For which I [Paul] suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. (II Timothy 2:9, NKJV)
The apostle Paul sat in a prison cell, and not for the first time. As he penned a letter to Timothy, his beloved friend and son in the gospel, he sat chained in the dungeon of the Mamertine Prison in Rome. Conditions were dark, dirty, and foul-smelling. Paul knew he was nearing the end of his ministry and life. While recognizing his own dire condition, he declared, “The word of God is not chained.” The authorities might chain the messenger, but they could never chain God’s Word.
No matter how much its enemies might try, God’s Word cannot be suppressed. They fail to recognize the power of the Word.
- God’s Word is eternal. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35, NKJV).
- God’s Word is powerful. “Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29, NKJV).
- God’s Word is alive and active. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV).
- God’s Word brings joy. “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16, NKJV).
Nero, the Roman emperor at the time of Paul’s final imprisonment, was not the first to try to stamp out Christianity and God’s Word, nor was he the last. Persecution and attempts to suppress the truth of the Bible exist in many places today. In more than fifty countries of the world the Bible is either difficult to obtain, dangerous to own, or completely banned. When I look around my house at my numerous Bibles, I feel guilty that I own so many while others either have none or must keep theirs hidden.
While we may not suffer direct persecution where we live, many around us disrespect and mock our beliefs and our Bible. I am encouraged to know that any effort to destroy or suppress the Word will never succeed. God’s purpose will be accomplished.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
As I was growing up, my mom taught me respect for the Bible. Yes, respect for what was inside, but also respect for the actual book. It was never to be put on the floor, treated carelessly, or have anything placed on top of it. I remember absolutely cringing when a guest once set a glass of Coke on top of my Bible. Didn’t she know that was God’s Word?
Have you ever considered that when we hold a Bible in our hands, we are holding the voice of the eternal God on paper? I am awed by that thought. I have God’s voice in my house, in my hand. It is powerful and will never be chained!
Lord, I pray for those in other areas of the world who do not have the same access as I do to the Bible. Keep them strong; keep them safe. Your Word will not return void. It will accomplish Your purpose.