Do you know what the author of Hebrews, purportedly Paul, meant by "it penetrates even to dividing"?

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive 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.

I know that according to greek, penetrates means "occurrence", but dividing not so sure. How does that correlate? Does dividing signify salvation, rhema? Is this a supernatural occurrence?

  • διϊκνούμενος Present participle, middle or passive, nominative masculine singular Biblehub. KJV piercing even to YLT piercing unto // ἄχρι μερισμοῦ KJV dividing asunder YLT dividing asunder .
    – Nigel J
    Jan 16, 2020 at 16:23
  • When I believe this scripture experientially occurred in my life, I have trouble discerning whether it was supernatural, or a psychiatric condition. In it's simplest form I believe it to be an expression of salvation, thus a supernatural division, but wanted to bounce another's interpretation off of my own. Jan 16, 2020 at 22:21

3 Answers 3


This whole passage is an allusion to the work of God in our life through the metaphors of physical things.

A double edged sword is a fiercesome weapon and knows no limits to its penetrative abilities.

God is able to see so deep within us as to discern the innermost forces that drive and sway us. His word - or logos - the presence and expression of God, is the means He uses to know completely His creation and their state of being. I.e. sinfully driven or seeking His will in their lives.

1 Thes 2:13 And we continually thank God because, when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as the true word of God--the word which is now at work in you who believe.

God is active in cutting out the sinful nature in those He has called. This culminates in the rebirth into holiness and the new spirit life.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word (logos) of God. 1 Pet 1:23

Jesus, as the human reality of God's logos, wields the sword that will cut sinfulness out of creation at his return - having defeated evil through his death.

Being made like us in every way, Jesus knows the deeps within us and is the perfect mediator between man and God. As the Word of God (logos become flesh) he is the epitome of the passages speaking of the word of God and its power and authority.

For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people. Heb 2:17 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus 1 Tim 2:5 He held in His right hand seven stars, and a sharp double-edged sword came from His mouth. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest. Rev 1:16

Rev 19:15 And from His mouth proceeds a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

  • John 15:2 supports Steve Owens answer regarding God cutting out sinfulness, which also helps me better understand being pruned. Jesus said, “He [God] cuts off every branch in me [Jesus] that bears no fruit, while every branch [people] that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John‬ ‭15‬:‭2‬ ‭NIV‬
    – Debra
    Nov 27, 2022 at 8:06

I know that according to greek, penetrates means "occurrence"

it pierces
διϊκνούμενος (diiknoumenos)
Verb - Present Participle Middle or Passive - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 1338: To pass through (to), come through (to), pierce. From dia and the base of hikanos; to reach through, i.e. Penetrate.

There is nothing tricky about the Greek word "dividing" here.

μερισμοῦ (merismou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3311: From merizo; a separation or distribution.

The "word" here is the concept of λόγος (logos).
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3056: From lego; something said; by implication, a topic, also reasoning or motive; by extension, a computation; specially, the Divine Expression.

What does it separate?

it penetrates even to dividing    soul     and  spirit 
                                  joints   and  marrow 
it judges the                     thoughts and  attitudes     of the heart.

The soul is likened to joints while the spirit is likened to marrow. The marrow produces blood, and life or animation is in the blood. The spirit controls the soul which controls motions.

The soul is likened to thoughts and the spirit is likened to attitudes. One's attitudes determine the kinds of thoughts one would like to think on. Again, the spiritual attitudes control the soul which determines his thought life.

This describes the central role of the human spirit over his soul. The spirit is supernatural because it connects with the indwelling Spirit.


God doesn't need His Word to Know Us, but gave us His Word/Himself ( In Him Was Life! which Became Our Light: John: 1:4-5)...And He is the Word( John 1:1 for us to know Ourselves just as He knows Us Already... Otherwise We'll Be Saying God Almighty/All Knowing is Confused, when there is No Confusion in Him( 1 Corinthians 4:33/Matthew 6:8) Rather He reminds us of who we are and where we come from, which is from Him/His Kingdom( Matthew 6:10)in This World and operates so as we Grow in Such a Wonderful Knowledge, which takes us to be curious Like Children (Matthew 19:14)...And we All Know That Children Learn As They Grow/ More Learn From Their Mistakes...To Walk/Stands and the Likes.... And Not What Worried About How Moral They Are , Just Like The Church Today...Which Means They Rely On The Spirit In Them...Fresh From Heaven...But, unfortunately the guide gets terminated as they grow...by those of traditions and their cultures about God's Ways, They Have Not even take time to find. Just Like He Knows Us, as we find ourselves/originality in the Word....and be intact. Beyond and precise/proper Way, or rather perfectly, a Beautiful Process We Need To Grow And Glide Into Beautifully 🙌.

Moralism Is The Worst Weapon To Kill God's Revelation In Christ....We Born Again Without Fasting...Then We Fast 🤷....Food for Thought.....We Need To Be Be Inquisitive/Curious About Us, Individually and Otherwise (Just Like Children), That's All.

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