Is the Bible really my daily manna?

I heard it many times growing up. “Your daily Bible reading is your daily manna. Yesterday’s reading won’t suffice for today. Read the Bible every day to receive fresh bread of life.”

I never questioned it.

Until recent years. 

The Israelites had to gather fresh manna every morning because yesterday’s gathering would rot.

Several things brought me to the point of challenging this oft-repeated maxim.

For one thing, during some significant trials, the food that I gained from one day’s Bible reading sustained me for many days when I was unable to read the Bible.

For another thing, I began to see that in the “Steps to Knowing the Word of God”—that is, hear, read, study, memorize, meditate, and apply—some crucial concepts were missing. Drastic, gaping holes.

But most importantly, I read John 6. I really read John 6. And there, in a passage that I’d probably read hundreds of times, I finally realized that my daily manna is not the Bible.

It’s Jesus.

He says it clearly, plainly, over and over. “I am the Bread of Life. I am the Bread from Heaven. I am the Living Bread. I am the True Bread.”

I cried out to God, “Lord, what in the world does this mean? How am I supposed to receive the manna of Jesus? How can I eat His flesh and drink His blood?” For days I read and prayed and read and prayed, crying out to God.

I knew my Bible reading had something to do with it. It had to. After all, I can’t even know who the Living Word is outside of the vision of Him I see through His written Word.

As I read and prayed, I remembered the indictment in Hebrews 4 against the Israelites in the wilderness: “the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” I knew that the word “mixed” there was the same word used for the process of digestion that breaks down food so that it can be sent as nourishment to all parts of the body.

And then I saw. As the written Word is ingested, the Living Word can be digested. But only with the digestive juices of faith. I must read with a heart actively believing, seizing on truth. This is what transforms the written Word in my head to the Living Word pulsating in my very life.

The Bible reading that sustained me for days afterwards? Through Colossians I had received a clearer vision of Jesus, and in the darkness and difficulty of the following days I was able to close my eyes and focus my heart once again on Him.

The drastic gaping holes? Crying out to God for understanding, rather than simply relying on my own intellect and assuming God would help me. Believing what I read, with passion rather than passivity. Do you say these go without saying? I think not. How can absolute imperatives go without saying?

For years I followed the hear-read-study-memorize-meditate rule without crying out for understanding, for a gripping of my heart. For the most part I believed, and God did certainly work in my heart through His written Word, but the faith was more passive than active. When I began to approach the Word with an active, desperate faith, I began to see Him work in my life in new ways.

And now, when I come to the Word of God, instead of my old intellectual “This-is-God’s-message-to-me-and-by-jiminy-I’m-gonna-learn-it” approach, I come to it with longing to see the beauty of Jesus Christ, to be filled with the love and power and joy of Jesus Christ, to experience a life of bringing glory to God through Jesus Christ.

He is our True, Living Bread from Heaven.

~originally published in 2009

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Sheri Carmon
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Sheri Carmon

Rebecca, I read your post with joy. Thank you so much—The Word of God seems to move into us almost on a ‘cellular level’….first our “head” and then that l-o-n-g distance of moving from our ‘head’ to our ‘hearts’ and then another l-o-n-g distance…on to our ‘hands’ …where the Holy Spirit is actually observable to others. He meets us personally in the Scriptures. God bless you, Rebecca.

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scott chapman
Guest
scott chapman

thank you so much for helping me see it more clearly this is the way ive been looking at the word for so long im ready to know jesus more intimately please continue to send me these devotions thanks.

Debby Whitsitt
Guest

Yes, I, too, was taught the importance of daily reading because that’s what was going to help get me through the day, keep my mind and heart where it should be, and, yes, I was to read the Bible before breakfast.

As an adult… The guilt if not doing it right…oh! The guilt I felt! Even if I could not hold my head up or focus my eyes because of physical pain. Guilt.

*******
“You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”

I HAD hidden God’s Word in my heart. I cherish my Heavenly Father, and He never wants me to feel guilty over what is right. I am redeemed by the Blood of Christ. At a point in my life, He took the blinders off my eyes to see and understand Truth.

Do I feel the need to daily read my Bible? Do I feel guilty if I don’t? No. Not anymore. I am free~

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[…] the time in John 6 when He said that people needed to eat His body and drink His blood. People misunderstood that one to the extent that He lost the vast majority of His followers. Why […]

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[…] He is my Living Bread (John 6). This whole chapter is so amazing I blogged about it here. […]

Lisa
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Lisa

There were sooo many days that I felt the guilt of lacking daily bible reading and prayer, for there was a time (and now is again I’m afraid) when I was so troubled and laid low by trials that prayer was only a mere breath and Scripture was heavier than I could bear. But I learned then, and rely on now, that it is only Jesus that is needful. Not Jesus + Bible. Not Jesus + church. Not Jesus + obedience/good works. Just. Jesus.
Period.

Jen
Guest
Jen

Well said. I want to pursue Jesus, the Word. Period. And for me, I’m going through a very dry spell with my Bible reading, but sometimes only a verse is enough to sustain me. I admire those who read the Bible daily, but if I’m totally honest, I haven’t read the Bible on a daily basis in 20 years (I’m 40).