The Transforming Power of God’s Word
Last October, when the twelfth worldwide synod of bishops opened in Rome, I was really excited. If you have read my letters over the past year, you know that we began The Word Among Us out of a desire to follow Jesus’ words: “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37, RSV). The “something” that we wanted to give was the relationship with the Lord that comes as we read, study, and meditate on his word in Scripture.
Some of my most favorite Bible passages are the ones that point to the power that Scripture can have on our lives. For example, Ezekiel was told to “eat this scroll,” which held God’s word to Israel. And when Ezekiel did eat, the word became sweet as honey to him (Ezekiel 3:1-3). There are also those passages in which Jesus used Scripture to show how he was the fulfillment of everything God had promised in the past. When Jesus gave these Bible studies, his words lit a spark in his listeners’ hearts, and by the time he was finished, their hearts were burning with love for the Lord (Luke 24:13-47). This is what we want all of our readers to experience as they take of the word of God.
A Man of the Word. This month also happens to be the end of the “Year of St. Paul,” which Pope Benedict XVI declared last June. What could be a better way to honor Paul than to shine a light on the power of the word of God? After all, Paul is responsible for thirteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament, and his story takes up one half of the Book of Acts. Paul was a man of the Scriptures. He was trained in the Hebrew Bible by the great rabbi Gamaliel. All his preaching, all his letters, even the way he cared for the churches he founded—all of it flowed from his love for the word of God and his desire to see the promises in that word fulfilled in his people.
It was St. Paul who wrote that “all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This is what the bishops had in mind when they presented their proposals to the Holy Father at the close of the synod. God’s word testifies to Jesus, it teaches us, and it inspires us. The Bible makes us wise because the Holy Spirit takes these words and uses them to reveal the mysteries of God to us. It can help us stand firm against the philosophies in the world that are opposed to Jesus. And because it lifts our hearts up to the Lord, it helps us meditate on all that is true, noble, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy—that is, on God and his wonderful creation (Philippians 4:8).
I hope that this issue of The Word Among Us helps you to dedicate yourself to reading the Scriptures every day. I hope it inspires you to a deeper study of the word. And above all, I hope it helps you grow in your faith—which comes from hearing, which comes from the word of God (Romans 10:17).