LIKE NEWBORN BABES: os artigenneta brephe: (1Pe
1:23; Mt 18:3; Mk 10:15; Ro 6:4; 1Cor 3:1; 14:20)
New Spiritual Birth (1Pe 1:22-25)
2. Continued Spiritual Growth (1Pe 2:1-3)
3. Privileges of believers as the holy and royal priesthood (1Pe
Like (hōs) - is a
is which is a
terms of comparison
introduced either by like or as. Whenever
you encounter a simile, consider invoking the "5 P's" (Pause
to Ponder the Passage and Practice it in Power
of Spirit). Peter draws a poignant comparison between the
instinctive (God given) appetite of a healthy baby for
its mother's milk and the appetite a newborn (and old) "healthy" believer for the
Word of God.
Hiebert comments that...
Like (hōs), an adverb
of manner, indicates that the designation is figurative. It
characterizes Christians as newborn infants with an inborn longing for
their mothers milk. The term is not derogative, but rather "sets forth
the tenderness of their relation to God, and implies the idea of
Peter Commentary -
Beloved, even as a baby must
partake regularly of pure milk (see
in order to grow and be physically
healthy, so too must the newborn believer (and "old born again", like
yours truly!) daily partake of sound doctrine (cf Mt 4:4 quoting Dt
8:3, context Dt 8:1-2, Dt 32:47 word = "life"; Job 23:12-note),
that they might grow in grace and Christlikeness (2Pe 3:18-note). It is an
immutable maxim that sound doctrine (cf 1Ti 4:6, 2Ti 4:3-note,
is the crucial cog supernaturally "energizing" godly living. Even as sinners are regenerated by the
Word of Truth
(Jas 1:18-note), so too must they thereafter be
"revived" by that
same Word of life (Php 2:16-note,
cf Jn 17:17, Ps 119:25-note). (Related
Study the Power of God's Word)
The Christian is bred by the Word
and he must be fed by it.
Spurgeon comments that...
When the apostle describes us under
the character of “newborn babes,” he would have us lay aside all that
is inconsistent with that character. Newborn children have no malice;
they have no guile or craftiness; they have no hypocrisies, nor
envies, nor evil speakings. They are clear from all these evils; would
God we were as clear as they are! It would be better to be infants,
not speaking at all, than to be among those who speak evil. It would
be better to begin life over again than to live long enough to have
gained a treasure of malice, and a hoard of cunning, and to have
learned the tricks of hypocrisy. Let us be as simple as little
children, as guileless, as harmless, as free from anything like
unkindness as newborn babes are. And inasmuch as we are to follow them
in what they have not, let us also imitate them in what they have. Let
us desire ardently, as for our very life, the unadulterated milk of
the Word. Let us cultivate that combination of hunger and thirst which
is found in a little child, that we may hunger and thirst thus after
God’s Word. We have done more than taste the Word; we have tasted that
the Lord himself is gracious. Let us long to feast more and more upon
this divine food, that we may grow thereby. (1
Peter 2- Commentary )
Read John Piper's
discussion of what he refers to as "spiritual fatalism" which he
the belief or feeling that you are
stuck with the way you are—"this is all I will ever experience of
God—the level of spiritual intensity that I now have is all I can
have; others may have strong desires after God and may have deep
experiences of personal pleasure in God, but I will never have those
because . . . well, just because . . . I am not like that. That's not
me." This spiritual fatalism is a feeling that genetic forces
and family forces and the forces of my past experiences and present
circumstances are just too strong to allow me to ever change and
become more zealous for God (Titus 2:14), or more fervent (Romans
12:12), or more delighted in God (Psalm 37:4), or more hungry for
fellowship with Christ (John 6:35), or more at home with spiritual
things (Romans 8:5), more bold (2 Timothy 1:7), or more constant or
joyful (Romans 12:12), or hopeful (1 Peter 1:13). Spiritual fatalism
is tragic in the church. church. It leaves people stuck. It takes away
hopes and dreams of change and growth. It squashes the excitement of
living—which is growth. (1
Peter 2:1-3 Long for the Pure Milk)
As newborn - Bengel says
"are capable of nothing but desire" adding that in babes "in whom
there is no guile."
Peter had just discussed
their new birth explaining that
The God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ...according to His great mercy has caused us to be
born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead (The Gospel)...(and) you have been born again
not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the
living and abiding Word of God. (1Pe 1:3, 23)
that 1Peter 2:1-3...
constitute one sentence that
centers on the imperative "crave" (1Pe 2:2). That craving is
essential to the healthy growth of the new life. The obligation to
grow involves the negative duty to remove all hindrances to growth
(1Pe 2:1), and the positive duty to actively appropriate nourishment
that furthers growth (1Pe 2:2). 1Pe 2:3 cites past experience as an
incentive to growth. (1
The point of the figurative
language is this: as a babe longs for nothing but its mother’s milk
and will take nothing else, so every Christian should take no
spiritual nourishment save the Word. The imagery is beautiful and
expressive. Look at a babe at its mother’s breast! In this way you
should ever drink the milk of the Word. Peter understood the intent of
Jesus’ action which is recorded in Mt. 18:2, 3 and here carries the
illustration which Jesus used still farther, down to babes that have
just been born. (The interpretation of the epistles of St. Peter, St.
