Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (v. 4b, ESV). This is how Jesus endured the temptation of Satan. When he was assaulted by the devil, he responded with God’s Word. But which Word of God is this? Satan responds with quotations from Scripture, yet he is tempting Jesus to disobedience and destruction! How are normal humans like you and I supposed to deal with this temptation and with the Scripture?
I was recently having a conversation with a friend who was critical of an emotionalistic movement in Christianity. He said it was wrong, and that the corrective was that we had to hear the Scripture and understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. That’s a nice attempt, but it is also precisely what the people within that emotionalistic movement would say they did. Others will try to take long standing Christian tradition as the guide. That’s what people in my theological camp are alleged to do blindly. A solid tradition is a great guide. But not all traditions are solid and biblical. We can find examples of just about every erroneous understanding of Scripture prior to the year 400.
We live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. We’re going to understand God’s Word in ways that are both historically demonstrated to be sound and that can be held in concert with all the rest of Scripture. In the time of the Lutheran Reformation, the idea was promoted that “Scripture interprets Scripture.” Specifically, the passages of Scripture which are easily understood, which speak clearly, and which have always been recognized as authoritative Scripture (i.e., not Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 or 3 John, Jude, or Revelation) will be used to guide the interpretation of other passages of Scripture. In general, we want to be very cautious about a brand new understanding of a passage that nobody has ever found before. We also want to be very hesitant to make a difficult passage of Scripture guide our interpretation of a more clear passage.
Jesus, the living Word of God, speaking the written Word of God, stands up to the temptations of Satan himself. He finally tells Satan to get lost, which Satan does. May the Lord give us all the readiness to handle God’s Word so clearly.
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