Knowing Where will Teach us How
True sanctification is found in the power of God’s Word (Rom. 10:17). That is to say, there is a connection between spiritual growth and the Word of God. The power to regenerate the heart, sanctify the soul, transform the mind, and build up a resistance to sin, begin and end with Scripture.
But what is it that we mean when we say these things? Are we referring to the Bible? If so, which translation and which copy? Is it one particular language or is it the original manuscripts of which we have none? What do we mean when we talk about the source of life changing power?
Bibles can be found in hotels across the country. People touch them and see them. Some will read them casually and other will be more attentive. Others will go further and memorize and study to some degree. But the reality is, that not all people who come in contact with the written Word of God are sanctified.
This is true of all translations, versions, copies, and packagings. Evidently, it is not the books themselves. It is not the paper, ink, leather and cardboard. It is not even the words or punctuation. And it is definitely not in the commentaries and footnotes.
Rather, when we speak of the power of the Word of God, we are talking about something else. We may picture the collection of writings held in our hand or on our bookshelf, but we do not mean that those materials in and of themselves contain any spiritual power. A man can hold and read the Bible all day and never experience the sanctifying work of God’s Word.
The power is found in the meaning. When we say God’s Word, we mean to say God’s truth. What these printed copies communicate is a truth that was revealed by God Himself. Therein lies the power. The words that are found on the pages of our Bibles together form a thought to be understood and meditated. They are to be comprehended and committed to our memory.
These truths are to inform us of something we would otherwise not know. And the information itself is mysteriously powerful. Therefore, the closer we are to the information, the truths revealed, the more power we experience. The more we understand, the more we are transformed.
For this reason, one may argue that those who know little, discern little and are swept away by much. It is also true that those who sing a song with little truth worship less than one who sings the same song but knows much. In more day-to-day situations, one who knows little will suffer much to temptation, but one who knows much will suffer less to temptation.
It is true then to say that holy doctrine makes holy living. But we should not confuse knowledge of God’s truth here. One must be more than mentally aware. The demons know (Jam. 2:19). The knowledge of God’s truth is not gnosis, to use the Biblical Greek. It is epignosis. It is convincing and experiential understanding. It is taking the truth to heart. It believe that responds, not just acknowledges.
For this reason, our sermons, our teachings, our witnessing, our encouraging, our convincing, our correction, our discipline, must be saturated and consumed with this truth. In fact, it must come from it and then baptized in it. It must drip with divine meaning.
This is how we should communicate. Give your listener the explanation of what the Bible says and means and implies. And, with the help of the Lord, they can apply it. Preachers, bring the meaning of the Scriptures to your listener and bring the listener to the meaning of the Scriptures. Until then your preaching is short on power.