Not by Bread Alone
“And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”
“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
- God fed Israel with miracle manna to teach them that health depends on God’s blessing, for keeping God’s commandments are more useful for your life than anything else (Deut 8:1-20; Matt 6:25-34).
- God fed Israel with manna to teach them that spiritual health depends on every word of God, for you cannot know of Him or how to please Him without those words being constantly supplied to you.
- When the devil tempted our Lord with the bread of this world, Jesus quoted this passage (Luke 4:4).
- If man is to live by every word of God (Luke 4:4), you must read the Bible’s words to have a life!
- The Bible is a spiritual book from a spiritual Author. If you are born again, you need spiritual food.
- The word of God will increase your sensitivity for righteousness and against wickedness by reading.
- Psalm 19 has three parts – creation, scripture, and self-examination – to lead us in a holy progression.
- This is one of the most important sermons I can preach to you, but only if you submit to God’s words.
- We have studied Joshua, but we must examine our commitment to Bible reading (Jos 1:7-8; Ps 1:1-3).
- You will amount to nothing in life before God and men, unless you crave and devour His word daily.
- Israel rejoiced to hear the words of God read and explained to them for hours, and we must examine ourselves to see if we are of the same character toward scripture as they were (Nehemiah 8:1-12).
- Job considered the words of God more important than his necessary food, and we should consider how great this man was in God’s sight (Job 23:11-12; 1:1-8; Eze 14:14). Do you esteem it as highly?
- David, the man after God’s own heart, loved the word of God and knew its value (Ps 119:9,11,14,18, 24,25,28,49,50,52,54,57,59,62,72,73,80,92,97-100,103,104,105,111,127,131,141,162,165,168,176).
- Every father is bound before God to teach his children the Bible (Deut 6:4-9; Psalm 78:1-8; Eph 6:4).
- There is only one way to be an Elihu in a world of Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (Job 32:8). Read!
- We know which Bible to read, which should provoke an exceptional love for reading our KJV Bibles.
- We vigorously defend the KJV, but it is more important that we read it than defend it against others.
- Moses said it is your wisdom, good, righteousness, and life (Deu 4:5-8; 6:24-25; 10:12-13; 32:46-47).
- A great advantage of being a Jew was having the oracles of God, as we do today (Romans 3:1-4).
- The church, persecuted by the dragon, the devil of pagan and papal Rome, sealed the Bible with the blood of martyrs, which condemns us greatly for not finding the time to read it (Rev 1:9; 12:17).
- Few men have had scripture, understanding, time, and freedom as we have. Be warned (Luke 12:48).
- If our nation, especially the NEA and ACLU, is against Bible reading, then it must be worth reading!
- What are the inputs in your life? The world is competing against scripture more than ever. Beware!
- Noble men receive the word with ready minds and search the scriptures to prove it right (Acts 17:11).
- The Bible is a spiritual book for spiritual men, and it operates above natural reasoning (I Cor 2:9-13).
- Our experience confirms that our fruitfulness as Christians is in direct proportion to Bible reading, for our faith, love, joy, peace, hope, holiness, and zeal wax or wane depending on our time in the Bible.
- The ebb and flow of Christians from serving saints to carnal complainers is based on Bible reading.
- We are to exhort one another daily to oppose sin’s deceit, but how much more reading (He 3:12-13)?
- Remember Josiah’s reaction to the reading of scripture after it had been lost a while (II Kings 22:11).
- How does the emphasis and time compare to the reading of other material, textbooks, and television?
- When you fear physically or financially, the best thing you can do is to go to God’s words, for it is only God’s blessing, not your extra effort, that is able to save you from trouble (Ps 127:1-2).
Why Read the Bible?
- The Bible has Spirit-inspired and profitable words for light (II Tim 3:16-17; II Pet 1:16-21).
- The Bible has the spiritual words of God that build faith (Rom 10:17; 15:4; Luke 16:29-31).
