The following is a reproduction of chapter three
of Salvation of the Soul
By Arlen L. Chitwood
The Implanted Word
Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:18, 21)
“Redemption” is the central issue throughout all Scripture, but redemption includes far more than the salvation that we presently possess. Redemption begins with unredeemed man who, because of sin, is both alienated from God and dwelling on an earth that is under a curse; and redemption terminates with redeemed man dwelling as a joint-heir with his Messiah, ruling over an earth removed from the curse.
In this respect, God’s revealed purpose for man’s redemption is to ultimately place him in the position for which he was originally created: “Let them have dominion . . . .” And when this has been accomplished, restored man will occupy a regal position over a restored earth, removed from the curse (cf. Genesis 1:26, 28; Acts 3:21; Colossians 1:20). Anything short of this revealed goal is short of God’s purpose for His redemptive work surrounding man.
The Hebrew word translated “dominion” in Genesis 1:26, 28 is radhah, which means “to rule.” This is the same word translated “rule” in Psalm 110:2, referring to Christ ruling the earth in the coming age as the great King-Priest “after the order of Melchizedek.” Christ, however, is not to rule alone. He will have many “companions” (Hebrews 1:9; 3:14) ruling as joint-heirs with Him, and God’s purpose for His past and present redemptive work surrounding man is to ultimately bring him into this regal position — a culmination of God’s redemptive work, to be realized at a future date.
The text in James 1:18, 21 encompasses the complete scope of redemption — past, present, and future. The word translated “brought us forth” [“begat us” in other translations] in verse eighteen is a medical term in the Greek text that refers to the actual birth itself. The individuals in this passage (the writer included himself) had been begotten from above, realizing the salvation of their spirits. And through the birth from above, these individuals had been placed in a position (possessing spiritual life) where they could ultimately be brought into a realization of the salvation of their souls through following that which is outlined in verse twenty-one.
In the preceding respect, the issue surrounding redemption in relation to alienated, unredeemed man has to do with the salvation of his spirit; and the issue surrounding redemption in relation to redeemed man, who possesses a right relationship with God, has to do with the salvation of his soul. Thus, relative to the salvation of both the spirit and the soul, man has been saved (salvation of the spirit) in order to bring him into a position where he can be saved (salvation of the soul).
The former has to do with eternal verities and the latter with millennial verities. Through the salvation of man’s spirit, he comes into possession of eternal life; but only through the salvation of his soul does he come into possession of the inheritance awaiting the faithful, to be realized during the Messianic Era.
Therefore lay aside . . . receive . . .
In James 1:21, there is really only one command in the wording of the Greek text. The verse should literally read,
Therefore, putting away all filthiness and all prevailing wickedness, in meekness receive the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)
Following the salvation of one’s spirit, an individual (Christian) is commanded to “receive the implanted Word,” for this Word alone is able to effect the salvation of his soul.
However, a Christian is to receive this Word only after he has set aside the things which would hinder the reception of this Word. The words “filthiness” and “wickedness,” though appearing to refer basically to the same thing in the English text, set forth two entirely different thoughts in the Greek text.
The word translated “filthiness” comes from a root word that, relative to the human ear — the channel through which “the implanted Word” is received — could have to do with earwax. In a metaphorical manner of viewing the matter, the thought set forth through the use of this word has to do with the possibility that these Christians’ ears, so to speak, were filthy. There were possibly obstructions — having to do with a dulled spiritual perception — that prevented the Word of God from flowing through the auditory canals in a proper manner; and, if so, they were to remove these obstructions.
Then, after these Christians had removed any obstructions that could prevent them from hearing the Word of God properly, they were to put away all “wickedness” in their lives. This is simply a general term that carries the thought of “anything opposed to purity.” These Christians were to put away any impurity in their lives that could hinder the reception of the Word of God. And receiving the implanted Word in this fashion would then allow them to “grow thereby unto salvation” (1 Peter 2:2, ASV), i.e., through spiritual growth they would ultimately realize the salvation of their souls.
The word “implanted” has to do simply with that which is placed on the inside. This Word is to be firmly fixed within a person’s mind, within his thinking process. The channel, as we have seen, is the ear. According to Romans 10:17, “. . . faith comes by [‘out of’] hearing, and hearing by [‘through’] the Word of God.” The Word is to flow through unobstructed auditory canals into a saved human spirit, for a revealed purpose.
