ 

Lev 26:46  These are the statutes and rules and laws that the Lord made between himself and the people of Israel through Moses on Mount Sinai. ▤ 

Deut 4:1-2  [Moses:] “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the ruless that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. ▤ 

s Or just decrees; also verses 5, 8, 14, 45

Deut 5:4-5a  [Moses:] The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, 5while I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord. ▤ 

Deut 31:9, 24  Then Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. ▤ 24When Moses had finished writing the words of this law in a book to the very end, … ▤ 

1Ki 2:3  … and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, … ▤ 

The Law is sometimes referred to as “the Law of Moses” indicative of it being given through him.

2Chr 34:14  While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given through Moses. ▤ 

Neh 10:29  … join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord and his rules and his statutes. ▤ 

Mal 4:4  Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rulest that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. ▤ 

t Or and just decrees

John 1:17  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. ▤ 

John 7:19a  Has not Moses given you the law? ▤ 

1Cor 9:9  For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? ▤ 

God has spoken through prophets

See also:

Heb 1:1  Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, … ▤ 

2Ki 17:13  Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” ▤ 

Jer 7:25-26  From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day. 26Yet they did not listen to me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers. ▤ 

Neh 9:30  Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. ▤ 

Jer 1:7, 9  But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. ▤ 9Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. ▤ 

To signify that he had given (or would give) Jeremiah his words to speak, God touched Jeremiah’s mouth. This may have occurred in a vision; some think this actually took place, in a physical sense.

Dan 9:10  … and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. ▤ 

Note that in referring to God’s “laws”, in the latter part of the verse Daniel may have Moses primarily in view or may more generally be speaking of the “teachings” (CEV, NASB, NCV) and commands given by the prophets.

Mic 1:1  The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. ▤ 

Micah subsequently spoke the “word” that God gave him.

Hag 1:1, 12-13  In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: ▤ 12Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. 13Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, “I am with you, declares the Lord.” ▤ 

Zec 7:12  They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

God has spoken through visions and dreams

See also:

Gen 15:1  After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” ▤ 

Num 12:6  And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. ▤ 

Num 24:15-16  And he took up his discourse and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, 16the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered: … ▤ 

1Ki 3:5  At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” ▤ 

Job 33:14-16  For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. 15In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds, 16then he opens the ears of men and terrifies them with warnings, … ▤ 

Ps 89:19  Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one,u and said: “I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. ▤ 

u Some Hebrew manuscripts godly ones

Hos 12:10  I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions, and through the prophets gave parables. ▤ 

Acts 10:10-15  And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” ▤ 

  • God showed Ezekiel things in visions, which he was to tell the people:

Ezek 40:1-4  In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was struck down, on that very day, the hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me to the city.v 2In visions of God he brought me to the land of Israel, and set me down on a very high mountain, on which was a structure like a city to the south. 3When he brought me there, behold, there was a man whose appearance was like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand. And he was standing in the gateway. 4And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.” ▤ 

v Hebrew brought me there

In addition to actual words of God, descriptions of things that God shows in a vision are in effect also part of his word or message. Note that God gave Ezekiel a number of visions.

God’s word was spoken by Jesus Christ

See also:

Luke 5:1  On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him [Jesus] to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, … ▤ 

John 3:34  For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. ▤ 

Note that the last clause probably means that God gave to Jesus Christ the Spirit without any limit (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

John 14:24  Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. ▤ 

John 12:49-50  For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me. ▤ 

John 17:14  [Jesus, to God:] I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. ▤ 

Heb 1:1-2  Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. ▤ 

Rev 1:1-2, 5, 9  The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servantsw the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servantx John, 2who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. ▤ 5and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood ▤ 9I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. ▤ 

w Greek bondservants

x Greek bondservant

In v. 2, “the word of God and … the testimony of Jesus Christ” appears to refer to the book of Revelation, which God gave Jesus Christ to disclose (v. 1). In contrast, “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (v. 9) may instead refer to the gospel and Jesus’ testimony to God’s word during his mission, with it being given as the reason for John’s imprisonment or exile on Patmos. In v. 5, “Jesus Christ the faithful witness” is speaking of Christ’s faithfulness in his conveying of God’s word.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Characteristics of God’s Word

