Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992




We all know what animated cartoons are, indeed, we probably know all too well. They are drawn pictures that are shown in quick sequence, and then filmed to give the impression that the pictures or characters are alive.

We want to look at the thought of animation in relation to the Word of God. There are some various aspects to animation in the context of the Word. The Word itself is animated, or living, and It can make a person animated as well, via the ministry of the Holy Spirit.


The term animate comes from the Latin word "anima" which means breath, and this symbolizes life itself. The term "anima" comes to us in our English words; animal, animated, inanimate, animation, and animosity.

1. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionry mentions of animated, ".....endowed with life or the qualities of life....." (By permission. From Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)

2. Animation is the quality of the Word that gives it the characteristic of life, as well as the quality of the Word of God that produces living and lasting effects in the person reading it.

Animation is a term used to describe an attribute of the Word of God. The Word is active, or animated - it is alive. Not that it will ever get up on it's hands, and knees and crawl, but it can move the reader emotionally. It can bring them to salvation. The Word is faithful, righteous and powerful. It is not a dead lifeless book, but a living Word, capable of giving life. No other book can boast of such an attribute.

The Bible can, and does affect the nonbeliever. Let us look briefly at It's effect on the unsaved: The Word can give him faith, Rom 10:17; The Word can give him wisdom IN RELATION TO SALVATION, Ps. 19:7; The Word can give him salvation, Ps. 19:7; I Pet. 1:23.

Not only does the Word affect the nonbeliever, but It also affects the believer. It's effect on the saved: The word strengthens the new believer, I Pet. 2:2; The Word builds up the older believer, Acts 20:32; The Word can purify the believer's life, Eph. 5:26; The Word can bring change in the mind and in the heart of the believer, Hebrews 4:12

There is indication that a proper understanding, and acceptance of the Word is necessary for the animation of the Word to be effective.

A quotation might sum up what we have seen thus far. There are many that have witnessed the life changing effects of the Word, and this is one of those accounts: "Experiences in the past two years have profoundly altered my thinking. The authority and truth of Scripture is not an obscure issue reserved for the private debate and entertainment of theologians; it is relevant, indeed critical for every serious Christian - layman, pastor, and theologian alike.

"My convictions have come. . .from life in what may be termed the front-line trenches, behind prison walls where Christians grapple in hand-to-hand combat with the prince of darkness. In our prison fellowships, where the Bible is proclaimed as God's holy and inerrant revelation, believers grow and discipleship deepens. Christians live their faith with power. Where the Bible is not so proclaimed (or where Christianity is presumed to rest on subjective experience alone or contentless fellowship) faith withers and dies. Christianity without biblical fidelity is merely another passing fad in an age of passing fads. In my opinion, the issue is that clear-cut." (Boice,; "STANDING ON THE ROCK"; Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1978, p 108. This was a quote from one of Chuck Colson's books.)

Two terms are related to our study of animation.

1. The term "zao" is defined as "to live, be alive" by Vine. (Vine, W. E.; "AN EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF NEW TESTAMENT WORDS"; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co; Strong's number 2198)

This term is used in Heb. 4:12 as a clear statement of fact that the Word is living. "For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. . . ." We see the identical thought given in I Pet. 1:23.

The term is also used of:

God, Matt. 16:16

The Son incarnate, John 6:57

The Son in Resurrection Jo. 14:19

eternal life, Jo. 6:57

the present state of departed saints, Lu. 20:38

the hope of resurrection, I Pet. 1:3

the resurrection of believers, I Thess. 5:10

the way of access to God through Christ, Heb. 10:20

the manifestation of divine power and authority, II Cor. 13:4b

bread (figurative of Christ), John 6:51

a stone (figurative of Christ), I Pet. 2:4

water (figurative of the Holy Spirit), John 4:10

a sacrifice figurative of the believer, Rom. 12:1

the oracles, Acts 7:38

the physical life of men, I Thess 4:15

the maintenance of physical life, Matt. 4:4

the duration of physical life, Heb. 2:15

the enjoyment of physical life, I Thess. 3:8

the recovery of life from the power of disease, Mk 5:23

the recovery of life from the power of death, Matt 9:18.

Do you get the idea that this life that the Word has, is considered to be life, as in the plain, literal interpretation of life. It is living, and it is really something!

