by D. Brent Sandy
Ready for scalpel? Not so fast my friend—how did you come to the awareness that surgery was needed and might be helpful?
Preparation: In our lives many of us have made a visit to a health-care facility for at least one of the following tests.
- An X-ray: beams of energy are sent through the body, which, when blocked by bones or other body parts, partially reveals what’s inside.
- A CT scan: X-ray beams rotate around the body, creating 3D images, which provide another insight into the composition of our bodies.
- An MRI: strong magnets and radio waves affect atoms in the water molecules within the body’s tissues, making it possible to detect various issues.
- An Ultrasound: sound waves are sent into the body and, because different tissues reflect sound waves differently, add to our understanding of what is inside.
- Nuclear imaging: injections of tiny amounts of a radioactive material release radiation, providing another internal picture of the body.
- A PET scan:radioactive sugar is injected into the body, and when cancer cells take up the radioactive substance, they expose themselves.
These impressive tools permit medical staff to see what is inside us. Might there be something equally valuable in revealing what is spiritually inside our souls?
The sharpened scalpel: Scripture reveals itself as a wondrous spiritual tool: “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than a two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit…it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Keeping a medical based analogy for contemporary readers, perhaps we may paraphrase the passage this way: “The word of God is a two-edged scalpel.” With this scalpel a soul is uncovered, and “laid bare before the eyes of [God]…” (Hebrews 4:13b).
Startling paraphrase: The word of God is a two-edged scalpel.
Life Application Questions
- When you look inside your soul (preparation) what do you see and, what would you like to do (the sharpened scalpel) about your vision?
- When God looks inside your soul (preparation) what can be seen and, what would God like to do for you (the scalpel)?
D. Brent Sandy, Ph.D., is the author of Plowshare & Pruning Hooks, Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic. InterVarsity Press Academic, 2002. Available on Amazon.com.