the word of his power

Two weeks ago my wife and I had the joyful privilege of observing our youngest grandchild dedicated to the Lord at the church that her family attends. In the Bible study following the dedication one of the verses the pastor referred to was Hebrews 1:3. He quoted the verse from a translation that said that the Father’s Son upholds the universe by

the word of his power

I can’t help it, certain wordings stand out to me when I hear them, and this is one of them. It especially stood out because the preacher emphasized the words, pronouncing distinctly and loudly. I wondered what “the word of his power” means. I also wondered if this English wording matched the meaning that the writer of the book of Hebrews intended.

One of the last stages in the production of a translation of the Bible to any language should be a check among speakers of that language to discover what meanings they get from wordings in the translation. We went through this checking process before publishing the Bible in the Cheyenne language. And it is good that we did because we discovered several wordings which did not communicate to other Cheyennes the meaning that we on the translation team intended. Revision was required until comprehension matched intended meaning. I now check translations in other languages, and sometimes I ask a translation team what meaning speakers of that language get from some phrase in the translation.

What do you think “the word of his power” means? Please don’t say what you think it should mean; that wouldn’t be an accurate assessment of the translation wording itself, would it?

Does this phrase sound like it is a word (or message) about the Son’s power? Or does it sound like it is a word produced by the Son’s power? Or does it sound like something else to you?

Remember, we’re just checking what meaning you get from the English wording “the word of his power.” In this process, called comprehension checking, we are not checking exegesis, so we should not refer to the original Greek behind this phrase, or any extrabiblical literature. There are other kinds of checks which can refer to the original Greek or to extrabiblical literature, but this check is solely a comprehension check, what you yourself understand the phrase to mean.

48 thoughts on “the word of his power

  1. Patrick Rietveld says:

    My mothertongue is Dutch, so I am not sure if my understanding of ‘the word of his power’ is following English language rules. The genitive phrase doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I would expect a person after ‘of’, because a word is always spoken by someone. Not by an abstract thing like power.
    I have tried to do other combinations to find out if that makes sense (like word of comfort, word of prayer, word of love), but it doesn’t sound natural.
    Another attempt was to make variations of ‘word’ (engine of power, man of power, hour of power), but I am not sure if these phrases are natural English. In Dutch it would sound old fashioned.
    We would use ‘with’: engine with power, man with power. And for hour of power the broadcasting company doesn’t even use a translation! Or we would make it into an adjective: powerful engine/ man/ hour (whatever the last may mean). I am not sure if you can say word with power.
    Maybe word of power means something like: word filled with power or powerful word.

  2. Michael Nicholls says:

    I agree that it’s confusing. I keep twisting my mind around it trying to come up with a plausible interpretation, which might mean that it’s already failed the ‘comprehension check’.

    My instinct is that it’s not supposed to mean ‘powerful word’. I think because it says ‘word of *his* power’, ‘power’ is supposed to be something more than an adjective. It’s a ‘thing’ that the Son has, and it’s in focus here (going off English grammar, and not considering Greek genitives).

    That doesn’t leave me with a whole lot though. Other constructions like that in English make me think that ‘the word’ belongs to ‘power’, or the ‘power’ is the source of ‘the word’, e.g., ‘the page of his book’, ‘the brick of their wall’. I suppose you could say ‘the book of his travels’, and then it would be a genitive of content and not possession or source.

    Anyway, it’s confusing. I just confused myself reading back through that. So I’m pretty sure ‘the word of his power’ would fail the village test.

    I’m gonna say it means that the Son’s power keeps the universe together, and the word of that power is an allegorical reference to the activation or expression of power at work (e.g., ‘the heat of his fire’ or ‘the spark of his electricity’). Ask me tomorrow and it will probably be different.

  3. hypatia says:

    With my Greek scholar’s hat on, I would say that it comes across as an ’embodiment’ of his power (λογος as in John’s gospel), but with my plain English hat on, I’d read it as a ‘report of/about’ his power, as in ‘Word of her pregnancy soon spread’. Those two views aren’t really that different though, are they…..?