God’s word is holy, righteous and good

See also:

Jer 23:9  Concerning the [false] prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the Lord and because of his holy words. ▤ 

Rom 1:2  … which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, … ▤ 

Ps 105:42  For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant. ▤ 

Rom 7:12  So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. ▤ 

Deut 4:8  And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today? ▤ 

Ps 12:6  The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. ▤ 

The description of God’s words as being “pure” (cf. Ps 19:8 ) reflects that they are holy and righteous.

Ps 19:8-9  … the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rulesy of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. ▤ 

y Or just decrees

In v. 9, “fear” is understood by many as a reference to the law, alluding to the fact that one of its purposes was to inspire fear of God (cf. NIrV) and/or that fear of God leads one to obey his law. In a sense the fear of the Lord is effectively what the law requires of us (cf. NSB).

Ps 33:4  For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. ▤ 

Ps 119:7, 123, 137-138, 144, 172  I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. ▤ 123My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. ▤ 137Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules. 138You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. ▤ 144Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. ▤ 172My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. ▤ 

z Or your just and righteous decrees; also verses 62, 106, 160, 164

The occurrences of “right” (vv. 137, 172; cf. Ps 19:8 ; Neh 9:13 ) indicate or reflect that God’s commands are righteous or upright (cf. NASB, NRSV). Here “testimonies” (vv. 138, 144) denote rules or decrees.

Neh 9:13  You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, … ▤ 

Heb 6:5  … and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, … ▤ 

1Ki 8:56  Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. ▤ 

God’s word is true . . .

See also:

2Sam 7:28  And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. ▤ 

Ps 18:30  This God—his way is perfect;a the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. ▤ 

a Or blameless

Ps 119:142, 151  Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. ▤ 151But you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true. ▤ 

Prov 30:5  Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. ▤ 

John 21:24  This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. ▤ 

Rev 19:9  And the angel saidb to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” ▤ 

b Greek he said

Rev 21:5  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ▤ 

1Ki 17:24  And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.” ▤ 

Ps 119:43, 160  And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules. ▤ 160The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. ▤ 

“The sum of your word” (v. 160) means all of God’s word.

Eccl 12:10  The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. ▤ 

“The Preacher” refers to the person who wrote Ecclesiastes, possibly Solomon or a later editor. As such this speaks of what is ultimately God’s word as being true.

John 17:17  Sanctify themc in the truth; your word is truth. ▤ 

c Greek Set them apart (for holy service to God)

Here “your word” may be referring to Scripture generally, the gospel message primarily or, possibly, Jesus himself.

Ps 19:7, 9  The law of the Lord is perfect,d reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; ▤ 9the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rulese of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. ▤ 

d Or blameless

e Or just decrees

In conjunction with being true (v. 9) God’s word/law is perfect (v. 7; cf. James 1:25 ) and sure (v. 7; cf. Ps 119:86 ).

Ps 111:7  The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; … ▤ 

Ps 119:86  All your commandments are sure; they persecute me with falsehood; help me! ▤ 

James 1:25  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. ▤ 

Matt 5:18  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. ▤ 

As he does here, Jesus often introduced his teachings with “truly, I say to you”, underlining the importance and truthfulness of the words to follow.

Luke 1:1-4  Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. ▤ 

Luke’s Gospel was based on eyewitnesses’ accounts and careful investigation, to show the certainty – or truth – of gospel teaching (cf. John 21:24 ).

John 10:35  If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken ▤ 

The clause “Scripture cannot be broken” is often understood to be a reference to the inerrancy of God’s word, meaning that it cannot be faulted, being true and remaining so. Hence the inclusion of this verse here. However it may instead mean that Scripture cannot be “altered” (NLT) or “annulled” (NRSV).

