It was said, man shall not live by bread alone. Is that true or false? It is, of course, a trick question. But maybe more tricky than you might think. It’s not even a simple answer for Christians.
True or False:
Man shall not live
on bread alone
Man shall not live on bread alone – the simplest answer
I wrote about how long a person can live by eating only bread several years ago. Apparently, it’s “possible” for someone to live up to two years by only eating bread. Longer with water added to the bread. But then, that’s hardly living, is it?
That research was done for a verse in The Lord’s Prayer – give us this day our daily bread.
Man shall not live on bread alone – the simple Christian answer
Today’s title – Man shall not live on bread alone – comes from YouVersion’s verse of the day:
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Given that, of course, the simple Christian answer must be that since Jesus said “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” – then it must be true! Plus, we already saw that man cannot physically live very long on only bread either.
However, as I said, that’s too simple! t reminds me of the children’s song:
Jesus loves me, this I know,
’cause the Bible tells me so.
While the thought is true, the explanation is rather simplistic. There’s a lot more evidence that Jesus loves us than can be learned from this song.
Man shall not live on bread alone – the trick in the simple Christian answer
The simple Christian answer is below. I’ve underlined two verses. I realize it’s kind of long, so maybe you think not so simple. But it is. See if you can see why it’s “too” simple.
Jn 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jn 6:26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Jn 6:28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jn 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Jn 6:30 So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’’”
Jn 6:32 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Jn 6:34 “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”
Jn 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Jn 6:41 At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
Jn 6:43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Jn 6:52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jn 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
You see – Jesus says He’s the bread of life. So it appears obvious that man can live on bread alone. At least this kind of spiritual bread. As in when Jesus says, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
You may remember what John wrote at the very beginning of his Gospel.
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
Jn 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Put these together and it sounds like Jesus, the bread of life, is sufficient for life.
However, there’s something in the passage from John – Jesus the Bread of Life – that I did not underline. And if you didn’t pay close attention, you might have missed it. So here it is again:
Jn 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”
Yes – bread and blood. Communion.
Paul wrote a very succinct description of how we came to take communion.
11:23-25 pp — Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:17-20
1Co 11:17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!
1Co 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1Co 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
1Co 11:33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
And when I come I will give further directions.
Conclusion – Man shall not live on bread alone
And there we have it. Man cannot live on bread alone. It takes bread and blood. After all, it’s the blood of Christ that paid the price for our sins.