The Power (δύναμις, or Dunamis) of Scripture
Sep 6, 2023
Deacon Brian Mizzoni
“The Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Ps. 119:105). As I reflect upon this prodigious verse, I have come to treasure more and more, not only the distinctive, linguistic beauty of Scripture, but its incredible transforming power.
The Bible has always been an integral part of my life, especially with my call to the permanent diaconate. I relate to what St. Peter said when he stated that, “as newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3). I indeed desired the pure milk of the Word, and as a youth, I read the Bible often. However, it wasn’t until my late teens that I had a substantial conversion through its transformative power. I was no longer just reading for knowledge or inspiration, but as one consuming the Word as a beloved who wanted to know his lover, as one redeemed who wanted to intimately know his Redeemer. I remember familiar stories and passages taking on whole new dimensions and perspectives which I never previously comprehended. I yearned to know more of Jesus and to fall deeper in love with Him.
There is a Hebrew word that comes to mind: “yada.” Yada means to know, but not in the sense of mere knowledge and intellect, but in an intimate, experiential relationship. Shortly after my conversion, I was truly getting to know (yada) our blessed Lord in the Scriptures and would often spend hours in His Word. As time progressed and I grew in my relationship with God, the Holy Spirit showed me new and exciting ways to apply Scripture in my life. For example, when facing a challenging or difficult circumstance, I would search out an appropriate passage and pray it over that particular situation. I realize that we need to consider the context of a passage or verse, but I have learned it is such a mighty weapon that demolishes strongholds, as St. Paul so clearly states in 2 Cor. 10:4.
The great Scripture scholar himself, St. Jerome, once said that, “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” God Himself says that, “my people perish from lack of knowledge” (Hos 4:6). So, I had to learn that in order for me to grow closer to Christ, it was imperative that I spend time in His Word. It also had an enormous effect and role regarding spiritual warfare. After studying the passage in Ephesians 6:10-17 regarding the armor of God, I saw that most of the armor, such as the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shield of faith, was mainly for defensive purposes. However, the offensive weapon is the Word of God Itself, and St. Paul refers to this as a “sword,” the sword of the Spirit.
When I compared this passage with Hebrews 4:12, I saw how true it is that the Word of God is a double-edged sword piercing unto division of spirit, soul, joint, and marrow. This knowledge led me to regard the Scriptures not only from a historical or inspirational perspective, but as a weapon, the sword that it is, in the spiritual realm.
I began to enter deeper into its effectual power and noticed that God’s Word does not return void but truly “accomplishes that thing for which it was sent” (Is 55:10-11). It indeed fecundates and pierces our very inner core producing much needed growth and renewal.
Another way the Word of God was very instrumental in my life was with the calling to the permanent diaconate. I originally felt this call some years before entering St. Bernard’s formation program. I wasn’t sure if it was just a fleeting desire stemming from myself or an actual call from God and so I decided to take ample time to properly discern and went to the Word of God continuously for guidance and confirmation. Verses started to resonate with me such as, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4), and, “You find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). As I continued to reflect and ponder, spending time in the Word, a confidence grew to pursue this call.
Going forward with confidence and trust in God and His Word, I entered the diaconate program in January of 2017 and by His grace, I am now a permanent deacon serving All Saints Parish in Corning, NY. I am extremely thankful and blessed that I now have the profound privilege of proclaiming the Word at Holy Mass.
In conclusion, God’s Word is of the utmost importance in my life, and I would enjoin everyone to delve deeper into the Word and let it speak to their heart. For as the Scriptures tell us, “deep calls unto deep” (Ps. 42:7), and His Word is forever settled in heaven (Ps. 119: 89). When all is said and done and the grass withers and the flowers fall away, it is the Word of our God that will endure forever. (Is. 40:8).