"The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit . . . it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." — Hebrews 4:12
The 19th-century English preacher Charles Spurgeon once said that the Reformation began when Martin Luther found a discarded Bible in his monastery. As he began to read it, God's Word grew like a seed in his heart, and the result was a world-transforming movement.
But this gentle image of a seed is not the way the power of God's Word is described in Hebrews 4:12, one of the key verses in the foundational idea of sola Scriptura, or "Scripture alone." Here God's Word is described as a sharp, powerful, and precise blade, dividing truth from the rebellious lies we harbor in our hearts.
Only Scripture has this power — not the traditions of any church, nor the insights of any leader. As Luther said, "A simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it." Indeed, in speaking about the Reformation that he initiated, Luther said, "I did nothing. The Word did everything."
God's Word, the Bible, has a precision and power you will find nowhere else. Will you let it be active in you? Read it with an open heart. Let it form the words that come from your mouth. Let it shape the actions you take. Only by knowing and living in and through God's Word can we please him and serve him in our daily lives.