“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #36: “The words eat and drink are used in the Bible as metaphors to refer to our relationship with God.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard completes his first of two chapters defending transubstantiation and the eucharist using John 6:48-67 as his lengthy proof-text. For brevity’s sake, find that passage here.


Protestant response #36: “The words eat and drink are used in the Bible as metaphors to refer to our relationship with God.”

Broussard writes, “(This comeback) argues that the language of ‘eating’ and ‘drinking’ were symbols frequently used in the Old Testament to signify, in the words of (evangelical apologist) Todd Baker, ‘personally experiencing and appropriating the words and blessings Yahweh has lavishly and freely given to his prophets and people.’ Baker, as well as other Protestant apologists, appeals to several passages in the Old Testament, one of which is Jeremiah 15:16: ‘Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and a delight of my heart.’ Baker infers from this biblical use of the Hebrew idioms of eating and drinking that Jesus must be ‘following his Old Testament predecessors’ and making ‘the same practical use of these Hebrew eating idioms throughout John chapter six to convey the indisputable truth that one must fully receive his life-giving death . . . to receive eternal life.’

Broussard’s response

Broussard argues, “The reason why this inference is false is that the appeal to the Old Testament passages shows only that ‘eating’ and ‘drinking’ could (author’s emphasis) be used as metaphors in John 6:53-58. It does not prove that Jesus (author’s emphasis) uses these images in a metaphorical way. Other contextual evidence would be required for such a conclusion. And given what we’ve said (previously), the contextual evidence favors a literal interpretation.”

My response

In addition to Jeremiah 15:16, we see a number of passages in the Old Testament that use the metaphorical idioms of eating and drinking for appropriating God’s Word and for belief/trust:

Deuteronomy 8:3 – “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

Job 23:12 – “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.”

Psalm 4:7 – “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”

Psalm 19:10 – “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.”

Psalm 34:8 – “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

Psalm 36:8 – “They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.”

Psalm 42:1 – “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”

Psalm 119:103 – “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

The above is not an exhaustive list.

The disciples and observant Jews were absolutely aware of these Old Testament eating and drinking metaphorisms/idioms for belief/trust. Did Jesus have them in mind as He was giving His Bread of Life Discourse? It’s clear from John 6:31-32 that Jesus was drawing directly upon the OT account of the manna from Heaven (Exodus 16:1-36) in correlation with the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-15) in order to teach, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” – John 6:35. Believing/trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone is the key to salvation and eternal life, not physically eating Jesus. Todd Baker is correct in stating that Jesus’ audience was certainly familiar with the OT idioms of eating and drinking as metaphors for believing/trusting. Although Jesus did not quote the OT verses directly in John 6, He was building upon His audience’s familiarity with these idioms in presenting His metaphorical Bread of Life Discourse. Broussard’s rebuttal, claiming Baker’s proposal is a false inference, is preposterous given the abundancy of eating/drinking Scriptural references with which the observant Jews of 1st century Judea were thoroughly familiar.

Next week: Protestant response #37: “Jesus identifies the contents of the chalice as the ‘fruit of the vine’ after the words of consecration.”

18 thoughts on ““Meeting the Protestant Response,” #36: “The words eat and drink are used in the Bible as metaphors to refer to our relationship with God.”

  1. Deuteronomy 8 also talks about how God provided mana for the Israelites. As you shared, Christ says He is the bread that came down from Heaven, and then further telling how these things are spiritual. I know you mentioned the spiritual aspect was already covered, but when we look at multiple pieces of the puzzle it doesn’t look like these pieces should be separated. I understand it’s easier to create straw-man fallacies, though, the more we try to break something up and not look at it as a whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, T.R. Broussard is on a mission with these 12 sections on transubstantiation to dismiss the spiritual understanding of the eating/drinking metaphors. And so there are hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics who queue up every Sunday to eat the Jesus wafer thinking they are spiritually OK, but have never trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Michael. It’s quite dismaying that Broussard and the other 1.3 billion Catholics in the world believe that physically eating Jesus in conjunction with good works merits salvation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The true meaning so clearly explained and so easy to understand… for those who have ears to hear. Billy often says these things should be taught in our local churches so that believers can be equipped to witness to RC’s. But it’s not happening.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Cathy. Yes, the metaphorical symbolism that Jesus used in the Bread of Life Discourse is abundantly clear to born-again, Holy Spirit-enlightened believers, but is a “closed book” to the unregenerated of the RCC. The concept of eating Jesus to appropriate eternal life is beyond ridiculous to a believer. I’m grateful for this book only in the sense that Broussard clearly delineates the RC false gospel from the genuine Gospel. But as you say, undiscerning evangelical pastors and churches still say, “Close enough.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. God didn’t wire me to be a gymnast! Broussard’s mental gymnastics are going to lead him to hell not heaven. Like Wells I hope he repents while there is still time! Thank you for the work that you do in refuting these!!!!

    Any plans for this weekend?! It is beyond freezing here today!!! I am huddled inside attempting to get ahead on my work!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mandy! Dealing with Broussard’s sophistry each week is like trying to grab a slippery eel. It’s pitiful that Catholics believe they must literally eat Jesus as part of meriting their salvation.
      Nope, no plans coming up.We are hunkered down like you, not venturing outside at all. How are classes going?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My classes start Monday, I will at least enjoy the material even if I don’t like the format!!!

        I think I told you before that I met a RCC woman once who absolutely rebuked me for saying that I don’t understand how Catholics can believe they are eating and drinking the literal body and blood of Christ. This woman yelled at me and said that I am disgusting and that she is offended I would say such an awful, horrible thing, that it is untrue! Another one of my classmates actually defended me and said, yes that is a Catholic belief. It astounds me how some Catholics don’t even know what they are identifying with. In fairness many evangelicals are like that, but the more I encounter Romanism and its practitioners/followers the more I learn that unless someone tells the person what to do and not do, they really don’t know the Bible for themselves or what Christianity is all about. I am so thankful for what you are doing to both educate evangelicals and warn Catholics!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope your new semester goes well!
        RE: I met a RCC woman
        Yes, the vast majority of Catholics don’t know the details of their own religion. I have had discussions with several Catholics who passionately deny they are attempting to “merit” their salvation, even though their official catechism uses “merit” in conjunction with salvation. Merit has become a dirty word in popular Catholic parlance in deference to evangelical influences. The nuns had no qualms talking about meriting salvation when I was a Catholic grammar school student and the RC theology has not changed.
        Thanks, Mandy! The Lord puts it in my heart to continue giving the warning.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I like how Mandy said God didn’t wire to be a gymnist! Me neither! I think the contextual data shows its not phyysical death especially in light of Jesus’ other teachings about food which you rightly quoted. Good response Tom, excellent salvo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jimmy! Well, I happen to know you do varsity-level T-404 gymnastics all the time. Broussard tries to dazzle with his “grasping at straws” sophistry, but the “transubstantiation” heresy has no Biblical basis and is irrational to boot. Even 70% of Catholics don’t believe it.

      Liked by 1 person

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