John and St. Jude)
I remember when our little grandson was born. Because his father was
over in Turkey at the time, his mother brought him into our home. We
had him with us those first few months, and every now and then it was
my task to give him his bottle. I want to tell you, that little fellow
went into high gear when he saw that bottle of milk. He started moving
his hands, his mouth, his feet? He was reaching out for it with every
part of his body. At that time I was still the pastor of a
congregation, and I thought, I wish I had a congregation that would
reach out after the Word of God like that! My friend, without a
hunger for the Word of God you will not grow in grace and in the
knowledge of Christ. You will not develop as a Christian—you will
always be in your babyhood. We must remember that a little baby and a
full-grown man are both human beings, but they are in different stages
of growth and development. The little one needs milk so he can grow up
to become a man. Now, how does a Christian grow? He grows by studying
the Word of God. There is no growth apart from the Word of God. I
receive letters from many pastors who tell me that they are wet nurses
for a lot of little babes. As one pastor said, “I spend my time
burping spiritual babies!” Those babies should grow up so they
wouldn’t need a pastor to pat them and burp them all the time. And
they would grow if they desired the pure milk of the Word. (Thru
the Bible - Listen to his crusty comments on 1Peter 2:1-2)
(artigennetos from arti, an adverb of time
= now, newly, recently + gennetos = begotten, born) is
literally one just born, lately born and so
newborn. It refers to a child at birth or of tender years and in
context could refer to new converts or it could simply refer to how
any convert should approach the "pure milk" of God's Word.
Peter uses this figurative
language to give the readers the mental picture of infants craving
nourishment, for anyone who has been a parent or had a baby sibling
knows how newborn babies vocally and ardently express their desire to
be fed regularly. In fact, newborn babies act as if their life depends
on the next feeding, an attitude that should be true of believers, for
Jesus Himself clearly stated that...
shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by
every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
(Matthew 4:4) (Amplified Version)
Comment: Jesus is quoting (Dt
8:3, context Dt 8:1, 2, 3, 4, 5) to emphasize that it is not food that
is the most necessary part of life, but instead it is the creative,
energizing, and sustaining power of God's Word that is the only real source
of man’s existence.
In Moses' last
words to the
children of Israel just before they crossed the Jordan River to possess
their possessions (what God had already declared was their
inheritance), he made this profound statement ...
"Take to your heart all the
words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your
sons to observe carefully, even
words of this law. For
(the Word) is
not an idle (empty, vain)
Word for you; indeed
(the Word) is your life. And by this
shall prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the
Jordan to possess." (Deuteronomy 32:46, 47)
The NLT paraphrases
Deuteronomy 32:47 as...
These instructions are not mere
words--they are your life! (Comment: How important in the
success of Israel was the pure milk of the Word and obedience to that
Job had come to the
understanding of the importance of God's Word for his sustenance
(which I believe was one reason he was able to endure such profound
losses and afflictions) declaring...
I have not departed from the
command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more
than my necessary food." (Job 23:12-note) (Bolding added)
Comment: Read over Job's affirmation slowly
and ask yourself
is more important to me?
God's Word or _______!
Take a moment before God and "fill in the blank"
my job, my exercise, my hobby, my favorite television show, time with
my family, etc
is used most often in the NT of a literal baby whether unborn or born
or newly born. Some contexts signify a young child.
Peter's has the only figurative
use of brephos in the NT. In context brephos could be
interpreted as referring to believers who have only recently been born
again into the family of God by grace through faith (see Peter's
mention of the new birth in notes on 1Pe 1:3-note
and 1Pe 1:23-note).
The alternative interpretation is that believers are in a sense always
to be considered like infants in the sense that they are always in
need of and totally dependent upon the pure milk of God's Word.
that 1Peter 2:1-3...
In classical Greek, the term "baby"
(brephos) was used of the embryo, the unborn child, but in later
writings it was extended to include the suckling child and even small
children generally. Those who view 1 Peter as originally a baptismal
homily naturally appeal to that designation as confirmation of their
view Thus Beare asserts that the designation "could not be used with
any appropriateness of the general body of Christians in the provinces
mentioned in the salutation" and insists that "the words are wholly
appropriate to the condition of converts who have just been received
into the Church by baptism." Admittedly, Peter's designation can be
understood to support that view. Kelly remarks, "The adjective need
mean no more than that the Asian communities included a substantial
proportion of fairly recent converts." Rather, as Selwyn maintains,
"The purpose of the adjective is to make the imagery of the passage
more vivid... What the author wants to express is the ardor of the
suckled child." Such an ardor for spiritual food is essential for
spiritual growth. Believers should at all times be like infants in
their craving for the nourishment that the Lord has provided for their
spiritual growth. The imagery is both expressive and challenging!
Peter's picture is apparently based on the teaching of Christ that the
kingdom of God must be received as a little child (Matt. 18:3; Mark
10:15). Peter made no mention of a process of growth from infancy to
adulthood, where the longing for milk is replaced by the ability to
eat solid food. His picture of the readers as babes, unlike that of
Paul and the author of Hebrews (1Cor. 3:1-4; Heb. 5:12-14), is not
derogatory. He was eager for them, as those who had been born again
(1:23), to maintain the distinctive characteristic of baby-like
eagerness for spiritual nourishment. His figure was clearly influenced
by the imagery that follows.(1
Meyer rightly observes
The most advanced among us, in
knowledge and attainment, are, in comparison with what they shall be,
only as babes.
Classic Greek used
brephos to describe a babe at the breast, one who is dependent on
the mother's milk for nourishment. The use of cows’ milk was rare in
ancient times. It was believed that children were very impressionable
at the nursing stage, and those who allowed them to be tended by
nursemaids were advised to select the nurses with care.
Brephos - 8x
in the NT...
