Hebrews 4:12-16: Bible and Prayer

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Hebrews 4:12-16: Bible and Prayer

September 7, 2023


Isaiah 17-20Proverbs 21:17-31Luke 22:14-23Hebrews 4:12-16

Hebrews 4:12-16:

The author of Hebrews is taking a brief break in his exegesis to apply what he has been saying. And broadly speaking, he applies his teaching so far in two ways: 1) to the Bible and 2) to prayer. 

His application to the Bible, or “the word of God,” comes in verses 12 and 13. He has been using this sword of the Bible throughout his teaching so far. And in good pedagogical style, he now brings out the overarching principle behind his use of the Bible. This word of God is powerful. It cuts through to the inner person. In doing so, it expresses the spiritual x-ray vision of God himself who can see all that we are and to whom we must give account. Thinking of the Bible this way is not familiar to us. We tend to think of the Bible as a book from which we can learn. We tend to think of it as a comfortable and encouraging book. But how often do we think of it as a weapon, a sword? How often do we think of the Bible as that which can cut right through to what’s really going on and reveal it? Of course, the purpose of such cutting is to bring healing. But cut it does – and we should embrace the sword of God to show us what we are really like so that we might receive his grace and be able to stand righteous before God on that awful and awesome last day.  

Then his application to prayer comes in verses 14 to 16. If Jesus is this great high priest that he has been talking about, then what that means is that he can sympathize with our weaknesses, and that means we should approach the throne of grace with confidence to receive mercy and grace in our time of need. For many people, verse 16 is quite wellknown. You have perhaps heard it quoted at prayer meetings. But how many of us actually follow its exhortation to approach God with confidence to find help? Would you do that today? Would you bring before God the needs of your heart and mind and body and family and church and friends and ask God for the help that you need? If you approach with confidence, that is with bold faith, you will receive the help that you need! 

Therefore, read the Bible and pray! 


Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.


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