Every culture and subculture has their own jargon, words and phrases that don’t make a lot of sense to those outside of it. Christianity is no exception. We use a lot of language that makes sense to us, but the meaning behind some words or phrases are really hard to articulate. The concept that God’s Word is ‘living and active’ is one such stumper. We accept that the Word is indeed living and active because it says so. But what exactly does that mean?
It’s sort of like trying to explain what it’s like to be married to someone who has never been. Or what it feels like to be a parent. In the end, words are simply inadequate to convey the fullness of those things. One must experience them in order to fully get it.
So it is with the whole living and active thing. Last spring, as I was leading a group of teen girls through Philippians, I suddenly understood what it means. I had been studying scripture under a dear friend of mine for years, but leading a study forced me to bring out my ‘A’ game. I spent more time preparing than I ever thought I could squeak out of a week.
One week I had a crisis crop up. I can’t even recall what it was, just normal life stuff, the kind of thing I would normally get rather riled about and then obsess on for far too long. Yet this time, a passage I had just studied in depth sprang to my mind. It was strong, blazing actually, and was exactly what I needed at the time. I can’t explain it, but there was a new power in this passage I had heard a thousand times before. My initial angst had no time to take root; it was instantly defeated and sent packing. It was surreal, and I can’t do the experience justice here.
Now, I honestly don’t think you have to study for hours to experience the living and active aspect of scripture. After all, it’s the power of God’s Holy Spirit who brings scripture alive, not my meager efforts. But I’m finding that the longer I make a practice to study the Word, the more material He has to work with. I can’t be encouraged, comforted, or challenged by scripture I have never read.
Since that epiphany last spring, I found that as I prepared for class each week, there was always something relevant, some theme or personal gem that would surface making the effort so, so sweet. It continued through a summer study of Colossians, and through a fall study of James. I often thought, I should write this down so I remember it…, but life got busy and I’m lazy so I never did.
Now I’m coming back around, set to begin studying through Philippians again with a different group of ladies. I don’t want to forget the juicy bits this time, so I will be writing them and posting them here.
I’ll start this week with an introduction to Philippians in the next couple of days and will post once a week as we dig in, looking closely at about a half chapter at a time. I hope you’ll enjoy learning with me. If anyone wants to join in, feel free to message me over at my page on Facebook (the link is in the sidebar) or in the comments here. I would be delighted to email you the study questions I use.
I’ve already learned some new things, looking into the introduction to this book. See you in a day or two when I share!
Grace and peace,
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)
Photo by Pexels, courtesy of Pixabay.