Matthew 4:4 - God Word Is Spiritual Food Without Which We Will Die.
Mat.4:4: God Word Is Spiritual Food Without Which We Will Die.
CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word
Mat 4:4 (KJV) But he answered and said, It is written, Man
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out
of the mouth of God.
Mat 4:4 (NLT) But Jesus told him, "No! The Scriptures say,
'People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every
word of God.' "
CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:
John predicted Messiah's appearance, and preached baptism as a
sign of repentance (3:1-12). Christ was baptized to identify Himself
with John's righteous message (vv. 13-17). The Spirit then led Jesus
into the wilderness, where He overcame temptation and demonstrated
His commitment to God (4:1-11). Thus prepared, Jesus began to preach
(vv. 12-17), called His first disciples (vv. 18-22), and demonstrated
His God-given authority by miracles of healing (vv. 23-25). [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary]
The Temptation of Jesus--Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13
Satan tempts Jesus in the desert (4:1-11)
CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.
Deut. 8:3 (KJV) And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to
hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy
fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by
bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the
Lord doth man live.
John 6:63 (KJV) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and
they are life.
Ephes. 6:17 (KJV) And take the helmet of salvation, and the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Rom 12:2 (KJV) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that
good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Phil 2:5 (KJV) Let this mind be in you, which was also in
Rom 10:17 (KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by
the word of God.
Acts 20:32 (KJV) And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and
to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to
give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
2 Pet 1:4 (KJV) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and
precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through
John 17:17 (KJV) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is
2 Cor 3:18 (KJV) But we all, with open face beholding as in a
glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?
"The Bible tells only two temptation stories, the temptation of
the first man and the temptation of Christ, that is, the temptation
which led to man's fall, and the temptation which led to Satan's
failure. All other temptations in human history have to do with these two
stories of temptation. Either we are tempted in Adam or we are tempted
in Christ. Either the Adam in me is tempted--in which case I fall.
Or the Christ in us is tempted--in which case Satan is bound to
fall." Dietrich Bonhoeffer [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
Jesus went into the wilderness to be alone. His task had come to
him; God had spoken to him; he must think how he was to attempt the
task which God had given him to do; he had to get things straightened
out before he started; and he had to be alone. It may well be that
we often go wrong simply because we never try to be alone. There
are certain things which a man has to work out alone. There are
times when no one else's advice is any good to him. There are times
when a man has to stop acting and start thinking. It may be that we
make many a mistake because we do not give ourselves a chance to be
alone with God. [Barclay Commentary]
Jesus' response to all three temptations was to quote the Word
of God, showing His followers the power of Scripture in battling
the Evil One (see Deut. 6:13; 8:3; Ps. 91:11, 12). [Nelson SB]
Jesus was hungry and weak after fasting for 40 days, but he
chose not to use his divine power to satisfy his natural desire for
food. Food, hunger, and eating are good, but the timing was wrong.
Jesus was in the desert to fast, not to eat. And because Jesus had
given up the unlimited, independent use of his divine power in order
to experience humanity fully, he wouldn't use his power to change
the stones to bread. We also may be tempted to satisfy a perfectly
normal desire in a wrong way or at the wrong time. If we indulge in sex
before marriage or if we steal to get food, we are trying to satisfy
God-given desires in wrong ways. Remember, many of your desires are normal
and good, but God wants you to satisfy them in the right way and at
the right time. [Life Application SB]
Jesus quoted this verse when the devil tempted him to turn
stones into bread (Matthew 4:4). Many people think that life is based
on satisfying their appetites. If they can earn enough money to
dress, eat, and play in high style, they think they are living "the
good life." But such things do not satisfy our deepest longings. In
the end they leave us empty and dissatisfied. Real life comes from
total commitment to God, the one who created life itself. It requires
discipline, sacrifice, and hard work, and that's why most people never find
it. [Life Application SB]
Jesus was able to resist all of the devil's temptations because
he not only knew Scripture, but he also obeyed it. Ephes. 6:17 says
that God's Word is a sword to use in spiritual combat. Knowing Bible
verses is an important step in helping us resist the devil's attacks,
but we must also obey the Bible. Note that Satan had memorized
Scripture, but he failed to obey it. Knowing and obeying the Bible helps us
follow God's desires rather than the devil's. [Life Application SB]
Medical science has shown that after 30 to 40 days of fasting,
hunger, which disappears the second or third day, returns. All the
body's stored resources have been used, and the return of hunger is a
sign that the body must have food again.
Jesus had fasted 40 days and "was hungry" when Satan approached
our LORD and challenged Him to turn stones into bread. After all, as
Satan suggested, that would be a minor miracle for the Son of God to
Jesus answered by quoting a passage in Deuteronomy: "Man does
not live on bread alone." Perhaps the most important word here is
Think about it. Jesus did not respond to temptation by calling
on His resources as Son of God, but instead met each one as "man."
