Hebrews 4:12; Acts 18:24, 25, 28
The Word of God is quick, 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.
And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord…for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): We read of Apollos, that he “mightily convinced the Jews:” he did, as it were, knock them down with the weight of his reasoning. And out of what armoury fetched he the sword with which he so prevailed? See the same verse, “showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ:” and he therefore is said to be “mighty in the Scriptures.”
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The great means of the conversion of sinners is the Word of God, and the more closely we keep to it in our ministry, the more likely are we to be successful.
THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Preaching is not a matter of parts, words, or wit; it is Scripture demonstration that works upon the conscience, and that God owns and crowns.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Ghost, is the grand instrument by which souls are first converted to God. That mighty change is generally begun by some text or doctrine of the Word brought home to a man’s conscience.
HENRY MOORHOUSE (1840-1880): When I was brought to Christ about sixteen years ago, I was in business, working up till eleven at night, consequently I had very little time to read my Bible; I used to carry a small pocket Bible in my pocket, and take it out during the dinner hour and read it, and I learnt John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I was so full of joy that I wanted everybody to share it.
I was staying at Southport at the time. I went to see an old woman, and said, “I wish you would ask the ministers to come and preach in the open air.”
“Go thyself, lad,” said the old woman, “and I’ll go wi’ thee.”
So we went, and got a large number of people together, and I began to talk about Pharaoh and the Red sea, till I got their attention, and every now and then I would stop and say, “My friends, that is not the gospel,” and then I would repeat John 3:16. After which I would go on talking of things that had no more to do with the gospel than cheese has to do with the stars; every now and then stopping, when I saw the interest of the people was at its height, to give them the gospel.
For years after, I came across people who had been converted at Southport. It is very nice to use illustrations to get the ears of the people, but this is the gospel—“Christ died for us and rose again.” It does not take much to make a man a preacher of the gospel—it may take a long time to get to preach sermons. Let us stick right to the Book—we cannot get far wrong if we do that.
C. H. SPURGEON: M’Cheyne somewhere says, “Depend upon it, it is God’s Word, not man’s comment on God’s Word, which converts souls.” I have frequently observed that this is the case. A discourse has been the means of conviction or of decision; but usually upon close inquiry I have found that the real instrument was a Scripture quoted by the preacher. A large fruit may contain and nourish a tiny seed; when the fruit falls into the ground and the shoot springs up, the real life was in the central pip, and not in the juicy fruit which encompassed it. So the divine truth is the living and incorruptible seed; the sermon is as needful as the apple to its pip; but still the vitality, the energy, the saving power, was in the pip of the Word, and only in a minor sense in the surrounding apple of human exposition and exhortation.
ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): Is not the Word the sword of the Spirit? Should not our great work be to take it from its scabbard, to cleanse it from all rust, and then to apply its sharp edge to the consciences of man? It is certain the fathers used to preach in this manner. John Brown of Haddington used to preach as if he had read no other book than the Bible. It is the truth of God in its naked simplicity that the Spirit will most honour and bless.
C. H. SPURGEON: We should resolve also that we will quote more of Holy Scripture―our own words are mere paper pellets compared with the rifle shot of the Word.
D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): Now I want to call your attention to a fact. You never in your life saw a man full of God who wasn’t full of Scripture. You see a minister in the pulpit that is filled with the Spirit of God and he will talk Scripture right along. Mary was filled with the Holy Ghost, and that Magnificat flowed from her lips, Luke 1:46-55. And any man full of the Holy Ghost will talk Scripture.
C. H. SPURGEON: Moreover, we shall evermore keep to the Word of God, because we have had experience of its power within ourselves. It is not so long ago that you will have forgotten how, like a hammer, the Word of God broke your flinty heart, and brought down your stubborn will. By the Word of the Lord you were brought to the cross, and comforted by the atonement. That Word breathed a new life into you; and when, for the first time, you knew yourself to be a child of God, you felt the ennobling power of the gospel received by faith. The Holy Spirit wrought your salvation through the Holy Scriptures.
You trace your conversion, I am sure, to the Word of the Lord; for this alone is “perfect, converting the soul,” Psalm 19:7. Whoever may have been the man who spoke it, or whatever may have been the book in which you read it, it was not man’s word, nor man’s thought upon God’s Word, but the Word itself, which made you know salvation in the Lord Jesus. It was neither human reasoning, nor the force of eloquence, nor the power of moral persuasion, but the omnipotence of the Spirit, applying the Word itself, that gave you rest and peace and joy through believing. We are ourselves trophies of the power of the sword of the Spirit.
JOHN BROWN (of Haddington) (1722-1787): So far as I have observed God’s dealings with my soul, the flights of preachers have entertained me; but it was Scripture expressions that did penetrate my soul, and that in a manner peculiar to themselves.