- The Bible has the spiritual words of God that will bear fruit in you (Col 1:4-6; I Thess 2:13).
- The Bible has the spiritual words of God that nurture spiritual growth (I Pet 2:1-3; Pro 4:18).
- The Bible is able to make you content by giving you a rich heritage (Psalm 19:10; 119:111).
- The Bible is the primary source of objective truth in the world (Ps 119:142,151; John 17:17).
- The Bible is the source of wisdom (Deut 4:5-6; Psalm 19:7; 119:98-100,130; Prov 1:23; 8:8).
- The Bible is to help answer questions (Pr 22:17-21; Ps 119:46,172; Heb 5:12-14; I Pet 3:15).
- The Bible has an incentive plan of rewards for learning and obeying it (Ps 19:11; Jas 1:25).
- The Bible brings prosperity and success in all parts of life (Josh 1:7-8; Ps 1:1-3; Pr 8:12-21).
- The Bible reveals Jesus Christ and the way of salvation (John 5:39; II Tim 3:15; Rev 12:17).
- The Bible keeps us from sin (Ge 39:9; Ps 19:11; 119:11; Lu 4:1-13; II Tim 3:16-17; Ja 1:21).
- The Bible gives great joy by revealing God, His will, and His works (Jer 15:16; Ps 119:111).
- The Bible is the way to seek God, and He will come to readers (Isaiah 66:1-2; Acts 8:26-40).
- The Bible reveals numerous mysteries unknown to the world (I Cor 2:6-10; I Timothy 3:16).
- The Bible leads us in the way of righteousness (Ps 43:3; 119:105; Prov 6:23; II Tim 3:16-17).
How to Read the Bible
- Bible reading should be a meaningful habit, with a set time for it, preferably in the morning.
- It is better to read when you are rested than when tired, for your flesh hates the Bible.
- Find a time and place you will not be distracted or interrupted. Ask your family for help.
- If you miss a day, do not be foolish like those dieting or exercising; start again tomorrow!
- A reading program of some sort is helpful by giving discipline, structure, and what to read.
- Try the pastor’s simple program to read the Bible with one easy chapter a day, or read four of them a day and get through the Bible in three months or four times in a year.
- There are many different ways you can structure your reading for discipline and profit.
- You can focus on the N.T., add Psalms and/or Proverbs, include the O.T., or straight thru.
- How you read is more important than how much you read. Read meditatively to meet God.
- Read prayerfully to learn His will. Be alert when you read, and read for comprehension.
- Seek the meaning of what you read. Avoid settling for words or sounds. Study the intent.
- How does the meaning affect you. Put yourself in the passage. Apply lessons to your life.
- Read both ways: a chapter three times for quality, or three chapters one time for quantity.
- Pray for understanding and obedience before and after (Ps 119:18; Pr 2:3; Eph 1:17-18).
- Be sure to obey as you learn, or you will not learn more (Is 29:13-14; Jn 7:17; 12:37-43).
- Questions carefully asked can help you discover, identify, and apply the lessons of the Bible.
- Ask who, whom, what, why, when, and where to determine the context of each passage.
- Ask yourself how you see Jesus Christ in the passage (Luke 24:27; John 5:39).
- Ask yourself what doctrine is being taught in the passage (Prov 4:2; II Timothy 3:16-17).
- Ask yourself what example is provided for you to follow (Ps 37:37; Phil 3:17; I Pet 2:21).
- Ask yourself what sin is described here for me to avoid (I Cor 10:6-11; II Peter 2:4-17).
- Ask yourself what prayer is in the passage that you can pray (Ps 42:1-11; Matt 6:9-13).
- Ask yourself what promise is in the passage that you can claim (II Cor 1:20; Heb 13:5-6).
- Ask yourself what comfort is in the place to receive (Ps 119:50; Rom 15:4; Heb 6:17-20).
