Summary: Both Moses in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament told us that real life is not dependent on bread alone — that is, natural food — but on the life-giving words of God. The important takeaway for us is the importance of “every word” of God, not just selected portions of the Bible.
The Bible is one unified book, consisting of 66 individual books — 39 Old Testament, 27 New Testament. Jesus clearly tells us that we don’t live merely by natural nourishment (“bread”), but by “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Many Christians make the mistake of focusing on the New Testament only, thereby depriving themselves of the many wonderful truths contained in all 66 God-inspired books of the Bible.
For example, by studying the Old Testament tabernacle of Moses and the later temple built by Solomon, we can learn great truths about what the tabernacle and temple prophetically and symbolically foreshadowed — that is the New Testament church (1 Timothy 3:15, KJV - “the house of God, which is the church of the living God”). Looking into the Aaronic priesthood under the Old Covenant gives us insights into what is called the “priesthood of believers” in the New. Our great High Priest Jesus (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14) has made all His born-again followers to be priests in our New Covenant times: “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood … a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” (1 Peter 2:5, 9). We can gain greater understanding of our New Covenant priesthood by studying its typological significance in the Old Testament.
Many more illustrations could be given of the truth — proclaimed both by Moses (Deuteronomy 8:3) and Jesus (Matthew 4:4) — that we live by “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” No words of the Scriptures are to be considered meaningless or unworthy of attention. All God’s words, including all those in the 39 Old Testament books and the 27 New Testament books, are valuable and life-giving when seen in the Bible’s broad perspective of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice of Himself on the cross for our salvation. In fact, when speaking of the Old Testament portion of the Bible — the only part already written at the time of His earthly life — Jesus said, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These [Old Testament books] are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39). You will find Jesus revealed typologically and prophetically throughout the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi.
Various translations of this verse say, “Every word of God…” is pure, is tested and refined, is tried and true, proves true, can be trusted, is flawless, is perfect.
The late, highly esteemed Bible teacher, Kevin Conner of Australia, once wrote: “There is eternal significance in every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Once someone asked him, “Brother, are you an Old Testament man or a New Testament man?” (meaning, did he concentrate on just one or the other) Kevin replied, “I’m a Bible man, 66 books!” This respected Bible scholar and author had great insight into a divine principle found in the apostle Paul’s statement that “the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual” (1 Corinthians 15:46). This principle is seen and is applicable again and again in the Bible, where various Old Testament truths (many of them in “the natural”) are seen to point ahead to “spiritual” truths in the New Testament. As mentioned above, this natural-to-spiritual transition is seen in such Old Covenant truths as the temple, the Aaronic priesthood, the five offerings, and much more.
When you’re reading the Book of Leviticus, for example, don’t be discouraged by the numerous details about the offerings, the priesthood, the feasts of Israel, etc. These topics, when illuminated to you by the Holy Spirit, can bring great richness of understanding to their New Testament fulfillments.
Jesus’ words, He said, are spirit and life. Remember our opening verse, where He said that we “live … by every word” that comes from God. Here Jesus reminds us that that includes His words. And keep in mind that all of His Bible quotes were from the Old Testament. The New Testament had not yet been written. Without any hesitation Jesus was willing to quote from the Old to strengthen His preaching and teaching as He was leading us into the New Covenant era. Jesus’ example in this should give each of us a greater appreciation for the divine inspiration of and the blessed truths found in the Old Testament of the Bible.
My desire in this short article has been to encourage you to treasure every portion of God’s Word the Bible. Read the New Testament for the clearly-revealed realities of God’s great salvation offered to us through His Son Jesus Christ. And read the Old Testament for its rich, God-revealing accounts of the sweep of time from the Creation to a few centuries before Christ’s first coming to earth. Read it also for its great moral teachings (e.g., the 10 Commandments) and its prophetic revelations of the coming Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Let’s remind ourselves daily of Jesus’ words as we study the entirety of the Scriptures: “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39).
In closing, I repeat the wise words of Bible teacher Kevin Conner: “There is eternal significance in every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Read God’s entire revealed Word, the Bible, with that in mind. As the brother said, be a “Bible man/woman — all 66 books!”
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©2019, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons &
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Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.