Do You ‘Feed Yourself’?

Posted on September 14, 2019


By David Ettinger

Eat” Right!
The first church I attended was a solid Bible-believing congregation in southern New Mexico. One of the chief messages emanating from the pulpit was that God’s people need to “feed themselves.” Though a novice Christian, I knew the pastor was not speaking about eating. The expression references Deuteronomy 8:3 and is quoted by Jesus in Matthew 4:4: “… man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

sunday lunch

What It Means
“Feeding yourself” refers to reading the Bible. However, it goes far beyond simply “reading.” To better understand this, note the difference between simply “eating” and “feeding oneself.” Anyone can “eat,” as in snacking, where not much thought goes into what you’re shoveling into your mouth. “Feeding,” however, requires serious thought in what you are eating, focusing on nutrition and health. “Feeding” yourself indicates you are looking after your body’s welfare, with attention given to the balance of vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates you are consuming.

“Feeding” yourself on God’s Word has the same connotation; putting care and thought into the activity of studying God’s Word. In “feeding” on God’s Word, you focus all your attention on it, take it seriously, and acknowledge the importance of doing it properly. Just as thoughtful eating fuels the body, so thoughtful Bible reading fuels the Spirit.

Why It Is So Important
All Christians should make DAILY Bible reading a priority. There are several reasons for this.

1. Though God will sometimes communicate His will for you through a “word” or a “sense,” His most common way is through the Bible. God speaks through His Word, and every time you read it, God speaks to you. This works through “learning” and “conviction”.

reading Bible

For instance, God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree (Genesis 2:17). They disobeyed God and brought sin into the world (Genesis 3). This is God speaking to you through “learning.” It is God telling you, “I told Adam and Eve not to do something; they did it; look what happened. Learn from their mistake.”

“Learning” works through the intellect, “conviction” through the conscience. Say you are considering (or are in) a sinful relationship. The Lord may bring you to the passage of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). David blatantly disobeyed God and the results were deadly. If you are sensitive to God, this passage will powerfully convict you by piercing your conscience.

2. Another reason why feeding yourself daily on God’s Word is so important is that this may be the only time of the day you hear from God. You are constantly being bombarded by a myriad of voices – most of them satanically initiated – all designed to draw you away from God. A hearty serving of God’s Word can help you resist evil influences that could hijack your faith.

3. One more reason to feed on God’s Word daily is assurance and peace. Even if you don’t comprehend everything you read, there is a peace that comes from having spent time with God. Because God’s Word is designed to instruct and nurture you, the daily intake of it yields spiritual benefits that cannot be attained elsewhere.

How to Do It
The obvious way is to set apart time every day, open your Bible, and read. However, it is not quite that simple. First, begin your reading time with a short prayer. Ask God to open your mind, emotions, and spirit to what you will be reading. Ask God to show you the specific purpose He has for you in this day’s reading, and that it will be a fruitful time.

studying Bible

Second, read full books at a time and follow a difficult book with a more reader-friendly one. I’m not a fan of most Bible-reading plans; I don’t like reading portions of different books in one day. I favor reading the Bible one book at a time in its entirety, though not necessarily in order. Some Old Testament books can be difficult to comprehend; therefore, I suggest when you read one – such as Leviticus – follow it with one of the Gospels or the Book of Acts. This will help you from bogging down.

Third, purchase a good commentary. A commentary is a book, or set of books, that explains the Bible verse by verse. For instance, say you just read a difficult chapter such as Leviticus 13 (regulations regarding skin diseases), and wonder what you just read. Open your commentary to the portion on Leviticus 13 and read it; you will gain greater understanding. My favorite is the Bible Knowledge Commentary edited by Walvoord and Zuck. Produced in the early to mid-1980s by the Dallas Theological Seminary, this two-volume (Old and New Testaments) set has proven an invaluable tool. You can find reasonably priced used versions on Amazon.

Happy Eating!
So, set your mind on reading your Bible daily and allow God to mold you more and more into the image of Christ.

Bon appetit!