Once the Word has been received in this manner, the indwelling Holy Spirit can then perform a work in the individual. As all hindrances (all impurities) are set aside and the spiritual man is allowed to exert full control, the Holy Spirit, using “the implanted Word,” can then effect spiritual growth. And, as this process continues over time, spiritual growth of this nature will lead from immaturity to maturity.
The teaching in James 1:21, or for that matter the book of James as a whole, must be understood in the light of the subject matter at hand — the salvation of the soul. In order to properly understand the Word of God at this point, one must not only have an understanding of the salvation that he presently possesses, but he must also have an equally good understanding and comprehension of the salvation that he is about to possess.
Teachings surrounding the salvation of the soul are, in reality, the central subject matter in all of the epistles — both the Pauline and general epistles, from Romans through Jude. Each epistle is different, containing its own peculiarities; and each has been written to provide a different facet of revealed truth, with all of the epistles together forming a complete body of revealed information and instructions for Christians relative to present and future aspects of salvation.
In this respect, apart from an understanding of the salvation of the soul, it is not possible to properly understand the central message of the epistles. An understanding of the salvation of the soul, which is introduced in the Old Testament and continued in the gospels and the book of Acts, is the key that will open the epistles to one’s understanding.
Thus, the importance of understanding that which Scripture reveals about the salvation of the soul cannot be overemphasized. And this importance can be shown by the goal, which the writer of Hebrews dealt with near the beginning of his epistle, referring to this salvation as “so great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3; cf. Hebrews 1:14; 2:5; 6:13-19; 10:35-39; 1 Peter 1:9). It is the greatest thing God could ever design for redeemed man, for it includes joint-heirship with His Son over all things during the coming age.
Growing unto Salvation
Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisy, and envies, and all evil speaking,
As newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk that is without guile, that you may grow thereby unto salvation. (1 Peter 2:1, 2, ASV)
The American Standard Version (ASV) of the Bible has been quoted rather than the King James Version (KJV) because it includes the translation of two important and explanatory Greek words in verse two (ref. also NASB, NIV, Weymouth). These two words, eis soterian, appear at the end of the verse and actually sum up and conclude the thought of the entire verse, for within these two words lie the revealed reason for growth towards maturity.
Eis soterian should be properly translated either “unto salvation” or “with respect to salvation” (ref. NASB). Then the question naturally arises, “What aspect of salvation is in view?” It can only be the salvation of the soul, for not only is this the subject matter dealt with in 1 Peter (cf. 1:9, 10) but Christians do not grow “unto” or “with respect to” the salvation that they presently possess.
The salvation of the spirit was effected in past time completely apart from any accomplishment, effort, etc., of man. Nothing can ever be added to or taken from this salvation, for it is based entirely on the finished work of Christ at Calvary. And this finished work can never be changed or altered in any fashion.
All Christians remain on an equal plain within the scope of this salvation. A newborn babe in Christ, a carnally immature Christian, and a spiritually mature Christian all occupy identical positions insofar as the salvation of the spirit is concerned. Christian growth is brought to pass on the basis of the salvation of the spirit, but there is no such thing as growing “unto” or “with respect to” this salvation.
The command in 1 Peter 2:2, although applicable only to newborn babes, parallels and has to do with the same central thought as the command in James 1:21: “. . . long for the spiritual milk that is without guile, that you may grow thereby unto salvation,” and “. . . receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.” Both begin at the same point (a reception of the Word of God into man’s saved human spirit), progress in the same manner (spiritual growth), and end at the same point (salvation).
The commands to receive the Word of God in both James 1:21 and 1 Peter 2:2 are preceded by parallel statements:
Therefore lay aside [lit. Therefore laying aside] all filthiness and overflow of wickedness . . . . (James 1:21a)
Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisy, and envies, and all evil speaking. (1 Peter 2:1)
Nothing must be allowed to interfere with the reception of the Word of God as Christians mature day by day. This is the reason Christians are exhorted over and over in the New Testament to separate themselves from the things of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Sin in one’s life will impede the reception of the Word of God; and sin harbored in one’s life will impede the reception of this Word to the extent that the individual may fail to grow “unto salvation.”
