After Jesus was baptized, he was led by the Spirit out into the desert where he began a lengthy period of fasting (Matthew 4:1-11). After forty days, in which he became absolutely famished, the devil showed up to suggest a way in which he could satisfy that hunger. Without hesitation Jesus responded saying, “Scripture says” and then explained that man needs more than bread to live. The devil’s second temptation was that Jesus would throw himself from the top of the temple and allow the angels to protect him. Once again Jesus said, “But Scripture also says” and explained that God should not be put on trial. Then the devil offered Jesus complete control of the kingdoms of this world if he would bow down and worship him. Jesus demanded that Satan leave because “the Scriptures say” that only God is to be worshipped. The obvious lesson for us is that God has spoken in scripture and that as we face the temptations of life we are to apply what God the father has already revealed in scripture to be his will.
One of the great contributions of the Navigators is their emphasis on memorization of scripture. Thousands of young people associated with the organization have gone through a program that leads to the mastery of essential truths in the Bible by memorization. What they stress is that when a temptation arises it should immediately be countered by a verse from scripture. On each of the three occasions Jesus responded to the devil’s insidious suggestions with an insight from scripture.
I find it interesting that God has not left us on our own to figure out how best to live the Christian life but has revealed his will for every situation. It is all written down. I know of no problem facing the believer that is without answer in the Bible. Cultures differ but principles are cross-cultural. For example we know that when Paul says that women are to remain quiet in church (1 Tim 2:12) he is not stating some sort of timeless practice but reflecting what would be best for a well ordered church in a first century culture in which women were neither educationally or socially equipped for leadership. What scripture teaches is the truth that lies behind any particular cultural expression of that principle. To know what the bible has to say about all the essential aspects of the Christian life is to be prepared with an answer for any trial we may face. If the church as a training organization for believers would take this responsibility seriously its members would increasingly reflect how Jesus dealt with trials.