Luke 1:41 And it came about
that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in
her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:44"For behold, when
the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in
my womb for joy.
Luke 2:12 "And this will be
a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and
lying in a manger."
Luke 2:16 And they came in
haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as
He lay in the manger.
Luke 18:15 And they were
bringing even their babies to Him so that He might touch them,
but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them.
Acts 7:19 "It was he who
took shrewd advantage of our race, and mistreated our fathers so that
they would expose their infants and they would not survive.
2 Timonty 3:15 (note)
and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings
which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through
faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word,
that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
Peter is painting a vivid
picture -- Grasp
for the Word like
a baby grasps for its bottle!
The Bible tells us that the goal of Bible study
is not just that we might know (and be smarter sinners), but that we might
(and be more like the Savior) as shown schematically...
Peter is saying that more than simply receiving spiritual nourishment,
the readers should be ardently (Ardent = from root = to burn >
expressed in eager zealous activity; impassioned) longing for
Matthew Henry on newborn
He puts them in mind of their
regeneration. A new life requires suitable food. They, being newly
born, must desire the milk of the word. Infants desire common milk,
and their desires towards it are fervent and frequent, arising from an
impatient sense of hunger, and accompanied with the best endeavors of
which the infant is capable.
Jamieson on newborn
new-born babes—altogether without
“guile” (1Pe 2:1). As long as we are here we are “babes,” in a
specially tender relation to God (Is 40:11). The childlike spirit is
indispensable if we would enter heaven. “Milk” is here not elementary
truths in contradistinction to more advanced Christian truths, as in
1Co 3:2; Heb 5:12, 13; but in contrast to “guile, hypocrisies,” &c.
(1Pe 2:1); the simplicity of Christian doctrine in general to the
childlike spirit. The same “word of grace” which is the instrument in
regeneration, is the instrument also of building up. “The mother of
the child is also its natural nurse” [Steiger]. The babe, instead of
chemically analyzing, instinctively desires and feeds on the milk; so
our part is not self-sufficient rationalizing and questioning, but
simply receiving the truth in the love of it (Mt 11:25).
Illustration - 1Peter 2:2
tells us to "long for the pure milk of the Word." Pure means
undiluted. A lot of us want the Word but we mix it up with other
information. At most county or state fairs, you can find candied
apples—apples dipped in sugar. Now, apples by themselves are a great,
healthy fruit. Once you dip them in sugar, however, you’ve just killed
the benefit of the apple although it tastes good. A candied apple is
sweet but its nutritional value is diluted because something with no
value has been added to it. Many of us will read the Word, hear the
Word, and then talk to people about the Word but then dip it in human
viewpoint. - Tony Evans
Illustration - WHEN you travel to a country
where you don’t speak the language, you shouldn’t be surprised when
you don’t understand what is being said. More than likely, you will
need an interpreter so that you can communicate. There is nothing
wrong with you if you don’t understand. It’s simply that you are new
to a very different environment. This is how things seem for an infant
Christian. They are new to the Christian environment, and they may not
know how to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk.” They are babies born
into a whole new world. - Tony Evans
to Get the Most
from Reading your Bible
Puritan writer Thomas Watson
tells us how to prepare for reading the Bible...
1. Remove hindrances. (a) remove
the love of every sin (b) remove the distracting concerns of this
world, especially covetousness [Matt. 13:22] (c) Don't make jokes with
and out of Scripture.
2. Prepare your heart. [1 Sam. 7:3] Do this by: (a) collecting your
thoughts (b) purging unclean affections and desires (c) not coming to
it rashly or carelessly.
3. Read it with reverence, considering that each line is God speaking
directly to you.
4. Read the books of the Bible in order.
5. Get a true understanding of Scripture. [Ps. 119:73] This is best
achieved by comparing relevant parts of Scripture with each other.
6. Read with seriousness. [Deut. 32:47] The Christian life is to be
taken seriously since it requires striving [Luke 13:24] and not
falling short [Heb. 4:1].
7. Persevere in remembering what you read. [Ps. 119:52] Don't let it
be stolen from you [Matt. 13:4,19]. If it doesn't stay in your memory
it is unlikely to be much benefit to you.
8. Meditate on what you read. [Ps. 119:15] The Hebrew word for
meditate' means to be intense in the mind'. Meditation without reading
is wrong and bound to err; reading without meditation is barren and
fruitless. It means to stir the affections, to be warmed by the fire
of meditation [Ps. 39:3].
9. Read with a humble heart. Acknowledge that you are unworthy that
God should reveal himself to you [James 4:6]
10. Believe it all to be God's Holy Word. [2 Tim 3:16] We know that no
sinner could have written it because of the way it describes sin. No
saint could blaspheme God by pretending his own Word was God's. No
angel could have written it for the same reason. [Heb 4:2]
11. Prize the Bible highly. [Ps. 119:72] It is your lifeline; you were
born by it [James 1:18] you need to grow by it [1 Pet 2:2] [cf. Job
12. Love the Bible ardently [Ps. 119:159].
13. Come to read it with an honest heart. [Luke 8:15] (a) Willing to
know the entire and complete will of God (b) reading in order to be
changed and made better by it [John 17:17].
14. Apply to yourself everything that you read, take every word as
spoken to yourself. Its condemnation of sins as the condemnation of
your own sin; the duty that it requires as the duty God would require
from you [2 Kings 22:11].
15. Pay close attention to the commands of the Word as much as the
promises. Think of how you need direction just as much as you need
16. Don't get carried away with the minor details, rather make sure to
pay closest attention to the great things [Hosea 8:12].
