Living on God’s Word in 2021

Jesus said, “Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
(Matthew 4:4; Christian Standard Bible)

It’s the start of a new year. What better time to kick-start or re-start a daily habit of reading the Bible?

There is perhaps no single more important practice in the life of a healthy and growing Christian than regularly feeding on God’s words in the Scriptures.

Prayer is important too, of course. But how will we know how to pray, or what to pray about, or who we are praying to unless the Bible tells us?

Loving others and doing good deeds is also important. As James the brother of Jesus said, being a “hearer only” and not a doer of the word is a dangerous deception (James 1:22). But what James is against is not hearing the word, but hearing the word without doing what it says. And how will we do what it says unless we first hear what it says?

I recently read through the Book of Genesis. In reading about the creation of the universe, I was again struck by the fact that God created everything by speaking. Everything that we see around us exists simply because “God said” (Genesis 1:3). Not only did God create all things by his powerful word, but Scripture also tells us that he sustains all things by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3).

Consider what else the Bible says about God’s words:

  • Faith comes through hearing God’s word

“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ” (Romans 10:17).

  • God’s word creates the new birth
“you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable – through the living and enduring word of God”
(1 Peter 1:22).
  • God’s word makes us wise for salvation

Paul tells Timothy, “from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

  • God’s word testifies about Jesus Christ, so that we will have life in him

Jesus tells the religious leaders of his day, “You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me” (John 5:39).

  • God’s word searches the thoughts and intentions of our hearts:

“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

  • God’s word trains and equips us for every good work

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).

  • God’s word encourages us and gives us hope

“For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4).

Much more could be written here about all that God does in our lives through his powerful word. What a privilege it is to own a Bible in our own language! But there is a vast difference between having God’s word and hearing God’s word. We all know It’s good to have food in the cupboards, but we also know that nourishment comes only by eating that food. In the same way, it’s good to have a Bible, but the spiritual nourishment comes from reading, receiving, and responding to God’s word in faith. 

In 2021, let’s read and receive God’s word as if our spiritual life depended on it. Because, according to Jesus, it does: “Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Pastor Jonathan Kroeker