TODAY’S READING: ACTS 6-7
“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” – Acts 6:7
In this verse we find two interconnected themes that are repeated throughout the book of Acts.
The first is the word of God increased.
- “And the word of God continued to increase.” – Acts 6:7
- “But the word of God increased and multiplied.” – Acts 12:24
- “So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.” – Acts 19:20
The second is the number of disciples multiplying and being added to the Lord.
- “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” – Acts 2:41
- “And the Lord added to their number day by day those were being saved.” – Acts 2:47
- “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” – Acts 5:14
- “And a great many people were added to the Lord.” – Acts 11:24
These two themes are essentially the same thing.
The word of God increasing and multiplying is the same thing as people being added to the Lord.
We first must understand that the word of God is not the Bible. For, how would the Bible increase and multiply? Would the number of its pages grow? Would there be more copies of it? And, even if these were so, what would be the importance of that?
No, the word of God is not the Bible. When we repeatedly say the word of God is the Bible is causes these two interconnected themes in Acts to lose their meaning. Therefore, we must know and say that the word of God is Jesus.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” – John 1:1-4
Jesus, the word of God, creates.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
So, the word of God increasing and multiplying in Acts is the increasing and multiplying of Jesus’ new creation. This is the spreading of eternal life, the kingdom of God, in the present.
How does this actually happen?
Jesus gave a parable about a sower who went out to sow seed. In his explanation of the parable, Jesus said, “The seed is the word of God.” (Luke 8:11) The seed that the sower, the Father, is sowing is not the Bible, not verses to be memorized. The seed the Father is sowing is Jesus.
In the parable, Jesus said when this seed, the word of God, Jesus himself, is sowed in good soil, receptive hearts, that the seed produces grain, “Some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Therefore, the word of God, Jesus, sowed in a receptive heart increases and multiplies. This is exactly what Acts records happening.
In John 12:24, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The grain of wheat is Jesus, the seed, the word of God. Unless he died and was planted in the ground, then he would have remained alone. But, because he died and became the word of God, a seed, planted, he bore much fruit.
In other words, people were added to the Lord, which is just what we see happening in the book of Acts. Three thousand were added to the Lord in one day. The 120 disciples increased nearly thirty fold. Another day 5,000 were added to the Lord. Day by day there were those being added to the Lord. So, the seed, the word of God, Jesus was continually being sown. With patience, it began to bear more and more fruit.
I like how Paul writes about us being added to the Lord because he reveals that when the seed, the word of God, Jesus, is panted in us we become alive.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:4-6
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.” – Colossians 1:13
This circles us back to becoming a new creation in Christ. For that is what matters.
“For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” Galatians 6:15
The word of God increased and multiplied.
People were added to the Lord daily.
God made us alive together with him in Christ.
We are a new creation in Christ.
The Bible does not increase and multiply.
Jesus, the word of God, the kingdom of God, increases and multiplies in and through us as people are added daily to the Lord.