But the word of God grew and multiplied. Acts 12:24
So here in the 1st century as the disciples grew in number, we read that they took to printing lots of Bibles. No, if our history is correct that wouldn't happen until the printing press was invented centuries later. Even those places where monks would gather to laboriously hand write new Bibles would not be formed for many years. So what is this word of God that grew and multiplied?
On the bookshelves of many homes one might easily find a pretty Bible, sometimes covered in a layer of dust, but still with its gold gilt edges and fancy leather cover it is a fine book to look at and perhaps even wish for one like it. But many other books have been printed and decorated in much the same way, why are they not special like the Bible is to us? In any case, the early apostles had no ability to produce such a pretty Bible as we can easily purchase today. That cannot be the thing which made the word of God grow and multiply here in the Acts.
If numbers of copies and the pretty attractiveness of the book are not what grew and multiplied here, what is it about this thing? If the 1st century homeowner could not run to his or her bookshelf and grab a beautifully bound and printed copy of the Bible, what made this word of God grow and multiply? Why do I switch so easily between the Bible and the word of God, are they one and the same?
Of course it is about faith. I believe in Jesus and the word of God comes alive in me, and in doing so it begins to grow and multiply within the heart of the new believer. The Bible, the word of God, is forever linked to God's own Holy Spirit, the One given to us by Jesus and who will never leave nor forsake us. As He reminds us of scripture, the Spirit grows the word of God in us. But, there is more to it than that. John the disciple and one beloved of Christ, realized through the Lord's revelation that the word of God was personified in Jesus the Christ. He lives! is a statement of more than we know. The very word of God lives in us, and that is how we know that a pretty Bible on a dusty shelf does not grow and multiply. It is the Son of God, the Word, who grows and multiplies in us through His dear Spirit who is God in us.Immanuel forevermore!