  4. Jake says:

    That’s how I’m used to reading the verse (NASB, KJV, ESV, etc.) However, I like “powerful word” used in other translations just because it makes sense. “word of his power” sounds good, but I agree with the other two comments above. It’s not natural English and it’s hard to figure out the meaning.

    Also, interestingly enough, I came across this by accident in Wesley’s Notes on the Bible:

    “by the word of his power – That is, by his powerful word.”

  5. David Frank says:

    “The word of his power” doesn’t make sense to me. What I do when I read something like that is to try to re-phrase it in my mind so that it does make sense. In this case, after a little deliberation, I would interpret this as “the power of his word” and hope that I got it right, while puzzling over why it was said that way, and wondering if I was missing something, or if what I was reading was a mistake.

  6. danny says:

    I think I would read it as “the word about his power.” Like “did you hear the word of his surgery”, which is not really natural but understandable. I’d probably translate it “message” rather than “word”, though I say that without sitting down and working through the text at the moment.

  7. codepoke says:

    I hear it as His power being anthropomorphized, and that power-dude transmits his stuff through word.

    But then I was raised on The Mighty Thor comic books, and I hear things a little differently than some.

  8. Kevin Walker says:

    I would think it means “the message of (about) his power.” Or something similar to that. Of course, that could be my automatic brain re-translation that kicks in, sharpened from years of hearing the KJV read as THE Bible in church.

  9. Dru says:

    I think it might be the position of the ‘his’ that is the bit that is unnatural English. ‘Word of comfort’ and ‘word of prayer’ are OK English. ‘Word of his comfort’ and ‘word of his prayer’ are not. I also think that converting one of the two nouns to an adjective is not quite sufficient, ‘his powerful word’ is OK but doesn’t carry the sense that ‘his power’ has an independent existence, apart from the word, or that ther word is giving effect to his power. ‘His wordy power’ does not carry the same ideas and ‘his verbal power’ word be a bit odd. The REB shifts the ‘his’ and has ‘He sustains the universe by his word of power’.

  10. Michael Nicholls says:

    Perhaps a clearer translation would be:

    ‘The Father’s Son upholds the universe by his spoken power’

    but even that’s a bit strange…

  11. Patrick Rietveld says:

    Dru said: ‘his powerful word’ is OK but doesn’t carry the sense that ‘his power’ has an independent existence, apart from the word, or that ther word is giving effect to his power.

    I am wondering then how we should translate ‘the spirit of his holiness’ Isaiah 63:10 or ‘the spirit of your holiness’ Psalm 51:11(English)/13 (Hebrew)? I haven’t seen any translation yet that translated it like that. Just like Holy Spirit. Why should we think about god’s holiness as something with an independent existence? And why should we think that power is something with an independent existence? Is that really meant in this verse?

  12. Michael Nicholls says:

    I don’t think he’s talking about ‘power’ as something with a strict independent existence. It’s more a grammatical distinction. I think (and he can correct me if I’m wrong) he’s differentiating between ‘power’ as a noun, as something that the Son can own/possess, and ‘powerful’ as an adjective.

    The Son has ‘power’, but he doesn’t have ‘powerful’.

    E.g., ‘Do the lights have power?’ is different from ‘Are the lights powerful?’

    I think that in this sense, ‘the word of his power’ sets power apart as a thing that the Son has. If you change it to ‘powerful word’, then the power is no longer a thing, and is only a quality.

    When a noun is possessed in English it usually means it’s definite, and not adjectival/qualitative.

    Perhaps Wayne could ask the preacher who emphasized the words to clear this all up for us. 🙂

  13. Bob MacDonald says:

    Well, it won’t surprise you to know that I am quite happy with this genitive of apposition, he said attributing a positional value to ‘of’.

    What’s with the desire to reduce everything to pabulum.

    His ‘word of power’ is much more expressive than his powerful word. The genitive relates two independent nouns, the adjective subordinates an attribute to one noun. Not all attributes of power are present in powerful as adjective. All attributes of power are present though unstated by the independent usage of the nouns together.

