In Ephesians 6 Paul said that the Word of God is the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). Think about the strength and all that’s required to grip a sword. It takes all four fingers, the thumb, and the palm of the hand to grip a sword in a way that it becomes a weapon.

Years ago an organization called The Navigators shared a helpful illustration to remind us of how we can get a grasp on the Word of God or the Sword of the Spirit. Every finger, the thumb, and the palm of the hand represent a way Christians throughout history have attempted to improve their grip on the Word of God. I’ve tweaked their classic illustration for this series.

Six Ways to Get a Grip on God’s Word:

  • Read it.
  • Hear it.
  • Meditate on it.
  • Memorize it.
  • Study it.
  • Apply it.

In this series of blogs we’ll share helpful insights about how you can do all six. This post digs into the first two ways to improve your grip on the sword of the Spirit.

1. READ the Word of God.

The index finger is often the finger used for pointing or tracking with words on a page as you read them. It reminds us to read God’s Word daily.

Dallas Willard once wrote:

“Few people arise in the morning as hungry for God as they are for cornflakes or toast and eggs.”
―Dallas Willard, Hearing God

Job was one of the few! He described the importance of God’s Word in his life like this:

“I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
—Job 23:12 NAS

A man with a passion for God’s Word

Job was under a severe attack from Satan when he spoke those words. But because he had “treasured God’s Word as more important than his necessary food,” even though the attack was severe and relentless, He was better equipped to remain faithful and steadfast ! God’s Word had become the source and strength of His life! This is what God wants for you and me.

Feasting on the Word of God! 

I love the way Christine Caine, leader of The A21 Campaign and renowned Christian speaker, described our need for daily time in God’s Word. Christine said:

“We want a drive-thru Scripture to try and sustain us forever. Keep it under 140 characters — ‘a verse a day keeps the devil away.’ You have got to be kidding! In the day and the age in which we live, you better feast on the Word of God.” Christine Caine

She’s so right!

We tend to think of food as essential to health and well-being, and it is. But Job said, “God, I’ve discovered that just as I must have food to survive, I’ve also got to have Your Word. I need Your Word for breakfast. I need it for lunch. I need it for dinner! I need it for a nutritional ‘snack in the Spirit’ in between! I can live without a few carbs. But I can’t live without Your Word! ‘I’ve treasured it as more than my necessary food.’ It’s just that important!”

Has God’s Word become that important to you?

2. HEAR the Word being read or taught.

The middle finger reminds us that we need to hear God’s Word.

There are several passages that illustrate the importance of hearing God’s Word read and taught.

In Exodus 24, Moses read Scripture to the nation of Israel on Mount Sinai.

Deuteronomy 31:9-13 describes Moses commanding the nation of Israel to read the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) at a gathered assembly at the end of every seven years during the Festival of Shelters (or Tabernacles).

When Israel renewed their covenant with God after an initial defeat and ultimate victory at Ai (Joshua 8:34-35), Joshua read Scripture to the gathered nation.

2 Kings 23:1-3 describes King Josiah reading the entire Torah to the gathered nation of Israel. This launched one of the greatest revivals in Israel’s history.

After Nehemiah led the nation of Israel in rebuilding the broken down walls in Jerusalem, as the people assembled, he and the gathered exiles asked Ezra, the priest, to read Scripture publicly (Nehemiah 8:1-12). Ezra stood in front of the gathered nation and read for hours as the people reverently listened.

It’s not an accident that Jesus Himself actually launched His ministry with the public reading of Scripture. Check out Luke 4:16-21 where Jesus read from Isaiah 61.

Finally, in 1 Timothy 4:13, Paul even challenged his protégé, Timothy, with these words:

“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”
—1 Timothy 4:13

Something happens when we hear God’s Word being read or taught!

There are all kinds of ways you can hear God’s Word today.

  • Use the audio narration on the Bible App.
  • Start a consistent practice of reading God’s Word out loud to yourself.
  • Begin a regular practice of having a family member read God’s Word out loud while the rest of the family listens, and, then, asks questions and discusses what was read.
  • If you’re not already part of a small group, join one and do the same with your group.
  • Listen attentively as God’s Word is taught by your pastor.
  • Access excellent podcasts were gifted teachers teach God’s Word.
  • Finally, check out the many courses offered by ISOW Bible College where gifted teachers share instruction, teaching and insight from the Word of God.

It’s impossible to get a strong grip on a sword without all four fingers, the thumb, and palm working together. But when they all cooperate, a sword becomes a powerful weapon in the hands of a skilled swordsman. It’s the same with God’s Word!

When we use all six ways referred to in the hand illustration we can grip and grasp the Word of God in a way that it becomes a powerful weapon we can use against our adversary. In the next post, we’ll continue this series by looking at the power of meditating on and memorizing the Word of God.

ISOW Bible College can help you improve your grip on God’s Word. 

The International School of the Word Bible College exists to “connect the Word to the world.” If you’re serious about improving your grip on God’s Word jump into one of our Books of the Bible courses, New Testament Survey or Old Testament Survey courses today.

Chris Goins
ISOW Bible College, Managing Editor

To view courses in Spanish, click here.