ARE YOU FEEDING YOUR BODY AND STARVING YOUR SOUL?
If it is true that “man shall not live by bread (synecdoche for all foods, hf) alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (and undoubtedly it is, for Christ Himself said so) (Matthew 4:4), then there are multiplied millions of people who are feeding their bodies and starving their souls! While many Americans and citizens of other advanced nations are well fed physically, their souls are malnourished because they have neglected the reading and study of the Bible, God’s inspired word to mankind.
Sadly, even many who call themselves Christians go for days, even weeks and months, without ever picking up the Bible and reading it in any systematic and informative manner. While they feed their bodies with three meals a day and various snacks, their souls are weak and sickly because of their neglect of spiritual nourishment.
The most faithful Christian who attends the services of the church Sunday morning for both Bible study and worship, Sunday night for worship, and Wednesday evening for Bible study is still not getting sufficient spiritual nourishment. Bible reading and Bible study need to be a part of a Christian’s daily routine and discipline. We find time every day to feed our bodies. Let us make time every day to feed our souls!
In His Sermon on the Mount, our Lord declared, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). How hungry and thirsty are we for God’s righteousness? “My tongue shall speak of your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172). Paul said to the elders of the church at Ephesus, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:28). Do we not all need to be built up spiritually by the word of God?
It is alarming how little of the Bible some Christians know. They are familiar with and can generally quote (or at least paraphrase) maybe a half dozen or so scriptures, but beyond these they are totally “lost” when it comes to knowing anything about the Bible. Only shallow, superficial discussions of the Bible are possible with them because they know so little about what the Book actually says! They know the “names” of every major sports team in America from the Oregon Ducks to the Florida Gators and from the Connecticut Huskies to the USC Trojans, but they cannot name or locate the books of the Bible, much less tell you what any one of the books is actually about! How sad! James tells us that God’s word is able to save our souls (James 1:21), but it is able to save us only as we read it, feed on it, ingest it, digest it, and assimilate it into our lives!
There are no Cliff’s Notes on the Bible! There is no shortcut to acquiring a knowledge of the Scriptures. The Bible has to be read and studied over and over again.
Cled E. Wallace, writing in the October 1941 issue of The Bible Banner, made the following insightful observation:
“There is no way to really learn what is in the Bible without reading and studying the Bible itself. Few students are capable of passing an examination on any subject, history for instance, after only one casual reading of a text and listening to a few lectures. The text must be read, re-read and studied. So it is with the books that make up the Bible. And dealing with the Bible after such a fashion yields tremendous and pleasing results. A student should read the gospels until he knows the life of Christ. He should read the book of Acts until he knows the history of the early church. He should read the epistles until he knows what the Lord expects of His church and His people. If he reads these things often enough, he will know them just like he knows other things he is interested in enough to read about. Some brethren can tell us where Joe Louis (heavyweight boxing champion of the world in his day, hf) landed every punch on Lou Nova and which fist he used, who can’t quote a memory verse at a prayer-meeting . . . It isn’t lack of ability, it is lack of interest. This is really a serious matter. ‘Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.’ (Eph. 5:17) ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.’ (Col. 3:16) The prevailing ignorance of the word of God on the part of large numbers in the church is both amazing and appalling. I still think we know more about the Bible than our religious neighbors do, but that just goes to show what I think about how little they know. It is my conviction that if an ignorant brother with a fairly good mind would pick out one book in the New Testament, start with a few interesting facts about it, and then read it over and over until he knew it, he would be so proud of himself and feel so good otherwise that he would keep up the good work and really find out what growth in grace and knowledge means. Reading the Bible should not be viewed as a task or drudgery. The pleasure it affords is commensurate with the profit it yields. There is no short cut to a knowledge of the Bible. The man who knows it was not born that way. He got that way by keeping company with the Book and behaving himself intelligently while he was at it.”
So, what about it? Are you feeding your body but starving your soul?
December 15, 2015