The problem of sin in the Christian’s life today, in view of the coming salvation of the soul, is the reason Christ is presently exercising a high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. Christians reside in a body of death with the ever-present sin nature; and, in this condition, they reside in a world under the control and dominion of Satan and his angels. Residing in the present world system after this fashion, Christians come under constant attack from the archenemy of their souls; and failure in the pilgrim walk, producing defilement in their lives, can and does occur.
Because of present conditions and circumstances, Christ, as High Priest, is performing a work in the heavenly sanctuary. He is performing a present, continuous cleansing for Christians, accomplished solely on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat (Hebrews 9:11, 12). And forgiveness and cleansing from “all unrighteousness” occur as Christians “confess” their sins (1 John 1:5, 6, 9; 2:1, 2).
The reason for Christ’s present ministry has to do with the salvation of the soul, as the reason for His past ministry had to do with the salvation of the spirit. God’s complete purpose for man cannot be realized apart from the salvation of both, i.e., the salvation of man as a complete being (which, in that coming day, will include his body as well).
Milk . . . Meat . . . Strong Meat
In the terminology of Scripture itself, milk is for babies, and meat is for those who have experienced sufficient growth to leave the milk and partake of solid food. Both milk and meat (solid food) are indispensable elements as one progressively grows from an immature infant into a mature adult, and nourishment to produce proper growth in both the physical and spiritual realms must come from the correct source.
1. In the Physical Realm
The analogy concerning a newborn Christian’s spiritual needs for the “milk which is without guile” is drawn from the physical needs and desires of a newborn baby. Almost immediately following birth the baby instinctively begins seeking nourishment from his mother. His needs are very basic: food, warmth, and security.
These are all satisfied at his mother’s breasts, as he longs for his mother’s milk. This milk is pure, easily digested, and contains all the necessary components for the early growth of the entire body, especially the brain and nervous system. The mother’s milk is a living organism that cannot be duplicated. Man’s best efforts to reproduce this milk are described by the terms “most like,” or “near to.”
A child in his early physical growth does not continue on milk indefinitely. The child’s growth always moves toward a day when he is able to leave the milk and continue on solid food. The solid food that the child first begins taking is a type that is more easily masticated and digested. But as the child grows, the teeth become more firmly entrenched, the digestive system matures, and the day arrives when the child becomes physically mature enough to handle any type of solid food.
2. In the Spiritual Realm
God revealed Himself to Abraham as “El Shaddai [‘Almighty God’]” (Genesis 17:1). El is the singular form of the plural Hebrew word for “God” (Elohim), and Shaddai is a derivative of the word shad, which means “breast.” In this respect, God literally revealed Himself to Abraham as the “All-Powerful, Breasted God,” i.e., the All-Powerful God who nourishes, gives strength, and satisfies. This appears to be the primary thought behind the words El Shaddai when used with God’s own people in view.
God’s revealed Word to man, derived from the “All-Powerful, Breasted One,” is the means through which God nourishes, strengthens, and satisfies His people throughout their pilgrim walk. The newborn Christian, because of his new nature, is to instinctively long for the “spiritual milk which is without guile”; and the more mature a Christian becomes, the more he, in like manner, is to instinctively move on into the “meat” and “strong meat” of the Word.
This Word is “quick [‘alive’], and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12) and contains everything necessary for Christian growth unto maturity. The weaning process in Christian growth pertains only to the “milk,” not the source. It is not possible for any Christian to receive nourishment apart from the “All-Powerful, Breasted God.”
Proper Christian growth begins with “milk,” progresses to “meat,” and then moves on to “strong meat.” In Hebrews chapter five, the writer of this book severely rebuked certain Christians for their inability to handle anything but “milk.” They had been saved for a sufficient length of time that they should not only have progressed from milk to meat, and then to strong meat, but they should also have progressed to the point where they could teach the Word to other Christians.
However, because of a lazy, careless manner of conducting their spiritual lives over time, these Christians had not experienced proper growth in their understanding of the Word. They were still on the milk of the Word and had not progressed in their Christian growth beyond the point of themselves needing to be taught.
The subject matter at hand in relation to “strong meat” in Hebrews chapter five is the Melchizedek priesthood. The writer of this book had “many things” he would like to have said concerning this priesthood; but these things had to do with a realm of biblical doctrine beyond that which these Christians, because of their immaturity, were able to comprehend.
