When Jesus Christ had fasted 40 days and was then being tempted by the devil to satisfy His physical hunger, He made an interesting statement to Satan. Cutting into the context with Luke 4:4 But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (NKJ—thru-out, unless otherwise noted) —okay, so, where is it written and what does that really mean for us in this modern age or world, with over a million professing “Christians”? How can we better understand the words of the Bible, so that we know what to live by? The title for this article is “Every Word” with a question mark. Hopefully this article will point you to some answers as to why that most definitely is valued to the true Christian today, both in learning truth from and then living by every word. True Christianity is to be a way of life that leads to real salvation. (To understand a little more of the difference between professing Christianity and true Christianity, see the article titled; Christianity or “Christianity”)
When Moses was talking to Israel in Deut. 8: and reminding them of all that God had done, he said this to them; V.3 So He (God) humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know (NIV has this was “To teach you”, which is a better rendering, as God does not make or force anyone, God was teaching them through their circumstances) “that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” He wanted them to place faith and belief in His words.
God uses many situations and circumstances to teach us to rely on His words as truth and them being in our best interests. We need those words to learn from and gain a right perspective of how to live and what to believe. How many practice that method today, who may profess to be Christians? Did Christ mean that literally for man, or can we ignore this and come up with our own understanding without research? Sometimes, it takes a study into “every word” to make sure we have the correct understanding. We are told to “Lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5) which would apply to various unclear points of Scripture, but to trust God to guide us into all truth, (which is the intent of the first part of the verse.) Actually Christ also reminds us of this in John16:13, saying that the Holy Spirit will “guide you into all truth”.
Let us do some research into this aspect, by looking up the definition of; “Word”, used in Luke 4:4, which is found in Strong’s Greek/Hebrew dictionary or concordance. It is “rhema (hray'-mah); #4487 from 4483; meaning “an utterance” by implication, a matter or topic (especially of narration, command or dispute)”;--and we find this in Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words; 2. rhema ^4487^ denotes "that which is spoken, what is uttered in speech or writing"; (For the “Word GOD” in John 1:1, the meaning is different, being LOGOS.)
So, by saying this, Christ reminds us of the intent of OT Scriptures (as well as the NT now, which was not yet written then) and their purpose—which is to guide us into learning truth, so we can then live by that truth to be better Christians. We first have to come to know and understand what some words mean and how they are used in the particular context where they are found. Note more of this intent from 2 Tim 3:16-17 and I will quote this from the ASV; V.16 “Every scripture inspired of God (is) also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. 17 That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” So how does this come into reality for us? By doing exactly like Christ said and we read also from the beginning of verse 16 that every Scripture is inspired, word for word in the original text, so these all work hand in hand for our benefit, when properly understood and used.
Many who read that verse in Luke 4:4 however (& Matt.4:4 as well), do not understand the impact and intended meaning of it. For those who just occasionally read the Bible, they know it has hundreds of pages of thousands upon thousands of words that most generally ignore. Some are hard to understand and there are many who twist the truth to gain advantage of others or to gain a following. Many also may, in some cases, often wonder if the words we are reading are actually translated the way they were intended to be, from the beginning. So we have to study for that right understanding before we can begin to live by that understanding. We will want to know the truth of any given subject, if we are called and chosen, so we can act appropriately on it, even in helping others understand it properly. This takes time and research to prove some things out, as already mentioned, which many simply do not take the time to do. So let us focus more on the aspect of learning from every word, which we have to do before we can live by them.
It is only the procedure of “studying every word” that one puts into practice what Christ was saying, in both Old and New testaments. In order to do that, we must first learn from those words what they mean and then how they are applied in the context, when connected to other passages. For this one needs the Holy Spirit working in them. Peter gives us some very helpful information in why we need to do this; Cutting into the context of V.15, 2 Peter 3:15-18 says; “as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, (note this now) which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” 17 You therefore, beloved, (the converted) since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” which requires us to search the whole Bible, including every word that is in passages that are harder to grasp.