17. Compare yourself with the Word. How do you compare? Is your heart
something of a transcript of it, or not?
18. Pay special attention to those passages that speak to your
individual, particular and present situation. e.g. (a) Affliction --
[Heb. 12:7, Isaiah 27:9, John 16:20, 2 Cor 4:17. (b) Sense of Christ's
presence and smile withdrawn -- [Isaiah 54:8, Isaiah 57:16, Ps. 97:11]
(c) Sin -- [Gal 5:24, James 1:15, 1 Peter 2:11, Prov 7:10&22-23, Prov
22:14] (d) Unbelief -- [Isaiah 26:3, 2 Sam 22:31, John 3:15, 1 John
5:10, John 3:36]
19. Pay special attention to the examples and lives of people in the
Bible as living sermons. (a) Punishments [Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Num
25:3-4&9, 1 Kings 14:9-10, Acts 5:5,10, 1 Cor 10:11, Jude 7] (b)
mercies and deliverances [Daniel, Jeremiah, the 3 youths in the fiery
20. Don't stop reading the Bible until you find your heart warmed. [Ps
119:93] Let it not only inform you but also inflame you [Jer 23:29,
21. Put into practice what you read [Ps 119:66, Ps 119:105, Deut
22. Christ is for us Prophet, Priest and King. Make use of His office
as a Prophet [Rev 5:5, John 8:12, Ps 119:102-103]. Get Christ not only
to open the Scriptures up to you, but to open up your mind and
understanding [Luke 24:45]
23. Make sure to put yourself under a true ministry of the Word,
faithfully and thoroughly expounding the Word [Pr 8:34] be earnest
and eager in waiting on it.
24. Pray that you will profit from reading [Isaiah 48:17, Ps 119:18,
Natural obstacles You may still be able to profit from reading even
1. You don't seem to profit as much as others do. Remember the
different yields [Matt 13:8] though the yield isn't as much as others
it is still a true and fruitful yield.
2. You may feel slow of understanding [Luke 9:45, Heb 5:11].
3. Your memory is bad (a) remember you are still able to have a good
heart despite this (b) you may still remember the most important
things even if you cannot remember everything, be encouraged by John
to Get the Most from Reading your Bible)
The Westminster Shorter
Question 90. How is the Word
to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
Answer. That the Word may
become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with
diligence, preparation, and prayer [a]; receive it with faith and
love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives [b]. [a].
Dt 6:6, 7, 8, 9; Ps. 119:18; 1Pet. 2:1,2 [b]. Ps 119:11; 2Th 2:10;
Heb. 4:2; Jas 1:22-25
This is the main verb in 1Pe 2:1-3, which is one sentence in the
NO INTAKE OF THE WORD
NO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Peter gives a command to have this
attitude (longing, yearning, passionate) for the Scripture, for he knows
that studying the Scriptures is the only means of spiritual growth,
not to mention that His Lord had instructed him repeatedly regarding
the importance of proper spiritual nutrition for God's flock ("Tend my
lambs") Jn 21:15, 16, 17-note).
You can mark it down - There is no growth spiritually speaking, apart from the
intake of the pure Word of Truth (cp Ps 119:43, 2Cor 6:7, Col 1:5-note,
Pastors remember the words of
A man can't always be defending the
truth; there must be a time to feed on it.
Jamieson on the picture of longing
for the Word notes that this is...
a natural impulse to the regenerate
(born again), “for as no one needs to teach new-born babes what
food to take, knowing instinctively that a table is provided for
them in their mother’s breast,” so the believer of himself thirsts
after the word of God
Matthew Henry writes that
like a wise physician, having
prescribed the purging out of vicious humours, goes on to direct to
wholesome and regular food, that they may grow thereby. The duty
exhorted to is a strong and constant
desire for the word of God, which word is here called reasonable milk,
only, this phrase not being proper English, our translators rendered
it the milk of the word, by which we are to understand food proper for
the soul, or a reasonable creature, whereby the mind, not the body, is
nourished and strengthened. This milk of the word must be sincere, not
adulterated by the mixtures of men, who often corrupt the word of God,
Adam Clarke writes that the
rabbins frequently express
learning to know the law, etc., by the term sucking, and their
disciples are often denominated those that suck the breast. The figure
is very expressive: as a child newly born shows an immediate desire
for that nourishment, and that only, which is its most proper food
John Calvin wrote that...
Those only are worthy students
of the law who come to it with a cheerful mind, and are so delighted
with its instruction as to account nothing more desirable or delicious
than to make progress therein.
Albert Barnes makes an
excellent point regarding one's longing for pure milk of God's word
explaining that it...
furnishes evidence of conversion,
if we have a love for the simple and pure truths of the Gospel. It is
evidence that we have spiritual life, as really as the desire of
appropriate nourishment is evidence that an infant has natural life.
The new-born soul loves the truth. It is nourished by it. It perishes
without it. The gospel is just what it wants; and without that it
could not live.
Comment: Dear reader,
Barnes' insightful point begs a question -
Have you ever at any time since
your profession of belief in Christ had a true longing for God's Word?
If not, you may be self-deceived. Remember, when someone is deceived
by definition they don't know it! So let me repeat the question with a
slight alteration - Do
you have a hunger and thirst that is only satisfied by God's Word? The
corollary question is whether you once had a strong impulse for God's
Word, but in recent times have not.
