The Spirit and the Body, by Witness Lee

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According to the New Testament, the word of God, which is God’s breath, has various functions. The first of these functions is nourishing, a function covered in John chapter six. This chapter reveals that the Lord Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35, 58). The bread of life is the Lord Himself conveyed to us in His word. The word is the breath of God that nourishes us with Christ as our food. Thus, the word has a nourishing function. It is able to nourish us and to satisfy us with all that the Lord Jesus is. He is food, and this food is conveyed by the word, which is the Spirit. Whenever we come to the Bible, we should not simply take in the letters by exercising our mind to understand what is written. We must also exercise our spirit to touch God’s breath, the Spirit of the Lord. If we do this, we shall be nourished.


Ephesians 6:17 says, "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God" (Gk). According to this verse, the word, which is the Spirit of God, has a killing function. It kills the enemy, the flesh, the self, the darkness, and all other negative things, such as hatred and envy. The word of God as the breath of God has the ability to kill. It has the capability to slay every negative thing. Many of us can testify that the more we pray-read the Word, the more the negative things within us are killed. Although you may not have the intention to kill your hatred, the living word that enters into you kills your hatred as you pray-read the Word. It also kills your pride. Again and again, the living word as the breath of God kills Satan. Hence, the word not only nourishes, but also kills.


Second Timothy 3:16 and 17 indicate that the word of God also has the function of furnishing the believers. Many Christians are like unfurnished apartments with no bed to lie down upon and no sofa to rest on. Are you like this? We need to be furnished, and nothing can furnish us except the living word. The more you pray-read the Word, which is the breath of God, the living Spirit, the more you are furnished. Although teachings may instruct you, they cannot furnish you. You may read the verse that says, "Husbands, love your wives." But if you simply take this verse as black and white letters, it will be a teaching to you; it will not furnish you. However, if you pray-read this verse and touch the Spirit in it, the Spirit will supply you with love. Then you will have something with which to love your wife. The word of God is not merely letters; it is God’s breath. As the living Spirit of God, it not only instructs us, corrects us, and reproves us, but it also furnishes us, equips us, with the riches of Christ. This is the way we are equipped.

Therefore, the word of God has three main functions: the nourishing function, the killing function, and the furnishing function. Day by day we need to pray-read the Word, contacting the breath of God in order that we may be nourished, experience the killing power, and be furnished with all that we need for our Christian life. All that we need for our daily Christian living is conveyed into our being through the living word. We should not merely read and study the Scriptures with our mind; we must also exercise our spirit to contact the living word. If we do this, we shall receive the nourishment, experience the killing power, and be equipped with the divine elements. In this way we become a proper dwelling place for the Lord.

In this message we have seen four aspects of the Spirit. We have seen that God is Spirit, that the Triune God issues in the Spirit, that the Redeemer has become a life-giving Spirit, and that the word of the Lord, His breath, is the Spirit that nourishes, kills, and furnishes. In substance, God is Spirit; in His economy, the Triune God issues in the Spirit; in His consummation, the Redeemer has become the life-giving Spirit; and in His life supply, His word is the Spirit as the nourishing, killing, and furnishing instrument. We need the full experience of these four aspects of the Spirit. It is by this Spirit that we are transformed to be the same as Christ. It is by this Spirit in the Word that we are supplied with the nourishment, the killing power, and the equipping with all the divine elements. In this way we are fully equipped to be the Lord’s habitation.

(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)