- Ask yourself what duty you have read that you should perform (Eccl 12:13; Ps 119:128).
- Ask yourself, What is the best or key verse? What is the leading lesson for me here?
- When reading the “One-Year Bible” or “Daily Light from the Bible,” make sure you also read the Bible in full context, for such helps can exalt the sound of scripture over its sense.
- The world uses inventions for techno-sins, but we can exploit Scourby, Online Bible, etc.
How to Read Meditatively
- The law of God, even the statutes to Israel, is to be read meditatively (Josh 1:7-8; Ps 1:1-3).
- Meditation. “That kind of private devotional exercise which consists in the continuous application of the mind to the contemplation of some religious truth, mystery, or object of reverence, in order that the soul may increase in love of God and holiness of life” (OED).
- Meditate. “To muse over or reflect upon; to consider, study, ponder; to fix one’s attention upon; to observe with interest or intentness” (OED).
- Biblical meditation is not listening to every point of view (Jer 5:31; Rom 16:17-18), opening your mind or heart to subconscious influences (Jer 29:8-9), closing yourself to anything outside yourself (II Cor 10:12), rearranging thoughts to avoid a passage’s force (Jer 17:9).
- Meditation should be directed toward God Himself (Ps 63:6; 104:34), God’s law (Josh 1:8; Ps 1:2; 119:97), God’s works (Ps 77:12), God’s precepts (Ps 119:15,78), God’s statutes (Ps 119:23,48), God’s word (Ps 119:148), His testimonies (Ps 119:99), doctrine (I Tim 4:13-15).
- Do you look for Jesus Christ? Our goal is to be Christ-like (Rom 13:14; Eph 4:24; Phil 2:5).
- God rewards meditative reading with good success (Josh 1:8), prosperity (Ps 1:2), wisdom over enemies (Ps 119:97-98), wisdom over teachers (Ps 119:99-100), joyful satisfaction in life (Ps 63:5-6), deliverance from spiritual dryness (Ps 77:4-12), defense against criticism (Ps 119:23-24), a balm for proud acts of enemies (Ps 119:78), a source of gladness (Ps 104:34).
- Memorization helps in meditation by mulling God’s words over while away from the Bible.
- Carefully consider each word, phrase, and lesson by repeating it, by picturing it as clearly as possible, by putting yourself in the picture, by putting it in the first person, or praying it, etc.
When to Read the Bible
- If you say, I will use whatever time I have before bed to read, you will hardly ever read it.
- If you wait until you have nothing happening to think about reading, you will not read.
- It is much better to make time to read, whenever that might be, and then stick to the schedule.
- You will have fewer demands and distractions in the morning; you will not be as tired; it will give you matter to consider and think about during the day; and it is a powerful way to start.
- When you are in your car, instead of the world’s radio, try Alex Scourby reading the KJV.
- What do you do with a lunch hour at work? You can eat in 10-15. Why not read for 10-15?
- Discipline your family to read in the morning, at meals, and/or last thing at night (Deut 6:7).
- Even infants in your home should see “the big black book” as a thing you love and reverence.
- Your life is racing away, and there is only one way to slow it down – read the Bible carefully today!
- Few men have had scripture, understanding, time, and freedom as we have; be warned (Luke 12:48).
- What are the inputs in your life? The world is competing against scripture more than ever. Beware!
- Let Psalm 19 be a short description to compare the natural and written revelations of God to man.
- Let Psalm 119 be a collection of short statements exalting the word of God and its value to readers.
- We must help each other by encouraging, exhorting, pressing, and warning to more time in the Bible.
- We must build habits in our homes of daily Bible reading and devotions that will be continued.
- Reading alone is not enough, for it is obedience that counts, as James describes well (James 1:22-25).
- Reading alone is not enough, as the Pharisees proved, who knew scripture well but did not obey it.
