Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Two-Edged Sword

Recently I’ve been studying the connection between faith and words which this morning led me to an interesting verse that is repeated throughout scripture. The verse is found in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, 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.”

This strange metaphor sent me on a dictionary sleuthing adventure (which is my favorite thing to do!) that has been interesting. I’m not sure I’ve squeezed all the meaning out of this verse, but what I’ve discovered so far is fascinating.

The “word of God” is sometimes used as John uses it in John 1 to mean Jesus Christ. But Paul never calls Christ the Word and so this use of the word seems to mean th just what it says, that the wors of the gospel are quick and powerful. Usually we use the word quick to mean “acting with speed” but the first definition of quick in my dictionary is “living or alive.” Thus the word of the gospel is alive and powerful.

Next comes the strange part of the metaphor for me, “sharper than any two-edged sword.” A two edge sword can inflict damage from both sides of the blade and thus is more powerful, but it also means that if you are striking at an enemy one side of the sword is poised to cut the enemy but the other side is poised to hurt you. In other words, a two-edged sword offers a good or a bad consequence depending upon how the sword is handled. Learning this brought one of those “AH-HA” moments that I love. But before I explain we need to look at the meanings of joint and marrow.

Obviously joint is “a place where two things meet,” but not so obvious is the meaning of marrow which is “the best or essential part” and has come to be metaphorically known as “vitality.”

Now for the “Ah-Ha” part of my study. What the verse is telling us is that the word of God is a living and powerful thing which if believed and acted upon will bring us great joy and will protect us from enemies; but if fought against or not used, it will separate us from God to whom we were once joined and from the Spirit which gives vitality and life to our being.


DeRae said...

En guard!

Wendi said...

Thank you, as always, for sharing your insights on this. :)

Anonymous said...

I love these insights...keep em coming!