Friedrich Nietzsche said, “All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.” Unquestionably, Nietzsche understood the power of the written word to influence minds and bring about change. He recognized that words written live on long after the death of the author and produce fruit for generations to come. The problem is that Nietzsche used his pen for evil, and along with so many like him, his words continue to sow the seeds of evil to this day. We must never underestimate the power of the written word to destroy, but likewise to build. Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Just as many have unleashed their words on the world to produce wickedness, so God’s people have, and must continue, to use the power of the written word to produce righteousness.
Solomon said, “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life…” (Pro. 10:11). That is the case because the righteous man speaks words that point people to the Prince of Life (Acts 3:15). Peter said, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God…” (1 Pet. 4:11). In our everyday conversation we speak words that are good for edification and imparting grace to those who hear (Eph. 4:29- 31). When we stand behind the pulpit, we “preach Christ crucified…” (1 Cor. 1:23). And, when we pick up our pen or sit down behind a keyboard, we write “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). The written word is an invaluable tool for teaching others the gospel. To be able to read the thoughts of one who has studied Scripture and carefully sought to instruct others from its pages, gives a person the opportunity to reflect upon what is written time and time again, that they may understand and grow (cf. Eph. 3:4). Writing gives us the ability to reach souls whom we may never see in the flesh. It provides an aide to Bible study and can help people grow closer to God. The spoken word is indeed powerful, but a word spoken may quickly be forgotten. No so for words that are written. They may live on and continue to produce good fruit long after the death of the writer.
Let us never underestimate the power of the written word.