For Further Study:
- Sermon Outline: A Preaching Service
- Sermon Outline: Every Word of God
- Sermon Outline: Why I Believe the Bible
- Sermon Outline: Mysteries of Hidden Wisdom
- Devotional Outline: Life Is Like a Maze
- Sermon Outline: Thus Saith the Lord
- Sermon Outline: A Bible Contradiction
- Sermon Outline: Do We Need Teachers
- Sermon Outline: Noble Hearers
- Sermon Outline: Bible Entertainment
- Sermon Outline: Back to the Bible
- Sermon Outline: A Bible Christian
- Sermon Outline: The Bible Cannot Profit
- Web Document: Knowing the Scriptures
Consider a Few Testimonies of Famous Men
John Quincy Adams: “The Bible is the best book in the world. It contains more of my little philosophy than all the libraries I have seen. So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year. My custom is to read four or five chapters every morning immediately after rising from my bed. It employs about an hour of my time, and seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day. In whatsoever light we regard the Bible, whether with reference to revelation, to history, or to morality, it is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue.”
Daniel Webster: “I have read it through many times. I now make a practice of going through it once a year. It is a book of all others for lawyers as well as divines. I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought and rules of conduct. If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”
Benjamin Franklin: “Young man, my advice to you is that you cultivate an acquaintance with, and a firm belief in, the Holy Scriptures. This is your certain interest.
Andrew Jackson: “It is the rock on which our Republic rests.”
Queen Victoria: when explaining the glory of Great Britain to an ambassador sent by an inquiring prince, said, “Tell the prince that this (a Bible) is the secret of England’s greatness.”
Abraham Lincoln: “I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this book upon reason that you can and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book.”
Theodore Roosevelt: “Almost every man who has by his life-work added to the sum of human achievement of which the race is proud has based his life-work largely upon the teachings of the Bible.”
Calvin Coolidge: “The foundations of our society and of our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible, that it would be difficult to support them, if faith in these teachings should cease to be practically universal in our country.”
Woodrow Wilson: “A man has deprived himself of the best there is in the world who has deprived himself of this (a knowledge of the Bible).”
Robert E. Lee: “The Bible is a book in comparison with which all others in my eyes are of minor importance, and which in all my perplexities and distresses has never failed to give me light and strength.”
General John J. Pershing: “I am glad to see that every man in the army is to have a Testament. Its teachings will fortify us for our great task.”
William E. Gladstone: “I have known ninety-five of the world’s great men in my time, and of these eighty-seven were followers of the Bible. The Bible is stamped with a Specialty of Origin, and an immeasurable distance separates it from all competitors.”
George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
John Ruskin: “Whatever merit there is in anything that I have written is simply due to the fact that when I was a child my mother daily read me a part of the Bible and daily made me learn a part of it by heart.”
Charles A. Dana: “The grand old Book still stands; and this old earth, the more its leaves are turned and pondered, the more it will sustain and illustrate the pages of the Sacred Word.”
Patrick Henry: “The Bible is worth all other books which have every been printed.”
Immanuel Kant: “The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity.”
Martin Luther: “I study the Bible as I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest fruit might fall. Then I shake each limb, then I shake each branch, and finally each twig. Then I look under each leaf. I search the Bible as a whole like shaking the whole tree. Then I shake every limb – study it book by book. Then I shake every branch – giving attention to the chapters, when they do not break the sense. Then I shake every twig – carefully study every paragraph, sentence, and word for their meaning.”
The Pony Express ran from St. Louis, Missouri to Sacramento, California, a distance of 1900 miles. The trip took 10 days with 40 men each riding 50 miles a day using 500 of the best horses the West could provide. To conserve weight, the clothing was light, saddles extremely small and thin, and no weapons were carried. The horses wore small shoes or none at all. The mail pouches were flat and very conservative in size. Postage cost $5 an ounce (very costly back then). Yet each rider carried a full-size Bible, which had been given him when he joined the Pony Express, and he carried it with him despite the scrupulous weight precautions.