Know the Word

By J. L. Leifeste

A word is a symbol for an idea. It is a means to transmit an idea. It is one of the oldest methods or tools in existence. God created everything by the Word (Jn. 1:1-3). “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” (Ps. 33:6); “...the worlds were framed by the word of God...” (Heb. 11:3).

So the Word pre-dates even the existence of the universe. God created Adam, the first man (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7), and gave him the ability to use words (Gen. 2:18-23). This enabled God to talk with Adam (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:8-19). And it allows people to communicate with people. At first, all of the people in the world could communicate in a single language using the same words (Gen. 11:1-9).

For man’s understanding, words are the best means of communication and have been so throughout history. God’s ten commandments were written with words on stone tablets (Ex. 32:15-16). A record of Israel’s history was written in words as God wanted it to be written (Ex. 17:14; Num. 33:2). The law for the nation of Israel, given by God through Moses, consisted of words in book form (Ex. 24:3-7; 34:27; Deut. 31:9, 12; 2 Kings 22:8; Jn. 1:17). God also communicated to man through words spoken by prophets (Heb. 1:1-2). A warning in words from God appeared on the wall of Belshazzar’s palace (Dan. 5:25). God’s words have been written on stone, papyri, scrolls, parchments, and paper. He now wants it written on the hearts and minds of His people (Jer. 31:33; 2 Cor. 3:3; Heb. 8:6-13 and 10:15-25). The Bible is God’s word (Eph. 1:8-10; 3:3-5; Jn. 6:63; 12:48-50; 2 Cor. 5:19; Jn. 17:17; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:22-23). Therefore, to do as He wants, we must know the Bible.


The more we read God’s word, the more familiar it becomes. Also, the more we read it, the more interesting features we discover. We become aware of aspects, parts, and lessons that we did not see before. His word will have a better effect upon our feelings and our actions. We will enjoy both the grace of God’s ideas and the beauty of the words chosen as the Holy Spirit inspired them to be written (Ps. 119:103; Jer. 15:16; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). Even translations, if they are carefully translated, cannot reduce those qualities. But knowing God’s word means more than just reading it.


The study of the word of God should be regular, open-minded, and concentrated. From such study, we can learn about God, man, and the relationship between them (Ps. 19:8; 119:104-106, 130; 1 Cor. 10:11). We can realize our part and our responsibility in His plan. We can believe His message, and we can act upon that belief (Jn. 5:39; Acts 17:11; Eph. 5:26; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Jn. 5:13).

Study also helps us to grow in understanding (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18). We must avoid teachings of men which are not found in God’s word (Matt. 15:9-14; Gal. 1:6-10; 2 Jn 9-10; 1 Tim. 1:3-6). With sincere study, we eliminate misunderstandings of the truth. We can see the entire picture of God’s plan and where, in that picture, the different parts fit. This enables us to worship, live, and become more faithful in the ways that He wants. We will grow in our ability to properly handle the truth of God’s word (2 Tim. 2:15). But there is another aspect to knowing.


Scientists have learned that memorizing is similar to exercising body muscles. Our memory grows stronger as we use it more. Memorizing God’s word helps us to know it better. Memorizing gives us a good foundation and a strong defense (Ps. 119:11; Rom 10:8; Col. 3:16). By memorizing God’s word, we can quote it in times of temptations and trials. The Lord gave us a wonderful example of quoting holy scriptures as a defense when He was tempted. See Matt. 4:4 (Deut. 8:3); Matt. 4:7 (Deut. 6:16); and Matt. 4:10 (Deut. 6:13-14).

The ability to quote God’s word also gives us ready access to the truth. There are many examples of this as Old Testament scriptures are abundantly quoted in the New Testament to prove the fulfillment of prophecies concerning the Christ. See Matt. 2:6 (Micah 5:2); Matt. 2:15 (Hos. 11:1); Matt. 2:17-18 (Jer. 31:15); Heb. 5:5-6 (Ps. 2:7; 110:4); Jn. 2:17 (Ps. 69:9); Jn. 19:36 and 37 (Ps. 34:20 and Zech. 12:10); Eph. 4:8-10 (Ps. 68:18); Rom. 11:26-27 (Isa. 59:20-21).

By memorizing God’s word, we can remember exact scriptures as the need arises. It helps us to give quick, correct answers to religious questions that other people ask, and helps us to spread the gospel message (1 Pet. 3:15).

Words are ancient and essential. And the word of God is more essential than any others (Jn. 8:24; 6:68; Rom. 10:17). By frequent reading, devoted study, and determined memorizing, we can know the word of God. His word is the greatest spiritual tool we have. By reading, studying, and memorizing, we will know how to use it for ourselves and for others.

“But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”’” (Matt. 4:4).