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  • Writer's pictureRichard A. Jones

A Day's Portion for a Day's Need

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

A Day's Portion for a Day's Need

Some would say that the Bible is merely a collection of old stories written by old men, it doesn’t need to be taken too seriously, and that there is no real necessity to believe what it says at all.

On the other hand, many conservative Christians go so far as to assume that God dictated every exact word of the Bible, and that it is infallible, without error, and the only and final specific revelation of God for all time.


I don’t believe that the Bible is a perfect and infallible book written solely by God and handed down from heaven, untouched and unaffected by human thought. However, I do think that it is inspired.

The word inspired in the Bible means “God breathed.” It is the idea that in some way God speaks through what has been written. I think that God did “breathe” himself into Scripture. Not by a word for word dictation, but by weaving his truth in, and around, and among human stories of real life on earth.

I believe that this inspiration from God is woven together with the individual writer’s own personality, experiences, thoughts, and observations. I don’t think this mixing of the Divine and the Human contaminates Scripture or renders it unreliable as some might tend to think. In fact, there has always been an intimacy between God, humanity, and the world He created.

In Romans 1, Paul tells us that God “breathed” his life and truth into creation.“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…”

In the Genesis story of creation, it tells us that God “breathed” himself into humanity.

So God created man in his own image,

In the image of God he created him;

Male and female, he created them…

…The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground

and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life….

John, in his Gospel, proclaims the mystery of the incarnation as God “breathing” the fullness of his life into Jesus:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God…

…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.


I don’t think that God is static, that inspiration is limited to the past, or to the Bible. I believe that God “breathes” himself into art, architecture, literature, drama, music, and poetry. God’s inspiration is found in the spoken word, in the birth of a child, in the wonder of creation, in human relationships, and in meaningful work well done.

In Acts 17:28 (written by Luke) Paul is recorded as quoting from the Greek poet Aratus in his poem Epimenides. “for in him we live and move and have our being.” Paul also quotes from the poem Phenomena, “We are indeed his offspring.”

Aratus wrote this in the 2nd century B.C., before Paul or Luke were even born. The words of Aratus did not become inspired when Paul wrote them. What was spoken by Aratus was true then, it was true when Paul quoted it, and it is true today.

Anywhere, that the truth of God and life are expressed, God has inspired it. In fact, I think that God takes great Joy in “breathing” his life and truth into physical matter, human creativity, and written word.

God is not ashamed to be associated with the world he made, or the humanity he created. But because God weaves together the divine and the earthly, he usually comes to us incognito. As the prophet Isaiah put it: “Surely you are a God who hides himself:”

Yes, God is hiding, and yet he also reveals himself and wants to be known. And so, God does not scream, he whispers. God does not demand, he invites. God does not drive, he leads. God does not overwhelm, he draws or attracts.


This begs some questions: If the Bible contains the inspired word of God as well as the perspectives and stories of fallible humans…If the eternal truth of God, is woven into, around, and among the thoughts, ideas, and experiences of ordinary people…then how am I suppose to discover the truth the Bible offers?

Doesn’t this allow people to impose on Scripture any meaning they wish to give it? Doesn’t this open people to error and deception?


The human mind is a wonderful God-given gift for accessing the material world and forming ideas, philosophies, and theories about life, reality, and God. It is by thought and analysis that doctrines and theologies are formed.

However, I don’t think that the truth of God is a truth of theories and philosophies, or even doctrines and theologies.

If the only way to know God, is by the mind and understanding, then are those who are mentally challenged not able to know the truth? Are they left out of God’s grace because they are incapable of such thinking? Are they exempt from knowing Jesus because they can’t read or understand the Bible?

Thought and language are helpful, but they do not have the final say on God’s truth. The truth of gravity is not verified as true because of a definition of gravity in the dictionary. Gravity is verified as true by jumping up and then coming down.

Jesus did not say that Wisdom is proved right by Biblical teaching, or by theological concepts, or by doctrinal statements. He said, “Wisdom is proved right by her actions.” (Matthew 11:19)

I may be a college graduate, have a seminary degree, a Master of divinity, and a PHD. I may be a Greek and Hebrew scholar, and I may have explanations for every Bible verse…and yet, totally miss the truth to which the Scriptures point, and the purpose for which they were written.

Jesus said to the Jewish religious leaders,You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Jesus implied that words only point to the truth. They can not actually be the truth (the truth that matters). “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

No, a definition of Gravity is not really gravity, and words about God are not really God, even if they are the words of the Bible.


Logos means the eternal word of God, the divine reason, the truth of God. The Word did not become words. The Word became flesh, and lived among us, full of grace and truth.

The purpose of reading and studying Scripture, I believe, is not so that we can know more, understand more, explain more, teach correctly, or defend our faith. It is to lead us to Jesus.

David, in Psalm 51 says that God desires ...truth in the inner parts. Explanations and facts may reside in my mind, but David says that it is deep within, at the core of who I am, that truth finds its rightful home.

Jesus told his disciples—The Spirit of God will guide you into all truth... I don’t think He meant that the Spirit would merely guide their minds to know “correct” theology or accurate doctrines. They would not simply be guided to understand some facts about God.

Truth would enter them, and they would enter truth. It would shape their character, inform their decisions, guide their actions, and determine how they would respond to life. This is “truth in the inner parts.” This is the truth that Jesus said would set us free.

I can attend a Bible study that dissects I Corinthians 13 (known as the love chapter of the Bible). I can memorize the entire chapter, understand all the Greek words that are translated as love, write a book about love, and preach a great sermon on love…

...None of this makes me a loving person! If the truth of love has not gotten into me so that it shapes my life and relationships—Then I am, as Paul put it, merely a resounding gong, or a clanging cymbal. Our goal is not just to accept facts about God, but to actually know God, to become what Jesus called, being “of the truth.”

God’s Truth is like the manna given to the Hebrew people in the wilderness. They were to gather only a day’s portion for a day’s need. If they gathered more than they needed, it rotted.

I believe that if I seek truth for the purpose of following Jesus, it will be given to me by God. However, when I attempt to gather more than I am willing to live, it tends to “rot”…Truth dissipates in my life, leaving only arrogance, hypocrisy, and a shell of lifeless half-truths. Even though it may be based on the words of Scripture, it becomes what Paul called, the letter that kills.


So how can I know this truth of God? How does it enter my life? During one of the Jewish feasts, some people confronted Jesus. Well actually they didn’t. They weren’t talking to him, they were talking about him. However, they made sure that he heard what they said. “How did this man get such learning without having studied?”

A typical pharisee, conclusion. “If he hasn’t been trained in our way of thinking, how can he know the truth?”

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God, will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

It is not the ability of my mind that brings the truth of God to my life? it is the condition of my heart and the direction of my will.

So, suppose that I love God. Suppose that my desire is to know God and follows Jesus. Suppose that I come to Scripture in genuineness and sincerity with a humble mind and an open heart…If it is the Spirit of God who guides me into the truth, will God allow me to fall into error, be deceived, or be led astray?…I don’t think so!

Wherever God leaves a path of his “breath,” wherever the epic story of eternity is inspired, children of the humble and seeking heart will have ears to hear it. They will hear the Spirit’s whispered invitation to step into that truth, allowing it to take up residence deep within. They will hear God’s call to become “of the truth,” doing God’s will where their feet walk.


Many of my friends would disagree with my theory of Scripture. But Is it adherence to a doctrine of the Bible (mine or their’s) that is most important? Scripture, as important as it is, does not give truth and life, Jesus does.

…What if God requires indeed

For cause yet unrevealed,

Assent to one fixed form of creed,

such as I cannot yield?

No, no; the words I will not say

With the responding folk,

I at his feet a heart would lay,

Not shoulders for a yoke…

…From some old well of life they flow,

The words my being fill!

Of me that man the truth shall know,

who wills the Father’s will…

…What is His will that I may go

And do it, in the hope

That light will rise, and spread, and grow,

As deep enlarges scope…

I need not search the sacred Book

To find my duty clear;

Scarce in my bosom need I look,

It lies so very near….

Excerpt from George MacDonald’s Poetical Works—Vol. 1, “The Disciple”

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