How Scripture answers "What is the effect of God’s word?"

The effect of God’s word is to bring individuals into peace with God5,17, building them up1 and saving them4,10,11,14 (at least, it’s one of the things that saves someone eternally). It is the only means by which one calls on the name of God5. God’s word never fails3,4 to produce its effect, which can also be destructive2,9. It will cause division7,8,11 and animosity12,13,16 between those who accept it and those who don’t. The effect of God’s word leads to persecution for those who believe and teach it14,15. Refusing it leads to certain spiritual death6,8,9,11.

Answer built on scripture-blocks below

And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

I [Paul] entrust you to God’s gift of His word, which can build you up for the spiritual inheritance to be enjoyed among all those who have been made holy.

Paul is meeting with the elders of the church in Ephesus on the beach before boarding a ship back to Jerusalem.  He is returning from his third missionary journey and does not expect he will see them again.

Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word builds up and prepares one for “the inheritance” for everyone that has been “sanctified” (e.g. made holy by the Holy Spirit).

Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
God declares that His word is like fire and a hammer that can break a rock in pieces.

God, through Jeremiah, is speaking out against the religious leadership in Judah.  In the midst of this condemnation of the “shepherds who destroy and scatter my sheep” (vs 1), there is a preview to the “latter days” when Jesus will rule as king faithfully (vss 5-8).  But in the meantime, God condemns the many false prophets and even the priests (vs 33).

Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word is a destructive force.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Just as the rain and snow come down from heaven to water the earth, giving it life for seed and bread, so shall my word that goes from my mouth.  It will not return empty, accomplishing all that I intend and succeeding in everything for which it was sent.

God is speaking through Isaiah the prophet around 700BC.  This chapter, along with the entire latter half of Isaiah starting around chapter 40, contains many confirmed Messianic prophecies along with images and foreshadowing of Christ and His coming Kingdom.  In this context, he mentions an “everlasting covenant” (vs 3) and includes the Gentiles (“a nation that you do not know” vs 5).

Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word gives life and never fails.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
Souls that have been purified by obeying the truth should earnestly and sincerely love one another from a pure heart.  They should be doing this since they were born again of an imperishable seed through the enduring word of God. Unlike grass which grows, blooms and dies, God’s word remains forever and it’s this same word that was preached to them.
Peter is writing to the “elect” of the “dispersion” – Christians that have been scattered throughout Galatia and Asia Minor.  He is encouraging them to stand firm in the face of current persecution and reminding them of the promise they have in and through Christ.

A portion of this passage is quoted from

Isaiah 40:6-8
.
Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word is “forever” and it “purifies souls” when it is obeyed.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

God hears (“is near”) to anyone that calls on Him “in truth” or His word (

John 17:17
).

David’s song of praise (about 1,00BC).

Scripture-block application to this question

God responds to those that are abiding in or relying on His word.

Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light.

Therefore, I [God] have cut and shaped them by the prophets, killing them by the words of my mouth – judgment that reaches everyone.

Hosea prophesied primarily to the northern ten tribes, the nation of Israel, during the time of Jereboam II (~750BC).  This was during a time of great peace, prosperity and stability for the nation, but just a decade or two before they would be taken away and destroyed by Assyria.

In this specific part, God is lamenting the fact that His people – both the northern nation of Israel (e.g. “Ephraim”) and the southern nation of Judah (vs 4) – are rebellious. Their repentance (vss 1-3) is really just empty words that “like the dew goes early away.” (vs 4)

Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word “slew” those in judgment.

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.
The word of God is alive and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword in its ability to pierce and lay bare the thoughts and intentions of the heart/mind.

The writer is arguing the better things in Christ and encouraging the Hebrews to “strive to enter that rest” (vs 11), unlike those of their heritage that died in the wilderness due to their disobedience.

Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word is ever relevant and able to divide/discern anyone’s motives and intents.

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Separate them through your [God’s] word which is truth.
Jesus’ prayer before His crucifixion and ascension to Heaven.  The “words” are clarified earlier when Jesus prays, “I have revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed your word. Now they understand that everything you have given me comes from you, because I have given them the words you have given me. They accepted them and really understand that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” (vss 6-8)
Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word is truth that separates people, or calls them out as distinct.