This latter situation may reflect a different problem. You would do
well to look back over 1Peter 2:1 and the notes on that passage. Your
appetite may be blunted by unconfessed sin.
from epi = toward or an
intensifier + potheo = yearn)
means to have a strong desire for
something, with implication of need. It mean to long for, have great
affection for, yearn for someone or something. The preposition epi in
this compound indicates intensive desire directed toward an object (in
context God's pure Word).
Epipotheo - 9x NAS - Ro
1:11; 2Cor 5:2; 9:14; Phil 1:8; 2:26; 1Th 3:6; 2Ti 1:4; Jas 4:5; 1Pe
Epipotheo is used in the
Lxx - Dt 13:8; 32:11; Ps 42:1; 62:10; 84:2; 119:20, 131, 174; Jer
13:14 (Note especially the longing described in Ps 42:1; 62:10; 84:2;
119:20, 131, 174)
Epipotheo describes an intense
yearning for something. It is to long for or intensely crave something
with the implication that the one longing recognizes the lack or the
In Psalm 42:1 David uses the
verb pant which is translated
by the Septuagint with
to describe the psalmist's deepest longing for God
As the deer
pants (Hebrew = arag = yearn for, Lxx = epipotheo) for the water brooks,
So my soul pants (Hebrew = arag = yearn for, Lxx =
epipotheo) for Thee, O God. (See
Spurgeon's Comment on Psalm 42:1)
Epipotheo is used
by Paul in (Ro 1:11-note)
when he writes, “I long to see you” and when he writes
to young Timothy, that he is “longing to see” him (2Ti 1:4-note). In these uses one can see a picture of the deep
longing Peter is trying to convey to his readers and to all saints.
Beloved, the question is this...
you "panting" for God's
as a deer in the desert does for the water brooks?
If not, why not?
for is in the
which calls for a decisive action (attitude change in this case) on the
reader's part. The idea is -- Do it! Do it now! Don't delay! It is a
command and not an option. In other words, longing in one's heart for Truth is not an
option if we desire to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Savior and
Lord Jesus Christ. Since we have been born again by the
Word of God, we have a new nature with a new longing. Peter is saying "Now make up your mind once and for all to intensely crave the word of
Nothing but pure
milk satisfies a baby and nothing but the pure milk of God's Word will
truly satisfy one who has been born again.
Do you see the connection between the Word of God in
the preceding section (1Pe 1:23, 24, 25 -note)? We are born
again into the Kingdom of God by the "imperishable seed...the living
and abiding Word of God" Now, long for that same pure word. You began
this new life in Christ with the Word and the only way to grow in
Christ likeness is by letting the "the Word of Christ richly dwell
within you" (see note
Peter exhorts his readers to
intensely crave for pure milk! Epipotheo
is a strong word. It paints the picture of being an
absolute hungering and thirsting after the Word. If a believer is to
grow, it is absolutely essential that he hunger and thirst after the
milk of the Word. What this says is that just as essential as having
the desires for the word that we are supposed to have is having the
trust in God that He gives what He commands. If God says to desire,
long for (Aorist Imperative = do it now!), when we don't desire, then
we trust Him that He must know something we don't know. He must have
some power we don't have. There must be a way. God commands it. So
there must be a way. I will not settle for less than what God
commands. It's saying "Lord, I can't
but You can and you said you would" so cry out to Him to give you that
desire which you know is a prayer in His will (1Jn 5:14, 15) and then
wait upon the Lord and He will renew your strength so that you then can
mount up with wings like an eagle (Isaiah 40:31-note).
Each morning when you get up you need to deal with those "verse one" (1Peter
2:1) issues first
so that your inner man will be ''healthy'' and you have a natural
(supernatural) God given appetite for His Living Word, the spiritual
bread of life. God will give you an intense craving and deep-seated
longing for His Word. (Phil 2:13-note
- The Holy Spirit gives the desire and energizes that desire).
Spiritual growth is always marked by a craving for and a delight in
God’s Word with the intensity with which a baby craves milk.
The opposite of longing after the pure milk of the Word is to neglect
so great a salvation (He 2:3-note)!
Note that in the present
context, milk does not stand in contrast to
solid food (as it does in 1Corinthians 3:2 and
Hebrews 5:12 [note])
The use of milk as symbol for spiritual
nourishment found in Judaism et. al. religions. It would have been
immediately familiar to Peter’s readers. All believers are seen as
needing to grow and to learn more about the Lord. All believers are to
desire the milk (food) of the Word.
How does a believer increase their desire for the truth of God’s Word?
Remembering life’s source (1Peter 1:25; Isa 55:10,11; Jn 15:3; Heb 4:12,
Eliminating (confessing/repenting of) sin (1Peter 2:1) so the Spirit
is not quenched (Ep 4:30-note).
3) Admitting need for God’s truth (beseeching Him to give hunger) (1Peter 2:2)
Pursuing spiritual growth (1Peter 2:2, “that you may grow
Surveying His blessings (1Peter 2:3, “Lord is gracious”)
THE PURE MILK OF THE WORD:
to logikon adolon gala: (Ps 19:7-10; 1Co 3:2; Heb 5:12,13)
OF PURE MILK!
pure milk of the Word - "Pure spiritual milk" (NET),
"Unadulterated, spiritual milk" (Berkeley), "which is without mixture"
(Mace), "Sincere milk of the word" (KJV), "the pure and simple
teaching" (ICB), "the true milk of the word" (BBE), "spiritual milk
which is without guile" (ASV)
McGee has an interesting thought on what pure milk of the word
It is my conviction that the “pure milk of the word” means the
total Word of God. We don’t grow spiritually by lifting out a verse
for comfort here and there. We need the total Word of God to grow. We
need a full, well-balanced diet. Of course, we start out with milk,
but the day comes when we want a porterhouse steak, a good baked
potato, a green salad, and maybe some black-eyed peas on the side. And
you get all the spiritual nutrition you need in the total Word of God. (Thru
the Bible - Listen to his crusty comments on 1Peter 2:1-2)
Columbia University (New York
City) was established in 1754 and its original seal depicted a woman
sitting down, with the 4 letters of the so-called Tetragrammaton (YHWH
- transliterated as "Yahweh" or Jehovah) inscribed above her head and
1Peter 2:1-2 under her feet was inscribed “admonishing students
to desire of the pure milk of God’s word.” My, how times have changed!
