And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Luke 4:4)
Human beings have a dual nature. We all have a physical part and a spiritual part. In the verse above, Jesus addresses how each part supports its life.
Our physical body requires food and Jesus uses the term “bread” as a generic expression of this fact. Without food, our bodies become weak and cannot thrive.
Our spiritual side also requires nourishment, but of a spiritual nature. It requires the Word of God (cf. 1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-14). The Greek word translated as “word” in this verse is rhema, which denotes a spoken word or utterance. This is opposed to the Greek word logos, which is commonly used for the written word (or living Word). Much has been written about these differences in meaning, but when you consider that the whole of Scripture was inspired by God (the Greek is theopneustos or “God-breathed”), then the difference is not that critical to the understanding of the verse. (The verse quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, in which “word” is assumed in the Hebrew text based on the context. So, that does not clarify matters much either.)
The really interesting thing about this verse is that Jesus states that mankind lives by “every Word of God”. How many of us take this to heart? God has given us His Word, but how much of it do we really study in our lifetimes? I wonder if the reason why so many Christians are floundering in their spiritual life is that they learn only so much of the Bible and then don’t progress any more in their learning. I believe that the Word of God is inexhaustible and we can never know everything about it, but we can continue to progress in our learning.
For this reason, I encourage every Christian to read and study their Bible each day. I also believe that Christians should faithfully attend a Bible-believing church where they can be exposed to the teaching and preaching of the whole counsel of God. Bible study groups are also helpful. All of this fosters spiritual health.
A progressive understanding of Scripture is the difference between spiritually living and merely existing.