. . . and what God’s word foretells comes true

See also:

1Ki 8:56  Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. ▤ 

2Ki 10:10  Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the Lord, which the Lord spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for the Lord has done what he said by his servant Elijah. ▤ 

The phrase “fall to the earth” speaks of failure.

Isa 44:26  … [God] who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’ and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins’; … ▤ 

Jer 1:12  Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” ▤ 

Jer 39:16  Go, and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will fulfill my words against this city for harm and not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day. ▤ 

The fulfillment spoken of here is testified to in Lamentations 2:17 below.

Lam 2:17  The Lord has done what he purposed; he has carried out his word, which he commanded long ago; he has thrown down without pity; he has made the enemy rejoice over you and exalted the might of your foes. ▤ 

Ezek 12:25  For I am the Lord; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

Zec 1:6  But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they repented and said, As the Lord of hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so has he dealt with us. ▤ 

God’s words – primarily threatened judgments – “caught up with” (CEV) the people’s ancestors.

Matt 2:14-18, 22-23  And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” ▤ 22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.” ▤ 

Acts 1:16  Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. ▤ 

Acts 3:17-18  And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. ▤ 

Rev 10:7  … but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servantsf the prophets. ▤ 

f Greek bondservants

This “mystery of God” which he had announced (by his word) to the prophets appears to primarily refer to his quashing of all evil and enforcement of his rule, eternally (cf. 11:15-18).

  • It is God’s word that stands:

Jer 44:28  And those who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all the remnant of Judah, who came to the land of Egypt to live, shall know whose word will stand, mine or theirs. ▤ 

God’s word is living and active

See also:

Two reasons for describing God’s word as “living” are that it never ceases to be pertinent and it keeps on influencing and affecting people. The latter reason also shows it to be active. Note that the following subsection also reflects that God’s word is living and active.

Heb 4:12a  For the word of God is living and active … ▤ 

Acts 7:38b  He [Moses] received living oracles to give to us. ▤ 

1Pet 1:23  … since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; … ▤ 

1Jn 2:14  I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. ▤ 

God’s word “lives” (GNT, NCV, NIV; cf. NLT) in believers.

2Jn 1:1-2  The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: … ▤ 

Acts 12:24  But the word of God increased and multiplied. ▤ 

1Thes 2:13  And we also thank God constantlyg for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. ▤ 

g Or without ceasing

2Tim 2:8-9  Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! ▤ 

Although Paul was imprisoned – with his activities curtailed – in contrast God’s word was not. It continued to spread and change people’s lives.

God’s word is powerful

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ▤ 

God’s word can penetrate to the very depths of our inner-selves, exposing our thoughts and intentions for what they really are.

Jer 5:14  Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: “Because you have spoken this word, behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them. ▤ 

The use of “fire” (cf. Jer 20:9 ; Jer 23:29 ) depicts the power and intensity of God’s words, particularly applicable in the case of his words of judgment. The declaration that it would consume the people probably alludes to its fulfillment, which would bring their destruction (cf. Jer 23:29 ; Hos 6:5 ).

Jer 20:9  If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. ▤ 

Jeremiah found that he was not able to refrain from speaking the word of God given to him to proclaim. Its intensity was such that he could not hold it in.

Jer 23:29  Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? ▤ 

The second simile depicts the destructive power of the fulfillment of God’s words of judgment.

Hos 6:5  Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. ▤ 

God’s words, spoken by the prophets, cut and slew the unrepentant people, pronouncing their condemnation with frightening judgments – which if not heeded would kill the people on their fulfillment (cf. Jer 5:14 ).

Acts 19:20  So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. ▤ 

This speaks of God’s word triumphing in power over spiritual opposition.

Eph 6:17  … and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, … ▤ 

The description of God’s word as “the sword of the Spirit”, the only offensive weapon listed in “the whole armor of God” (cf. vv. 13-17), emphasizes its power and thrust.

  • God’s word accomplishes his purpose for it:

Isa 55:10-11  For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11so 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, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ▤ 

Romans 9:6a similarly refers to the fact that God’s word does not fail – “… it is not as though the word of God has failed.”

