Jesus answered, “It is written:
`Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Reading this passage again recently I was struck by the way Jesus said ‘every word.’ It reminded me of the account of a Christian author who told of the time God remarked on all the passages that he had highlighted in his Bible and commented, “I wrote the other bits as well!”
Paul writing to Timothy said – of what would then have been the Old Testament Scriptures –
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Our understanding and belief is that this now refers to the New Testament writings as well. The whole Bible therefore is seen to be written under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is the written account of the ‘every word’ to which Jesus would have been referring.
It is the centre against which everything else must be assessed. It contains the most complete self-revelation of God that we will find as well as a complete revelation of humankind – as they were, they are and will be. Here are God’s plans and purposes as He has disclosed them, God’s blessings and how to receive them, and God’s warnings and how to avoid the danger areas.
Here is the Way of Life, and of Love, of Purpose and of Fulfillment, of Forgiveness and Redemption, of Healing and Hope. (The Way the world has forsaken – and look at the state it is in!)
It is also the greatest love-story ever told – and if we have failed to grasp that truth then we have failed to understand what it is all about.
To restrict ourselves to bits and pieces, or even to one or two books, is to miss out on the grand sweep and extent of the revelation, the awesome detail and scope of God’s purpose and plan, the height, depth, width and breadth of His love, the horror of sin and the wonder of forgiveness, the frailty and fickleness of man and the commitment and faithfulness of God, to skirt around the fringes of His majesty and to only paddle in the shallows of His intimacy, to miss out when we need different parts of His provision for different aspects of our journey – it is to impoverish ourselves and others when so much of what we need is right before us.
The most useful programme that I have used is the one developed by the Scottish minister Robert Murray McCheyne (M’Cheyne). It is designed for reading the Bible in one or two years by reading one or two chapters every morning and evening. The one year programme starts with Genesis and Matthew, and Ezra and Acts – the four great beginnings. There is a free version which comes with the Bible Apps from Olive Tree Bible and YouVersion.
I can do this – 15 minutes twice a day
Lord God, please open Your Word to me – and me to Your Word – and may it live and bear fruit in me. Amen.