Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and operative.” As such, the Word of God is very active. It functions to do many things, both for God and for us. In this post, we’ll look at some verses that show six of the primary functions of the living and operative Word of God.
1. The Word of God testifies concerning Christ.
John 5:39 says, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that testify concerning Me.”
The first function of the Word of God is to testify concerning Christ. From beginning to end, the Scriptures reveal the wonderful Christ and His redemptive work.
The New Testament clearly testifies concerning Christ. But what about the Old Testament? Is the Old Testament—with its many stories, prophecies, poems, and genealogies—really about Christ?
After His resurrection, in Luke 24:44 the Lord Jesus told His disciples: “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all the things written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and Psalms concerning Me must be fulfilled.” This means that everything in the Old Testament, which includes the books of the law, the prophets, and the psalms, was written concerning Christ!
What this means for us: Since the Scriptures testify concerning Christ, we should focus on Him when we come to the Bible in order to get the full benefit of the Word. Before we read, we can pray, “Lord Jesus, I don’t want to miss You in Your Word. I come to You right now. Help me see You on every page.”
2. The Word of God makes men wise unto salvation.
In 2 Timothy 3:15, it says, “And that from a babe you have known the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
The Scriptures make men wise “unto salvation,” indicating that they reveal God’s way of salvation in Christ and the pathway to salvation through faith. Because of His Word, we know how to be saved.
What this means for us: This verse was written to a young believer named Timothy, who knew the Scriptures from his earliest days. We should follow his pattern. Whether we’re young or old, a new Christian or a mature believer, it’s never too late to begin reading the Bible in a regular way. Then the Scriptures can make us wise unto salvation day by day.
3. The Word of God causes people to be regenerated.
First Peter 1:23 says, “Having been regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.”
God’s word is a seed of life. When people hear His word, it operates within them to regenerate them with His life. Note 2 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version says:
“A seed is a container of life. The word of God, as the incorruptible seed, contains God’s life. Hence, it is living and abiding. Through this word we were regenerated. It is God’s living and abiding word of life that conveys God’s life into our spirit for our regeneration.”
To be regenerated is to be reborn with God’s life. This is what happened to us when we were saved.
What this means for us: If we’ve already been regenerated, it’s important to realize God’s living Word can generate life in others also. If our unbelieving friends are open and willing, we can read the Bible with them—not to teach them, but to allow the living and abiding Word of God to enter them. As we pray for them, we can ask the Lord for this seed of life in them to grow, causing them to become regenerated children of God.
4. The Word of God is the believers’ spiritual milk.
First Peter 2:2-3 says, “As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
After babies are born, their immediate need is not to learn, but to be nourished; they need milk to live and grow.
The Bible is the milk that can cause us to grow spiritually. After we receive the Lord, we are like newborns; our most important need is to come daily to the Lord in His Word and drink the spiritual milk. Then, just as a baby grows from eating well, we’ll grow in God’s salvation. Throughout our Christian lives, we should continue to hunger for and be nourished by the healthy milk of God’s Word.
What this means for us: It’s a healthy practice to spend time in the Word each day simply to be nourished. We certainly can and should study the Bible, but it’s essential for us to take in the Word of God as our nourishment, especially as new believers. This will cause us to grow in a normal, healthy way.
5. The Word of God is the believers’ bread of life.
In Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.’”
The Word of God is not only spiritual milk to us; it is also our spiritual bread of life.
We can never graduate from eating the Lord’s Word every day, just as we can never graduate from eating physical meals each day. Even the Lord Jesus, while He was living as a man on the earth, took God’s Word as His bread. So no matter how much we grow in the divine life as believers, we still need to receive daily nourishment from God’s Word to be healthy, normal Christians.
What this means for us: As we grow in the Lord, Satan may tempt us to think we’ve graduated from simple things like enjoying God’s Word each day. But if we know that our spiritual life depends on daily nourishment from the Bible, we’ll come to eat and drink of His Word. Regardless of what’s going on in our lives, Jeremiah 15:16 can become our experience: “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became to me the gladness and joy of my heart.”
6. The Word of God makes the believers complete.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, it says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.”
God’s Word completes the believers, making them fully equipped men of God, ready for every good work.
When we read the Bible with our hearts turned to the Lord, the Word will operate in us, showing us something more of Christ. Seeing more of Christ will automatically teach us, convict us, correct us, and instruct us in righteousness. As this happens, we become more complete as believers and more equipped for every good work.
What this means for us: Every day, we can continue in and profit from God’s Word. We can pray, “Lord, I don’t want to miss what You have for me in Your Word today. I want Your Word to be profitable to me today. Please reveal more of Yourself to me as I read. Make me more complete today than I was yesterday.”
The living Word of God is truly marvelous! It is crucial for us to spend time in it every day. If you would like a free study New Testament that will open God’s Word to you, you can place your order here.