The things associated with the Melchizedek priesthood had to do with strong meat, and these Christians were still on milk. They were unable to partake of meat, much less strong meat drawn from teachings surrounding the Melchizedek priesthood.
(Note that both “milk” and “meat” have an association with that which is living in both the physical and spiritual realms. Man may attempt to duplicate both; but, in reality, he can duplicate neither. Life of this nature — physical or spiritual — comes only through breath, which comes from God.
This whole overall thought will explain what is meant in John chapter six by partaking of Christ as the Bread of life, or eating His flesh and drinking His blood [vv. 33-35, 48-58]. There is the living Word, and there is the written Word [which is living as well]. The two are inseparably related; and an individual partakes of the former through an intake, assimilation, and digestion of the latter.
Everything is alive. It is a partaking of the living Word through a partaking of the written Word [which, again, is living as well]. It is a progression from living milk, to living meat, to living strong meat. Only through this means can spiritual growth for the man now possessing spiritual life occur.)
The Christians in Hebrews chapter five were said to be “dull of hearing” (v. 11). The thought from the wording of the text is that they didn’t necessarily begin this way as newborn babes. This is something that had resulted from the careless manner in which they had governed their spiritual lives.
Before they had grown to the point where they could leave the milk of the Word, they had become sluggish in hearing the Word of God. They, as brought out in James 1:21, had possibly allowed wax to build up in their ears. Their spiritual perception had been dulled, preventing them from hearing properly.
The Word of God was not being allowed to travel in a proper and natural manner through the auditory canal into their saved human spirits. There was no proper exercise of faith because there was no proper exercise of hearing the Word of God (cf. Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6). And, apart from the reception of this Word, there could, consequently, be no growth toward maturity.
The only way to rectify an existing situation of this nature is clearly outlined in James 1:21 and 1 Peter 2:1, 2. It requires removing any obstructions from the auditory canals, laying aside everything opposed to purity, and receiving “with meekness [in a favorable manner] the implanted Word . . . .”
The word translated “dull” in Hebrews 5:11 is from the same word in the Greek text translated “become sluggish” in Hebrews 6:12:
That you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
The Christians referred to in chapter six where exhorted to not be like the ones previously referred to in chapter five; and the given purpose had to do with faith, patient endurance, and a future inheritance (vv. 13ff).
The word “patience” is the translation of a Greek word that has to do with patiently enduring over a long period of time. In this case, the entire Christian life is in view. These Christians were to receive the Word of God in a continuing manner throughout their entire pilgrim walk.
The reception of this Word would, in turn, produce a walk by faith and progressively result in Christian maturity. And, while patiently enduring trials and tests during the pilgrim walk after this fashion, they were to look ahead to the inheritance that would be realized at the end of their faith, in connection with and at the time of the salvation of their souls (cf. Hebrews 6:14-19; 1 Peter 1:4-9).
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [the Neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
The roots of all biblical doctrine have been established in the book of Genesis. This is the book of beginnings; and all Scripture beyond this point must, after some fashion, reach back and draw from this book.
In the account of the creation of man, insight is given into certain truths concerning “life” derived from God. These truths will, in turn, provide light on the subject matter at hand — the reception of the Word of God (which is alive, and powerful [Hebrews 4:12]) in relation to the salvation of the soul/life.
The creation of Adam from the dust of the ground, and the removal of a rib from Adam’s side, occurred on the sixth day of the restoration account in Genesis chapter one. But the methods that God used to bring about both Adam’s creation and the formation of Eve from a portion of Adam’s body were not revealed in the recorded account until following the seventh day in chapter two.
Most of the second chapter is taken up with certain specifics concerning that which had previously occurred on the sixth day in the preceding chapter, and this account is rich beyond degree in biblical study. The second chapter of Genesis (just as in the first chapter) is the point where the origin of numerous biblical doctrines can be traced, and these doctrines cannot be properly understood apart from this chapter.
The means that God used in both man’s creation and the subsequent impartation of life into His new creation are given in Genesis 2:7. There first existed a lifeless form that had previously been fashioned from the dust of the ground. Creation itself did not produce life in this form. Rather, God imparted life to man following his creation. This life was produced by means of the breath of God, and it is here that “life” in relation to man is first mentioned in Scripture.
