Sharper than a two-edged sword

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”

Hebrews 4:12

Today, the English teacher in me is coming out. I’m going to start this post off by analysing the above scripture piece by piece. By the way, if you enjoy this type of analysis, root word, kinda thing, I would suggest you try out the “bible mapping technique” as part of your quiet time journalling. A quick Google search should show you what it’s all about. I’m keen to create a post on it in the near future, so stay tuned for more information.

For the word of God- the thoughts, motives and doctrines of God
is living and powerful,- is purposeful, working, active
and sharper than any two-edged sword- a deadly weapon
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,- capable of separating the mind, will and emotions, from our connection to God
and of joints and marrow-the hard, calcified bone; and the soft, substantial core of the bone
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart- able to judge the motives  and character of the inner self

We are emotional human beings. Some of us embrace our emotions, some of us have learnt (either consciously and/or subconsciously) to turn our emotions off. Some of us, like me, can go from hard as a rock to damsel in distress in the blink of a (very tearful) eye. We live in a world that is driven by emotional satisfaction- do whatever makes you happy, trust your heart, YOLO; a world that looks for quick fixes for personal and, often, selfish gain; a world that disregards things of eternal importance. It’s far easier to let yourself get swept up by the waves of emotion and turn a blind eye to the Truth. I’m learning to trust in the power of God’s living and powerful word.


What is the word of God?

The word of God, in this context, is logos. It generally refers to the written word of God, The Bible, but what makes is living and powerful is that it is a vehicle for the thoughts and plans of God. It is the same Word that was there in the beginning, the Word that became flesh. (John 1:1-5,14) God’s plans, his logos word has been alive and working since the creation of the world, lived out through the life of Jesus and still lives within us today. The Bible is not just a book filled with stories and letters for our entertainment, it is is the vehicle through which we learn about the deepest treasures of God’s thoughts and plans, it is a weapon that equips us to live according to His good, pleasing and perfect will; and that, my friend, is eternal satisfaction.

How do we use this weapon?

Every new years, Andy and I write down our goals and dreams for the year ahead. We decided that this year, our biggest thing would be to “pray first, react second”. Wow, has it been difficult, we hardly get it right. When hardship strikes, our souls (mind, will and emotion) take over… I implode into an emotional wreck and Andy goes straight into figuring out how to fix the situation and then we pull it together and try to fix the problem ourselves. We often make a bigger mess of things and it can take hours, if at all, before we think of going to God. Once we remove ourselves from the situation and hand things over to God, the situation doesn’t always get resolved but we do always seem surprised at how quickly His peace comes and how much easier it is to tackle it all in His strength.

The idea is to use the Word of God to help you separate your own thoughts, plans and emotions from the situation you’re facing, and help you to connect with God so that you can see His bigger picture, the mysteries of His will, and rise victoriously above the situation at hand. Our souls can become calloused, tainted, bruised by our experiences; the very nature of our humanness. But our spirit is what connects us with God, it is free from our fleshly imperfections and carries within it the substance of eternity. This is why it is so important to spend time with God, seeking out His treasures and understanding your part in His great scheme of things, feeding your spirit with eternal substance. When your sword is sharpened by wisdom and insight from God, it is easier to not become overwhelmed by what you’re feeling but rather to look further than yourself and become anchored our steadfast God.

It’s an inside-out process

As I said, I don’t often get this right but I’m getting there. Before we can take the sword out into battle, we need to let it do some work within us. In a world that has adopted the phrase “only God can judge me”, we need to allow the Word of God to discern the thoughts and intents of our hearts. What a courageous, humble and sometimes painful thing it is to sit before God and say: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) We need to weigh up our lives against His word, look closely at our character. This process helps us to balance our soul with our spirit, to get to the place where our mind, our will and our emotions are not governed by our situations but by the Word of God that aligns our spirit with His. 


I love the way The Message version describes Hebrews 4:12: “God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.” May we let the Good Surgeon do his work within us. May we seek the will of God over emotional satisfaction. May we learn to pray first and react second. 

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