Hebrews 4:12 and “The Word of God”

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a comment about Hebrews 4:12:

For 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.

His assertion was that the “word of God” in this verse refers to Jesus, and not to the Bible as he had previously been led to believe. That prompted this response from me:

The “Word of God” is not a synonym for the Bible or the scriptures: In Lk 3:2 the Word of God came to John; he did not receive a Bible. In Lk 5:1 Jesus was preaching and the crowds were listening to the Word of God; he was not reading the Bible to them. In Acts 4:31 the disciples spoke the Word of God; they were not reading the Bible. In Acts 6:7 the Word of God kept on spreading; they were not distributing Bibles. In Acts 8:14 the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God; they weren’t talking about a shipment of Bibles. In Acts 11:1 the Gentiles received the Word of God; they did not receive BIbles. I could go on.

Paul defines the “Word of God” in Colossians 1:26ff as “the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints… which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The “Word of God” is the message that God has for his creation. Specifically, it is the Gospel; more generally it is whatever God has to say — whether it was recorded in the Bible or not.

Jesus Christ is the physical manifestation of the Word of God (John 1:1-4,14). I imagine your interpretation of 4:12 is coming from 4:13, which refers to “Him”, and 4:14 goes on to talk about Jesus. I don’t know that 4:12 is specifically talking about Jesus or if it says that the Word of God is the tool/sword that Jesus uses to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow, thoughts and intents, during the process of judging. But I know for sure that the “Word of God” in Heb 4:12 is not our 66-book Bible, because it is never used with that meaning anywhere in scripture.

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