The Word of God is Living and Active!

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Scripture is sacramental.  Jesus, the Word, speaks to us through the Bible, the word.  There is a mystery here which the human mind cannot plumb.  There are certain things we can say are not true.  We can say, for instance, that a book made of paper and ink is not the thing that is “living and active” and that this book, all by itself, does not discern “the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  On the other hand, we cannot say that Scripture is “just a book” any more than we can say that the Eucharist is just a collection of atoms or that Jesus of Nazareth is just another homo sapiens.  We are bound to say, in fact, that it is the word of God, inspired by the Spirit of him who is the Word and capable of changing hearts and lives.  We find ourselves confronted, once again, with the mystery of the Incarnation: of God’s choice to manifest himself in a human way and through human things (including books).  So let us approach Scripture as we approach the Eucharist: in the full awareness that we are standing in the presence of something mysterious, holy and full of the power of God, since it is the inspired word of God.  Let us take Scripture into our hearts as we take the Eucharist into our bodies.  And let us let that word guide, judge and heal us with all the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in the Church and with submission to that Spirit and that Church.  It will do the work that God sent it to do!

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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