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Bible verses about God's Words as Spirit and Life
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Proverbs 18:21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This verse is a little vague in the last phrase. What do you love, death or life? The one that we love we will eat the fruit of. Will we eat the fruit of death? Or will we eat the fruit of life?

Anybody's words are spirit; Jesus is not the only one whose words are spirit (John 6:63). The difference between us and Him is that His words are always life. His words are always abundant, eternal, or everlasting life. They surcharge the air to move us, our hearts, our minds, our spirits in the direction that they are moving. If we would yield to them, we can be carried along by them all the way into the Kingdom of God. This is why there is life in them!

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of any of us—that our words are life—because often times our words carry death with them. They do not go forth in the best of attitudes, backed with a unclear understanding of what is really going on, and all too often we speak far too hastily and emotionally.

What the Bible calls "spirit" can be communicated. It is almost as if it surcharges the environment. The words and the disposition or environment in which they are delivered and received are important to its communication. How many times have we said something to somebody who became confused, upset, angry, or frustrated at what we said, and we had to apologize or explain further by saying, "Well, that's not what I meant"? Yet, that was how the receiver heard it. Things were communicated that to the recipient colored what was sent. Communication is a terribly difficult aspect of life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 4)


 

Proverbs 25:11  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus says in John 6:63 that His "words are spirit, and they are life." These proverbs add that anybody's words are what the Bible calls "spirit." There is nothing material, nothing visible, happening, but words and attitudes nevertheless generate emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral reactions. They can induce and compel powerful reactions, such as murder, on the bad side, or joy unspeakable, where we just do not have the words to communicate that we are so happy, on the good. Yet, nothing really happens except spirit passing from one person to another—nothing, that is, that we would call physical, material. Nothing touches us but the meaning of a word, a disposition, or an attitude that is communicated.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 4)


 

John 1:1-4  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What poured out of Jesus Christ while He was here? Words—God's words, which are spirit and life (John 6:63). What are God's words, in total? The truth! The truth makes us free (John 8:32). Where does the truth lead? To eternal life! Put all of those concepts together, and we come to what John says so succinctly: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." How do we get to the Kingdom of God? By following God's words—the Light (see Psalm 119:105).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Preventing Deception


 

John 5:25  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

His declaration is interesting because the subject directly involves a resurrection, and it is also tied to a vital process that sets the elect apart. The key words in this verse are "hear" and "dead."

We need to add a thought from Ephesians 2:1: "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Before God's calling, even though we were physically alive, we were spiritually dead because of sin. However, John 5:25 says that the dead "hear" His voice. Similarly, those who are spiritually dead cannot "hear" God's Word until they are called, made part of the elect, and enabled by God to hear and thus understand His Word clearly.

Another important factor appears in Hebrews 10:38: "The just shall live by faith." Also, Ephesians 2:8 says that we are "saved by grace through faith." Romans 10:17 adds, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Finally, in John 6:63, Jesus clinches the point: "The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life."

This linkage of truths makes vitally clear the importance of the calling and election by God. His enabling of us to "hear" is what begins to sweep away the spiritual blindness that has kept us ignorant of the purpose He is working out here below. This miracle of hearing gives rise to truly effective faith. It makes God's Word truly logical and believable, making commitment in obedience to His purpose possible.

Yet, what if a person cannot "hear" what God is saying? None of these saving elements comes to pass in life because no faith is produced!

Jesus utters another awesome, humbling truth in John 10:3-4, 6, 16:

"To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." . . . Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. . . . "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd."

He describes our calling and relationship with our Shepherd—Himself—in intimate and personal terms. "He calls them by name." He personally leads them out of their pen, a symbol of the world in which we are held captive, enslaved, and spiritually dead. Conversely, verse 6 plainly depicts the spiritual condition of the uncalled: They did not understand. God had not enabled them because He was not calling them to be a part of His purpose at that time. Thus, the miracle that opens our minds so we could "hear" was not performed on them.

Romans 8:30 adds another startling truth: "Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and who He justified, these He also glorified." Only the called are justified! Justification through repentance and the atoning blood of Jesus Christ is what permits us into the presence of God, enabling further growth to glorification in God's Kingdom!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Six)


 

John 6:62-63  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus' answer to their incomprehension is to point them to His authority, saying in effect, "If you see the Son of man ascending to heaven, will this not prove where He came from, as well as the authority of His words that you just heard? My flesh cannot benefit you. Stop thinking that I was literally asking you to eat My flesh or drink My blood. It is My spirit, My person in the act of sacrificing Myself, that bestows and sustains spiritual life, even everlasting life. The words that I have spoken to you are full of My spirit and therefore My life." Unbelief lay at the root of their problem, so they could not understand.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Four)


 

John 6:63  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This is a simple yet profound statement. God's Spirit is truly more than words, but to understand this point, it is enough to know that God's words—"the words I speak to you," as Jesus says—are spirit, and they play a large role in producing the abundant life God intends we live. This quality of life is not achieved through physical things. Material things can be helpful, but without the true concepts contained within God's Word, the abundant quality will be missing because true abundance ultimately depends upon spiritual things, not material ones.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Three)


