When Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he had these words of praise for them:
“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
Paul was thanking God that these believers heard the word of God and recognized it for what it truly was. This was something more than the words of a man. It wasn’t Paul’s clever preaching or a good motivational speech.
What they heard was the word of God. When Paul opened his mouth to proclaim the gospel, they heard the voice of God. And they responded accordingly.
But we also need to see that this wasn’t a one-time action. Paul is praising them for something more than their initial response to the word of God. He says that this word of God “is at work in you believers.”
The Bible is something more than a collection of beliefs to which we must give assent. It’s more than a group of compelling stories, more than a roadmap, more than a source of wisdom. It is all of these things, but it’s also much more.
Paul says that the word of God actually works within us. It’s more than something we read; it’s something that changes us. We have a responsibility to act according to what we read in the Bible, but the Bible also does work within us.
So here’s the question. Is the word of God at work in your church? What role does the Bible play in your setting? Is it merely a sourcebook for the sermons you hear on Sunday mornings, or does it actually shape the way you live together as a church? Is it at work in you believers?
If it’s not, then the word of God is not taking its proper place in your lives:
“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.” (Hebrews 4:12)