As all physical living things must be nourished, so also must all spiritual living things be nourished. Here are examples of the metaphor of food being used with regard to spiritual things.
Deuteronomy 8:3 “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. [quoted in Matthew 4:4]
Job 23:12 “I have not departed from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good…
Psalm 78:25 Man did eat the bread of angels;
He sent them food in abundance.
Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
Isaiah 55:11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Jeremiah 3:15 “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.
Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart…
Amos 8:11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“When I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,
But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.
Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” [quoting Deuteronomy 8:3]
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Matthew 6:11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
Matthew 8:11 “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;
Luke 11:3 ‘Give us each day our daily bread.
Luke 15:14 “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.
Luke 15:15 “So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
Luke 15:16 “And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.
Luke 15:17 “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!
John 4:31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
John 4:32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
John 4:33 So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?”
John 4:34 Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
John 6:41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.”
John 6:58 “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”
1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,
1 Corinthians 3:3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
2 Corinthians 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
1 Timothy 4:6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.
Hebrews 5:11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Hebrews 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Hebrews 6:4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
Hebrews 6:5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
Hebrews 6:6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
Heb 13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
1 Peter 2:3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
Revelation 2:17 …To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna…
Revelation 3:20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
As can be seen in 1 Peter 2:2 above, there is an obvious connection between feeding and growth, and there is as well between feeding and human maturation.
For more on biblical metaphors, see Metaphorical Themes.
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)