Colossians 3:16-17 says,
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
These verses are pointing believers to the necessity of God’s Word living in us richly. God’s Word is to live, or be at home, in believers. Not only that, but His Word is to abundantly and extravagantly reside in us. It is to be so much a part of our lives that It controls our thoughts, hearts, words and actions. In fact, the Word of God is to live in us in the same way that Ephesians 5:18 says that we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be sure, the two are really the same. It is the Holy Spirit Who teaches us and reminds us of the Word of God (John 14:26). So, in essence, the Holy Spirit is filling and acting through those who are controlled by the Bible.
The latter part of these verses hinges on the former. “… And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” We are instructed to live every part of our lives in a way that honors our Heavenly Father. Everything!! Our speech, our attitude, our work, our play, our parenting, everywhere we go, at all times… everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Here is the rub, though. We cannot do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus” without letting “the Word of Christ dwell in you [us] richly.”
So, is the Bible doing Its proper work in you?
I had a conversation with a friend not so long ago about her son. He was a marine. She told me that while he was in basic training he changed completely. She then told me the basic principle behind that radical transformation in her son’s life. She said that he was, basically, broken down completely. Once he had reached the end of himself, then those in authority over him were ready to begin putting him back together the way they wanted.
What a pointed picture this is of what God desires to do in us through His Word. Let’s look at the Bible itself to see just how this takes place.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
These verses begin by saying that ALL Scripture, the entire Old and New Testament, is breathed out by God. It was the Holy Spirit of God Who, Himself, personally moved and inspired the writing of God’s Word (2 Peter 20, 21). John MacArthur says, “So identified is God with His Word that when Scripture speaks, God speaks.” The Bible is literally God’s spoken Word. Henry Blackaby says, “When we read the Bible we are experiencing God.” So, the entire Bible is profitable! Which means it is ALL beneficial, useful, valuable, and worthwhile. God’s Word is good! It is ALL, every part of it, good for…
The Holy Spirit will teach us through the Bible. He will teach us the right kinds of doctrines and Biblical principles. He will teach us the right things to believe. He will teach us the right things about who God is and His Character. He will teach us who we really are. He will teach us that God alone is the standard in the world for Truth and what is right and wrong.
The word reproof means to find criticism or fault.. to rebuke. The Holy Spirit will not only teach us what is right, He will show us where we are wrong, where there is faulty thinking. He will teach us where we have wrong beliefs. He will reveal to us sinful attitudes, behaviors and the darkness of our own hearts. He will teach us where we believe the wrong things about God and His character. In teaching us what is right, we will be able to identify what is wrong about our own belief system, and begin adjusting it to God and His Word.
Correcting, making right, our wrong behaviors and living. By showing us how our beliefs are skewed and “making right” our wrong beliefs, we can then begin to allow the Holy Spirit to change our behaviors based on right beliefs. In other words, this is wrong, and here is how to fix the problem and move forward in the correct manner. Repentance is also a work of the Holy Spirit here. The Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, will lead us to confession of our sin and the subsequent repentance that must follow. Repentance is, after all, a radical changing of the mind that can only come from God Himself (Romans 2:4, 2 Corinthians 7:10).
Training in Righteousness
God’s Word is complete (Psalm 19:7-11, 119:128). The Bible does not stop at teaching us what is right and showing us what is wrong. God will also show us how to live in a way that honors Him. Through reading and studying His Word, the Holy Spirit will begin training and empowering us to live it. All of this is a process. As we read the Bible and the “Word of Christ dwells in us richly,” the Spirit will be continually teaching, rebuking, correcting and training us in righteousness.
Then, and only then, will we be “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Through knowing and submitting to God’s Word, we are thoroughly equipped (given the proper tools) and capable to do all of those things that God has called us to do.
As believers, children of God, our only hope for being used by God to bring glory to Himself is through careful, consistent study, submission and obedience to His Word. Through it, the Holy Spirit will teach us, change us and sanctify our hearts (John 17:17) so that we may be useful to God and speak life to those around us. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…” Those good, Godly works, properly motivated by God Himself, can only be accomplished as we consistently spend time in the Word of God.
Are you allowing God, through His Word, to break you down and then build you back up again? Is the Bible doing its work in your life? Your family? He wants to expose the sinful heart and strip away those things that stand between us and Himself and begin to build us back up in His Truth so that we become more and more like Jesus (Romans 8:29).
Is the “Word of Christ dwell[ing] in you richly,” so that “whatever you do, in word or deed, [you are doing] everything in the name of the Lord Jesus?”