God’s word is everlasting

1Pet 1:23-25  … since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. ▤ 

A number of commentators assert that the imperishable “seed” refers to “the living and abiding word of God” (cf. CEV). Alternatively it may allude to God’s own immortality (cf. GNT).

Ps 111:7-8  The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; 8they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. ▤ 

In v. 8, “they” may well be referring to God’s precepts (v. 7b; cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIrV, NLT), hence the inclusion of the verse here. But note that the reference could instead be to his works (v. 7a), being “performed” in faithfulness and uprightness (v. 8b).

Ps 119:89, 144, 152, 160  Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. ▤ 144Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. ▤ 152Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever. ▤ 160The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. ▤ 

Verse 89b may be implying that God’s word “stands firm as the heavens” (AMP; cf. CEV, Matt 5:18 ). Or it may have in view the authority or standing of God’s word over all things.

Matt 5:18  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. ▤ 

The phrase “until all is accomplished” refers to Jesus fulfilling “all” of which the law spoke. Presumably this will come to pass in full at the consummation of his work at the end of the age.

Matt 24:35  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ▤ 

Note: God’s word surpasses everything of this world

Ps 138:2  I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.h ▤ 

h Or you have exalted your word above all your name

Ps 19:10  More to be desired are they [the ordinances of God] than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. ▤ 

God’s word is “sweeter … than honey” in that it brings pure enjoyment, like honey, but even more so.

Ps 119:96  I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad. ▤ 

The most perfect things of this world have limitations – but not God’s commands. The implication may well be that God’s word is the only thing in this world that is entirely perfect (cf. CEV, GNT).

  • God’s promises are precious and very great:

2Pet 1:4  … by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. ▤ 

God’s word is also spoken of as great in Psalms 19:162, “I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.”.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Functions of God’s Word (I): General

See also:

Note the introductory comment on Key Old Testament Covenants.

God’s word makes known his commands

See also:

Deut 5:4-22  The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, 5while I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said: 6“‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 7“‘You shall have no other gods beforei me. 8“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10but showing steadfast love to thousandsj of those who love me and keep my commandments. 11“‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. 12“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15You shall remember that you were a slavek in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. 16“‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 17“‘You shall not murder.l 18“‘And you shall not commit adultery. 19“‘And you shall not steal. 20“‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 21“‘And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’ 22“These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. ▤ 

i Or besides

j Or to the thousandth generation

k Or servant

l The Hebrew word also covers causing human death through carelessness or negligence

That the Ten Commandments (vv. 7-21; cf. Ex 20:1-17) are made known by God’s word – in what he said and wrote – is clearly indicated in vv. 4-5, 22.

Num 15:31  Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him. ▤ 

Although having a negative context, this and 1 Kings 13:21b below do indicate or at least imply that God’s word makes known his commands.

1Ki 13:21b  Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you, … ▤ 

Ps 119:172  My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. ▤ 

Ps 147:19  He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rulesm to Israel. ▤ 

m Or and just decrees

Isa 1:10  Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teachingn of our God, you people of Gomorrah! ▤ 

n Or law

The “teaching of our God” primarily has God’s law in view (cf. text note).

Isa 2:3  … and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law,o and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. ▤ 

o Or teaching

God makes known his “ways” or law through his word.

  • Through God’s word one knows God’s will:

Rom 2:18  … and [you] know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; … ▤ 

Through learning God’s word or law, one is able to gain a good knowledge of God’s will – here primarily God’s will for us, regarding how he wants us to live. The term “what is excellent” quite possibly is speaking of what is best or “what is right” (CEV, GNT, NIrV) as in knowing “right from wrong” (NLT).

God’s word makes known his plans

See also:

1Ki 6:11-13  Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, 12“Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. 13And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel.” ▤ 

God’s word make known to Solomon God’s plan, which was dependant on Solomon’s obedience. God planned to fulfill his covenant promise to David and to remain amongst the people, most prominently in the newly completed temple (v. 12a).

