word or WORD ?
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword..." Hebrews 4:12
Many Christians believe the phrase "the word of God" in that verse refers to the Bible. As you will soon see that is a dangerous error. I am convinced that "the Word" in that verse refers to Jesus Christ and to think otherwise will take away from the serious warning given in that passage. In order to prove that let's take a closer look at that verse in its context:
Hebrews 4:9 "So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God;
4:10 for whoever enters God's rest also ceases from his labors as God did from His.
4:11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience.
4:12 For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
4:13 And before HIM no creature is hidden, but all are
open and laid bare to the eyes of HIM with whom we have to do.
As you noticed, I capitalized "the Word of God". In the original Greek text, words were not written with upper case letters as we do in English. So whether the translation reads Word or word, in either case it is simply the translator's opinion. My point is that there is nothing which demands that "Word" be translated "word". Rather, it is the context that decides.
When looking at the entire context of Hebrews chapter four, I am convinced that in this verse, "word" could refer to nothing other than the "Word of God", Jesus Christ our Lord. Here are my reasons:
1. The phrase "the Word of God" comes from the Greek "o LOGOS tou Theo". LOGOS is the same Greek word which the apostle John used when he said: "In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God and the WORD was God." (John 1:1)
And again in Revelation 19:13, where he said: "...and the name by which He is called is the WORD of God. In these verses the Word of God is clearly the Son of God.
On the other hand, It is also true that the same Greek phrase "logos of God" was used to represent the written word of God, but in those verses it is always clear that it does not refer to the Son of God. That is not the case in Hebrews 4:12. In fact, one must stretch his imagination to the breaking point in order to believe that the Bible is "living and active" or that the Bible (an inanimate object) is able to "discern the thoughts and actions of my heart". No, these are the characteristics of a resurrected and living Saviour. For example, the word of God says this about the WORD of God:
"...for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands
every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, he will cast you off for ever." (1 Chronicles 28:9)
"And all the churches shall know that I am He who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve." (Revelation 2:23)
2. My second reason for believing that the "Word of God" refers not to the book - but to the author of the book, is that the same passage which says the WORD of God is "living and active" also says:
Hebrews 4:13 "And before HIM no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of HIM with whom we have to do."
How could the Bible be referred to as a "him"? In my opinion, those who translate "Word" with a small w, are following the traditions they have been taught instead of looking closely at what the scriptures really say. As I was discussing this with my wife, she asked a very good question. She said: "Why do you think that Satan would want this obvious mistranslation to be taught? What could he gain from this?" So we prayed and studied the verse to find an answer.
The first thing that came to mind was that thinking that the "word of God" meant the Bible would lead people away from the obvious warning of this verse - that it was Jesus Himself who is searching our hearts and is going to judge us according to our intentions.
The second thing that came to mind was: "Judge our intentions about what?" A quick look at the context answered that question. Verse 4:11, says that we are to be wary of falling by disobedience, and a previous verse (Hebrews 4:9) tells us what particular kind of disobedience of which we were to be wary...
"So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God's rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his."
"Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience."
The warning is clear, Jesus is looking at the intentions of our hearts about the sabbath. If we know to keep the sabbath day holy and then go ahead and break it by working for money, or setting it aside in order to keep our worldly pleasures, we will fall by the same sort of disobedience which caused the Israelites to fall in the wilderness...and because they fell they never entered God's rest.
God knows the secret intentions of every heart, including yours. So be honest with yourself; hasn't the Holy Spirit dealt with you about keeping the sabbath day holy? Have you obeyed fully?
In an earlier part of the same passage in Hebrews, the author gave this alarm...
"TODAY WHEN YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION."
Who were they that heard and yet were REBELLIOUS? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? And with whom was he provoked forty years? Was it not with those who SINNED... And to whom did he swear that they should never enter his rest, but to those who were DISOBEDIENT?" Hebrews 3:16f
Have you heard His voice today and ignored it? Those who knowingly break God's Sabbath are rebellious and disobedient sinners who have hardened their hearts as in the rebellion of the Israelites. They will never enter God's rest because by not "ceasing from their labors as God did from His", they refuse to honor the God of creation who said: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy".
That is the message that Satan wants to keep Christians from hearing! "...and few will find the way. Mt 7:14
Harold and Donna Kupp