Have you ever found some stale bread in your cupboard or pantry? Maybe it was even moldy; perhaps it was just dried out and crumbling. Really appetizing, right? Lots of nutrient value, right? What do we do with old stale bread? Bird food, usually.
Speaking metaphorically, Jesus said that He is the “bread of life” (John 6:35). He means that He is the one who provides people with spiritual nourishment. He brings us from death to life through His own death and resurrection, and then provides the sustenance of His word which helps us grow into strong, healthy disciples. In fact, Jesus is the Word become flesh (John 1:14).
Just like our finding stale bread in the cupboard, there is a danger in feeding on “stale bread” in our spiritual lives. What do I mean? We can revisit the same scriptures and the same themes over and over again so that they become stale. We get tired of hearing, and we aren’t learning. If we aren’t learning, we aren’t growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
Preachers and Bible class teachers must guard against this. Elders must insure it isn’t happening. Even in our own personal study, we need to be careful to avoid stale bread. We grow comfortable with certain scriptures, doctrines and Bible stories, and we tend to revisit them all the time. Perhaps you’ve known a preacher who couldn’t give a lesson without repeating one, two or more scriptures!
Jesus tells us that a teacher who is trained for the kingdom of heaven will bring “out of his treasure things new and old.” We do need to revisit certain scriptures from time to time. They are still relevant and often foundational. But we also need to study unfamiliar and even difficult texts and doctrines. These can be very challenging, but then also rewarding. We also need to go deeper into the ones with which we are already familiar. There is much more to discover.
Only by engaging in this kind of study will we avoid “stale bread.” Only by doing this can we grow as disciples of the Lord Jesus and be better equipped for kingdom service.