Hebrews 4:12 (KJV) 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.
This verse pretty much sums up the spoken and written word of God. The word “quick” isn’t about speed, but to live. The word of God is powerful meaning it has the ability to effect change. “Sharper” here is the meaning of a single blow to divide instead of “hacking” away at something. A two-edged sword is one that when used not only divides in two downward, but can divide going upward, saving so miniscule, and sometimes vital, amount of time from having to twist one’s hand to position the blade correctly in order to divide. Now comes the amazing part, as if what was stated wasn’t enough, of the word of God. This verse shows the three parts of man: body, soul, and spirit, 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
Discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart – aka soul
I’m going to start with the last part and work backwards to show the importance of this one verse. “… discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” There are over 800 verses on the “heart”. Here are a select few:
Proverbs 16:9 (KJV) A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
Psalms 139:23-24 (KJV) Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Proverbs 6:18 (KJV) An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Proverbs 14:30 (KJV) A sound heart [is] the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 (KJV) A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
Proverbs 23:7a (KJV) For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he…
Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The word of God knows the truth about the thoughts and intents of the heart. As you can see from these few verses the heart is literally the “heart of the matter” concerning mankind. The “heart” is the consciousness of a person, not the physical organ beating in our chests. Whatever is in the heart is what they do which is why there is so much evil in the world. We are born with a great deceit in our hearts, Jeremiah 17:9. This is why a child’s heart is bound by foolishness, Proverbs 22:15. When someone loves another, they’re blind to the truth, a matter of the heart. When someone set out on a determined quest, it’s first born in the heart. David asked God to search his heart for any wickedness that might be lurking there. It takes God’s word to overcome the heart and to reprogram it. Thoughts are seeds planted and intent is the fruit of those seeds. This is why David asked such of thing of God. This consciousness is where our physical bodies are affected. While physical heart transplants1 have shown that not everything changes to the donor’s way of life, the “heart” is the center of one’s decisions; a combination of both mind and heart, the soul of a person. A great read is found here: http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/heart.
When you read “soul” in the Hebrew Scriptures it’s referring to this consciousness. The same word in Greek is psyche. In Hebrew the word for heart is “leb” and the paleo-Hebrew picture is two letters: lamed and beit giving the picture of a shepherd’s staff – authority – and a house meaning “in”. So the “heart” in Hebrew is the “authority within”, our consciousness. Interestingly the word “dog” in Hebrew is ka-leb – meaning “all heart”; very fitting for man’s best friend.
The power of the heart is unstoppable. God changed man’s language because whatever a man can imagine there’s nothing to restrain it, Genesis 11:6! This is very evident today with the fulfillment of prophecy, Daniel 12:4, because the English language as the de facto language of the world unites everyone allowing great advances in, well, everything. Now with the maturing of the Internet, knowledge can’t help but increase even more, but then so can evil. And without the word of God to rewire us, the deceitful heart will rule. The damage is done to those people who do not follow after God’s ways by being unstable in all their ways, James 1:8. The imagination of a fiction writer in India could spark an idea in a scientist in California to find a cure for leukemia. Certainly the work of 1960’s Star Trek spawned a whole generation of kids to see beyond what they were taught in school to create cell phones, 3D images, non-evasive diagnostic medical tools. Jules Vern provoked the idea of man going to the moon via rockets and an underground transportation system we call subways today. All back in the late 1800’s! Studies after studies show that people who want to achieve have a vision of what they want on the inner TV screen of their mind. In the military, they’ll tell you to imagine all the bullets going through the center of the target. When that vision is clarified within that inner TV screen, the body executes the success. The imagination is the breeding ground of ideas. Businesses call it brainstorming and Google has dedicated a whole lab to it. In fact, one of the six things that God hates is an evil imagination, Proverbs 6:18.
The word of God is able to separate the thought from the intent – the idea from the reason for its execution. What motivates us to do what we do is what the word of God can tell us. So powerful is the imagination that Jesus says that lusting in the heart is the same as executing the lust in physical form, Matthew 5:27-28! John says if we hate, we’re a murder, 1 John 3:15. We are told to take captive every single thought, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, and focus on whatever thing is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of any virtue or praiseworthy or of good report, think on these things. These thoughts will rewrite your thinking and give you peace and joy. And when you have these things, your heart will be merry and a merry heart is medicine to the body, Proverbs 17:22, and life to the body, Proverbs 14:30. It is very evident that too many are just walking zombies and not actively using their mind taking control of their hearts and minds but becoming slaves to them.
The power of the “heart” is just now being examined by scientists2, though they call it the mind and although it may be just that, it is the same thing as the whom in who we are. They have found that after just eight hours of mindfulness meditation the subjects “showed a range of genetic and molecular differences”. Mindfulness meditation is focusing on the moment with all the senses, no passive-autopilot thinking, not “emptying of the mid” but using the mind to focus on the task at hand. An example of this type of meditation is taking a single raisin and studying it with your eyes, then with your fingers, then with your ears (even though it makes no noise, you take note of it), then the smell of it, and finally with your mouth, savoring the taste, noticing the texture, the sweetness of the liquid that comes out. The idea behind this kind of meditation is to live in the moment and not letting it pass by, not focusing on tomorrow, yesterday or even something else, but enjoying the moment. Now you might be thinking that’s preposterous. Yet the word of God says it’s true!
Matthew 6:34 (KJV) Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.
Philippians 4:6 (KJV) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Proverbs 23:7a (KJV) For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he…
Whereas the scientists are looking at meditation – as defined as living in the moment – the Scripture uses the word “to mutter” as in “meditate the word of God” as God instructed Joshua, to focus on God’s word:
Joshua 1:8 (KJV) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
To meditate is the speak under your breath the word of God and thereby gaining more faith in the things that God says.
Romans 10:17 (KJV) So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
All the day long we are bombarded by people talking to us about their ideas whether in person, on the radio, TV, reading articles on the internet, or even your own thoughts. If you sleep 8 hours a day, that leaves 16 hours of bombardment. In that amount of time, how much is dedicated to the word of God? Now you can see how the scales are tipped against you. But if you take just one verse in the morning and think on it, mutter it under your breath, all day, what a huge different that’ll make.
Please read this study on meditating: http://abdicate.net/blog/?p=161