Spurgeon comments that...
If you have once had that sweet
taste in your mouths, you will wish to have it always there, and you
may do so if you continue to drink the unadulterated milk of the Word,
and do not sour that good milk through tempests of malice, and envy,
and evil speaking...
Be glad to get simple truth, the
“milk of the Word.” Even if you can digest the strong meat of the
Word, never grow weary of the milk, for it is always good diet even
for a full-grown man in Christ. Do not crave milk and water, but
“desire the unadulterated milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby.”
It is not enough for you to be spiritually alive, you must grow; and
especially while you are babes in grace, your great desire should be
that you may grow...
The unadulterated “milk of the
Word” is the best food for those who are, spiritually, “newborn
babes.” Desire this unadulterated milk of the Word not out of an idle
that you may grow thereby,
- that you may grow wiser, holier,
more earnest, more like your Savior,
that you may grow up into the
likeness of Him Whose you are, and Whom you serve.
You are in the family of God, but
you are only babes in it yet; you have to grow to the stature of men
in Christ Jesus, so “desire the sincere (unadulterated) milk of the
word, that ye may grow thereby.” There is no other way of growing.
You begin with tasting that the
Lord is gracious, you go on to desire the unadulterated milk of the
Word, and so you grow in grace more and more.
If you have spiritually tasted this
great truth, you have the flavour of it upon your palate, so that it
makes you long for more of it. (1
Peter 2 Commentary )
from a = negative +
dolos = deceitful cunning to mislead) means without guile, without deceit.
describes that which is honest, sincere, pure, not mixed with with
anything else, without admixture or unadulterated.
is an adjective which is not found in the
Septuagint (LXX) but was used in
secular Greek writings describing seed or liquids which were described
Adolos was also used to describe treaties as
without fraud or guileless.
And so in this context Peter is
calling for intake of God's word, the only Word which is guileless,
without imperfections, flaws, dilutions or anything that would deceive
or lead astray!
Steven Cole adds that...
Dishonest merchants in that day
would add water to their milk to make more profit. This was
“deceitful” milk. Peter tells us to long for the pure, not-deceitful
milk. (1 Peter 2:1-3
Adolos contrasts with the second attitude in 1Peter 2:1 where
Peter exhorts Christians to get rid of guile (dolos).
Irenaeus says of heretics. They mix
chalk with the milk. The article, “the,” implies that besides the
well-known pure milk, the Gospel, there is no other pure,
unadulterated doctrine; it alone can make us guileless
Peter's point is that God's Word is pure and has no additives.
This food of the Word has not the slightest admixture of anything evil
in it. The word is commonly used in this sense of corn, wheat, barley,
oil, wine, and farm products.
Barclay adds that...
Adolos is an almost
technical word to describe corn that is entirely free from chaff or
dust or useless or harmful matter. In all human wisdom there is some
admixture of what is either useless or harmful; the Word of God alone
is altogether good. (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press
has all manner of "additives" and unadulterated milk is virtually
impossible to find. Peter says spiritual babes need to suckle on the
pure word of God in order to grow into spiritual maturity. The pure Word of God has no ulterior motives like so many human
teachings, but has as its primary purpose the nourishing of our soul.
The following statement was found in an old law in Baltimore...
Only pure unadulterated, unsophisticated and wholesome milk (may be
Like water from a mountain spring, Christianity is most pure at its
source. While there are fine and honorable Christian teachers and
ministers here and there around the world, there remains a very
fundamental question: Can the word of any human be more right than The
Word of God?
Both Paul (1Cor 3:1, 2) and the author of Hebrews (He 5:12, 13-see notes
He 5:12;13) use
milk in contrast to solid food as metaphor for elementary teaching to new
converts, but Peter uses milk instead as that irreplaceable
nutritional source which is vital for growing, sustaining
and perfecting the children of God.
The analogy with a newborn baby is
obvious for just as God has designed milk to be the perfect food
for the physical nourishment for
for babies, He has similarly given us the Word which is the perfect
food for spiritual nourishment. Even as the mother's milk immunizes
her baby from many illnesses and nourishes her baby's growth, so too
God’s Word protects Christians from the many spiritual "diseases"
which abound and nourishes them to grow in the Lord. Furthermore
there is no other source of pure, unadulterated
doctrine, which is why the Word must be held in such high esteem and
preached purely from the pulpits.
Many today do not
desire pure milk - Warren
Wiersbe quips that the naive church member who foolishly declares...
We don’t want doctrine;
just give us helpful devotional thoughts!” does not not know what he
is saying. Apart from the truth (and this means Bible doctrine), there
can be no spiritual help or health. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
C. H. Spurgeon encourages believers to continually imbibe the
pure mild of the word, writing that...
It is blessed, to eat into the very soul of the Bible
until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your spirit
is flavored with the words of the Lord, so that your blood is Bibline
and the very essence of the Bible flows from you.