We need the knowledge of certain passage and what those words reveal, before we can begin to grasp the big picture and the Spiritual meaning and application of them. This is true for even understanding certain other passages and is where the Holy Spirit gives the true Christian the edge, when they let the Spirit lead. 1 Cor. 2:9-14 shows us that the normal mind will not grasp truths that the Spirit of God will reveal, even mysteries of hidden truths; the depths of things hard to grasp that take more study. Again, this is where looking into every word really proves to be most valuable. The truly converted, being led by the Holy Spirit, can see and understand things in various passages others would just pass right over and never really see the brunt of what those verses may reveal.
Let us face the truth; modern professing Christianity does not have a good grasp of what the Bible teaches, when comparing their individual and separate denominational doctrines with it. God has not opened their mind, they do not obey Him and therefore cannot be led by His Spirit. (Acts 5:32) So even those who falsely claim Christianity hardly ever understand why a true Christian believes what he or she does, and is really trying to live by the word of God in belief. They cannot understand that a true Christian walks by faith, not by sight (2Cor.5:7) and that faith comes from learning and being taught the word of God. (Rom.10:17) Their studies will be combined with the desire to look beneath the surface, consider the context, learn all they can—study every word, have belief and faith that all the Word of God is true (John 17:17) and search for the answers to things that might be seen as contradictions to other passages. This is how the Holy Spirit will function in those truly growing in grace and in knowledge.
Keeping the Ten Commandments and others Laws is basic and learned very quickly, by studying every word in belief. (Check out the articles dealing with all of those Commandments, found in the articles section at the top of the page.) True Christians also learn to apply the method of studying “here a little and there a little—precept upon precept” (Isa.28:9-10) looking for those same precepts and principles everywhere in the Bible on whatever the subject is, then holding fast to the truth proven from those Scriptures. Christ said in Mark 13:31 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” That includes the OT, as the GOD who spoke to Moses was this same God being that became Jesus Christ, and there is ample proof throughout the Bible, when you examine every word. About Him, Deut. 31:6, has; “for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." Speaking to Israel about their God, but they forsook Him in disobedience many times and in many ways. They did not believe nor live by His words.
This phrase is repeated several times; V.8 has it again, as well as Joshua 1:5, last part. 1 Chron 28:20, David says; “for the LORD God (YHWH—Yahweh or Jehovah Elohiym)-- my God (Elohiym—meaning one of the two supreme divinity-John1:1)-- will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you,” and again in Heb. 13:5 “For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." And we have read where He said that; verse 8 here reveals; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” “Yesterday”, is all the way from when He was the Word God in John 1:1-2, through the time He was the God of the OT. “Today” includes when He walked the earth and is now our Savior and “forever” is on into eternity! (See the article “God of the old Testament” for more on that subject)
Go back and re-read 2Pet.3:18 again; let it soak into your mind that the passage is recommending that we learn all we can about Him, Christ, and we need the whole Bible to do that. Again, this is another reason that we are to learn and then live by every word of God. To know Christ is to know the Father, as implied many times by Christ Himself. (Heb.1:3 shows Christ is the “express image” of the Father & Phil. 2:6 reveals they were equal before Christ gave that up to save mankind.) As we begin to learn and live in obedience, we also come to know that we know what the Bible is revealing, then we learn to live by it more fully, helping others come to understand its truths, being witnesses to the world. Those truths are good news for mankind.
When you, my friends are presented with any Biblical subject, (and you will be if you are seeking truth) which is supposed to be a proof Scripture of some subject, remember these principles disclosed here and get busy studying every word, if there is any doubt involved. You will soon come to see what is being presented is either truth or some error mixed with truth, or possibly even just a misunderstanding. However, once you know you have the truth, don’t let anyone talk you out of it or persuade you to ignore it or even give in to a compromise. Many, even in the COG realm today, have not come to that mindset solidly yet and are being bounced around by every wind of doctrine, by those who allow deceit and trickery to work in them, unwittingly compromising truth & being agents of Satan. (Eph.4:14) These are sometimes wolves in sheep’s clothing, false prophets and ravening wolves, as Christ stated in Matt.7:15-21, and He tells us there that we should be alert enough to know them by their fruits. That is a whole lot easier to do when we study to understand (with belief) and then live by every word of God. The truth becomes a part of any true Christian; being ingrained in them throughout the rest of their lives!
(Written by the editor for TCOGMSO)