  14. Wayne Leman says:

    Bob asked:

    What’s with the desire to reduce everything to pabulum.

    There is no such desire, Bob. I think you have a false assumption. The question, instead, is: what is a correct, proper English form that corresponds to any Hebrew or Greek form?

    Responses so far indicate that “the word of his power” does not have the meaning ‘his powerful word’ for English speakers. Does it for you, or your family or friends?

  15. Bob MacDonald says:

    You asked about meaning – I find no difficulty with the meaning. I see power and word as independent attributes of the Son, not as modifying each other. In English ‘of’ is a very flexible word. The kind of genitive does not really interest me if there has to be a ‘right’ answer.

  16. Patrick Rietveld says:

    Hi Bob, what does it mean then? As a non English speaker I have a hard time understanding what word of his power means. How is word of power (by the way, Heb 1:3 said word of his power) more expressive then? In which way? I am just a simple bible translation reader.
    Also, what does pabulum mean?

  17. Bob MacDonald says:

    Patrick – the meaning of ‘of’ for a non-English speaker. Two points: think about your native tongue and how you express relationship between two independent things. You will find that there is a way you do it that is clear to you but not to non-native speakers. Take another example – in Hebrew at the top of many Psalms there is a heading LDVD – four letters of which the first is a preposition L ‘meaning’ of/by/to/in the style of/according to – but what does it really mean? We don’t know – the preposition is the most subtle of all the words of a language.

    Now think about how you use words to describe one object by means of an adjective – the adjective modifies and it attributes a property to the noun. The property is not independent of the noun it modifies. I suggest that ‘word’ and ‘power’ are independent objects related to the Son and they should therefore not be used to modify each other.

    Pabulum is the first solid food that children eat after mother’s milk. It is mush. I was not very polite to Wayne by that comment.

    Sometimes ‘what does it mean’ is the wrong question. We must instead say – we do not know what it means. If we think we know what it means we will confine our faith to our heads and think we have or can take power over our faith.

    The better question is ‘what must I do to respond’. In this case it is to joy in the power of his word and the word of his power – both – and to approach – a key word in Hebrews – and enter – another key word in Hebrews – the presence of God in the Holy of Holies – through the veil, that is to say his flesh. Now you might ask – what does this mean! Wrong question – only God can ‘explain’ and only when we do it – unceasingly by the mercy of God.

    But how shall I do what I do not understand? We will do it and then we will understand.

  18. Debbie Yorke says:

    It’s an interesting choice of words, and I plan to research, but my first thoughts are that ‘power’ is being given a voice. Maybe not a good example, but as in the phrase “word of his testimony”, a testimony gives voice to a great act of God, here God’s power speaks. I think we must also view it from a spiritual perspective, not just a natural one. We are spiritual beings first and foremost, but we only see through the glass dimly. There’s more here than meets our natural eyes.

  19. Wayne Leman says:

    I see power and word as independent attributes of the Son, not as modifying each other.

    Bob, power and word are, indeed, independent attributes of the Son. But if we take that theological knowledge and use it to interpret the genitive phrase of Heb. 1:3, we are eisegeting the text, rather than discovering how the genitive case in this particular Greek phrase functions. If you believe that the two nouns of Heb. 1:3 are in apposition, then those two nouns need to pass the test that Dr. Wallace gives for them (page 95):

    “To test whether the genitive in question is a genitive of apposition, replace the word of with the paraphrase which is or that is, namely, of, if a personal noun, who is. If it does not make the same sanese, a genitive of apposition is unlikely; if it does make the same sense, a genitive of apposition is likely.”

    I don’t think we can say of this genitive phrase, “hrema (word), that is dunamis (power).” Greek hrema and dunamis do not belong to the same semantic domain. They are not synonyms, or near synonyms. Dunamis is not a paraphrase for hrema.

    But the two Greek words do pass the texts for an attributive genitive. It makes good sense that the “word” used to create and sustain the universe has the characteristic of power. There is obvious power displayed when that word creates and upholds the universe. The English grammatical form which corresponds to an attributive genitive is the adjective, giving us the phrase “his powerful word” (here the Greek pronoun meaning ‘his’ modifies dunamis, not hrema).

    What evidence do you have against the test results of Dr. Wallace’s test for a genitive of apposition and his own classification of Heb. 1:3 as an attributive genitive that τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ is a genitive of apposition?

  20. Bob MacDonald says:

    Is this a genitive of attribution? No. It may be construed as one, but that does not exclude the potential for genitive of attribution. The power of the Son has voice and word. The word of the Son has power. Debbie has got the sense of this and this sense is obscured by the phrase ‘powerful word’ which is plainly a mistranslation because is resolves potential ambiguity when it has no business doing so.

    Don’t think we make Bibles Better when we remove the lumps from the porridge. Le meilleur est l’enemie du bon.

    Also this is a theological text. God has spoken to us not through propositions but through the word of his Son. I am not reading ‘my’ theology into it. I do not want to see a translation preclude others from reading theology out of it.

  21. Bob MacDonald says:

    Yet even apposition is inadequate, because the power and the word are not synonyms but differing aspects of the Son – they are not aspects of each other. I.e. the power of his word and the word of his power indicate that power and word, two independent attributes of the Son are working together.

  22. Bob MacDonald says:

    In for a penny, … Wayne – I think Wallace’s test is inadequate. He may be trained in grammar but he is not trained in entity-relationship analysis. And grammar as rules is no match for the reality of what we do with language. The test should be – can you say power has word and word has power. You can say both and they both have meaning – we might say power has a voice – as in there is neither speech nor language but their voice is gone out into all the world. Power speaks. Word is powerful. Therefore these two candidate entities have potential intersection attributes and cannot simply be made subordinate to each other in one context or another. In this context particularly where we are seeing the relationship of Father to Son and image and glory and brightness and so on, it is wrong to close down the richness of ‘of’ that allows both meanings to be seen.

  23. Wayne Leman says:

    Bob, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one, unless you can provide some kind of evidence from Greek syntax itself which supports your interpretation of genitive of apposition. To me it sounds like you are theologizing rather than doing syntactic analysis. That’s how it impacts me. But I don’t know what lingistic support you have used for your position, so I can only tell you how it impacts me.

    Your theology on this matter makes sense to me, but I don’t understand how it applies to this particular genitive. If you can cite some Greek scholarship that supports your position, I’ll gladly consider it. Otherwise, I think we’ll just have to stop this exchange, since we’re starting to repeat ourselves and I doubt that either of us has the time for that.

  24. Paul Sutherland says:

    What meaning do I get from the English “word of his power”?
    I get an aspect of his power is being described, not the strength, not the greatness, not the hiding, not the working, nor the glory but the word of his power. If I dare to paraphrase “fiat of his power”. Certainly the original readers would be thinking in a theological way about Jesus. This is not far off “powerful word” but maintains the “of” aspect. Hope this is helpful.

    Paul

  25. wanderingfriar says:

    Again, the HCSB got it right.

    “…and He sustains all things by His powerful word.”

    Blessings.
    WanderingFriar

  26. Michael Nicholls says:

    Yeah, in looking at the Greek ‘τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ’ it looks like ‘powerful word’ is the right translation. But in looking at the English ‘word of his power’, I still think it’s nonsense.

    I enjoyed Strauss’ essay on Greek genitives, as posted in the other blog, ‘his powerful word’.

  27. David Jebb says:

    In my readins over the last few days I also noticed “word of His power” and found your web site .

    “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord…” Romans 10 v 9
    My speaking out with belief that God raised Jesus from the dead results in my salvation.
    In Hebrews as Jesus speaks out with belief in the power of God so the power applies and He upholds all things.
    Very comforting as we see our financial systems in decay and society being destroyed by political correctness

  28. Chuck Ngoka says:

    What does “Word of His Power” mean?

