Biblical food metaphors…

Have you ever noticed how many times a food metaphor is used in the Bible?  Many times, it isn’t “cream puff” ideas being put forth either…Jesus Himself employed them about various subjects, including Himself.  Why do you think that is?

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst

Food and drink are two things every human can relate to.  We know what it is like to be hungry and thirsty; these are experiences we’ve all had.  When a food metaphor is used, it is then easy to connect to no matter who you are.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Food and drink are essential to life.  Food gives us energy, and strength.  It helps us to grow and even to think.  Have you ever noticed that when you are hungry that it is easier to zone out; usually we just concentrate on the rumblings in our stomachs.  When you are thirsty all you can think of is how thirsty you are, how great it would be for a nice cool glass of some kind of sparkling liquid to quench that thirst.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

When Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, one of the outcomes of the isolation was that Jesus was hungry.  Here comes the devil to tempt Him with food.  Command the stones to become bread, the devil prodded.  How did Jesus answer?  Matthew 4:4…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The metaphor is doubled when we consider that Christ Himself is the very Word of God.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

So, that is our answer to getting spiritual food; we turn to the word of God; scripture, and also to The Word of God; Christ.  In the same way that physical food nourishes our bodies, helps us to grow, to concentrate, to be strong…so too does turning to the word and The Word of God.  I’ve mentioned before that I find it interesting that those who do not have a relationship with God; those that are not permanently quenching that thirst, try to quench it through various means, be it with drugs, human relationships, fame, physical food, man-made philosophy, etc…  While in their current lives, these things may add something, we are more concerned with eternal life. It reminds me of the occurrence of pica; the ingestion of substances that don’t really have any nutritional value…such as clay from a river bank.  Often times it gives the impression that one is feeding oneself, it makes you feel full for a time, but in reality, the person is not getting anything from what they are eating.  In fact, their body may be in need of some essential nutrient, but they are not getting it from the substance that they consume.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…. 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

So, for me, it is clear why food metaphors are used; they are central to the human experience, food and drink are necessary for life, we gather energy and strength from them, and let’s face it, most of us like good food.  Food, in the best of times, also becomes a communal experience, something shared between people.  Food connects us and enhances our lives…so it should be with spiritual food as well.  Just as with physical food and drink, we need to keep part of our minds on our health.  It matters very much what we put into ourselves, what we feed on, what we draw our nutrition from.

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2 Comments

Filed under Communion, The Bible, Theology

2 responses to “Biblical food metaphors…

  1. cornishevangelist

    Preaching the Truth
    Paul the Apostle stood in the city of Athens, and he was so disturbed to see such a place that had given themselves over to the worshipping of so called gods.

    The Bible calls this idolatry, now Paul remembered the Words of God, and he knew where it was written in Exodus 23v13, “And make no mention of the names of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth,”

    and he was also very conscious of the Word of God where it is written, “Enquire not after their gods, saying how did these nations serve their gods?” {Deuteronomy 12 v 30}.

    Yes, he would preach Jesus and the resurrection from the dead to them only, he was wise enough through his knowledge of the scriptures not to be drawn into detailed idolatrous gossip.

    He said to them for I was walking through your city and I happened to see you worshipping, and I saw a place where there was “an inscription to the unknown god, whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him I declare unto you,” Now what wisdom Paul showed he did not get into great detail with them.

    What a privilege to know the truth, that there is only one God and one Saviour our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ. May we continue to proclaim the truth of the gospel as the saints did before us and being very conscious of God’s Word like Paul was and not to be drawn into the worlds idolatrous conversations as we seek to witness for Christ. God bless you always.

    Readings taken from Acts 17.

    EVANGELIST BILLY BOLITHO LINK

    http://www.evangelistbillybolitho.blogspot.com

  2. Thanks for your post. I was recently praying about my role/responsibilities with respect to my walk with the Lord (free will, His provision, etc), and I felt the Lord remind me of Scripture being like food. It must be taken in (consumed, received) by believers for it to take effect in our lives. The Holy Spirit encourages us, but we must choose to ‘eat’ to enjoy the full benefit of His provision. This is increasing my Bible reading!

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