Isa 38:4-6  Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5“Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.p 6I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city. ▤ 

p Hebrew to your days

Isa 46:11b  [God:] I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. ▤ 

Jer 29:10  For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. ▤ 

Lam 2:17  The Lord has done what he purposed; he has carried out his word, which he commanded long ago; he has thrown down without pity; he has made the enemy rejoice over you and exalted the might of your foes. ▤ 

Heb 6:13-14  For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” ▤ 

  • God’s gospel of Jesus Christ is made known – in part at least – through the prophetic writings in God’s word:

Rom 16:25-26  Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— ▤ 

God’s word plays a role in salvation

See also:

1Cor 15:1-2  Now I would remind you, brothers,q of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. ▤ 

q Or brothers and sisters; also verses 6, 31, 50, 58

Eph 1:13  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

On believing God’s word, the gospel of our salvation, one is included in Christ and marked as such with a seal – the Holy Spirit – providing and ensuring one’s salvation.

2Tim 3:15  … and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. ▤ 

James 1:18, 21  Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. ▤ 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. ▤ 

Verse 18 speaks of the key role of God’s word in the rebirth of believers (cf. 1Pet 1:23 ), which of course leads to salvation (v. 21).

1Pet 1:23  … since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; … ▤ 

1Pet 2:2  Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation ▤ 

The “pure spiritual milk” most likely primarily refers to God’s word – “the pure milk of the word” (NKJV).

John 5:24  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. ▤ 

  • Salvation is far from those who ignore God’s word:

Ps 119:155  Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. ▤ 

God’s word plays a role in sanctification

Sanctification refers to the process in which believers are made holy. This is primarily achieved through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death. Additionally, believers are continually being transformed by God, becoming more like Jesus Christ and increasingly devoid of sin.

John 15:3  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. ▤ 

By Jesus imparting his God-given words to the disciples, they were cleansed of that which is sinful.

John 17:17  Sanctify themr in the truth; your word is truth. ▤ 

r Greek Set them apart (for holy service to God)

Here Jesus effectively prays that God would sanctify his people by his word.

Acts 20:32  And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. ▤ 

This suggests that God’s word sanctifies, by virtue of the fact that it builds up believers and qualifies them for an inheritance that belongs to those who are sanctified.

Eph 5:25-27  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.s ▤ 

s Or holy and blameless

The phrase “washing with water” (v. 26) is understood by some to be a reference to baptism, but more often it is seen simply as a figurative description of Christ’s cleansing of the church through its exposure to God’s word (v. 26). As such, in conjunction with his death, through the word Jesus Christ makes the church holy.

1Tim 4:4-5  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. ▤ 

Although food is primarily in view here (cf. v. 3), v. 5 illustrates that God’s word sanctifies.

Deut 32:2  May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb. ▤ 

Here Moses asserts that his teaching rejuvenates and nourishes, fostering spiritual growth. This can be applied to all God’s word and the spiritual growth and renewal that it brings to believers – aspects of their sanctification.

  • God’s word is at work in those who believe:

1Thes 2:13  And we also thank God constantlyt for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. ▤ 

t Or without ceasing

This in part points to the sanctifying work of God’s word in believers.

God’s word helps people avoid sin

See also:

Ps 119:9-11, 127-128, 165  How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. ▤ 127Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. 128Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way. ▤ 165Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. ▤ 

In v. 165, “stumble” is quite possibly a reference to committing sin, as is the similar expression “his steps do not slip”, below in Psalms 37:31.

Ps 17:4  With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. ▤ 

Ps 37:31  The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. ▤ 

2Pet 1:4  … by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. ▤ 

1Jn 2:1  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. ▤ 

John 16:1  I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. ▤ 

Jesus told his disciples about coming persecutions (cf. 15:18-25), so that when these did come his disciples would not fall away – which is indeed sin. Likewise, taking such words of Jesus to heart helps keep us from faltering or falling away in times of persecution and hardship.

  • God’s people are warned by his word:

Ps 19:11  Moreover, by them [God’s rules] is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. ▤ 

God’s word helps people learn to fear God

God’s word helps people learn to revere and fear God by teaching about who he is, what he has done, what he requires of us and the consequences of not obeying him.