    2 Tim 3:16a and 2 Peter 1:20-21 says that “All Scriptures is Inspired”.
    And Job 32:8 says that the very one who inspired it is the only one that can truly give us a true and/or accurate understanding of the inspired words. However, who am I to really say that I or you or any one at all for that matter truly has the correct revelation of his inspired word.

    Anyway, having said that, I believe that the words “The Word of His Power” just as “The Word of His Grace (in Acts 20:32) are inspired phrases.

    Anyway, let me go straight to my point. I wish to assert that the “Power of His Word” is not the same thing as “The Word of His Power”. However, contrary to how Wayne Lehman requested us to approach the meaning of this phrase, I believe that the context of any verse, passage, chapter or even words in the Bible is the Entire Bible. Hence I’d approach the meaning of the phrase with this cardinal rule in/of Scriptural Interpretation.

    “The Power of His Word” and “The Word of His Power”.

    The former means that his Word has Power and thus is Powerful (Heb 4:12 among other scriptural passages clearly and succinctly speaks of this). And that makes sense.

    But the Word of His Power means that Power is being conveyed -just like a pipe is a conduit for water – through word(s). In other words, Christ sustains the entire Universe by His Power. This the “What”. But then there’s the “How”. And the “How” is by His Spoken Word(s). Just as he demonstrated the exceeding Greatness of His Power in creation through His (spoken) Word(s)(Gen 1), he has ever since then maintained it in the same very way – by His Power manifested or demonstrated by Word(s) and these Word(s) actually bring His Almighty to bear upon the Universe and keep it running smoothly, and hence can be expressed as “The Word of His Power”.

    Hence in the light of the passage (and of course the entire Bible), while it could be rightly said that the passage means that He sustains the World by His Powerful Word (Power of His Word), however the “Word of His Power” conveys this same meaning, but more. Additionally, it means that His Power has a vehicle and “one of” these vehicles (there could be more) is His very Word(s).

    May God continue to be with us and our spirits.

  29. Michael Nicholls says:

    Chuck:
    Anyway, having said that, I believe that the words “The Word of His Power” just as “The Word of His Grace (in Acts 20:32) are inspired phrases.

    I wouldn’t agree that the English phrase is ‘inspired’ in the technical sense of the word. It is a translation of τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, which is the ‘inspired’ phrase.

    The better English translation of the Greek would probably be ‘his powerful word’.

    But the phrase in question, ‘the word of his power’, is a confusing rendering in English. It gives a different meaning than the original. That’s what’s dangerous about it. I think your explanation is correct, but the English phrase is not what the Greek is trying to say, so I think the translation is off.

  30. Carole says:

    Jesus is the word of power, through Him all things were made, and all things are sustained through Him!

    John 1
    The Word Became Flesh
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

    3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

    6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

    10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  31. Pastor Joe says:

    “The word of his power” can be best understood by saying:

    1.The power is in his word.
    2.The word expresses his power.
    3.His word is the demonstration of his power.

    Plainly speaking, “If you have his word in your heart, then you have his power in your life”.

    This strangely worded phrase “the word of his power” is clearly unfolded in Genesis 1. God uses the “word of his power” to transform a earth that was without form, and void. He uses the word of his power to also bring light, separate the waters, plant shrubs and fruit bearing trees. All the great wonders of Genesis 1, exception the creation of man was done by the “word of his power”.

  32. Kevin Moore says:

    This conversation started a long time ago; but, I thought that I might add my 2 cents anyway–if nothing else, as merely a way to meditate on the Word a little. I considered this phrase, “word of his power”, for the first time this afternoon and I found myself immediately confused. This is not a natural phrase in English. I read a handful of the above postings and went back to the text to see if I could answer the original question: what does (or can) the “word of his power” mean in natural English? Here we go:

    Heb. 1:3a “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”

    So, (i) The Son is the radiance of the Father’s glory; (ii)
    The Son is the exact representation of the Father’s nature; and, (iii) The Son upholds all things by the word of the Father’s power.

