Jesus warned his followers ahead of time what would happen to him. He would suffering at the hands of the authorities, would be killed, and on the third day would rise from the dead.
I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling.
John 16.1 HCSB
Stumbling in this context means to lose or abandon one’s faith (see NLT). “Forewarned is forearmed,” says the proverb. The disciples would not be caught unawares. They would know that God was still in control and that all would happen according to his plan.
In a similar way, the word of Christ keeps us secure in our faith so that we will not fall from God’s grace.
First, because his word informs us of the promise of God. We know his intentions, we know, in general terms, what he is working toward.
Second, because his word infuses us with the power of God. It does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. It is “able to save” James 1.21.
In order for the word of Christ have its effect, however, it must be “planted deep within” us, as James says in the verse above (CEB).
For the non-Christian, this means obeying the word, John 8.51. See how to do that here. It is a simple process to enter into Christ and to receive eternal life.
For the Christian, this means reading and meditating on the word night and day, as well as practicing it, Psalm 1.3; Colossians 3.16; James 1.22-27. It’s necessary to study it both in private and together with the saints.
Without the word of Christ, we will soon stumble.