Let us partake of the beautiful
invitation Ps 34:8 "O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed
(fully satisfied independent of circumstances) is the man who takes
refuge in Him!" As we taste and see His goodness, this only serves to
whet our appetites for more of God's goodness as revealed in His Word.
And the more we taste God's goodness, the more tasteless, less
attractive and less satisfying the worldly options will become!
The pure milk of the Word - As discussed below the original
Greek (to logikon adolon gala) is a bit ambiguous and thus it
is rendered variously by the translators...
The spiritual milk which is without
guile (A T Robertson)
the pure spiritual milk (ESV)
the sincere milk of the word (KJV)
pure spiritual milk (NAB)
The Psalms speak of the purity of
The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a
furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The
commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
David spoke of the supremacy and
sufficiency of God's Word in Psalm 19...
7 The law of the LORD is perfect
(needing nothing for completeness),
restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The
commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Spurgeon's
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of
the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. (Spurgeon's
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. (Spurgeon's
In Proverbs we read...
Pr 30:5-6 Every word of God is
tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.:6 Do
not add to His words Lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar. (Bridges
The Puritan Thomas Watson
presents a pithy picture regarding spiritual nourishment...
What profit is it, to have the
Bible in our heads, but not in our hearts? It is better to
practice one truth, than to know all
The Lord gives us His precepts, as a physician gives the patient
his prescriptions—to take and apply. This is the end are all God's
institutes—that we may, by practice, apply them for the purging out of
sin and bringing the soul into a more holy temper.
God gives us His Word as the mother gives the child the breast—not
only to look upon, but to draw from. Many have gone to hell with the
breast in their mouths, because they have not drawn it, and turned the
milk of the Word into sacred nourishment. (from his sermon Comfort for
How do you "drink" the "pure
Read it - God communicates
with man through His living and abiding Word in the Bible. Listen to
it while you drive around (Mp3's, CD's) but better yet read it.
Remember to talk to Author before, during and after you've read His
personal love letter to you. Picture yourself as a newborn babe and
don't let anything keep you for your "feeding time"!
Study it - It's rational,
logical milk, so begin to hone the discipline of slowing down so that
you might truly observe (observation)
what God is saying (consider learning the powerful discipline of
inductive Bible study).
the Word so
that it becomes "portable" no matter where you are or what your
circumstances are. You will find that
in turn facilitates
on the Word.
Taste it - Steven Cole explains
tasting the Word this way...
The image of milk and of tasting
the Lord’s kindness brings up the fact that the Word is not just to
fill your head with knowledge. It is to fill your life with delight as
you get to know the Divine author and enjoy Him in all His
perfections. Taste points both to personal experience and enjoyment. I
can’t taste for you, nor you for me. We can only taste for ourselves.
To taste something, we’ve got to experience it up close. You can see
and hear and smell at a distance, but you can only taste something by
touching it to your tongue. You can only taste God’s Word by drawing
near to God and personally appropriating the riches of knowing Him.
Once you like the taste of something, you don’t just eat it to live;
you live to eat it. You want it as often as you can get it. God’s Word
is that way for all who have tasted His kindness.
To drink the milk of the Word is to
‘taste’ again and again what He is like, for in the hearing of
the Lord’s words believers experience the joy of personal fellowship
with the Lord Himself.
The Bible is literally God speaking
to you. It is God's instrument in salvation (1Peter
and God's instrument for growing mature Christians (1Peter 2:2).
It is the blueprint for the Christian.
The Scripture is both the breeder
and feeder of grace. How is the convert born, but by “the Word of
truth”? (James 1:18-note).
How doth he grow, but by “the sincere milk of the Word”? (1Peter 2:2)
God’s purpose and promises to man
are for the benefit not of the soul alone but of the soul and the
Nothing is more perilous than to be
weary of the Word of God. Thinking he knows enough, a person begins
little by little to despise the Word until he has lost Christ and the
John Henry Jowett...
“As newborn babes, long for the
spiritual milk.” [1Pe 2:2] Having tasted of the grace of the Lord, and
freeing yourselves from the embittering presence of sin, adopt an
exacting diet—“long for the spiritual milk which is without guile.”
Feed upon the loftiest ideals.
Suffer nothing of adulterating compromise to enter into your spiritual
food. Nourish yourselves upon aspirations undefiled. Do not let your
wine be mingled with water. Do not permit any dilution from the
suggestions of the world.
“Long for the spiritual milk which
is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation.” [1Pe 2:2]
It is the unadulterated food that ministers to growth. It is the high
ideal which lifts men to the heights. The loftiness of one’s aim
determines the degree of one’s growth. In these matters my spiritual
gravitation is governed by my personal aspirations, my spirit pursues
the path and gradient of my desires.
Here, then, is the threefold preparation of the individual for a
family life of intimate and fruitful fellowship—a personal experience
of grace, the expulsion from the life of all uncleanness, and the
adoption of a rigorous and uncompromising ideal. The whole preparatory
process is begun, continued, and ended in Christ. In Christ the
individual is lodged, and in His grace, which is all-sufficient, he
finds an abundant equipment for the spacious purpose of his perfected
of St. Peter)
Pure Milk - Recently it was
discovered that some milk producers in China had been diluting cow’s
milk and adding the industrial chemical Melamine. This chemical was
added because it artificially enhanced protein readings. Several
infants died and others became seriously ill. Such adulteration is not
new. Other countries have been adding Melamine to animal feed for at
least 40 years for the same purpose, resulting in the death of
Another kind of adulteration is when people add to God’s Word, “the
pure milk of the Word” as Peter described it (1Pe 2:2). The word pure
means “unadulterated” or “uncontaminated.” The early church had to
deal with those who considered circumcision necessary for salvation
(Acts 15:1). That idea was rejected because it was not in accordance
with the Word of God, which says that salvation is by grace alone.
