Over the span of thousands of years, God gave us His precious Word. Now we have His complete revelation in our hands: the Bible. History tells us that the Bible has profoundly affected countless people throughout the centuries. It has served as a guide for how to live, and it has even been taught in schools as great literature.
But the Bible isn’t merely a book full of doctrines about God and the Christian faith, a work of literature, or a self-help manual telling us how to have a good life.
Actually, God’s intention in giving us His Word is that it would be our spiritual food to nourish us. How do we know? The Bible itself reveals this to us.
Key verses that reveal the Bible is our food
Numerous verses throughout the Bible describe God’s Word as food to His people.
For instance, in the Old Testament, Jeremiah 15:16 says:
“Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart.”
Then, at the very beginning of the New Testament, the Lord Jesus was tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread after He had fasted for 40 days. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus responded:
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.’”
Then in 1 Peter 2:2, the apostle Peter exhorted the believers:
“As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation.”
These and many other verses show us God gave His Word to us to be our spiritual food. So we need to keep this in mind when we approach the Bible. God wants His precious Word to be the food we eat and live by.
Eating is critical for us to live and grow
Physically speaking, we can do without many things, but none of us can go very long without food. Eating is necessary for our survival.
But none of us would be satisfied with mere survival. We want to thrive and grow. The growth of any life form is utterly dependent on receiving the proper nourishment. As we eat, our bodies are constituted with the food we take in. This is how growth happens.
In the same way, nothing is more important to our Christian life than being nourished with the Word of God for both our sustenance and spiritual growth. When we were born again, we received the divine life of God into us. Now, that life must grow in us and increase to fill every part of our being.
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How the Word of God can be food to us
In order for something to be food, it must be composed of organic material. Inorganic matter, like a rock, for instance, can’t feed us. An apple can nourish us because it’s organic, that is, something of life.
The same is true spiritually speaking. Our spiritual food is something of the divine life.
In John 6:63, the Lord Jesus said:
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
Since the Lord’s words are spirit and life, they can feed us.
How can we experience the Lord’s words being spirit and life to us when we read the Bible? Note 3 on words in this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version says:
“The Greek word for words, here and in v. 68, is rhema, which denotes the instant and present spoken word. It differs from logos (used for Word in 1:1), which denotes the constant word. Here the words follows the Spirit. The Spirit is living and real, yet He is very mysterious, intangible, and difficult for people to apprehend; the words, however, are substantial. First, the Lord indicated that for giving life He would become the Spirit. Then He said that the words He speaks are spirit and life. This shows that His spoken words are the embodiment of the Spirit of life. He is now the life-giving Spirit in resurrection, and the Spirit is embodied in His words. When we receive His words by exercising our spirit, we get the Spirit, who is life.”
Physically, in order to receive food into our bodies, we need to use our mouth. Spiritually speaking, in order to receive the Lord’s words, we must exercise our spirit, the deepest part of our being. The best way to exercise our spirit is to open our mouth to pray.
In Ephesians 6:17-18, the apostle Paul tells us this:
“Receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition.”
Paul encouraged the believers to receive the Word of God not just by using their minds but by means of all prayer. When we pray, we exercise our spirit. By using our spirit when we read the Word, we contact the Spirit in the Word.
As we read God’s Word with prayer, the black and white words on the page become spirit and life. This is how the Bible becomes nourishing food to us.
We can all eat God’s Word
Believers throughout the centuries have testified to feeding on the Word of God through this enjoyable practice of praying while reading the Bible.
And just as physical eating is something anyone can do, we all can spiritually eat by praying with the Word of God. No special ability is required. We don’t need to pray long, complicated prayers. We can pray simple, short prayers as we read the Word.
As we experience eating the Word of God as our food, Jeremiah’s testimony will become ours: “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart.”
For more on this subject, you can read chapter 3 of Basic Elements of the Christian Life, vol. 3, a book that has helped thousands of believers. If you’re a US resident, you can order the three-volume set for free here. You can also download these volumes from anywhere in the world here.
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