The Power of God’s Word

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
—Isaiah 55:8, 9

THE POWER OF WORDS is well known, and it is good to recognize the manner in which the Word of God accomplishes his purpose. It does so with great power, as we read: “The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”—Heb. 4:12

The ancient people of God did not possess his complete Word as we enjoy it today, although the words of the Lord reached them in sufficient measure to accomplish his purpose. It was “at sundry times and in divers manners” that God spoke to his prophets, and much of what he said to them, or caused them to record, was not especially for their benefit, but for ours upon whom the end of the age has come. (Heb. 1:1; I Cor. 10:11) Referring to the prophets, Peter wrote “that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven.”—I Pet. 1:12


Again Peter wrote, “The Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you.” (I Pet. 1:25) The Word of God is the Gospel message. Paul explains that the Gospel was preached to Abraham.(Gal. 3:8) It was the good news that through the seed of Abraham all the families of the earth are to be blessed. There are many ramifications of this good news; in fact so many that in the outworking of his plan God caused the prophets, the apostles, and our Lord Jesus to touch upon and emphasize its various facets.

It required hundreds of years for the entire Word of God to be provided for the Lord’s people of the Gospel Age. In the Lord’s providences, all of his important utterances to his ancient people have been preserved and recorded. To the extent that historical events of the world, and especially of the Lord’s people, are crucial to help us understand God’s purposes, these also have been recorded.

While we speak of the Book of Isaiah, Daniel, or Matthew, actually God directed the writing of these portions of his Word; so they all can be said to be his books. He did this by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the holy power of God which he exercises in the accomplishment of any and all of his purposes. It is beyond our finite minds to understand just how the power of God guided the writings of the Old Testament prophets. It is not necessary that we understand this. However, it is important to know and to believe that when we read the Bible we are reading the thoughts of God as he has caused his various servants to record them.

Since the Old Testament writers did not understand much of what they wrote, we could properly say that the Holy Spirit directed their writings in a mechanical manner. The Holy Spirit also operated to assure the accuracy of the historical portions of the Bible. However, those ancient servants of God did appreciate in part the messages they recorded for the benefit of those following in the footsteps of Jesus, spiritual Israel of the Gospel Age. David, for example, having been a shepherd, must have understood the lesson contained in those wonderful words, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”—Ps. 23:1


Beginning with the coming of Jesus, the ministry of the Holy Spirit as it pertained to the Word of God was one of revealment, rather than merely a mechanical operation. This is indicated in the Heavenly Father’s dealings with his beloved Son, Jesus. It was at the Jordan River, when Jesus was thirty years of age, that the Holy Spirit came upon him, and we are told that at that time “the heavens” were opened to him.—Matt. 3:16

This suggests a revealing to him of heavenly or spiritual things; the truths, that is, pertaining to the plans and purposes of his Heavenly Father. It was at this point in his life that Jesus presented himself in consecration to his Father, fulfilling the prophecy concerning him recorded by the psalmist, which reads, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:7,8) Jesus, in this prophecy of dedication, said to his Father that he had come to do all that had been written of him in the volume of the book, that is, the Old Testament.

Having presented himself to the Heavenly Father, agreeing to do his will as foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures, the meaning of what had been written was then revealed to Jesus. This seems to be what is indicated by the ‘heavens’ being opened to him. This does not imply that instantly all the truths of the Old Testament were revealed to Jesus. It does mean that from then on, as he recalled the various things written by the prophets, he would understand them, and that they would serve to guide him as he laid down his life in sacrifice that the world might live.


On every suitable occasion throughout the three and one-half years of his ministry, Jesus presented to his disciples the great truths that had been revealed to him. But much of what he said was quite beyond their ability to understand, because they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. They even refused to believe that he would be arrested and put to death, as he said he would be. This is particularly significant, for one of the important truths set forth in the Old Testament was that the Messiah would suffer and die for the sins of the people. It shows that the disciples understood these truths not much better than those who recorded them, until they received the Holy Spirit.

Jesus realized the difficulties his disciples had in understanding his teachings, and on the night before he was crucified he said to them, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”—John 16:12-14

Earlier, in another promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus explained that it would teach the disciples all things, and bring “all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) While it was true that the disciples did not understand much of what Jesus said to them, yet, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, these truths were later remembered, and their meaning grasped. Thus Jesus prepared the minds of his disciples for the subsequent revelation to them of the plans and purposes of God.


It was at Pentecost that Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on behalf of his disciples. What a wonderful change that made in their ability to understand the Divine plan! We recall the zealous manner in which Peter opposed the idea of Jesus being put to death. To him this would be completely out of harmony with God’s will for the Master. He believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and how could a dead Messiah accomplish all the wonderful things which had been foretold in the Old Testament concerning God’s plan? But with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter saw things differently. In his Pentecostal sermon, asserting that Jesus had been raised from the dead, Peter quoted one of the prophecies relating to both the death and resurrection of the Lord. (Acts 2:24-28) This and other prophecies of Jesus’ death had always been in the Old Testament, but Peter had been blind to their meaning until he received the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Here the ministry of the power of God began with the followers of Jesus as it had with the Master, at Jordan.

For Jesus and his apostles, the Holy Spirit became not only a revealing power, but an inspirational one also. The teachings of Jesus and of the apostles are illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and therefore can be accepted as the absolute Word of God, the truth as it relates to his great plan of the ages. This is also true of the Old Testament writers, the difference being that they did not necessarily understand what they wrote.


This was the manner in which the inspired words of God were brought together for his people of the Gospel Age in a composite whole—the Bible. To us the writings of the Old Testament and the New Testament are of equal importance, for they all contribute toward the Lord’s purpose of instructing and encouraging his people—the people whom he is preparing to be the spiritual rulers in the forthcoming Messianic kingdom. We can be certain that God’s Word will not return unto him void. It will prosper in the purpose for which he sent it.—Isa. 55:11

Dawn Bible Students Association
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