Deut 4:10  … how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’ ▤ 

Deut 17:18-19  And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved byu the Levitical priests. 19And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, … ▤ 

u Hebrew from before

Deut 31:12-13  Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, 13and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. ▤ 

Prov 2:1-2, 5  My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, 2making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; ▤ 5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. ▤ 

God’s word encourages people

Rom 15:4  For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. ▤ 

1Thes 4:16-18  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words. ▤ 

Heb 12:5-6  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” ▤ 

In exhorting us (v. 5), God’s word encourages us (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT) to think and act as God wants.

Rom 16:25  Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages … ▤ 

Strengthening is an aspect and goal of encouragement. This verse may be meaning that God strengthens people in the faith through the proclamation of the gospel (cf. CEV, NCV, NIV); hence the verse’s inclusion here. Alternatively, it may be speaking of God strengthening people as being consistent with the gospel’s message (AMP; cf. GNT, NLT).

  • God’s word brings comfort:

Ps 119:50, 52  This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. ▤ 52When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord. ▤ 

In v. 50 the psalmist says that his comfort in suffering is God’s promise which preserves or renews (“revives”, NLT) his life, through the hope that it gives. Perhaps the reason the psalmist found comfort in God’s laws (v. 52) was that in obeying them he could be confident that he remained in God’s will and could look forward to the fulfillment of it, including God’s promises.

Other roles of God’s word

1Sam 3:21  And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. ▤ 

Here “word” is probably referring to direct revelation or God’s spoken word, rather than God’s written word. But the concept of God revealing himself through his “word” can certainly be applied to his written word.

Hos 4:1  Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; … ▤ 

This verse speaks of God making a charge against the people. It illustrates that God admonishes his people through his word, which is very common in the OT.

1Tim 4:4-5  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. ▤ 

The expression “the word of God and prayer” may have in view the use/role of God’s word in prayer or as the basis for prayer. Alternatively “the word of God” could instead be referring to God’s word teaching that all food is acceptable (cf. . . . Believers are released from the food regulations of the law).

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ▤ 

As noted earlier, a person’s thoughts and attitudes are shown clearly for what they are in the light of God’s word. Thus it allows a person’s thoughts and attitudes to be judged, by the person themselves and also by others. But note that God’s judgment may what is primarily in view here (cf. v. 13).

  • On Judgment Day people will be judged in the light of Jesus’ words, including their response to them:

John 12:48  The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. ▤ 

Note: God acts by his word

See also:

The references to God’s “word” in this subsection are essentially speaking of his command. These verses imply that God merely needs to command things to be done for them to happen.

Ps 33:6  By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. ▤ 

2Pet 3:5  For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, … ▤ 

Ps 147:15-18  He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. 16He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. 17He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? 18He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow. ▤ 

This passage suggests that God controls nature by his word (vv. 15, 18a).

Ps 107:20  He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. ▤ 

Isa 55:11  … 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, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ▤ 

  • Jesus Christ sustains all things by his powerful word:

Heb 1:3a  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

Functions of God’s Word (II): Blessings

See also:

Life . . .

See also:

Lev 18:5  You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord. ▤ 

Deut 8:3  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every wordv that comes from the mouth of the Lord. ▤ 

v Hebrew by all

The supernatural provision of manna by God through his command or word, demonstrated that it is God’s word which is the ultimate source of life’s sustenance. This is true of both his spoken and written word, and is applicable to both physical and spiritual life.

Deut 32:46-47  … he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 47For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” ▤ 

The Israelites’ lives were to be based on God’s word. By taking God’s words to heart the Israelites would have life (cf. Lev 18:5 ). Possibly a fullness of life is partly in view, along with longevity.

Ps 119:93  I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. ▤ 

The psalmist appears to have in view the strength and meaning he found in God’s word reviving (cf. NASB, NLT) and/or preserving (cf. GNT, NIV) his life during affliction.

