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Hebrews 4:12  (King James Version)
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<< Hebrews 4:11   Hebrews 4:13 >>


Hebrews 4:12

God's Word is alive! This means it is eternal, always current, always essential, always true, pure, and refined. Other writings fail when measured against these qualities, and they pass into oblivion. The Word of God is a discerner, a critic, of the heart's inner workings. It is penetrating, scrutinizing our desires, and we should test our thinking against what Scripture says is good.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment (1998)



Hebrews 4:12-13

Commentator William Barclay renders the beginning of verse 12 as, "For the word of God is instinct with life." For the Christian, what God says is always an issue; it is always essential to process any given circumstance through it. However, by way of a vivid contrast, in terms of importance other writings easily slide into the background of one's thought on their way to oblivion. God's Word, though, is a penetrating critic scrutinizing a person's desires and intentions. It can make him feel naked before it and compelled to take action in the right direction—almost as though he has a knife at his throat.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment



Hebrews 4:12-13

Depending on our motivation, God's ability to "see" into our heart can be either good or bad. He will see whether our sin was one of weakness, whether we went down fighting with all our being, or whether we just casually gave in to a self-centered impulse and deliberately proceeded along the course of sin (James 1:12-16).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Innocent Victims?



Hebrews 4:12-13

The Word of God is always an issue in our lives. The greatest gift a human being can be given is to hear this message, the Gospel Message, because around it our belief system is to be conformed. The Word of God becomes an issue because it tests a person's life and sets the standards of acceptable behavior and attitudes.

Verse 13 contains a very vivid picture in "all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." In Greek literature, this illustration alludes to two things. First, it pictures a priest prepared to sacrifice an animal, so he has turned the head of the animal to put it into a position to cut its throat. In other words, the animal had to look into the eyes of its executioner, and he in turn had to look into the eyes of the animal.

The second, in some ways, is even more vivid. It is drawn from the Olympic games, in which wrestling played a significant part. In this picture, one of the competitors is about to be pinned. His opponent has a grip on him that has placed the loser's shoulders on the mat, and his face has been turned up so that he has to look directly into the eyes of his conqueror.

Everybody has to face God's Word directly. We can think of the Word of God as being the living Jesus Christ, since judgment of us has been committed to Him. We all must pass before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10). We are under it right now because judgment is on the house of God (I Peter 4:17).

What are we doing with the message? How is it affecting our lives? Is the world having such an impact on us that it is creating its fruit in us, perhaps apathy toward the things of God and great interest in the things of this world? As Revelation 3:17 suggests, the Laodicean is not lazy. He is rich in the wrong things, expending his energy on the wrong things. He even tells God, "I have need of nothing." Are we allowing the Word of God to transform us into His image?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Hebrews: A Message for Today




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Hebrews 4:12:

Matthew 8:32
Mark :
Mark :
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Revelation 6:2
Revelation 6:2

 

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