What is it to receive God’s word? Millions have read the Bible. In ancient history the world before Noah turned right away from God. Soon his descendants were also turning away, resulting in God confounding human languages at Babel, a word which is significantly translated into Greek as ‘Babylon’.
Then God saw in Abraham, a man of faith. God had many dealings with him and we read two days ago the prayer of King Jehoshaphat as he stood before the assembly and made an impassioned prayer to the Lord saying they were “the descendants of Abraham your friend” (2 Chronicles 20:7). But the quite common Hebrew word here is almost always translated elsewhere as love and loves! In Isaiah God says “the offspring of Abraham, my friend” (41:8), it is the same Hebrew word.
In a few days we will read Daniel’s desperate “prayer and pleas for mercy … O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him …” (9:3,4). “Love” is the same Hebrew word.
Jesus’ response to those who said, “Abraham is our father” was “If you were Abraham’s children you would be doing what Abraham did” (John 8:39). It may be that some of them heard Peter’s speech in Acts 2. The effect of the inspired preaching of Peter caused many to be “cut to the heart” (verse 37) and “with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation’ so those who received his word were baptised” (verses 40,41).
So, back to our question; “What is it to receive God’s word?” It is one thing to hear or read it, and quite something else to receive it. Receiving means that God’s word becomes part of our thinking, and therefore of our doing. And “those who received his word and were baptised and ‘devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers’” (verse 42). Before Christ returns may more receive God’s word and do this.