Prov 7:2  … keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; … ▤ 

God is not the speaker here. Rather it appears that the writer is addressing a son. But biblical wisdom literature – as with all Scripture – is accepted as God’s word, inspired by God. As such these “commandments” are correlated with God’s word and commands.

Prov 19:16  Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises his ways will die. ▤ 

. . . including spiritual and eternal life

John 5:24  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. ▤ 

John 6:63, 68  [Jesus:] It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. ▤ 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, … ▤ 

In v. 63b Jesus appears to be saying that his words are spiritual, producing spiritual or eternal life. With the preceding reference to the Holy Spirit giving life (v. 63a), Jesus may well be implying that it is by the Holy Spirit that his words produce this life.

John 8:51  Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. ▤ 

John 20:31  … but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ▤ 

John wrote in his gospel of certain miraculous signs of Jesus (cf. v. 30), so that in reading it people would believe in Jesus and so “have life in his name”.

Phil 2:16  … holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. ▤ 

  • The Scriptures testify about Jesus Christ (in whom is eternal life):

John 5:39  You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, … ▤ 

Jesus appears to be meaning that the Jewish leaders studied OT Scripture as an end in itself, thinking that doing this alone would lead to eternal life. Thus they failed to look beyond OT Scripture to whom the Scriptures testified, in whom is eternal life. In effect they failed to believe the Scriptures (cf. vv. 46-47).

Light

See also:

God’s word gives “light” in the sense that it gives insight, which is largely what is in view in the verses here – and is reflected in the following pair of subsections. Also bear in mind that God’s word also gives “light” in the sense that it leads to well-being or salvation, turning the darkness of one’s circumstances to light (cf. . . . God gives his people light even amidst darkness). Such outcomes are an effect of the insight and hope that God’s word gives – and/or a product of God’s favor towards those who live by his word.

Ps 19:8  … the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; … ▤ 

God’s commands “light up the way” (NCV™), “giving insight to life” (NLT).

Ps 119:105, 130  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ▤ 130The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. ▤ 

Prov 6:22-23  When you walk, theyw will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, … ▤ 

w Hebrew it; three times in this verse

Note that in saying “when you lie down, they will watch over you” (v. 22), the writer appears to be referring to the security and peace that is produced by following God’s word.

John 8:12  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ▤ 

Jesus and his teaching give light (cf. Jesus came to bring spiritual light into the world . . .).

Heb 10:32  But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, … ▤ 

The spiritual light of the gospel is referred to here.

2Pet 1:19  And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, … ▤ 

Knowledge

See also:

Isa 51:7  Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. ▤ 

Luke 1:3-4  … it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. ▤ 

Along with providing knowledge, Scripture provides confidence in the truthfulness of it.

John 8:31-32  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ▤ 

Hos 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. ▤ 

In ignoring God’s law the people had effectively rejected knowledge (cf. Jer 8:9 ). Thus this correlates God’s law with knowledge.

Dan 9:2  … in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. ▤ 

This and the remaining references illustrate that Scripture teaches and gives knowledge, by stating particular things that we learn or come to know through Scripture.

John 20:9  … for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. ▤ 

Gal 3:8  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justifyx the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” ▤ 

x Or count righteous; also verses 11, 24

Scripture made known elements of the gospel.

1Jn 5:13  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. ▤ 

  • Not knowing God’s work leads to error:

Matt 22:29  But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. ▤ 

A corollary of God’s word giving knowledge is that not knowing it leads to error (cf. Hos 4:6 ).

Wisdom

See also:

Deut 4:5-6  See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ ▤ 

God’s laws give reliable instruction as to what is best to do in life. Those who observe them are recognized as wise by others (v. 6).

Ps 119:24, 98-100, 104  Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. ▤ 98Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. 99I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. 100I understand more than the aged,y for I keep your precepts. ▤ 104Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. ▤ 

y Or the elders

The psalmist could say that God’s laws were his “counselors” (v. 24), for they gave him sound direction as to which paths to take.

