|Volume 17 Number 2 February 2015||
The Bible employs various symbols to illustrate the Word of God. The word “light” is found 263 times in the Bible (ASV 1901). It is used literally, as when God said, “Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). An example of figurative usage is when our Lord declared, “When I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). Literal light possesses some qualities that can help explain benefits of the Word of God.
Light Dispels Darkness
In a series of rhetorical questions, Paul asked, “[W]hat fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light and darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). The Messianic prophet pronounced “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20). Jesus came bringing the light of truth (John 1:17). “And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not” (John 1:5). That is, the darkness was not able to overpower the light of truth. Contrary to several mystic religions, which assert the balance of good and evil forces, truth ultimately overpowers darkness. In a world of conflicting beliefs, God’s Word can dispel error.
Light Makes for Clear Viewing
How many of you recall a portion of the airline safety briefings? “In the unlikely event of loss in cabin power, emergency aisle lighting will indicate the exit route.” God’s Word provides clarity to the path of righteousness. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). “O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Mankind has continually demonstrated his inability to chart his own beneficial course. In fact, when we try, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Light Is Pleasant
Darkness is dreary. “The people that sat in darkness saw a great light” (Matthew 4:16) when Jesus came to their area. The Gospel light (of truth) is liberating. Paul spoke of “the light of the gospel” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Those who obey the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8) become “sons of light” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
The Bible Equals Food (2)
The Bible employs various symbols to illustrate the Word of God. The word “food” is found 158 times in the Bible (ASV 1901). It is used literally of a worthy homemaker who gives “food to her household” (Proverbs 31:15). An example of figurative usage is when the Psalmist poetically declared, “My tears have been my food day and night” (Psalm 42:3). Literal food possesses some qualities that can help explain benefits of the Word of God.
Food Is Necessary
We all recognize the need for physical sustenance. One writer requested, “Feed me with the food that is needful for me” (Proverbs 30:8). Who can forget that John the baptizer’s “food was locusts and wild honey” (Matthew 3:4)? Man cannot survive long without food.
But just as man’s physical frame requires food, so also his spiritual nature requires spiritual food. The Lord himself quoted, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Therefore, Jesus challenges us all to “Work not for the food which perisheth, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life…” (John 6:27). This verse is a fine example of the figure known as ellipsis, where something is left out, but implied.
If the elided words were supplied, the sentence would read: “Work not [only] for the food which perishes, but [more importantly] for the food which abides unto eternal life!”
We speak of food that is “perishable” and thus needs refrigeration. However, Jesus highlights that spiritual food (God’s Word) “abides” (1 Peter 1:23).
Proper Food Promotes Good Health
Most of us enjoy some “junk food” from time to time. While it is not good for us, it sure can be tasty. Similarly, there is spiritual “junk food,” but this can be deadly. Paul warned of false teachers who “by their smooth and fair speech they beguile the hearts of the innocent” (Romans 16:18). Some find false teaching palatable, but spiritually it “will eat as doth a gangrene” (2 Timothy 2:17). Bad spiritual food (false teaching) is so destructive that the one who “dishes it out” is to be accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
The key to sound spiritual health is a daily diet of the bread of life. Job said, “I have treasured up the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). We offer you a well prepared meal (study) of God’s Word! Will you accept the dinner invitation?