The Word Hand Illustration

Effective Bible-handling on five fingers


Using the Word Hand illustration, this article describes six different ways to approach the Bible in order to make the most of it: listen, read, study, memorise, meditate and apply. A corresponding verse and brief reasoning is provided for each aspect. This article could be used by a new Christian, or by an established Christian looking to develop their Bible engagement or to help someone else develop theirs.

Derek Leaf

Leader, Navigators UK

Currently leads the Navigators in the UK, and travels into Latvia. Yet, his key role is one of prayer and standing with God. He is married and has four grown children.

The Word Hand Illustration


In Ephesians 6:17 we are told that the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. If we are to be effective in our walk with God and in spiritual warfare, we must develop a strong grip in order to use this sword well.

The Word Hand illustration shows us how we can train in sword handling.

It is not possible to build a strong grip without all five fingers and especially the thumb! Nor is it possible to wield a sword without a strong wrist. If we are to handle the Word of God skilfully we must meditate, hear, read, study and memorise the Word of God. We do this so we can apply it to our lives.



Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from hearing the word about Christ. Listening to other people read and preach the Bible stimulates our faith and our own desire to know God through his Word.



Deuteronomy 17:19 explains that reading the Word enables us to learn to revere the Lord and to follow carefully his laws and decrees.



Acts 17:11 gives the example of the Bereans, who being of noble character, examined the Scriptures every day to see if what they were being taught (by Paul) was true. They verified what they heard by their own study of the Scriptures.



Colossians 3:16 commands us to allow God’s Word to dwell in us richly. To dwell implies being alive within us and always available. Memorising Bible passages enables this to happen.



Psalm 1:2-3 tells us that the one who delights in God’s Word meditates on it. Meditation is the key to producing stability, effectiveness and prosperity in our walk with God. Just as the thumb touches all four fingers of the hand, so we meditate on what we hear, read, study and memorise.



Joshua 1:8 explains that the result of meditation is application. Only as we apply God’s Word in our daily lives will we experience God’s prosperity and success. Just as the wrist provides the source of strength and power for the hand, so also application provides for God’s strength and power in our lives. In this way, we can get a good grasp of the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and wield it for his glory.


Copyright © Derek Leaf 2017


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023 8055 8800



Turner House,
54 The Avenue,
SO17 1XQ

023 8055 8800


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