The Bible as Our Spiritual Food

 

Have you ever heard that the Bible is meant to be food to Christians? Yet many of us frequently experience feeling spiritually dry, thirsty, hungry, and even empty deep inside. We can even experience this feeling right after we’ve finished reading or studying the Bible. Why is that?

What the Bible isn’t

In our reading and studying the Bible, we might learn something new, pick up some good advice, or receive some inspiration. But it doesn’t satisfy us. Despite our studying, we still feel hungry inwardly, and we continue to feel weak in our Christian life. We may even feel that we’re not just spiritually weak, but dead.

We know, of course, that books are meant to be read. If the book is a textbook for a class, we read it, study it, and possibly commit some of it to memory. Or we might read the biography of a renowned person for inspiration and encouragement.

But what about the Bible? Is it a book we read simply for inspiration, or a textbook for us to learn about God and the Christian faith? Is it a book that instructs us how to be a good person, or how to have a happy life?

As Christians, we certainly should read God’s Word regularly and even study it. But the Bible is not simply a work of literature, a textbook, or a self-help book. God’s aim in giving His written Word to us wasn’t that we would learn more doctrines, ethics, and “how-tos,” or even that we’d only be inspired. It was that we’d be fed.

Physical eating and spiritual eating

Our lives consist of many matters, but the foremost matter for our physical survival is food. When we haven’t eaten in a while, we become very clear that everything else is secondary. Only eating food satisfies our hunger and nourishes us. Without eating, we simply can’t continue to exist.

In the same way, the foremost matter for believers to be healthy and grow in the divine life is to eat spiritual food. But what is the food for our spiritual life?

God gave His Word to us to be our spiritual food. So even more than studying the Bible, we actually need to “eat” it. Nothing is more important to our Christian life than our being nourished with the Word of God. Biblical knowledge can’t help us if we’re spiritually famished, and consequently weak and dying. God’s primary concern for us is that we would be living and growing by eating the Word of God as our food.

Similarly, what mother would insist that her child first, above all, study hard and behave well, yet never prepare food for her child to eat? On the contrary, a mother knows that the primary matter concerning her child’s well being is that the child eat nourishing food to be healthy. Then all the other things can be taken care of.

In the same way, God’s real concern for all of us, His children, is that we be living, full of His life, and growing in His life by eating His Word.

How do we know the Bible was given to us to be our food?

  1. By verses such as these in the Bible:

    1 Peter 2:2—“As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation.”

    1 Timothy 4:6—“Being nourished with the words of the faith.”

    “Milk” and “nourished” are words related not to study, but to food. They show us God intended His Word to be our food.

  2. By testimonies of people in the Bible—In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah said, “Your words were found and I ate them.” In the New Testament, the apostle John also testified in Revelation 10 that he ate the words of God.
  3. By the word of the Lord Jesus Himself—Matthew 4 gives us the account of the Lord being tempted by the devil. In verse 4 Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Jesus plainly told us that just as we live on physical bread, we are to live on God’s words, our spiritual bread.

What is eating?

Let’s take a moment to discuss physical eating, an excellent picture of spiritual eating. To eat is to take something into us that satisfies our hunger, nourishes us, and energizes us. What we eat supplies our bodies with nutrients, so we’re sustained and even grow. Our bodies are made up of what we’ve taken in.

And what we eat—food—must be derived from living matter. Inorganic matter, like a rock for instance, can’t nourish us, but an apple can. What we eat must have the element of life for it to nourish us.

Similarly, spiritual eating is to take in something of the divine life. Real spiritual eating inwardly satisfies us, and we’re strengthened to live a normal Christian life. As we take in spiritual food, we grow in the life of God.

And just as our physical food must be something of life for it to nourish us, spiritually what we eat, or take in, must be something of life and that gives life. The Word of God is of life and gives life:

The apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16 said this:

“All Scripture is God-breathed.”

The Bible is the very breath of the living God; being God’s breath, it is of life and can impart life to us.

And in John 6:63 the Lord Jesus told us,

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

The Word of God is spirit and life; because His words are life, they can give life to us.

Coming to the Bible as food

God gave us His Word, the Bible, not to be our textbook, but to be our food. It’s full of life, having been breathed out by God Himself, and His words give life.

Whether we end up empty and unsatisfied after we’ve read or studied the Bible depends on whether we come to the Bible as life-giving, nourishing food or not. If we view the Bible simply as a book from which we can accumulate biblical knowledge, and we don’t get to the Spirit and life in the Word of God, we won’t receive the nourishment we need to grow in God’s life and to live a normal, healthy Christian life.

In fact, reading or studying the Bible without touching the life in the words can actually hurt us. Paul warns us about this in 2 Corinthians 3:6:

“The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Every time we come to the Word, we need to exercise our spirit to touch the Spirit, who gives life, in the Word. In this way, we’ll experience being satisfied and enlivened when we come to the Bible as food, as God intended.

How do we eat the Bible? Watch for an upcoming post with practical points on how to be nourished with God’s Word.


We love hearing from you, so please share your thoughts and experiences related to the post (blog commenting guidelines).

5 thoughts on “The Bible as Our Spiritual Food

  1. I heard about it some 13 years ago when I first came into the church-life – into the only place where Christians are real lovers of the Lord Jesus and those who treasure the Word of God in its entirety, every portion of it! But firstly it sounded so strange:) It took me some more time for practice and experience and I was confirmed once for all, I was proved unto eternity that the Bible – Word of God! is man’s real food! And it is so sweet, so nourishing, so healthy and so useful for all life situations! Praise the Lord for the BIBLE! Praise HIM for this wonderful Ministry of the Word that makes it so easy to make a 100% profit of God’s speaking every single time man approaches it!

  2. “Coming to the Bible to enjoy the Lord and take Him in as food” – this is a revolutionary concept in our Christian life. For many years I memorized the Bible, read it, studied it, and even made some outlines with the main points, etc. But when I realized that God’s word is for us to enjoy and even eat, wow, what a change it has been in my life!

    Jeremiah said, “Your words were found, and I ate them!” – he didn’t memorize them or study them, but he ate them! When we come to the word of God with an open heart, an unveiled face, and an exercised spirit before the Lord, we will receive LIFE – the divine life – in the Holy Word. What we need is not “more doctrines” or “more spiritual knowledge” but MORE LIFE so that we may grow in life by being nourished with the milk of the word (1 Pet. 2:2) and the solid food in God’s word.

  3. Thank you for this!

    Looking forward to the follow-up post with the points on how to be nourished with God’s Word.

  4. I enjoyed that we can be nourished with the words of the faith! I really enjoyed the testimonies from Jer. 15:16 and Rev. 10:8-11. In Jer. 15:16 we have a testimony from Jeremiah saying that he found the words and ate it. And in Rev. 10:8-11 we have a testimony from John saying i took the scroll and devoured it! We should take Jeremiah and John as our pattern to find the words and devour it so that we can be nourished with the words of the faith.

  5. Thank you for this post! I really like this “God gave us His Word, the Bible, not to be our textbook, but to be our food. It’s full of life, having been breathed out by God Himself, and His words give life.” At one time, while I was studying the Bible, I felt so dry and everything that I perceived was blank and white. I felt I did not learn, receive, or benefit from readying the Bible. And later I came to realization that I was reading the Bible to get helpful information without realizing that His word is food for our spiritual life. The Bible is not just a textbook by which we can accumulate knowledge about God. But the Bible nourishes and helps us grow inwardly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *