When we read the Bible we should aim to understand the story, the motivations of the characters, the lessons God intended for them, the general principles that can be applied to the human story, and what the text reveals about the character of God. But we should also ask what the passage means for us. Does it give you some direction for your life? Does it give you insight into some situation you currently face? Does it counsel you to do something? To not do something? If we will carefully examine His Word, we will be amazed at God's clear direction. I am not saying that every time I open my Bible that the words jump off the page, advising me with whatever I'm facing that particular day, but I am saying that it is often the case.
The full verse from Hebrews 4:12 would be a great one to memorize:
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
We can check our thoughts and attitudes against the Word of God. It will penetrate all of our pretenses and airs; it will examine our motives and reveal our impurities. This week may we be willing to use the Word of God to do some serious soul searching, and may we be reminded that God's Word is indeed living and active.