​​​​We hear this statement. We know it is from the Bible. We know it
means that we need more than just physical nourishment to thrive.

However, all too many of us, Id venture even to say a majority of us –
Christian, and non-Christian alike, never have really known, or have
even paid attention, to the words to follow this axiomatic statement of
Jesus’, to His tempter – Satan himself.

The last part of this verse is one to which we rarely ascribe the
importance of which it is worthy: “but on every word that comes from
the mouth of the Lord.”

Did you catch that? Let’s put it all together.


I think it acquires a whole new level of importance, when viewed in
it’s entirety. Don’t you? Thus, we are not only to live physically –
but spiritually – and, that life is to be sustained by the Word of God

There’s more, though. What else is not commonly known is that Jesus is
not just replying – He is quoting. From Deuteronomy 8:3. “He humbled
you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you
and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does
not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of
the Lord.”

Isn’t that

interesting. Now, let’s do some contextual study. No truth is readily
apparent without an understanding of the context in which it is found.


Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted
by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He
then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are
the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He
answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE,

So, Jesus is out in the middle of nowhere, and has gone without food for forty consecutive days. “He then became hungry.” The Bible has a positive gift for understatement, at times.

Now, note Satan’s challenge. “If.” Now, Satan wants several things. He is nothing, if not subtle.

1) He is casting doubt on Jesus’ relationship to God – and inviting Him to also doubt it as well.

2) He is casting aspersions on the character of God – would He really
allow His Son to get to such a state? Is it really Just of God to allow
His Son to sink to this state? Without food, in the wilderness, all

3) He is attempting to raise doubts about the Word of God. God had just
said, “This is My beloved Son – in whom I am well pleased.” “If

You are the Son of God…” Does this remind you of another question –
thousands of years before? “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat
from any tree of the garden’?” Interesting how we are back to food
again… isn’t it?

4) He is trying to get Jesus to prove
He is the Son of God. Nothing about “Pray to the Father” – “command”
the stones to turn to bread… a usage of His power solely for His own

What does Jesus do? He refuses, and He answers – with Scripture that is
both applicable, and pertinent to the exact issue at hand.

Why does He refuse?

1) It would look like He was questioning the voice from Heaven that had already said He was the Son of God. The Word of God, once given, is never in doubt. If is one of two cardinal words in this sentence.

2) It would look like mistrust of God’s provision.

3) It would be setting Himself up to use His own power – for Himself – when He was there to glorify the Father.

4) It would be doing the bidding of Satan. The other cardinal word is
“command” – not for the word itself, but for the type of address it is
used for – an imperative. Satan cannot tell us – and especially God –
what to do.

What does He answer?

It is written…

The beginning of John’s Gospel tells us: “In the beginning was the
Word; and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” How appropriate
that Jesus counters the devil with Himself – the Word. As a statement
of His own character, and as an example to us, He uses the only
offensive weapon in the Christian arsenal. The sword of the Spirit –
the Word of God.

He, like Israel, was commanded to go into the wilderness in obedience
to God. He, like Israel, was humble by going hungry. He, like Israel,
is being tempted to grumble against God that there is no bread – and,
furthermore, since He has the capacity to create His own… to cease
relying upon His Father to supply His needs, and take them into His own
hands. Jesus, as part of His character, and as an example to us, gives
Satan exactly the right answer.

Moses told them exactly what God wanted the Israelites to learn from
all of this – and the verse Jesus quotes is the very heart of it.

Now, that is the context of both verses – the quoted, and the quote.

What did I finally discover?

Even in that passage, the emphasis is on the bread – and the reliance
on God to provide our physical needs. The Word is a tool that enables
us to do so, and to answer temptations as they come.

What did I figure out? The second half of the verse.


See, I’ve always loved to debate. I love studying, I love writing, and
I love reading most of all. However, those loves have never really
translated into a true, deeply felt love for the word of God.

I get the point, finally.

The second part of that verse is the important one. I realized, earlier
today, that I doubt that I’ve ever enjoyed myself quite so thoroughly
in my life, as I do when I’m seriously, sincerely studying a passage in
God’s Word. I sat down for 6 straight hours, a few days ago, to really
tear apart a passage that was confusing me – a passage about Balaam,
the prophet of God. Balaam was a real live prophet – but, he was killed
by the Israelites after he taught the king of Moab how to make the
Israelites stumble. I won’t go into it right now – I’m not speaking
about him. Thinking about that study (just because I genuinely didn’t
understand that passage) made me realize – you really do LIVE on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.
It’s a wonderful feeling, to study the Word of God, and tear it into
it’s components, and truly study it – suck the marrow out of the bones
of the Word, just to get every last drop of Truth from it.

I finally get it. The Word is the lifeblood of Christianity. I see why
it is truly the sword of the spirit. It sustains us, and gives us the
weapon we need against the lies of the enemy.

As I heard Ravi Zacharias say today – “If at the heart of the struggle
is a question of where to anchor reality – for a Christian, life MUST
be inseparable from the Word.”

You can live by more than bread – but are you living by the proactive part of that verse? Living on every Word that comes from the mouth of God!