By bread alone

Luke-4-4The Verse of the Day for July 12, 2015 comes from Matthew 4:4 (NLT):

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The King James Version renders the verse in this way:

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

The verse is also rendered in a similar way in Luke 4:4

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

The phrase “by bread alone” brings to mind an experience that occurred in 2011 when I participated in a clinical trial involving men with prostate cancer and two types of special bread: Soy and Almond. In the blog entry posted a year ago, I talked about this experience. Click here to read about the Verse of the Day and its application in my life at that time. Matthew 4:4 also relates to an English composition class that I was teaching at the same time, and I was discussing the importance of sentences as the building blocks of the essays that we write.

Here are some of the notes that I used:

A sentence is the basic unit of written communication. A complete sentence written in standard English must have three elements:

  • A subject
  • A verb
  • A complete thought

To edit your writing, you need a clear understanding of what a sentence is and what a sentence is not. You can find out if a group of words is a complete sentence by checking to see if it has a subject, a verb, and a complete thought.

I use this comparison: Building a sentence is like making a sandwich. The two essential ingredients are two slices of bread: a subject and a verb. These two items alone do not make a sandwich, however, unless it is what we called an “Air sammich.” Here is where Matthew 4:4 comes into play, as we recognize that “Man shall not live by bread alone . . . we must have at least peanut butter and jelly or smoked turkey or roast beef and Swiss cheese or grilled veggies or whatever your favorite sandwich ingredient might be. My experience with the clinical trial involving bread occurred as I also began teaching a composition class, all of which inspired this poem:

A New Bread, a New Class, a New Analogy

Daily: Eat the entire two slices. Both slices can be eaten    

at the same meal as a sandwich.

Nutrition-40 Soy Bread Study—OSU Medical Center

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written,

That man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word of God.   

Luke 4:4


Halfway between the study, I eat a new bread:

No longer soy-almond but pure soy bread instead.

As I am teaching a new class, I find a way

To help students understand what I’m trying to say

When I share that man shall not live by bread alone,

As Jesus said when asked to make bread from a stone.

To construct a good sentence, this I admonish:

You must build a sentence as you would a sandwich:

A subject and verb must express a complete thought.

This analogy helps students see what is taught:

One slice of bread is the subject, one slice the verb,

But “more” takes you from mediocre to superb.

Much more than two slices but what goes in between

Can be a work of art to convey what you mean.

One of the songs that I used to close the blog entry last year is also appropriate for today’s comments on Matthew 4:4, the Verse of the Day. The Bill Gaither Trio offer “Man Can’t Live by Bread Alone.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: