Light conquers darkness and illuminates the path ahead. A hammer pounds, drives and crushes—but in the end, it builds. A mirror provides a reflection of you that you could not see without it. Fire burns, releases energy, and purifies. Seeds are small but packed with potential for growth if they are planted in good soil and watered. Food satiates our hunger and provides us with energy. A sword is most effective when it is sharp; it is a tool, but most of the time, it is a weapon.
There is something that all seven of these things have in common. Any guesses?
They all represent an aspect of God’s Word—the Bible! These seven metaphors help us better understand the purpose of the Bible and why God wrote it. They can teach us to truly value and increase our practical use of the Word of God through daily Bible study.
God speaks to us. That is not just a platitude; it is more than just the title of the hymn on page 124 of the hymnal that we use each Sabbath. God does speak to us—through the pages of the Bible.
Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in “An Open Letter to Our Newly Begotten Brethren Recently Baptized” that in order to grow, develop spiritually, and overcome, we must be doing two things without fail: praying and studying the Bible. He wrote, “You must not only read, but eagerly, earnestly study the Word of God to learn how to live—you must live according to God’s teachings in His Bible—you must make it your guide for everything you do. In this way, God talks to you!”
What a privilege! God wants to talk to you through your personal studies. Are you ready to listen? Realize the valuable treasure you hold in your hands and how much divine inspiration and human effort was put into preserving the Old and New Testaments. It is a book that men and women have died to defend and preserve.
Every verse of that Bible was “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). We should follow Paul’s admonition to study that Word (2 Timothy 2:15). You will be more motivated to study if you realize the value of the Holy Bible and how rare it is to have God open your mind to understand His revealed truth (Luke 10:23-24).
So what do these seven things—light, a hammer, a mirror, fire, seeds, food and a sword—have to do with the Word of God?
Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” It brings light into your life, like a flashlight does when you’re in a dark place.
Have you ever had to walk somewhere in the dark without a flashlight? When there is no light to illuminate your path, you move more slowly, more cautiously, without confidence—and it is very easy to lose your way or trip on an unseen obstacle and fall.
Satan’s world is a dark place, and you desperately need the light of God’s Word to help you navigate through it. Without that light, you will soon lose the straight and narrow path. We need this light in our lives to clearly see the path ahead of us. If get to know the Bible really well through study, it will illuminate the way you should go.
This world can be discouraging at times, and it will drag us down if we are not careful. That is why we need the light of God. God tells us to be a light to the world, and we cannot do that unless we have that light in us. You are a light to the world by the way you live your life, and you will only know how to live God’s way if you study His Word.
In Jeremiah 20:7-9, the prophet tells the story of a time when the persecution became so intense that he finally just wanted to give up. People hated his warning message, and the pressure was getting him down. He was deeply discouraged. That can easily happen to us if we are not careful. Especially as teens, we can easily tire of being ridiculed for being different.
Jeremiah wrote, “I cried out … because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name” (verses 8-9). Jeremiah wanted to give up! He actually decided to stop doing God’s Work. “But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay” (verse 9). God’s Word was a fire in Jeremiah. It burned so hot inside him that he just couldn’t keep it in. It motivated him to keep going. Do you have that burning fire in your life?
Fire also purifies—and God wants us to be pure (1 Timothy 5:22, Ephesians 5:25-27). Bible study shows us where we need to change; it shows the spots, blemishes and wrinkles that we need to remove, and it also shows us how to get rid of those things, just as fire purifies gold and other metals.
God’s Word is a fire (Jeremiah 23:29). If you fill your life with that fire, you will become fired up for the Work.
That verse in Jeremiah 23:29 also calls God’s Word a hammer. Why a hammer? Because it crushes evil and drives in God’s nature. Have you ever looked at your Bible this way?
Marvel movies make Thor’s hammer look pretty impressive, right? But that fictional hammer in the hand of a superhero is nothing compared to this inspired hammer wielded by a true Christian soldier. God’s Word can crush the wrong in you and drive in the good. Matthew Henry’s commentary says about this verse, “The unhumbled heart of man is like a rock; if it will not be melted by the Word of God as the fire, it will be broken to pieces by it as the hammer.” Work to grow in humility, and use the hammer of God’s Word to break apart anything ungodly in your life.