 

John 6:63  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"Life" implies a quality beyond what is available to mankind by nature. This verse provides a firm basis to connect God's pure Word—with its wisdom and guidance as the foundation of a sound mind—to an abundant life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Four)


 

John 6:63  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Here, the difference between God's Holy Spirit and our spirit is noted. God's Spirit (His Word, His thoughts, His way) always produces life—eternal life—the way God lives. Jesus was made a life-giving Spirit, and He is the High Priest. As High Priest, He is in charge of the administration of life (see II Corinthians 3). The difference between the two covenants is that the priesthood under the Old Covenant could not administer life, but the Priesthood under the New Covenant administers life by providing the Spirit of God to the mind of man. Demons and men cannot truthfully claim what Jesus claimed here, that His Spirit is life. Man's spirit, like the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, produces death, because it produces sin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 1)


 

Romans 10:17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What is being heard (in the phrase "faith comes by hearing") is not specified. If we lift it from its context, without considering the rest of what Paul says, we still get a truism: Faith, or belief, follows hearing (or reading). However, the rest of the verse says, ". . . and hearing by the word of God." This relates directly to faith. The faith, the belief, that God is interested in will come from a specific message—one that has its origin in God, not the world.

Therefore, it is the message of the Bible because it is the Word of God. It is not limited merely to the gospel—or even to the New Testament—but the whole Book is part of the gospel! A number of commentators say they believe that it is more understandable if the very last word of verse 17 is translated into the word "Christ." "Word of God" is not wrong, but they feel it is more specifically correct as "Christ" because He is God.

In the context of the book of Romans, the gospel is called the "gospel of Christ," because Paul says, for instance, in Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." In other words, it is the message that He brought.

It is His message that produces the faith that will save.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wisdom of Men and Faith


 

1 Corinthians 2:10-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God had the gospel preached to us through the medium of words. We believed them, and having been freed from enslavement to deception and spiritual ignorance by God's calling and forgiveness through Christ's blood, we now have access to a new and infinitely larger dimension of life. Beyond that, we now possess the raw material for our minds to produce the fruit of Spirit of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit


 

2 Corinthians 5:17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Christians are to be in union with Christ. This explains why it is so important to study the Bible, to meditate on it, to spend time trying to understand it, to communicate with one another with the Word and with the Father. What are we doing as we absorb God's Word? God's Word is part of His mind, His personality, His character. It is the way He thinks.

We cannot be in union with someone we do not know or who we have no relationship with. We cannot be in union with someone we never think about.

The more we think about Him, the more we carry His word in our mind. The more experiences that we have with Him, the deeper, stronger, sharper, clearer, and more real the union becomes. It all pivots around the Word of God. Jesus says, "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

They are an invisible force and power because, if we believe His words, they begin to work in our lives because we use them. They begin to produce what God intends them to produce. As we use them, we become more one with Him because we are becoming like Him. Our lives begin to be operated by His mind expressed in His Word. The more we use them, the more we become like Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 4)


 

2 Corinthians 5:21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, never sinned; there was never a life so completely unleavened as His. Jesus Himself says, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). What came out of Christ's mouth were words that were uncorrupted, untainted by a carnal heart in any way. They were totally and completely spiritual and eternally pure. The Word of God, in terms of His words and His example, has been given to us to be the basis of our thinking.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

Ephesians 2:16-18  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Now Christ is preached (verse 17). He personally came to this earth and preached. Later, He preached through His apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, who preached to the people the truth of God. Through the truth of God, the great Creator God was revealed, and the people were led to Jesus Christ by the Spirit.

A fellowship is open as the result of the Spirit working in the lives of the ministry and the same Spirit working in the lives of the hearers, who are responding and turning and accepting Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 4)


 

Hebrews 4:12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

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  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

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?


 

Revelation 12:15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Revelation 12:15 shows the serpent, Satan, spewing a torrent of "water out of His mouth like a flood"! Aimed directly at the woman, that torrent is a diabolical and merciless attempt to sweep her away!

In John 7:38-39, water clearly represents God's Holy Spirit. This usage, in turn, has a direct connection to another usage important to this article and understanding Revelation 12:15-16. In this regard, Paul writes, "That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26), and Jesus adds, "It is the Spirit [which] gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

Words, like water, have awesome power to do good or bad. They can give life like Jesus' words, or they can devastate and destroy like a flood of water when it is out of control.

Interestingly, Revelation 12:15 pictures this flood spurting from the serpent's mouth, the very place on the body where words emanate! This flood may someday materialize as a real army, but today Satan is inundating the world with such a torrent of appealing misinformation that some of God's people are being swept away. They are not yet lost because our God is more powerful than Satan, and He can save from the uttermost. But many are putting themselves into spiritual—and perhaps even physical—danger by being distracted from God's focus, the Kingdom of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Flood Is Upon Us!


 

 




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