It Is Written: The Bible’s Transformative Power

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." - Isaiah 55:10-11

God’s word is powerful. It’s not empty, but instead it accomplishes what God desires. Although the scriptures themselves might be seldom used in some of the largest, most popular churches in America, Christianity has always been a Bible-based religion. Historically, we believe knowledge that comes from God is far superior to anything we gain from experience, introspect, or observation. From cover to cover, God’s Word is a gift for the church to have and to love. And frankly, we are blessed with many good Bible translations in the English language. But there is more to the Bible than even this; the Word’s transformative power comes to us in our own spiritual sickness and blindness. This is the core of the gospel message: In his naturally depraved state, man is a sinner who has rejected God. The apostle Paul writes that we were dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephes. 2:1). But, if we repent of our sins and place our trust in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, we will be saved.

The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation.

– D.L. Moody

Through a series of acts spanning throughout redemptive history and culminating in the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, God brings us back into fellowship with Himself. It is the unique job of the Scriptures, God’s special revelation, to give us this gospel message. The Scriptures never fail to accomplish the purpose intended by God, though the immediate effect may not be seen. In 1 Peter 1 it is the Word who brings the gospel and in Romans 10 God’s Word has the power to save. It’s the Word which in the power of the Holy Spirit brings new life! It’s the Word that is able to make lost souls wise unto salvation. What a generous God we serve who communicates to us these actions in human language!

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Heb. 4:12

God’s Word has the power to radically transform lives. The Word’s transformative effects will extend to your relationships with family, neighbors, and co-workers. It will affect your decision-making, the way you handle life’s disappointments, challenges, and serious trials. In other words, when He send His Word it always does its work. It never comes back empty. Just like rain and snow produces what grows, His Word produces His will (Isaiah 55:10-11). The Bible is God’s messenger as it accomplishes His purpose (Psalm 147). It runs to do God’s work as it accomplishes God’s goals.

“Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” – 1 Pet. 1:23-25

God sustains the closest possible relationship to his Word; he is completely invested in it. God acts in this world through his Word. Dr. Gregg Allison states it like this:

This power is not the magical effect of the mere (written or spoken) words of Scripture but is the effect of God speaking through his Word. Scripture’s transformative power may act unilaterally but often engages the readers/hearers of Scripture in trusting, obeying, and heeding Scripture in other appropriate ways.

In his Pilgrim Theology, Michael Horton writes: “To hear God’s word is to be informed and transformed simultaneously in a relationship of fear and hope, distance and nearness, repentance and faith. None of this is something that we attain; it is something that God does to us—and gives to us—when he speaks.” There are three things to consider when studying the transformative power of the Scriptures:

  • Locution: What is said
  • Illocution: What is meant
  • Perlocution: What happened as a result

You know you need to make the Bible a priority – fact is, if you’re a Christian, you will hunger for God’s Word. But, have you ever wondered, How will reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible actually change you? What effect will it have on you?

The meaning of the Bible is vitally important to our faith and life. Biblical ignorance is a tragedy in the church because what you don’t know, you can’t build your life on. The Bible is God’s primary tool of renewal and guidance of His children. It ought to be the pursuit of every believer to know the Scriptures through Bible reading and study, allowing the Word to work its transforming power.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Rom. 12:2

Are you hungry for the Scriptures to work over you? God’s Word is the only thing that can transform the spirit, soul, and body. The Bible is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works in us (Hebrews 4:12). The word of God transforms the entire person (2Cor. 3:18). Are you allowing the Word of God to model your behavior as a child of God (2 Pet. 1:15)? It is only the Word of God that is able to bring about a remarkable and joyful transformation within us. 

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." - 2 Cor. 3:18

Where is this Truth Found in the Bible?

Psalms 19:7–11; 107:20; Jeremiah 23:29; Romans 10:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23–25; 2:2

For further study, I recommend reading from my sources for this series that are found in the intro post, It is Written: An Eight Part Theological Series.