2. The term "energees" (Strong's number 1756) has the idea of "in work" according to Vine. (Vine's Word Studies) It is used in I Cor 16:9; Philem 6; and Heb. 4:12. We gain our terms energy, energetic etc. from this term. It is translated effectual in the first two texts and powerful in the Hebrews text.

The Word is living and powerful, in and of Itself. It is also living and powerful in people's lives.

When I was considering going into the ministry and college, I began to pray that the Lord would make it clear to me that He wanted me to leave at that particular point in time. My father had no one to care for him, and he had been given two years to live, about a year and a half prior to this point in time. I really didn't feel that it was right to leave him, and travel twelve hundred miles away to college, however I told the Lord we would do as He directed. I had in mind that if the Lord sent us away that He would take care of the details of my father.

One evening, as time was running out, I opened the Word to read, and my eyes fell upon two verses that sent us forth to college. "And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." Luke 9:59,60

The neat part of the story is that shortly after our decision to leave was made, my brother called to tell me that he was moving back home to help care for our father. My father found out a few months later, that the doctors had made a bad diagnoses, and that he wasn't dying. He lived for a number of years after we left. Over the next few weeks the Lord closed the door to the college we had planned on attending, and led us to attend a college that was only three hundred miles away. We were able to spend many weekends with my father over the years.


1. If this is the Word of God, and it is perfect, and it is without error, and it is powerful, and it is living, then why don't we respond to it more as believers. Do we really believe that it has power to change our lives? Do we really believe that it has power to change the lives of others? Do we really believe that it has power to keep mankind out of eternal HELL?

The answers to all of these questions is "YES". Indeed, if we are believers, we can think back, and see that the Word has, indeed, changed our lives drastically!

If we see that change in our life, then why aren't we more ready to share the Word with people that need their lives changed by the Word?

2. If we really believe that the Word can change lives, why are we so bent on telling people of the problems in their lives? Why not share a reference or two with them, so they can find out what God wants them to be like and trust the Word to change their life.

We worked with a lady that was seeking "the baptism" and tongues so hard that she couldn't see anything else for several weeks. She finally, through the ministry of the Word and the Holy Spirit, realized that it wasn't the baptism and tongues that she needed - it was the Lord Jesus that she needed. She accepted the Lord - a real changed life!

3. In family situations when there are problems why is it that we so often use our own angry words to settle a dispute, when we could allow the living Word to do the job much better?

4. If the Word has a power and life that no other book has then why do we spend so much time in our Sunday Schools etc. in books instead of THE BOOK? We get a newsletter from a fundamental church and the youth group is always studying some book rather than the book. Teenagers can respond to a living Word as well as children and adults.

5. It alone is living - it requires no man to make it live! Recently I saw an ad for one of the California evangelical elite saying that the man makes the Bible live! WRONG! God made It a living thing when He delivered It to man. We have no need of any man to make it live for us.

6. I would like to take a longer look at two verses that we have read. I Pet 1:23 and Heb 4:12.

"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." I Pet. 1:23 It can cause the rebirth of a person, It is incorruptible, It is living, It is eternal.

"For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 It is powerful, It is sharp, It pierces to divide soul and spirit, It discerns our thoughts, It discerns the intents of our hearts.

Can we say from those things that the Bible can, on it's own, without any help from us, bring someone to know the Lord? Yes. The Gideons have testimonies of people that have read Bibles in hotels and motels and found the Lord.

A South African missionary I met once shared in his personal testimony that he knew he needed something, and felt that the Bible might have his answers. He purchased one, and shut himself in a room for two days and did nothing but read the Bible. While reading the book of John, he found his answers and accepted the Lord. Yes, the Word is alive and can make lost men live.

7. Since we know that it is eternal, and we know we are to respond to that part of it that we understand (illumination), then we might assume safely that if we do not respond, that it will be the record used against us when we stand before the Lord. Did you ever wonder what other books are going to be at the judgments? (Rev 20:12, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.") Do you suppose that one of those books will be the living Word?

The Word of God is living. God does not need any preacher, nor evangelist, no matter how famous, no matter how eloquent, no matter how brilliant, to make His Word live. It lives, because of Its very nature. It lives, because It is the message to man from a living God. DON'T FALL FOR THE FALSE ADVERTIZING THAT YOU HAVE SEEN.