For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
[Scoffers in the last days] will intentionally overlook the fact that the heavens existed long ago, and that the earth that was formed out of and through water by God’s word perished by these same things.  It will be by the same word, this time with fire, that the heavens and earth will be consumed on the day of judgment along with the destruction of the ungodly.

As in his first letter, Peter warns of false teachers in his second letter.  In this context not only does he remind them their presence is evidence that they are in the “last days”, but he encourages them of what comes next — the “day of the Lord” (vs 10).

Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word (with water) destoyed the world once due to wickedness, and will again (with fire) on the day of judgment.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith.
For I [Paul] am not ashamed of the gospel since it is God’s power for saving all those who believe, both Jews and Greeks. Through it the righteousness of God is completed with faith, just as the Scriptures say that the righteous will live by faith.
Paul’s letter to the Christians living in Rome expressing his eagerness to come there and preach (vs 15). Paul quotes a portion of
Habbakuk 2:4
which is also quoted in Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38.
Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word reveals His righteousness (e.g. will) and is the driving force for salvation for believers.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
The word of Christ is foolishness to those that are dying (spiritually), but to everyone being saved it is the power of God.  Just as Scripture has already confirmed, God will destroy wisdom of the wise and the discernment of the discerning He will stop.

Paul is writing to the church in Corinth dealing with several serious issues throughout the letter, but here dealing with divisions among them and reminding them of the uniting nature of the Gospel.

Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word is a divisive force that is the power of God for those being saved (or, “for salvation”10).

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Also pray for us that God would open a door for us to preach the word and make known the mystery of Christ – which is why I’m in prison – and that I would know how to make it clear as I intend to.
Paul’s closing comments and final instructions to the Christians in Collosae.
Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word led to imprisonment (e.g. persecution).

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

Jesus gave them [apostles] God’s word and the world has hated them as a result, just as they hated Jesus.

Jesus’ prayer before His crucifixion and ascension to Heaven.  The “words” are clarified earlier when Jesus prays, “I have revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed your word. Now they understand that everything you have given me comes from you, because I have given them the words you have given me. They accepted them and really understand that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” (vss 6-8)

Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word caused those that preached it to be hated.

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
We [Paul/apostles] thank God constantly for you, having received the word of God from us and accepting it, not as the word of men, but as God’s literal words, which is at work in you as believers even now.

In Paul’s extended introduction to the “church of the Thessalonians” (1:1), he is recalling the events around their first hearing Paul bring them the gospel (Acts 17 during his second missionary journey).

Scripture-block application to this question

God’s word is actively4,7 at work in the believer. He also goes on to remind in verse 15 about those “who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets”15.

Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.

You, the very ones that received the law from angels but did not keep it, persecuted and killed all of the prophets that announced the coming of Jesus Christ who you now have betrayed and murdered.

Stephen has been brought before the Jewish High Priest and council on charges of blasphemy against God and Moses (6:11).  The entire chapter seven is his public defense before he is ultimately stoned to death.

Scripture-block application to this question

All of the prophets that spoke God’s word were killed because of it.

Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Have I [Paul] become your enemy by telling you the truth?

Paul’s letter to the Christians throughout Galatia, converted during his first missionary journey (Acts 13-14).  He is confronting a persistent effort by Jewish Christians to continue in and bind on Gentile Christians customs and practices from the Old Law.

Scripture-block application to this question

Paul, after teaching truth, is nevertheless contemplating the possibility reality of now being at odds with those he taught.

And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
Jesus came and preached peace to those that were far off, as well as those that were near.

Paul is writing to the “saints that are in Ephesus” (1:1), but Gentile Christians in particular (2:11).  He is reminding them of this grace that they have from God and the fact that they are now “fellow citizens…of the household of God” (2:19).  Ultimately, his plea to them is to walk in a manner worthy of the calling” (4:1).

Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus’ message was one of peace. Specifically, a peace that results between those (anyone) that accept it, and ultimately with God.

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