For the Word of God is living, and powerfully working, and sharper than every two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of both soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge of the thoughts and intentions of the heart; and there is no creature unrevealed before Him; but all things are naked and laid open to His eyes, with whom is our account. [LITV] (1 sentence)Heb 4:12-13
for the Word of God is living, and working, and sharper—beyond every two-edged sword—and piercing as far as [the] division of soul and spirit, of joints and also marrows, and a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart; and there is not a created thing hidden before Him, but all things [are] naked and open to His eyes—with whom is our reckoning. [LSV] (1 sentence)Heb 4:12-13
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. [NLT] (5 sentences)Heb 4:12-13
The word of God is alive and active. It is sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of men’s hearts. There is nothing that can be hid from God. Everything in all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes; and it is to him that we must all give an account of ourselves. [TEV] (6 sentences)Heb 4:12-13
A number of you have seen that it makes a difference how you punctuate this block of text. Is each sentence separate and distinct from the sentences around it? Or is each phrase and clause in the sentence meant to be linked with those around it? One person noticed the difference between the two literal versions I gave you. I deliberately gave you both literal versions for that reason.
The Literal Version of the Bible reads: “For the Word of God is living, and powerfully working, and sharper than every two-edged sword . . . “
The Literal Standard Version reads: “for the Word of God is living, and working, and sharper—beyond every two-edged sword . . .”
No, the difference is not in the words used. The difference is in the fact that one starts with a capital “For . . . ” The other begins with a lower case “for . . .” So why does the difference between a capital letter or a lower case letter matter? It is a matter of how the text flows. Is there a full stop at the end of verse 11 or not? It makes a difference as to how this text flows. I have told you before punctuation affects the meaning. Gem 1952 and 1953.
Here is the text in Greek without an interlinearised English line of text: You don’t need the English text to see verse 11 ends with a full stop and verse 13 ends with a full stop. There is no other full stop between the start of verse 12 and the end of verse 13.
11 Σπουδάσωμεν οὖν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς ἐκείνην τὴν κατάπαυσιν, ἵνα μὴ ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ τις ὑποδείγματι πέσῃ τῆς ἀπειθείας.
12 Ζῶν γὰρ ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἐνεργὴς καὶ τομώτερος ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν μάχαιραν δίστομον καὶ διϊκνούμενος ἄχρι μερισμοῦ ψυχῆς τε καὶ πνεύματος, ἁρμῶν τε καὶ μυελῶν, καὶ κριτικὸς ἐνθυμήσεων καὶ ἐννοιῶν καρδίας·
13 καὶ οὐκ ἔστι κτίσις ἀφανὴς ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, πάντα δὲ γυμνὰ καὶ τετραχηλισμένα τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς αὐτοῦ, πρὸς ὃν ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος.
Verse 11 reads as follows: So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.
It is a definitive statement which concludes the closing segment of the block of text which comes immediately before the key two verses we are analysing now. We have to work out how verses 12 and 13 connect with Verse 11 which comes immediately before these two key verses. Should there be a comma at the end of verse 11 or should there be a full stop? The Greek text tells there should be a full stop to close verse 11. I have looked at Verse 11 in all the versions I have loaded (40) and only the LSV is the one which places a comma at the end of verse 11. I will decide to follow the majority of witnesses in this case.
Why does this matter Ian?
Because the verse which concludes the preceding paragraph closes with a statement of warning as to how we should enter that rest. The author of the letter reminds his fellow Jews who have become Christians along with us centuries later that the rest is still available to us. How do we prevent ourselves from falling like the Israelites of old? Simple! It is the living, active, powerful and sharp Word of God which keeps us from falling. Think for a moment about that which the writer wants us to understand from the possible connections of this passage to 14:3-7 or 23:7 following or all the way back to 31:1-2.
- He has set a definite day to decide.
- Don’t harden your heart in that day of decision.
- God has spoken in many ways in the past but in these last days He has spoken to us by A SON.
Yes the flow of the text is important. Here is how it is laid out under propositional analysis.
For the word of God is alive and powerful
is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword
cutting between soul and spirit
between joint and marrow.
It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires
in all creation is hidden from God.
everything is naked
before his eyes,
and He is
the One to whom we are accountable.
All of this is true, no matter whether God communicates the Word of God directly Himself to angels or prophets who convey it to us the people. Whether He communicates His Word through a Son who becomes flesh and speaks to those of us who heard Him firsthand. Or whether He communicates His Word through the active power of His Spirit it is all considered the Word of God and as such has cutting power to do its work and convict us of sin, righteousness and judgement and thus prevent us from falling into disobedience.
Now I think we are ready to begin analysing these two key verses word by word in the next Gem. Two readers asked if you could have the Greek words in Roman letters so here they are. I hope that helps you.
- [ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ] (ho logos tou Qeou) – the word of God
- [Ζῶν] (zōn) “alive”, “living”
- [ἐνεργὴς] (energēs) “powerful”, “active”, “energized”
- [τομώτερος ὑπὲρ] (tomōteros huper) “sharper than”, “sharper beyond”
- [πᾶσαν μάχαιραν δίστομον] (pasan maXairan distimon) “sharpest two-edged sword” “every sword double-edged”
- [διϊκνούμενος ἄχρι μερισμοῦ] (diiknoumenos aXri merismou) “cutting between” “passing through to the point of dividing”
- [ψυχῆς] (psuXēs) “soul”
- [πνεύματος] (pneumatos) “spirit”
- [ἁρμῶν] (armōn) joint
- [μυελῶν] (muelōn) marrow
- [κριτικὸς] (kritikos) It “exposes”, “exposing”
- [ἐνθυμήσεων καὶ ἐννοιῶν καρδίας] (enthumēseōn kai ennoiōn kardias) “our innermost thoughts and desires“, “thoughts and desires of the heart”
- [οὐκ ἔστιν κτίσις] (ouk estin ktisis) “Nothing in all creation” “there is no creature”
- [ἀφανὴς ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ] (aphanēs enōpion autou) “hidden from God” “unmanifest” “not laid bare”
- [πάντα] (panta) “Everything” “all things”
- [γυμνὰ] (gumna) “naked”
- [τετραχηλισμένα] (tetraXēlismena) “exposed”
- [τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς αὐτοῦ] (tois ophthalmois autou) before his eyes “to the eyes of Him”
- [πρὸς ὃν ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος] (pros hon hemin ho loyos) “He is the one to whom we are accountable” “before the One we the account (word)”
The best translation is when you translate the Word of God into your daily life. You ought to be a living Bible.Rick Warren
The quality of your life is determined by the Word of God that you consume DAILY.Kenny Goh
But you also need to go beyond the Word to Him. Don’t stop at the Word of God, continue on to interact with Him.Ian
Repenting is a good way to have the last word with God.Ian