In ancient Rome, the gladiator was a slave who fought in the arena to a bloody death. If he was agile and skilled enough, and lived long enough, the emperor might grant him his freedom. With great pomp and ceremony, he would kneel before the Caesar, and be touched on his shoulder with a beautifully crafted wooden sword. He then would be given this sword as a sign of a free man. However, this wooden sword was useless to him, serving only as a symbol.
The Apostle Paul referred to the Bible as the Sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17 and 18. The Word of God serves as a weapon in both offensive and defensive encounters. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." However, unless it is read, meditated on, and applied to daily living, it serves no better than an ineffective wooden sword.
Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to a friend, said, "I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book upon reason that you can and the balance upon faith, and you will live and die a better man." Dr. G. Campbell Morgan's biographer said of the great expositor's father: "He lived with a Bible in his hand and his face toward a better world."
Psalm 119, with its 176 verses, tells us all about what God's Word has to offer. Here are a few of them:
The Word cleanses, "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word," verse 9.
The Word gives direction, "Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors," verse 24.
The Word provides encouragement, "Your statues have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage," verse 54. D. L. Moody testified, "I know the Bible is inspired because it inspires me."
The Word is forever founded, "Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven," verse 89. As life changes and society shifts on uncertain foundations, God's Word is settled forever.
The Word is truth, "Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is truth," verse 142.
Arthur W. Pink so ably stated, "Unless our hearts are affected and our lives molded by God's Word, we are no better off than a starving man with a cook book in his hand."
Remember, "If your Bible is in good shape, you probably aren't!"
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey, Florida, 34654