Speaking to the Soul – May 17

People do not live by bread alone

The devil said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’”Luke 4:3-4

The devil will always try to exploit our weakest places. Jesus hadn’t eaten for forty days. He would have been hungry in a way that I have never experienced. Every sinew in his body was surely longing for some food, so the thought that he could miraculously turn a stone into a loaf of bread must have been extremely attractive.

But Jesus knew that he must resist the temptation and he did so by using scripture. Jesus had been brought up on the Old Testament and so, immediately, he was able to rebuff the devil’s attack. Jesus knew that his priority must be for spiritual food; he couldn’t allow the devil to lure him into going for second best.

It is important we do not merely read the Bible but become familiar with it, so that in moments of pressure and challenge, we can recall verses that are precisely relevant to our situation.

When I worked in India, I remember it being said of a former bishop that it really wouldn’t have mattered if he lost his Bible, because he was so familiar with its contents.

I know many people have found it a blessing to read through the Bible in a year. I have certainly found it to be a very helpful discipline. Most readers would need only about 20 minutes a day to do that. Others like to listen to the Bible online. It really doesn’t matter how we do it, but we all need to become more confident in what the Bible contains.

When the devil invited Jesus to produce some miraculous food, he was seeking to divert him from his main mission, which was to bring spiritual sustenance to the people. Jesus wasn’t suggesting that there was anything wrong with bread. It simply wasn’t his priority. Time and again we will find that the devil seeks to divert us with things that are good, knowing that the good is so often enemy of the best.


What could you do to increase your knowledge of the Bible?


Lord God, forgive me for those times when I have focused my energies on good things and have missed out on the best. Please give me your strength to stand up to temptation. Amen