Luke 4:1-13 (CSB) 1 Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 But Jesus answered him, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone.”
5 So he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 The devil said to him, “I will give you their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. 7 If you, then, will worship me, all will be yours.”
8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
9 So he took him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
He will give his angels orders concerning you,
to protect you, 11 and
they will support you with their hands,
so that you will not strike
your foot against a stone.”
12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said: Do not test the Lord your God.”
13 After the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.
Satan is not unaware of what God has said in his word. In fact, Satan recognizes the power of God’s word for instruction, and he uses God’s word to tempt Jesus. Yes. Satan uses Scripture to tempt Jesus.
James 2:19 (CSB) You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder.
Even demons believe sound doctrine. Demons even properly tremble at the truth of God.
Here is where the ole devil is in the details. When we read our Bible, it’s not enough to simply know what it says. Satan knows what it says. The problem is knowing what something says is not the only purpose of written communication. We need to know the author’s intent, which is what the written communication actually means. We also need to know what what actions we need to take with the author’s intent. What does it say? What does it mean? How do I make the appropriate application?
These are the three crucial questions of any good study of the Bible.
Satan simply quotes the Bible, and may I add, he quotes it correctly. Satan may not change anything. He didn’t with his encounter with Jesus. What Satan does is assume Scripture does not have any qualifications at all based on other Scriptures as well as a full Bible’s worth of knowing who God is and what his mission is. Satan just ignores any nuanced application based on what God means and who God is. He just quotes the Bible to Jesus…Like Jesus didn’t know.
But Jesus knows how to study his own word, and he resists. How? Jesus interprets the meaning of the passages Satan quotes by using other Scripture to help uncover qualifications and God’s mission. I mean, Jesus shows us how to study the bible right in the middle of being tempted.
We have to do the same thing. We can’t just know what it says. We have to do some work in discovering what it means, and then since God’s word is like him, eternal truth, it applies across the timeline and across cultures. That means we have to wrestle to understand the point so we can fit our actions correctly to our current time and location.
I’m going to share a worksheet I used to use in teaching some basic exegesis skills to students that will help you answer these key bible study questions I’ve posted today. Please ignore the point totals as you will not be evaluated in any homework assignment. But, do use this little tool to help you become a good student of the Bible and not one like Satan.
Here is the worksheet to help you! Get after it, and have some fun digging around in God’s word.