Great works of literature are like grand and inspiring monuments. They have the ability to stand tall and evoke many thoughts and emotions across the generations. Masterpiece novels and epic tales told by the written word provide timeless inspiration. The written word remains the greatest medium for capturing a moment in time or creatively depicting something imagined about the future. There is no more effective non-verbal mode for communicating than the written word. For all the advances in the realm of film and visual media, most who experience both agree that a book is better than a movie. Despite immersion in visual media and the non stop exposure to selfies and pictures, short written tweets or status updates are powerful communication tools. The written word is incredibly potent.
The Bible is a written collection of books, poems, songs, and letters, written over centuries. The Bible is not like other works of literature. Books, novels, poems, songs, articles, though inspiring and timeless, are not in themselves dynamic. Human writing is not living. Once ink is put on paper (or characters on a screen), there is no intrinsic life in the words that remain. There is no ability in written ideas or stories to make impact, nor is there any accompanying, external force that helps us better understand and appropriate what might be learned. Books are tremendous, but essentially lifeless in themselves. The Bible, on the other hand, is living.
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
We should never see the bible as a one dimensional, static account of anything. The Bible was penned by divinely appointed authors who were specially empowered and guided by God Himself to communicate exactly what he wanted. The same Holy Spirit who superintended the writing process also attends that Word forever. Reading the Bible is experiencing a living document. Add to the divine authorship and attendance, a Christian has the indwelling Holy Spirit to make Scripture understandable. If these amazing realities weren’t enough, the Holy Spirit works more to enable the reader to live according to what is written. No other written document can do what Scripture can do. There is still more! The prayer of Jesus compels the Father to actively use the Bible to change us-
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” -John 17:17
A.W. Tozer was convinced a vibrant relationship with God could not be had if we fail to understand how the Bible is a living Word. The Bible is God speaking to us. Tozer wrote-
“I believe much of our religious unbelief is due to a wrong conception of and a wrong feeling for the Scriptures. A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence again forever. Now we read the book as the record of what God said when He was for a brief time in a speaking mood. With notions like that in our heads how can we believe? The facts are that God is not silent and has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Word. The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into our familiar human words.” - A.W. Tozer in “The Pursuit of God”
I agree with Tozer, a new world will arise out of the religious mists when we approach our Bible with the idea that it is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking.