Live by Every Word of God

by Scott Ashley Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

It wasn’t until my teen years that I began to seriously study the Bible. Up until then I had no issue with God’s existence; that was self-evident from the amazing world I saw around me. It was Christianity itself that puzzled me.

My three best friends attended three different churches with very different beliefs and practices. Which was right? Was there a way to know for sure? These were key questions as I seriously looked into the Bible for the first time.

One verse that jumped out at me rather quickly was Luke 4:4, where Jesus Christ said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’” (emphasis added throughout). That seemed simple enough—we are to live by every word of God.

I also read other statements from Him and His apostles such as “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17) and “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3).

These also seemed simple enough: If we want to enter eternal life, we must keep God’s commandments. And if we love God, we should obey His commandments.

As the saying goes, It’s so simple that a child can understand it. And I was certainly a novice when it came to the Bible.

But the more I delved into God’s Word, the more I was puzzled by the churches around me. I could read passages like the Fourth of the Ten Commandments, which tells us to keep the seventh day holy and not work on it (Exodus 20:8-11). Calendars showed that Saturday was the seventh day of the week, so why did people go to church on Sunday, which was the first day of the week? I asked my churchgoing friends about it, and they had no answer.

I also read in the Bible about specific days of worship that God said were His feasts, days He declared to be holy on which His people were not to work, but were to gather to worship Him (see Leviticus 23 and many other places). I read that Jesus Christ and His followers celebrated these days. I asked my churchgoing friends about it, and again they had no answer.

Then I read in the Bible about God’s disgust with people following pagan practices in their worship, and I looked into the history of popular holidays like Christmas, Easter and New Year’s Day. I was shocked! Why were people following the same pagan practices and customs used to worship pagan gods and goddesses thousands of years ago? None of this made any sense. I asked my church-going friends about it. Once more they had no answer. 

It gradually dawned on me that what we have today is a “pick and choose” Christianity—meaning that various churches and denominations pick and choose what they want to believe and practice.

And all too often they’ve picked and chosen their worship practices not from the Bible, but from worship of ancient gods and goddesses God repeatedly condemned!

I struggled to make sense of what inherently made no sense. How could people ignore and dismiss what was clearly stated in God’s Word and instead choose worship practices and customs that are not approved in the Bible, but are actually repeatedly condemned in it?

It would be some time before I came to grasp the reality of the dark side of the spirit world—that just as there exists a God of infinite truth and light and love, there also exists an opposite “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) who is a being of infinite darkness, lies and evil who hates the true God and His ways.

This being is also called “the father of [lies]” (John 8:44), and is so seductively powerful and persuasive that he “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).

In this issue we bluntly look at this deception—and the way to counter it. May we all have the wisdom to do so!


PS—With this issue, I am retiring after a 50-year career in the publishing industry and 28 years as managing editor of Beyond Today and its predecessor, The Good News. It has been a privilege and pleasure serving all of you as readers and working alongside a dedicated media team. My fervent hope and prayer is that you always strive to live by every word of God!

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