4:12a For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword.
Three astounding properties of the Word of God are revealed in our reading from Hebrews 4:12. No other book wields such qualities as the Bible. This is because it is “the word of God”. It is divine. It is that which God has revealed through His selected servants (cf. 2 Peter 1:21). It is God’s revelation of His truth. All that it says is from God.
The first quality of the Bible mentioned here is “quick”. The word “quick” is the translation of a Greek word zon, which means “living”. Its original verbal form (present participle) in the Greek text suggests a constantly active kind of living. The Word of God is not lifeless, dormant or passive. As the living Word, it powerfully interacts with those who seek its counsels. In John 6:63, Jesus said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The Christian martyr, Stephen, referred to God’s Word as “lively oracles” (Acts 7:38). Because God’s Word is quick, it can quicken our souls. It is not only living, but also life-giving.
The second quality of the Bible stated here is “powerful”. The word “powerful” is the translation of the Greek word energes (ἐνεργες), from which we get the English word “energy”. It indicates that the Word of God is active and energizing. It is able to act and produce all that God has purposed it to accomplish. The Lord said in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, we read of “the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe”.
The third quality of the Bible identified here is that it is “sharper than any twoedged sword”. This depiction of the Word of God is found several times in the Bible (cf. Isaiah 49:2; Revelation 1:16; 2:12; 19:15). The metaphor of a double-edged sword is used to give us a graphic picture of the awesome work that the Word of God can accomplish. God’s Word can pierce or penetrate our thoughts. The Word of God can cut through our conscience to lay bare and confront all our wicked and defiant ways. It exhorts, rebukes, corrects and instructs all who hear.
The Bible is living because its Author lives for ever. It is powerful for its Author is omnipotent. It pierces our hearts for its Author is all-knowing.