Jer 8:8-9  How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. 9The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom is in them? ▤ 

The people’s assertion that wisdom came with the word of the Lord (v. 8a) was correct, but they were mistaken in thinking that they had the word of the Lord (v. 8b).

Dan 9:13  As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. ▤ 

Matt 7:24, 26  Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. ▤ 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. ▤ 

  • The Scriptures can make one wise for salvation:

2Tim 3:15  … and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. ▤ 

Hope

See also:

Ps 119:49  Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. ▤ 

God had given the psalmist hope by his word, or promise (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

Rom 15:4  For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. ▤ 

Col 1:23  … if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creationz under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. ▤ 

z Or to every creature

  • The gospel tells of “the hope” stored in heaven:

Col 1:5  … because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, … ▤ 

Here “the hope” refers to the object of our hope, i.e. what we hope for.

Joy

Neh 8:8, 12  They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly,a and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. ▤ 12And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. ▤ 

a Or with interpretation, or paragraph by paragraph

Note that v. 9 tells of the people weeping in response to what was being read. Thus it shows that God’s word can also bring sorrow when it convicts people of how they have failed to live up to what it requires.

Ps 19:8a  … the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; … ▤ 

Ps 119:111  Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. ▤ 

Jer 15:16  Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. ▤ 

1Jn 1:4  And we are writing these things so that ourb joy may be complete. ▤ 

b Some manuscripts your

If the meaning given by the text note was intended (cf. NCV, NKJV), then this attests to the joy given by the writings of the Scriptures to its readers.

  • God’s word brings peace:

Ps 119:165  Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. ▤ 

Those who love (and so live by) God’s laws have great peace – peace with God, inner peace and no needless conflict with others.

Freedom

Ps 119:45  … and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts. ▤ 

The psalmist appears to be speaking of freedom from things that ordinarily confine or burden a person. Possibly sin and its effects are in view (cf. John 8:31-32 ), but in the context it is more likely emotional burdens and oppression that normally would have accompanied hard times.

John 8:31-32  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ▤ 

This is probably primarily referring to freedom from sin (cf. vv. 34-36).

James 1:25  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. ▤ 

The “law of liberty” (cf. James 2:12 ) refers to God’s word (cf. vv. 22-24) – seemingly including the OT moral law as interpreted by the NT. This “law” that Christians are under gives liberty/freedom from both OT rigorous regulations and sin.

James 2:12  So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. ▤ 

Note: Rejecting and not keeping God’s word brings his judgment

Isa 30:9, 12-13  For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; ▤ 12Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, 13therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; … ▤ 

2Chr 36:16  But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy. ▤ 

Prov 13:13  Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. ▤ 

Isa 5:24  Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

Jer 6:10-12, 19  To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it. 11Therefore I am full of the wrath of the Lord; I am weary of holding it in. “Pour it out upon the children in the street, and upon the gatherings of young men, also; both husband and wife shall be taken, the elderly and the very aged. 12Their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and wives together, for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land,” declares the Lord. ▤ 19Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. ▤ 

Hos 8:12-13  Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing. 13As for my sacrificial offerings, they sacrifice meat and eat it, but the Lord does not accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt. ▤ 

The clause “they shall return to Egypt” (v. 13b) speaks figuratively of Israel returning to slavery, which this time would be in Assyria.

Zec 7:12-14  They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. 13“As Ic called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts, 14“and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.” ▤ 

c Hebrew he

Matt 7:26-27  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. ▤ 

John 12:47-48  If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. ▤ 

Those who have known Jesus’ words will be judged in accordance with having known the teaching and by the content of it. This means that those who have rejected and not obeyed it will be condemned (v. 48b).

1Cor 14:37-38  If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. ▤ 

The final clause may be speaking of being “not recognized” by God or Jesus Christ, presumably on judgment day. Alternatively, it may be speaking of church members expelling such people.

  • Those who fail to take hold of God’s word:

Luke 8:11-14  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. ▤ 

The two groups portrayed in vv. 13-14 show some interest in God’s word, but lack commitment to it. Additionally, the group in v. 14 are noted as having higher priorities.

Pray for persecuted Christians