What is that in your hand?

Exodus 4:2 So the LORD said to him [Moses], “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.”

Pick up your Bible and hold it in your hand. Look at it. What is that in your hand? “A book,” you might say, or perhaps, “God’s Word.” You would be right, of course, but is that all that it is? The very name “Bible” tells us that it is a “book,” but we have so many other names for it. Perhaps the most telling name is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)

How does a book become a sword? Let us go back to Exodus to find out:

Exodus 4:3-5
3 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand),
5 “that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

Like the rod in Moses’ hand, the Bible in your hand is little more than a book until God Himself puts it to use. But when God is ready for us to use it, then it is transformed:

Hebrews 4:12
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.

Quite a “book,” isn’t it? The book becomes more than just words on a page when it is put to use for God’s purposes. It becomes “living and powerful,” and it cuts through hypocrisy and lies, revealing hidden intentions. How does God intend for us to use His “two-edged sword”? As Paul told Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We are to use the Bible to equip ourselves for “every good work,” especially for instruction in righteousness, for teaching others about God’s standards.

At times, like Moses, the sheer size and complexity of Scripture may scare us, and when we see it as a sword rather than a book, we may even shy away from it. But God tells us to take it up, to know it and use it, and to see that while it is indeed “just a book”, it is also a sword we are meant to wield to share the gospel. When you read and understand the Bible, you demonstrate to the world that the Lord – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – is indeed with you, ready to reach out and save the whole world from its bondage to Satan.

Do not neglect this book in your hands. Study it, learn it, use it and let God transform it from mere words on a page into a mighty weapon of salvation through faith.

Almighty God, Creator of heaven and of earth, You have given us a great blessing and a frightening burden in Your Word, the Holy Bible. Blessed Lord, give us strength and boldness and discernment to use Your Word as a sword of the spirit, a weapon against the evil one. Let us proclaim Your Word boldly and effectively, so that it may not return void. Amen.

– written July 1, 2009


About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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