Man shall not live by bread alone

Once again we begin by taking a close look at the Word for the Day for July 12, 2018:

Matthew 4:4 (AMP):

But Jesus replied, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’”

This verse, of course, is part of Jesus Christ’s response to the first prong of the temptation in the wilderness, whereby the Devil attempts to get the Savior to turn stones into bread. With each temptation Jesus responds with “It is written,” as Christ counters with Scripture, in this first instance, from a passage from the Pentateuch, specifically from

Deuteronomy 8:2-3:

2And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether would keep his commandments, or no.
3And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.
Here God reminds Israel of their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness where He proved them and taught them a valuable lesson, the essence of which Jesus Christ repeats after having been in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights without food when he responds, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

I recall referring to this verse in a session of an English Grammar class I taught at Carolina College of Biblical Studies focusing the sentence, the basic unit of written communication. I shared that a complete sentence must have three elements:

• subject
• verb
• complete thought

Building a sentence is like making a sandwich: You must have two essential ingredients: two slices of bread (subject and verb), along with something to go in between (complete thought).

As writers, we can express our creativity in putting together a wide array of delicious sandwiches from the basic grilled cheese all the way to the “The Dagwood” with many layers stuffed with wide array of ingredients and condiments.

During this session I also share the derivation of the term sandwich. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “sandwich” is said to be named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), who once spent twenty-four hours at the gaming-table without other refreshment than some slices of cold beef placed between slices of toast. The word was first used in the late 1770s. The sandwich found its way into the American diet in the 19th Century and was particularly popular in the 20th Century.

During the period of time when I first developed the comparison of sentences to sandwiches, I was also participating in a clinical trial for Prostate Cancer at the James Cancer Treatment Center in Columbus, Ohio. The study involved eating two slices of bread each day, alternating between bread prepared with soy protein as its main ingredient and almond flour. These two experiences inspired this poem which I share at the end of the class session:

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 I 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.

We conclude our reflections by listening to the beauty and simplicity of words spoken by Jesus Christ set to music by Toby Pfeiffer: “Not by Bread Alone”:

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