What the Word Does
by Joe Thorn
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Ps. 19:7–8)
Many Christians have a better understanding of what Scripture is than what Scripture does. We believe God’s Word is inspired and inerrant, and that it is our only authority in faith and practice. But what does it do in us? Or, more accurately, what does God accomplish in us through the ministry of His Word? Knowing the usefulness of Scripture in the life of faith is a motive to invest in it and to seek the knowledge of God. While there are many things God does in His people through the Word (see, for example, 2 Tim. 3:16–17), we can zero in on four spiritual works the Word does in us from Psalm 19:7–14.
The Word of God revives the soul (v. 7a). For the spiritually cold, weary, and weak, spiritual renewal comes from the Word of God. The backslider returns, the fallen are established, the double-minded are given a pure heart—all through the preaching, reading, and hearing of the Holy Scriptures. Those who long for personal or churchwide revival can be sure that it will only come by the grace of God through the Word of God.
The Word of God makes us wise (v. 7b). Both the ignorant and the foolish are brought out of their dangerous state of mind and soul by the work of the Word. Not only has God revealed Himself in His Word, but He also uses that revelation to convict and convert, to open the eyes to see and the heart to believe. It isn’t one’s level of education or IQ that makes him wise, but it is the Scripture through the operations of the Holy Spirit that makes all men and women wise in faith.
The Word of God brings joy to the heart (v. 8a). Joy is deeper and more permanent than happiness because it is dependent not on our circumstances, but on the Lord who is constant in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. We are hungry for joy, which is the brightness of faith, because we live in a world that is made dark by sin and suffering. Joy is born in the heart by the Word of God that draws our eyes to Him who through Jesus Christ loves us, is with us, and is in us.
The Word of God enlightens the eyes (v. 8b). Enlightened eyes are alert, and they ready us to act. The Word of God is what gives us clarity of sight concerning the evil days in which we live, and it enables us to live carefully, passionately, and precisely. Fighting spiritual battles, overcoming sin and the world—these will be experienced by those who are shaped and directed by Scripture.
God has given us His Word to transform us. Revival, wisdom, joy, and enlightenment await all who pore over its pages in belief of what God has said.