The Power of the Divine Word
Hebrews 4:12-13
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword…


1. The characteristics of the Divine Word, as "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword," are illustrated by its effects upon the intellect of man. The carnal mind rebels against, and, by subtle sophistries, attempts to deny its truth; but it has a powerful influence upon the understanding, spiritualising that understanding, and enabling it to discern spiritual things. It carries with it undoubtable credence, and forces the reluctant will and judgment. Its doctrines, how heavenly! its precepts, how holy!

2. The effect of this Word upon the conscience, in convincing of sin and producing godly sorrow, is an illustration of the description in this passage. It is common to view sin, even when it is acknowledged and condemned by the transgressor, in the light simply of its effects on society, or the injury it inflicts on a man's own reputation, property, or health; but when the Divine Word penetrates the soul with a convertine power, it is no longer regarded with reference only to its personal or temporal consequences, but as an atrocious violation of the law and an insult to the glory of God. "Against Thee, and Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight." Then again, with regard to the conscience, the Word of God is quick and powerful, for it annihilates the spirit of self-defence, extenuation, and apology, together with those self-righteous principles which exist in the unregenerate man.

3. The characteristics of this Divine Word are manifested in the effects of it upon the heart, in producing sanctification. This, too, is a severe progress, involving much struggle and self-denial. Hence the Word of God is not only a two edged sword in respect to conviction, but in respect to its operations in perfecting religion and preparing us for eternal glory.

4. The operation of truth is sometimes remarkably " quick " as well as "powerful." A remarkable instance of its quick and mighty operation is recorded in the conversion of Paul.

5. The potent influence of the Word is often for a long period concealed from the outward world in the depths of the soul. It is thus a "discerner of the thoughts."


1. The representation of the text ought to enhance our estimation of the Divine Word. It is doing what all the philosophy in the world could never do. How ought we then to estimate it?

2. We should be induced to employ the most zealous efforts for the circulation of the Divine Word by means of printed copies, and the support of Christian ministrations, both at home and abroad.

3. The characteristics of the Divine Word as given in the text, which we have endeavoured to illustrate, should induce the individual inquiry, What am I doing to obstruct or to sustain its influence in my own soul? You must by the very necessity of the ease, having heard the Word, either receive or reject it.

(F. A. Cox, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: 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 is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The Mighty Power of the Word
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