If Christ had met temptation by drawing on His deity, there would
be no help for us in His example. But since Jesus met temptation as
a man, using no more resources than are available to any human
being, you and I have hope! We too can overcome our temptations. We can
follow Jesus' example, draw on the resources He used, and triumph!
This first temptation was directed against Jesus' physical
nature. He was hungry. He wanted bread. Why not make bread? Christ
quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, which calls on man to live by the Word of God.
The point of Christ's response is this: human beings are
physical creatures. But we are more than animals. We have a spiritual
nature that is to control the physical. God's will, not our physical
needs or desires, is to govern our choices.
Today many people argue that if you want something, take it. If
you feel an urge for sex, satisfy it. After all, it's "natural."
Yes, it's natural for animals to satisfy their desires. But because
we are more than animals, it is not "natural" for man to be driven
by physical hungers. We are spiritual beings, and what is right and
natural for us is to be driven by the living Word of our God. [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary]
A young ensign had nearly completed his first tour of sea duty
when he was given an opportunity to display his ability at getting
the ship under way. With a stream of crisp commands, he had the
decks buzzing with men and soon, the ship had left port and was
steaming out of the channel.
The ensign's efficiency was remarkable. In fact, the deck was
abuzz with talk that he had set a new record for getting a destroyer
under way. The ensign glowed at his accomplishment and was not all
that surprised when another seaman approached him with a message from
the captain. He was, however, a bit surprised to find that it was a
radio message, and he was even more surprised when he read, "My
personal congratulations upon completing your underway preparation
exercise according to the book and with amazing speed. In your haste,
however, you have overlooked one of the unwritten rules--make sure the
captain is aboard before getting under way."
God's Manual for Life, the Bible, is our manual for getting our
lives under way. However, we must never become so bound to the book
that we forget the Author of it and the relationship He desires to
have with us on the voyage. [God's Little Devotional Bible]
Leonard E. LeSourd has written about his late wife, Catherine
Marshall, the author of Christy: "Bibles were scattered throughout our
house...all editions, plus reference books and concordances. We often went
to bed, turned out the light, and listened to a chapter of
scripture on tape. If she could have found a way to spread Bible passages
on a slice of bread, Catherine would have devoured it
"When upset or under spiritual assault or in physical pain,
Catherine would go to her office, kneel by her chair, and open her
Bible.... She would read, then pray, then read, then pray some more. She
liked to pray with the Bible clutched in her hands.... She would rest
her case on its promises. Catherine didn't read the Bible for solace
or inspiration, but to have an encounter with the Lord.... I think
these were the most intense moments of her life.... Catherine's
passion for the Word permeated her whole life. It under-girded her
writing. It formed a base for us as a married team in the making of
family decisions. It provided substance to her counseling of people
through the mail. I'm convinced it was also the basis for her inner
vitality, her charisma, and the mantle of authority she wore with some
reluctance." The Bible is a living, breathing book. Let God speak to you
through its pages. Let it transform your thinking and your way of life.
Like Catherine Marshall, don't just read your Bible, have an
encounter with the Living God. [God's Little Devotional Bible]
I memorized the Bible verse. I quoted it to myself over and over
again. I thought it surely would give me victory over the particular
temptation that had me so defeated. But quote as much as I would, no
victory came. I was just as vulnerable with my Bible verse as without
I suspect many of us have had this experience. We see Jesus
recalling verses from the Old Testament and quoting them to Satan. Jesus
was victorious. Why aren't we when we do the same thing?
The answer lies in the distinction between magic and faith.
Magic is using an object or chant in a desperate attempt to ward off
evil or control circumstances. Faith is a quiet confidence that what
God says is true enough to act on. I had been using my Bible verse
as a magic talisman, waving it desperately to repel temptation. But
when we look at Matthew 4, we see that Jesus used Scripture in quite
another way. He went into the Word, found a principle or truth, and said
in effect, "I will now live by this truth."
Jesus saw the Word of God as truth, and determined to act on
that truth. It was this exercise of faith that gave Him victory over
His temptations. And it is just such an exercise of faith that will
give us victory when we are tempted today.
Yes, let's look for the key to our victory in the Word of God.
But let's not use the Bible in a pagan, magical way. Let's take God
at His Word, act on what He says, and let God use our faith to give
us the victory in Him. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
It is faith that brings victory over the world (1 John 5:4), and
faith is developed through a study of the Scriptures (Rom. 10:17).
As our physical life is sustained by food, so our spiritual life
is sustained by the word of God.... We should carefully study the
Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may
understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on
the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse
for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own,
and we know "what saith the Lord."... The word of God, received into
the soul, moulds the thoughts, and enters into the development of
character.... The word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new
life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a
Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is
reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place
of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude. This is
what it means to live "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth
of God." This is eating the Bread that comes down from heaven.
Find victory by following Christ's example and living the Word
of God. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]