James 1:22-25 show how God’s Word is like a mirror: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
There are two types of people who read the Bible. Some people read it but promptly forget all about it as soon as they get busy with day-to-day life. Others read and are affected by God’s Word. They recognize where they do not measure up to God’s perfect law of liberty, and they work to change those imperfections. They don’t just hear; they do.
When I go to get a haircut, the barber has to hold up a mirror for me so that I see how he has cut my hair. He knows that I can’t see the back of my head on my own. In the same way, we cannot see ourselves on our own! Without our spiritual mirror, we won’t know what we truly look like—what God sees when He looks on our hearts. If we don’t study the Bible, that is like wandering around in life without ever looking in a mirror. Compare yourself and your life to God’s Word, and let that mirror reflect who you really are! Chances are, you won’t like what you see. But that’s OK. Let that motivate you to be a doer—and change. Then, you will be blessed.
Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23 contain the parable of the sower. This was one of the most important parables Christ spoke. In it, He discusses a sower who went out to sow seed. Some of his seeds fell by the wayside. Some fell upon stony places, some fell among thorns, and the others fell upon good ground. Only the seeds that fell upon good ground had lasting growth and produced fruit. This is a metaphor for our spiritual lives. We have to be that good ground for God. If your ground is full of thorns and stones, God’s Word will not take root. If you allow the ways of the world to be your ways, they will choke the life out of you!
God wants to plant His words in you, but so does Satan. You can’t let the rank seeds of Satan’s way flourish in your life. Christ has to weed out those evil ways and replace them with the good, upright seeds that produce love, joy, peace and the other fruits of God’s Holy Spirit.
What good are seeds if they stay tucked away in a pouch? They have to be planted to do any good. What good is your Bible if it just sits there? Be honest with yourself: Do you only pick up your Bible and study it when your parents, your minister or your teacher tell you to? Do you ever pick it up on your own? If you never truly study God’s Word, you are never giving that seed the opportunity to grow in your life.
When dinnertime rolls around every night, and your stomach starts to rumble, you probably ask your mom, “What’s for dinner?”
What if, one night, she said, “Nothing. We’re not having dinner.”
What? No dinner? No food? Especially as a teen, it’s almost unthinkable to skip a meal unless you’re sick or fasting, right?
But how easy is it to move through your day and not fill up on the spiritual sustenance that you so desperately need? In Matthew 4:4, Christ said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” And in Matthew 5:6, He said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” We should be hungering after that spiritual food even more than we hunger for physical food.
Hebrews 5:12-14 show us that once we have been fed on the milk of the word, we should be able to study and handle the heavier meat of God’s truth. You teens have been given so much milk by your parents and the Church that you should be able to digest the meat of more significant subjects. You should be studying on your own—digging into the books and booklets and learning about your Bible.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The word “quick” means alive! It’s not just some dusty pile of scrolls. God’s Word is alive! It can get inside us, penetrate our thoughts, get into the joints and marrow of who and what we are. This is your sword!
A soldier would never go to battle without his weapon. Yet when we apply this same scenario to ourselves, how many times do we run into our daily battles without our sword?
Some weapons are only for defense, but this sword can be used both offensively and defensively. And it’s sharper than a two-edged sword! Your study of the Bible can cut away the imperfections from your life.
Ephesians 6 lists the armor that God has given us that we have to be putting on every day. One of the last pieces of this armor is the only weapon we have been given—“the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (verse 17). The most exciting detail about this sword is that it came directly from God! God gave us a sword from heaven to fight with on this Earth! What a precious gift that sword is.
If you study God’s Word, it will fire you up. It will drive out the ways of the world and drive in God’s ways. It will be a bright light in your life. The more you hold up the mirror, the more you will see what needs fixing. You will hunger and thirst for the only food that will truly satisfy. When the seeds of God’s thinking are planted in your life, the growth will come in ways you have never imagined. In the end, when you pull out God’s sword and cut away the vanity and selfishness in your life, that’s when you’ll really start living!
Appreciate this valuable gift and tool from God. Don’t just let it sit on your shelf. Dive into Bible study, and let it make your life so much more fulfilling—because it’s far more than just words on a page. It is how God our Father speaks to us!