bits from bob....

"The Sword"

by Robert J. Young
©, 2006, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

I begin at the end. I call your attention to John's account of the final war in Revelation 19. I submit that it isn't a war at all. In contrast to all the interpretations of the book that specialize in painting lurid scenes of the end of the world, the text says simply that all the kings of the earth who had assembled to make war against Christ were killed with the sword that came out of His mouth-that is, the Word of God. In feat, the deceivers are thrown into the lake of fire; the dragon (the Devil or Satan) is cast into the abyss. Even when he is released after the thousand years for a short time, he is easily handled. The final end of evil will be accomplished easily because of the divine power of God (Marva Dawn, p. 115).

Have you ever heard anyone say, "I forgot my sword," referring to the fact that they forgot their Bible? Today we use the word "sword" thoughtlessly. Preachers sometimes say, "Show me your swords!" When you hear the statement, you are supposed to hold your Bible high in the air. I've not seen it so much in recent years, but I remember preachers and Bible school teachers beginning with a statement that focused the desirability of Christians carrying their Bibles with them to Bible class or worship. While I am in favor of Christians carrying a personal Bible with them to class or worship (and in other situations as appropriate), I wonder how well we've thought through the Bible passages about swords. While it is easy to pass off such a question as useless theological wrangling, it makes a big difference in how we see God, ourselves, his truth, and our world.

  • 1. First observe that biblically, God is our warrior, and he is the one who will fight for us.

  • 2. Nowhere in the Bible is the word of God referred to as my sword or your sword. The verse we frequently quote (Eph. 6:17) identifies truth as the sword of the Spirit. It is essential that we remember who owns the sword, and that we act humbly when we are allowed to wield the sword as his instruments.

  • 3. If I become too confident in the idea that the Bible is my sword, I may get reckless with it. I may be tempted to use it in ungodly, unhealthy ways. We have seen the preacher who uses the Bible to manipulate and browbeat people. You have seen the bigot or immoral person who used the Bible to justify self and to belittle others. You have seen the well-meaning person who castigates others in absolute certainty that sword ownership has been passed to him and that he infallibly understands where and how the sword is to be used to cut me. We must never use the word of God in ungodly ways.

  • 4. If I dwell on the idea that the Bible is my sword, I may fail to handle the truth with reverence and awe. Given the power of Scripture, I must always handle that word carefully. We must be careful with any instrument as sharp as the sword of the Spirit. It can penetrate to the very depths of human experience and life according to Heb. 4:12.

  • 5. If I think the Bible is my sword, I may think that I sit in judgment on the Bible and determine its meaning and application, rather than understanding that the Bible sits in judgment on me. I am never the controller, interpreter, or final judge. The Bible judges me.

  • 6. If I think of the Bible as my sword, I may become overconfident and think of myself too highly. When the sword does its work, I may think the results are mine. I may be tempted to take credit when the real credit belongs to the tool which makes it possible.

  • 7. If I see the Bible as my sword, I may get discouraged thinking it all depends on me. Despite the power of the word of God, at times it fails to penetrate immediately the hard soils of human hearts. The sword doesn't always cut in healthy ways in hearts where it is not welcomed.

  • 8. If I see the Bible as my sword, I may be tempted to misidentify who owns the Word, and begin to take liberties with it. I may confuse the message with my own interpretations. I may not be able to differentiate Scripture from my traditions.

  • 9. If I see the Bible as my sword, I may forget to let it cut on me. God desires that the living, active word of God might be useful also to me in my life, showing me myself.


    (edited from an article by Robb Hadley)

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    Last updated November 7, 2006