The Hebrew word translated “breath” in Genesis 2:7 is Neshamah. The Neshamah of God produced “life.” The word “God” in this verse is a translation of the plural noun, Elohim, indicating that not only the Father, but also the Son and the Holy Spirit were instrumental in producing this life.
Thus, man’s life in the beginning was derived from the triune God through what is called the Neshamah. And Genesis 2:7 provides insights into things far beyond the simple fact that God created man and then imparted life into man. This verse provides insights into things surrounding man’s salvation today — both the salvation of the spirit and the salvation of the soul.
First, the impartation of life to unredeemed man, who is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1, 5), must follow the pattern (type) established in Genesis. He, as Adam prior to the Neshamah of God, is lifeless; and his life must be derived through the same means as Adam’s life.
Second, once this life has been imparted, it must be continued and sustained; and, as will become evident, Scripture teaches that life is not only imparted through the Neshamah of God, but life is also continued and sustained through the Neshamah of God as well.
A first-mention principle has been established in Genesis 2:7, and life that man derives from God must always be in complete keeping with that set forth in this verse. God alone initially “imparts” and subsequently “continues” and “sustains” life; and this entire sequence, having to do with God’s revealed work as it pertains to life, is always accomplished, in its entirety, through the Neshamah of God.
1. Impartation of Life to the Unsaved (Salvation of the Spirit)
Unregenerate man today comes into a right relationship with God solely through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit on the basis of Christ’s finished work at Calvary. The Spirit breathes life into the one having no life, and through this work of the Spirit man passes “from death to life” (John 5:24).
(The word “Spirit” in the Greek text is pneuma, a word that also means “breath.” It is used in the latter sense in the New Testament to show life being produced through a “breathing in,” or death being wrought through a “breathing out.” In Luke 8:55, life was restored to a young girl by her “spirit [breath]” returning; and in Luke 23:46, Christ terminated His life on the Cross by giving “up the spirit [lit. from the wording of the Greek text, He ‘breathed out’].”)
Thus, the Holy Spirit is the One who generates life in lifeless man (on the basis of Christ’s finished work at Calvary), and the expression used in both the Hebrew and Greek texts relative to the Spirit generating life in this manner is a “breathing in.” God, through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, “breathes life into” unregenerate man, which results in man passing “from death to life.”
Or, in James 2:26, the same principle is seen relative to the physical body, as previously seen in Genesis 2:7: “. . . the body without the spirit [‘breath’] is dead.”
Since type and antitype must agree in exact detail, the impartation of life to Adam in Genesis chapter two must, of necessity, have occurred in the same fashion that the impartation of life to unredeemed man occurs today. Lifeless man during the present time derives life from God through the work of the Holy Spirit, and lifeless Adam in the Genesis account could only have derived life from God in this same manner.
Teachings drawn from the original type in relation to man’s redemption necessitate this same conclusion. The original type is found in the first chapter of Genesis (vv. 2b-5), with Genesis 2:7 being a subsequent type, providing additional details. And the latter verse, providing the first mention of “life” in relation to man, must be in complete agreement with and understood in the light of revelation in the former verses, in the original type.
The portion of the original type under consideration at this point is Genesis 1:2b, 3:
. . . darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
These verses outline the beginning of the restoration of a creation that was brought into a ruined state through an act of Satan (the earth, the province over which Satan ruled [and still rules today], becoming a chaos because of his aspirations to be “like the most High” [Isaiah 14:12-14]).
Then these verses, in turn, set forth in type the beginning of the restoration of a creation that was brought into a subsequent state of ruin through another act of Satan (causing man to fall [becoming a ruin, a chaos] through deceiving the woman into believing that she could be “as God” [Genesis 3:5, 22]).
The established pattern (type) relative to the restoration of a ruined creation is set in the first chapter of Genesis. Once God establishes a pattern of this nature, no change can ever occur. The restoration of any subsequent ruined creation must occur in exact accord with the established pattern. Thus, God’s work in the restoration of fallen man today — a subsequent ruined creation — must follow the established pattern, in exact detail.
The Spirit of God moved in the first chapter of Genesis, effecting a beginning of the earth’s restoration. And the first thing recorded immediately following the Spirit’s movement was the placement of light alongside the previously existing darkness, with a division established between the light and the darkness.
