By Joseph Giunta

John 8:31 "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;"

One thing we must understand as apostolics, is that when God gives us revelation in the Word, He isn't doing so simply to give us an extra sermon thought. He is literally teaching us something every time He opens His word to our understanding. God reveals truth to us from His word so that He can later reveal it to the world through us, His oracles.

When we study scripture, it doesn't take long to realize that God does not only want to give us revelation and teach us, but He wants us to abide in His word. John 8:31 gives us some understanding of this principle. In this verse of John's gospel, we see where Jesus tells His listeners that in order to be a disciple of His, they must continue in His word. In many other translations, instead of the word "continue" they use the word "abide".

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you ABIDE in my word, you are truly my disciples," (ESV)

According to the KJV dictionary, the word "abide" is defined as follows:

abide - ABI'DE

abada, to be, or exist, to continue; to dwell, rest, continue, stand firm, or be stationary for any time indefinitely

  1. To rest, or dwell
  2. To tarry or stay for a period of time
  3. To continue permanently or in the same state; to be firm and immovable
  4. To remain, to continue

After seeing this, one soon realizes that abiding is not a passive action. By this definition, it may seem like a simple passive action..."Just stay where you are. Don't move". It seems as though everything that has anything to do with the definition of "abide" is actually us staying still and doing nothing. Just existing in one place. However, after careful examination, and the further down the definition we go, things get less and less passive. In fact, it is about as extreme as it can be.

To rest seems very easy to do. We like that word. However, using words like permanent, firm, immovable, remain, and continue, denotes action. Even rest doesn't want to be interrupted. To abide is aggressive and extreme by nature. An abider must be diligent, steadfast, solid, and full of tenacity. An abider is staunchly resistant to anything that would cause him to be moved. An abider is dead set on staying where he is, no matter what it takes. A true abider will fight in order not to lose his place.

Further examining verse 31, we see in the KJV it says "continue in my word". The ESV renders it "abide in my word". I love the way it reads in the NLT:

"Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you REMAIN FAITHFUL to my TEACHINGS."

Remember, every time God gives us revelation, it is first and foremost for the purpose of personal teaching. He wants to teach us His word because He is the word. If we remain faithful to His word, we remain faithful to Him. If we abide in His word, we abide in Him.

Jesus is the Word personified. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us..." He made this very clear to us when He was teaching His disciples. The revelation they received was not by the reading of pages, but by the experience of His actions. By example, He told them not only to abide in the Word, but to abide in Him. In other words, continue doing what you've seen Me do; continue living the way we have lived together, even when I am no longer with you in person. He personified the teachings of the Word, so even after He was gone in body, He was there in teaching. They could continue in Him by continuing in the words He left them.

To be practical, if we are going to abide in His word, we must first know that we are in His word to begin with. What does it mean to be IN His word?

  • We know His word is a light. So if we are in His word, our lives will shine in the midst of darkness, being illuminated by the Word. Our lives will stand out, not only because His light is in us, but because we are in the light. Literally, the spotlight is on us when we are in His word.
  • We know His word is treasure. So if we are in His word, the principles found in His word will be the same as the values of our lives. We will have a value system that regards the Word in everything we do. This is because if we are in His word, His word is our environment. It is our livelihood. If we are truly dependent upon it, we will do whatever it takes to preserve it; therefore, we value it and take care of it.
  • We know His word is truth. So if we are in His word, our lives will demonstrate the persuasion of His ways. When someone mentors you, whether it be a parent, teacher, pastor, or friend, their fingerprints are on your life. When examined, evidence will show that you have been persuaded by them because, in some manner, you will talk, walk, and act like them. When we are in His word, we are persuaded by it. We will walk, talk, and act it out in everyday life.

If this is what it looks like to be in His word, then abiding or remaining in it means that you will continue permanently in the light, value, and truth. It means that you will not cease to stand out because the light is on you. It means you will not compromise the values that the Word has taught you. It means you will never cease to be persuaded by the Word, because the Word is truth.

When God gives us revelation in His word, the revelation itself will become part of who we are. The truth that is revealed to you will become part of your character. It will be a driving force in your life. Revelation is more than a provoking thought. It is an understanding that is given to you that is beyond your own reason. It is something that, with time, you will develop into. It may not be a perfect fit at first. It may even be a bit awkward but, in time, you will grow into it if you remain faithful to it.

Abiding in the word is a MUST. Revelation in the word can be ecstatic in the moment. To have God talk to you, what a privilege! It is an amazing thing for God to meet us where we are, and in one epic moment, open the divine upon us. In that moment, nothing else matters. Though only after time passes, can we show ourselves to be abiders. Is it still all that matters after time has passed? It is easy to dwell in a moment of revelation, but only an abider can remain.

Jesus said it best, “If you ABIDE in my word, you are truly my disciples..."

Scriptures to study:

  • John 15:1-8
  • 1 John 2:6
  • 1 John 2:28
  • 1 John 3:24
  • 2 John 1:9
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