Hebrews 4:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
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.

King James Bible
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

American Standard Version
For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

English Revised Version
For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Webster's Bible Translation
For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Weymouth New Testament
For God's Message is full of life and power, and is keener than the sharpest two-edged sword. It pierces even to the severance of soul from spirit, and penetrates between the joints and the marrow, and it can discern the secret thoughts and purposes of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 Parallel
Commentary
Vincent's Word Studies

The exhortation is enforced by reference to the character of the revelation which sets forth the rest of God. The message of God which promises the rest and urges to seek it, is no dead, formal precept, but is instinct with living energy.

The word of God (ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ)

That which God speaks through any medium. The primary reference is to God's declarations concerning his rest. The fathers explained it of the personal Word as in the Fourth Gospel. But in the Epistle there is no approach to any definite use of λόγος with reference to Christ, not even in the description of his relation to God in Hebrews 1:1-14, where, if anywhere, it might have been expected. In Hebrews 6:5 and Hebrews 11:3 we find ῥῆμα. Everywhere in the Epistle Christ appears as the Son, not as the Word. In this passage, the following predicates, ἐνεργὴς, τομώτερος, κριτικὸς, would hardly be applied to the Logos, and in Hebrews 4:14 he is styled Jesus the Son of God.

Quick and powerful (ζῶν καὶ ἐνεργὴς)

Note the emphatic position of ζῶν living. Living is the word of God, since it is the word of "the living God" (Hebrews 3:12). Living in its essence. For ἐνεργὴς active, energizing, and kindred words, see on John 1:12; see on Philippians 3:21; see on Colossians 1:29; see on Plm 1:6. Manifesting itself actively in the world and in men's hearts. Comp. 1 Peter 1:23.

Sharper than any two-edged sword (τομώτερος ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν μάχαιραν δίστομον)

Τομώτερος sharper from τέμνειν to cut, N.T.o. olxx. The word of God has an incisive and penetrating quality. It lays bare self-delusions and moral sophisms. For the comparison of the word of God or of men to a sword, see Psalm 57:4; Psalm 59:7; Psalm 64:3; Ephesians 6:17. Philo calls his Logos ὁ τομεύς the cutter, as cutting chaos into distinct things, and so creating a kosmos. Ὑπὲρ than, is literally, above. Πᾶσαν any, is every. Δίσμοτον only here and Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:12, lit. two-mouthed. In lxx always of a sword. See Judges 3:16; Psalm 149:6; Proverbs 5:4; Sir. 21:3. In Class. of a cave with a twofold mouth (Soph. Philoct. 16); of double-branching roads (Soph. Oed. Col. 900); of rivers with two mouths (Polyb. xxxiv. 10, 5). Στόμα mouth, of the edge of a sword, Luke 21:24; Hebrews 11:34. Often in lxx, as Genesis 34:26; Joshua 10:28, Joshua 10:33, Joshua 10:35, Joshua 10:37, Joshua 10:39; Judges 1:8. So occasionally in Class., as Homer, Il. xv. 389. Κατεσθίειν or κατέσθειν to devour is used of the sword, Deuteronomy 32:42; 2 Samuel 2:26; Isaiah 31:8; Jeremiah 2:30, etc. Μάχαιρα sword, in Class. a dirk or dagger: rarely, a carving knife; later, a bent sword or sabre as contrasted with a straight, thrusting sword, ξίφος (not in N.T. but occasionally in lxx). Ῥομφαία, Luke 2:35 (see note), elsewhere only in Revelation, very often in lxx, is a large broadsword. In lxx of Goliath's sword, 1 Samuel 17:51

Piercing (διΐκνούμενος)

Lit. coming through. N.T.o.

Even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow (ἄρχι μερισμοῦ ψυχῆς καὶ πνεύματος ἁρμῶν τε καὶ μυελῶν)

Μερισμὸς dividing, only here and Hebrews 2:4, is not to be understood of dividing soul from spirit or joints from marrow. Soul and spirit cannot be said to be separated in any such sense as this, and joints and marrow are not in contact with each other. Μερισμὸς is the act of division; not the point or line of division. Joints and marrow are not to be taken in a literal and material sense. In rendering, construe soul, spirit, joints, marrow, as all dependent on dividing. Joints and marrow (ἁρμῶν, μυελῶν, N.T.o ) are to be taken figuratively as joints and marrow of soul and spirit. This figurative sense is exemplified in classical usage, as Eurip. Hippol. 255, "to form moderate friendships, and not πρὸς ἄρκον μυελὸν ψυχῆς to the deep marrow of the soul." The conception of depth applied to the soul is on the same figurative line. See Aesch. Agam. 778; Eurip. Bacch. 203. Attempts to explain on any psychological basis are futile. The form of expression is poetical, and signifies that the word penetrates to the inmost recesses of our spiritual being as a sword cuts through the joints and marrow of the body. The separation is not of one part from another, but operates in each department of the spiritual nature. The expression is expanded and defined by the next clause.

A discerner (κριτικὸς)

N.T.o. olxx. The word carries on the thought of dividing. From κρίνειν to divide or separate, which runs into the sense of judge, the usual meaning in N.T., judgment involving the sifting out and analysis of evidence. In κριτικὸς the ideas of discrimination and judgment are blended. Vulg. discretor.

Of the thoughts and intents of the heart (ἐνθυμήσεων καὶ ἐννοιῶν καρδίας)

continued...

Hebrews 4:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the word.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken to you the word of God: whose faith follow...

Isaiah 49:2 And he has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand has he hid me, and made me a polished shaft...

Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost...

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully...

Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them...

is quick.

Psalm 110:2 The LORD shall send the rod of your strength out of Zion: rule you in the middle of your enemies.

Psalm 119:130 The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please...

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? said the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first...

1 Corinthians 1:24 But to them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

2 Corinthians 10:4,5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)...

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us...

James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and stays for ever.

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever...

1 Peter 2:4,5 To whom coming, as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious...

*Gr:

sharper.

Psalm 45:3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O most mighty, with your glory and your majesty.

Psalm 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;

Proverbs 5:4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

Isaiah 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth...

Isaiah 49:2 And he has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand has he hid me, and made me a polished shaft...

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers...

Acts 5:33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Revelation 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword...

Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Revelation 19:15,21 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron...

and is.

Psalm 139:2 You know my sitting down and my rising up, you understand my thought afar off.

Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

1 Corinthians 14:24,25 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all...

Ephesians 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatever does make manifest is light.

Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts...

Cross References
Psalm 45:3
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty!

Psalm 149:6
Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands,

Proverbs 5:4
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

Isaiah 49:2
He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away.

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

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.

Acts 7:38
This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us.

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