God’s Powerful Words: Five Principles of Biblical Spirituality in Isaiah 55 -- By: Peter Adam

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 10:4 (Winter 2006)
Article: God’s Powerful Words: Five Principles of Biblical Spirituality in Isaiah 55
Author: Peter Adam


God’s Powerful Words:
Five Principles of Biblical Spirituality in Isaiah 55

Peter Adam

Peter Adam is Principal at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. For twenty years, he was minister of St Jude’s Carlton in Melbourne. He is also Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne. Dr. Adam has spoken at conferences for preachers in England, Pakistan, India, and New Zealand. He is the author of several books, including Hearing God’s Words: Exploring Biblical Spirituality (InterVarsit y, 2004) in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series.

Introduction

Biblical spirituality is based on the conviction that God has spoken to us, and has made use of human words as the means of his powerful, effective, and productive verbal communication. The powerful, active, and creative God has chosen to use human words, and to achieve his purposes through them.

The Bible uses a variety of graphic images to convey the reality of God’s power. God’s “right hand and holy arm” achieve salvation (Ps 98:1); the “eyes of the LORD” always watch over his land (Deut 11:12); to ask God to “turn your ear to me” is to ask him to hear and answer prayer (Ps 31:2). So to “hear the word of the LORD” is to listen to “the words of his mouth” (Jer 9:20). The words of God powerfully achieve his purpose. As King Solomon claimed, “Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses” (1 Kgs 8:56).

Confidence in the power of God’s words is fundamental to Christian spirituality, as it is also fundamental to Christian ministry. If God’s words are powerful and effective, then we must hear them and receive God’s sustaining and transformative power.1 If God’s words are powerful and effective, then we must make good use of them to achieve effective ministry.2

Our focus here is on the power of God’s words to create and sustain believers. It is the crucial and universal message from the Old Testament that Jesus Christ applied to himself in the desert, when tempted to turn stones into bread: “It is written, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matt 4:4; from Deut. 1:12). Biblical spirituality means hearing words from the mouth of God.

We have a moral duty to pay attention t...

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