The Best Diet Ever
Genesis 1:26 has dual application: history and prophecy. Both must be clearly identified and not confused with each other.
Diet. A simple little little word that often strikes fear into the heart of one hearing that they need to go on one. There are a myriad of diets to choose from, and not every diet is suitable for everyone. The diet that we eat will depend upon various factors, for instance, babies who are nursed vs. adults who eat solid food. It will also depend on our physical condition, i.e., whether we are sedentary or an athlete.
Some among us may need to lose weight, while others may need to gain weight. The average amount of calories per day for a healthy adult is generally about 2,000. This will consist of a proper balance of fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains. Generally speaking, this will be consumed in two or three meals and perhaps supplemented with snacks in between.
Having briefly considered the concept of a natural diet, let us now look at our spiritual diet. Writing to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul teaches us the concept of applying first that which is natural, and then that which is spiritual. We all start our natural lives being fed milk and gradually are introduced to solid foods. Spiritually speaking, it is the same process of beginning with milk and moving on to solid food.
But we should not imbibe only milk our whole lives, just as naturally speaking, we need to move on in our diet. We need to introduce solid food because its nutritional value is important for our health and growth.
You could read the Bible straight through to the end in a few weeks if you start in Genesis and read for several hours per day. However, is that how you eat your natural food? Gorging like a bear about to go into hibernation because you won’t eat again until spring? No. And so it should not be so with our spiritual diet.
We shouldn’t be feasting and fasting in cycles. Worse yet, we shouldn’t be starving ourselves to death. Just as we would not serve one meal to a person and expect it to last for life, we would not expect one meal per week to be beneficial; we shouldn’t treat our consumption of God’s Word any differently.
Brother Robert Roberts, perceiving the benefit of reading the Bible daily, devised a method to accomplish this.
“At this stage of his life, and when the boy was not more than fifteen or sixteen years old, he produced an original little work which should be an inspiration to all young people. Feeling the need for a systematic reading of Scripture which should neglect no part of the written word, he drew up a plan for his own use – a plan which after several changes settled down to a form which takes the reader through the whole of the Old Testament once in the year and the New Testament twice.” 1
“A careful use of leisure time will ensure that the need of exercise for the body will not lead to the neglect of the culture of the mind, and neither should be so emphasized as to affect the reading of the Word of God. General reading is an education for life; reading of the scriptures is an education for eternal life. Thus, the daily readings should be as essential a part of life as eating or sleeping, but how often would we abandon a meal to preserve the daily readings? And some time should be reserved for deeper Bible study.” 2
Brother Roberts’s daily reading plan conveniently takes us through the whole of Scripture. Just as with a physical diet, we require variety for balanced proper nutrition, so it is with the spiritual.
Imagine if we were to decide that we enjoy the Psalms and therefore that is the only part we will read. How would we know and be encouraged by the faithful example of Hannah, the courage of Daniel or the patience of Job?
What if we choose to read only the New Testament? How do we justify the neglect of the very Scriptures from which the Lord Jesus Christ taught others about himself?
Therefore, disciples cannot do better than to follow the footsteps of these good men as they walk through the palace of the Bible. This is one of the ways in which we walk with God. As we traverse His Word, He speaks His counsel to us—everywhere, and often in the most unexpected of places within the holy pages.
We must remember that there is no knowledge of salvation from any other source than the Bible. It would be the deepest folly to neglect the Book. God asks: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). How can we agree with God except by learning of His mind and purpose? Thereby we shall get mutual understanding. The Bible makes known the mind of the LORD for the benefit of man. 3
Christ was tempted in the wilderness following his baptism. The first temptation that he faced after fasting for forty days and forty nights was whether he would use his power to turn stones into bread. His reply was, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, But by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4).
Christ shows the importance of knowing our Scriptures, which can only come by the reading of them. We would like to look at brother Roberts’s reading plan in a way we may not have considered previously. Basing our idea on the principle of applying first that which is natural, then that which is spiritual, and using the lesson that by every word of God man shall live, we will look at how the reading plan helps us to that end.
By reading from a variety of Scriptures we receive spiritual sustenance.
We will use the idea that a word in Scripture is like a calorie. Science tells us the average daily caloric intake is 2,000. The number of words we need to take in daily would be 2,000. Song of Solomon contains 2,020 words (spiritual calories). But we don’t read the whole Book of Songs at one sitting. Using brother Roberts’s daily reading planner for May 4, we see the selection is Deuteronomy 21, Song of Solomon 1 and Acts 13. There are a total of 2,407 words in these chapters (if my count is exact). If we read more than 2,000 words, it is beneficial rather than detrimental to our health.
Our brother has devised a simple method for us to take in spiritual calories daily in a variety that will give us the growth and change that is desirable in the sight of God. I have not calculated this for every day, but I believe the point has been illustrated that by reading from a variety of Scriptures, whether all in one sitting or at breakfast, lunch and dinner, we receive spiritual sustenance just like our physical requirements.
1 Collyer, Islip, Robert Roberts 1948 p. 14
2 Marshall, John. The New Life 1973 p.112
3 Tennant, Harry. The Christadelphians: What They Believe and Preach 1998 p.216