by André Piet
May 6th, 2012

In Hebrews 4, we find these well-known words about the Word of God.

"12 For the word of God is living and operative, and keen above any two-edged sword, and penetrating up to the parting of soul and spirit, both of the articulations and marrow, and is a judge of the sentiments and thoughts of the heart. 13 And there is not a creature which is not apparent in its sight. Now all is naked and bare to the eyes of Him to Whom we are accountable."

What in this and in other translations, unfortunately is not clearly shown is that this statement, in the original text, begins and concludes with the exact same words: "ho logos," that is, "the Word." What in verse 12 is correctly rendered "the Word", is in verse 13 translated with "accountable" This is regrettable, because in both cases it is about one and the same expression: "the Word". The end of verse 13 should, therefore, read:

"Now all is naked and bare to the eyes of Him to Whom we have … the word!"

It takes some getting used to, but that is what it says here! When God speaks, then is that for the purpose that His word would do its in-depth work and not return to Him empty (see Isaiah 55:11). In Hebrews 4:13, it is not about us giving account of our works, but about the result of the word in us.

God is not interested in our work. The whole point of Hebrews 3 and 4 is that we should stop our work and should enter the rest. When Hebrews 4:12 begins with "For the word of God is living …", that forms the reason-giving "for" the explanation of the immediately preceding texts:

"10 For he who is entering into His stopping, he also stops from his works even as God from His own. 11 We should be endeavoring, then, to be entering into that stopping, lest anyone should be falling into the same example of stubbornness."

Believing means not working (trying), but saying Amen to what God promises to do, Himself. So all the credit is His (Romans 4:20)! That Word, that promise should find a hearing in us, so that it should do its work in us in a living and powerful way. That is what it means to rightly give a response, for God makes us response-able. Remember that response is composed of two words: re (=again) and the Latin word for promise (spondere = promise). Response is the echo of the promise!


Translation: Peter Feddema

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