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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Can we make the Word come alive????

Tim Challies posted a little piece on how we should not talk about the bringing the Word to life.  The Word is already “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), so it is wrong to talk about bringing the Word to life.  We don’t make the Word alive, the Word is already living.

I think I understand the concern here: We don’t want to make the power of the Word entirely dependent upon human reception.  However, does that mean that we can completely disregard the role of the reader when it comes to the Scripture?

When I take the time to study the Word and meditate upon it I usually find that it “comes alive.”  Also, there have been many speakers and teachers who have explained the Word in such a way that it helps it “come alive” for me. Common sense and experience tells us that what the Word does to us depends, at least in part, upon what we do with the Word.  Do we meditate upon it?  Do we spend the time necessary to study it?

In John 10 Jesus talks about how his sheep hear his voice.  Apparently, there is a sense in which the call of Christ has an affect, but the affect depends upon where a person is at – where a person is at in a spiritual sense.  John 10 is not the only passage in the Gospel of John.  John 8 has some similar sentiments, particularly in 8:43 where Jesus tells the religious leaders that they are “unable to hear” the truth that Jesus is saying.  Why were they unable to hear?  Well, it seems as though they had put themselves into a spiritual position such that they were closed to truth.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Word of God is “living and active.”  But I’m not convinced that “the Word” is speaking exclusively about the written Scripture.  Further, it seems evident from the Gospel of John and from common experience that we have a definite part to play in making the Word of God come alive.