    In natural English, I think that the range of meaning for “word” includes meanings like: command, decree, and choice. And, the range of “power” includes meanings like: authority, position and prerogative. So, with this in mind, I think that (iii) could be read naturally, though admittedly not easily, as: “The Son upholds all things by the choice of the Father’s prerogative.”

    This is an option for natural English, though I am neither sure if this is what the author of Hebrews had in mind nor am I sure whether this is even an option for the Greek–I’m a philosopher, not a language guy.

  33. Allen Johnson says:

    This phrase “the word of his power” also jumped out at me and I wondered why say it that way. Here’s my thoughts on the matter. When God who is all powerful speaks his word it becomes realty. It’s like saying the might of his power. Those are just my thoughts.

  34. JAH says:

    What thrills me about this construct is the manner in which it utilizes a preposition to denote relationship between God’s Word and God’s power. The preposition “of” infers several things, but in this instance I believe it means “by” or “coming from” (The Random House Dictionary). The sentence used as an example in the dictionary is “the plays of Shakespeare.” Now compare this phrase to the one found in Hebrews–“the word of His power.” This tells me that His Word is “by” or “comes from” His power (this can be observed simply by comparing the phrases and their parts of speech with one another–the only difference in the phrases is the presence of a possessive pronoun and a plural noun which should not alter the meaning). If this is the case, then His Written Word is an expression of His power in the same way the that plays are an expression of Shakespeare. If I have God’s Word then I have some part of His power in the same way that if I have Shakespeare’s plays then I have some part of Shakespeare. I don’t know how much it lines up like this in the original Greek, but it definitely infers this in English. I like this wording.

  35. Elder Williams says:

    GOD IS FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT. HE IS FATHER AS ALL IS HIS SEED AND COMES FROM HIM. HE IS SON BECAUSE HE “PRODUCES” THROUGH HIS SPEECH (ISH. 55:11). HIS SPEECH IS SIMPLY HOW HE MAKES HIS DIVINE WILL KNOWN. HE IS HOLY SPIRIT BECAUSE THE SPIRIT IS THE POWER ASPECT OF THE FATHER. EVEN JESUS TOLD US THAT HIS WAS A MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (THE POWER OF GOD) AND THAT OF HIMSELF HE COULD DO NOTHING. ALL OF HIS MIRACLES WERE PERFORMED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, BUT THROUGH HIS EARTHEN VESSEL CALLED A BODY. THEREFORE, WHEN THE FATHER (GOD) SPEAKS HIS WORD (SON) THE WORD (WILL OF GOD) IS ACCOMPLISHED BY THE INHERENT POWER (HOLY SPIRIT) OF GOD. IT’S SOMETHING LIKE SOMEONE IN MARTIAL ARTS. THE STUDENT (FATHER) PREPARES TO STRIKE. HE YELLS (SON OR WORDS). BUT IT IS NOT THE YELLING WHICH ACCOMPLISHES THE MARTIAL ARTS ACT. IT IS THE POWER FROM WITHIN THE STUDENT HIM/HERSELF WHICH GOES FORTH IN THE FORM OF A GRUNT OR YELL WHICH ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHES THE ACT. YES THE STUDENT, THE YELL AND THE GRUNT ARE ALL SEPARATE ASPECTS, YET THEY ARE ALL ONE. AND THE STUDENT DOES NOT RECEIVE ADDITIONAL POWERS FROM ANY OTHER SOURCE OTHER THAN THAT POWER WHICH LIES INHERENT WITHIN HIM OR HER. THUS, BY THE POWER OF HIS/HER WORDS, S/HE ACCOMPLISHES WHAT APPEARS TO BE AN IMPOSSIBLE DEED. THAT IS THE SAME POWER WHICH WE AS BELIEVERS HAVE WITHIN US, AND EVEN MORE. GOD DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE ANYONE TO ADD TO OR AUTHORIZE HIM DEGREES, AMOUNTS OR ADDITIONAL POWERS. HE SIMPLY SPEAKS HIS WILL AND ACCOMPLISHES IT BY THE INHERENT POWER THAT IS UNIQUELY HIS. IN OTHER WORDS HE SPEAKS HIS POWER INTO WORDS. THUS, “THE WORD OF HIS POWER.”