The Spirit of God, in like manner, moves today, effecting a beginning of man’s restoration (the salvation of his spirit). And the first thing that God does for man is to place light alongside the previously existing darkness — place a new nature alongside the old nature, a new man alongside the old man — with a division established between the two (cf. Hebrews 4:12).
But in the Genesis account, complete restoration was not accomplished through God’s work on the first day. Rather, the earth, through this divine work accomplished on the first day, was brought into a state where a continued work could be accomplished. And, over time, this continued work would complete the earth’s restoration.
And restoration for ruined man occurs exactly the same way. Complete restoration is not accomplished through the birth from above. Rather, the person, through the birth from above, is brought into a state where a continued work can be accomplished. And, over time, this continued work will complete man’s restoration.
Note the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:6; 5:17 in this respect:
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ . . .
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [‘new creation’] . . . .”
These verses in 2 Corinthians chapters four and five can only be a direct allusion to the account of the restoration of the ruined creation in Genesis chapter one — light shining out of darkness, associated with a new creation being brought into existence in both instances, with the former foreshadowing the latter. And Genesis 2:7, a subsequent type concerning unregenerate man (life produced in that which is lifeless), is an account portraying exactly the same truth from a different perspective, providing additional details.
The Spirit of God wrought order out of chaos in Genesis chapter one; the Spirit of God — the Neshamah — produced life in Genesis chapter two; and the Spirit of God brings order out of chaos, produces life in unregenerate man today, exactly the same way.
The Spirit of God today moves upon the ruined creation, upon ruined man (chapter 1). That is, He breathes life into the one having no life (chapter 2). Only then does “light” shine out of what was only darkness before that time (allowing for a continued divine work), with everything being done in complete accordance with the revealed Word of God — “And God said . . .” (cf. Genesis 1:2b ff; 2 Corinthians 4:6).
Then, to complete the type, note the septenary structure of this opening section of Genesis, establishing, at the very beginning, a septenary structure upon which the whole of subsequent Scripture rests. The six days of work used to restore the earth in Genesis point to the six days (6,000 years [cf. 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:1-8]) of work that God is presently using to restore man; and the Sabbath rest following the six days in the Genesis account points to the Sabbath rest, the 1,000-year Messianic Era, which will follow the present six days, the present 6,000 years of work (cf. Exodus 31:12-17; Hebrews 4:1-9).
2. Impartation of Life to the Saved (Salvation of the Soul)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17, NIV)
Once life has been generated, life must then be continued and sustained. Life is generated through “breathing in” (initial work of the Spirit), retained through “the breath remaining” (a subsequent work of the Spirit), and sustained through a “continued breathing in.” Sustenance for life, “a continued breathing in,” is what is involved in 2 Timothy 3:16. This verse, studied in the light of Genesis 2:7, is the key that will 1) unlock the door concerning the Neshamah of God in relation to saved man (past or present), 2) demonstrate the power of the Word of God, and 3) reveal the reason Christians are commanded to “receive the implanted Word.”
The word “God-breathed” in 2 Timothy 3:16 is a translation of the compound Greek word theopneustos, which is simply the word for “God” (theos) and the word for “breath,” or “Spirit” (pneuma) added. Thus, the translation “God-breathed” is not only a very literal translation, but, in the light of Genesis 2:7, it can only be the best of all possible translations.
The “Word of God,” through comparing Genesis 2:7 and 2 Timothy 3:16, is identified with the Neshamah of God — the breath of God. The Word of God was given through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), and is the element — the living organism — that the indwelling Holy Spirit uses to sustain the life that He Himself originally imparted and presently continues.
Thus, in a full Scriptural respect, the Neshamah of God can only refer to both the Spirit and the Word. “Life” emanates from both (2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 4:12; James 2:26), and they are inseparably linked through one common denominator — Breath.
The Word of God, because of its very origin and nature, is the only thing that the Holy Spirit, who gave the Word, can use to effect man’s spiritual growth toward maturity. The Neshamah of God (the Holy Spirit) who imparted life uses the Neshamah of God (the implanted Word) to feed, nourish, and properly develop this life.
The Word of God alone is able to make one “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15). That is to say, the Word of God alone can be used by the Holy Spirit to bring about the Christian’s walk by faith (cf. Romans 10:17), ultimately resulting in the salvation of his soul.
(The “Neshamah” of God, relating to saved man and the salvation of his soul, is continued in chapter 4.)