  36. Wayne Talbot says:

    I believe that resolution can be found in neither English nor Greek, but in Hebrew. This is a letter to the Hebrews, and many scholars contend that it was originally written in Hebrew, but translated into Greek, possibly by Luke. That aside, the issue was one for the Messianic Jews of the period, and thus we must look to Hebraic thought and Judaism for an understanding. I cannot offer a definitive interpretation, but would approach the issue from my limited understanding of Judaism. The “word” has particular connotations in Hebraic thought, as John evidenced in the beginning of his gospel. In essence, all activities related to our existence are “spoken” by God. He spoke the world into existence, and throughout the Tanakh we see God speaking. Thus, the “word” is the visible manifestation of His power, the mechanism that God uses to exercise His power and express His intentions in our material universe. Of course, the “word” is not necessarily the same word as we understand it, as a spiritual God speaking is not the same as a physical human speaking. However, it is perhaps the best metaphor that can be used. We express intentions and exercise our power through speech – God does the same.

  37. mukanthu banda says:

    Word of power simply means just that….In the beginning, When Jehovah God was creating in the genesis, Christ was there as his craftsman. Everything that was created, it was created by the power of God. But this power didn’t just come and happen, there was always the word. So when God said Let there be….it happened. What caused things to happen was actually the power. But the power “resided” or was encapsulated in the word and this is the word of the power being talked about here.

  38. hard2shake says:

    well to me the word of his power means the birth of his seed. God’s seed is his word. you see in the beginning ” GOD SAID” God’s spoken words are seeds, and seeds give birth to life, so there’s power in the seed which is the word. that’s why in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God God’s seed is his word.(Jesus)which is his only begotton son. the birth of his power.

  39. Clark Lopez says:

    Hello,
    All things have been created and continue to exist because God spoke. In john, the word who identifies with Jesus, and who is intimately involved with creation. Jesus is the logos, which in John’s time also meant order and from whom we get the English word logic. We know from 2 Peter3:4-7 that the same word that created the heavens holds it together. We also see confirmation in Colossians1:17 that there is an active principle in ingoing existence of material world (and possibly of created spiritual world) and these “things” are held together in Jesus.
    AsI see it , it is not the power of His word, but the word of his power. Science believes that the material world is sustained by laws and that ultimately all material and energy are information systems. Might the word be the intermediate component from the supernatural power to the material world, ie immateial information. Might God have spoken information and because it emanated from power, it took on a body?

  40. mlaclair says:

    I too wondered about this phrase and its wording. I feel I have insight on it; and have written an article titled:
    “Is it by the word of his power or is it by the power of his word?” and that article may be found at:

    http://www.TheProverbs120Column.com

    Your comments are welcomed…thanks for reading. M.LaClair

  41. Gloria Holder says:

    I am just a lay person who likes to study God’s word with prayer for understanding. I think this is what by the word of his power means. Jesus has many powers that his Father, almighty God give to him, one such power is to walk on water. Another is in his spoken word. He speaks and it is so. The creation story affirms this when he said Let there be and there was. Jesus also said in John 6:63 the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit , and they are life. So then the power is in his words and not in his actual body.

  42. nathan opperman says:

    after much….here goes as way way of putting it into natural english…”and upholds all things by the decree(proclamation) of His power”
    blessings

  43. Ernie van Boven says:

    “Word of His power”. To understand this phrase I would compare it to, say, the “word of my power”. The words that I utter do not carry power because I do not have power, whereas the Word coming from the One who has all power carries all power to uphold the universe. It makes sense to me in this way, even in English. If we turn it around and say,”the power of His Word” then the we seem to infer that the Word He “speaks” may contain a different amount of power than Christ Himself. But if we say, “Word of His power” it gives the correct impression that because we know He is all powerful, that the Word he utters from His power hold all power.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s