Peter encouraged his brethren in the Lord: “Why do you test God by
putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples? . . . We believe that
through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved” (Acts
Examine carefully any teaching that asks you to do anything more than
what is in God’s Word. Otherwise it can be deadly to your spiritual
well-being. - C. P. Hia
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
The Lord has given man His Word,
His will He has made known;
Let man not try to change that Word
With words that are his own. —D. De Haan
God’s Word needs no additions or subtractions.
Frenchman Michel Lotito has an iron
gut. For some reason Lotito likes to eat metal. In the past
twenty-five years, says writer Rosie Mestel, Lotito has eaten eleven
bicycles, seven shopping carts, a metal coffin, a cash register, a
washing machine, a television, and 660 feet of fine chain. Lotito says
it wasn’t easy eating his first bicycle: “I started with the metal and
moved on to the tires,” he recalls. “It was really difficult to stay
that extra day to finish off the rubber. Metal’s tasteless, but rubber
is horrible.” Now Lotito swallows pieces of tire and frame together.
But none of that can compare with his biggest meal: a Cessna. That’s
right, Lotito has eaten an entire light airplane, 2,500 pounds of
aluminum, steel, vinyl, Plexiglas, and rubber. With a meal like that
he cuts the metal into pieces about the size of his fingernail and
consumes about two pounds a day. Most people would agree that Michel
Lotito has an unhealthy appetite.
When we first come to Christ, we
have appetites just as unhealthy. New believers need to change their
appetites from what is not food at all to what is true food for the
In the 1994 Winter Olympics, held
in Norway, twenty-three-year-old Tommy Moe of the United States won
the gold on the men’s downhill. It was “a beautifully controlled run,”
said William Oscar Johnson in Sports Illustrated, “on which he held
tucks and thrust his hands forward in perfect form at places where
others had stood up and flailed their arms.”
After his victory, Tommy Moe explained his thought processes. “I kept
it simple,” he said, “focused on skiing, not on winning, not on where
I’d place. I remembered to breathe—sometimes I don’t.” The winner of
the gold medal in the Olympics had to remember the most basic of
basics: breathing! He kept it simple. Likewise as we seek to have a
strong walk with God, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know where
we win or lose. Spiritual strength depends on the basics. We need to
make sure we’re breathing the things of the Spirit. (Larson, Craig
Brian - 750 engaging illustrations for preachers, teachers & writers)
Of the word
(spiritual, reasonable) (3050)
(logikos from logos = reason) describes that
which belongs to the reason or is agreeable with reason or thus is
reasonable or rational. Some lexicons define logikos as true to
BDAG says that logikos
was a favorite word with Greek philosophers as it referred to that
which had been carefully thought though.
TDNT adds that logikos
means belonging to speech (a sense that is foreign to the NT) or
belonging to reason.
The UBS Handbook Series
explains that logikos can be rendered in three ways:
(1) “Of the word” that is,
the word of God, or the Gospel, referred to in the previous section
(1Pe 1.23, 24, 25). Some scholars and translations opt for this alternative
(for example, Barclay “the pure milk that flows from the word of God”;
Kelly “the milk of the word”).
(2) “Rational,” which is the
common way the term is used in classical Greek literature,
particularly among the Stoic philosophers.
(3) “Spiritual.” Most
commentaries and translations follow this interpretation. The milk
spoken of is a figure referring not to physical milk which nourishes
the body, but spiritual milk, which is nourishment for one’s spiritual
existence. This is further explained in the last part of the verse:
the readers are to drink of this spiritual milk in order that they may
grow up and be saved (literally “grow up into salvation”). (The
United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series
verse literally reads the logical unadulterated (sincere,
pure) milk with no Greek word for "word". The context however
indicates that Peter is clearly referring to the Word of God as
A T Robertson writes that logikos is...
used here with allusion to
“the sincere milk of the word” (“the milk belonging to the word,”
either the milk which is the word or the milk contained in the word
(Word Pictures in the New Testament)
In the only other NT use of
logikos the NAS translates it as spiritual...
I urge you therefore, brethren, by
the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy
sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual (logikos)
service of worship. (Ro 12:1-note)
(Comment: If one takes the nuance of logikos as
"thoughtful", then the idea is that of "thoughtful service of
worship", which is not a bad interpretation given the tendency of many
churches to accentuate the experiential at the expense of the
thoughtful! In this regard it is interesting to note one of the Greek
sentences that uses logikos "the singing of hymns is the sacred
service of a human being, as a logikos [one endowed with
The literal translation of verse 2
is that we should long for “the pure, spiritual milk.” The word
“spiritual” also means “rational” (Greek = “logikos,” from “logos”).
The only other time it occurs in the Bible is in Romans 12:1, where
Paul says that presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice to God is
our “spiritual (or rational) service of worship.” He means that it is
a spiritual thing to do, since we don’t do it literally (as a burnt
offering), but rather spiritually by yielding ourselves to the will of
God. And, it is the reasonable thing to do in light of God’s great
mercies to us. Thus the term is purposefully ambiguous. Peter uses it
to show us that he’s not talking about literal mother’s milk, but
rather about the spiritual milk of the living and abiding Word of God
(1:23). This spiritual milk is rational--it is grasped with the mind.
Thus Christianity is essentially rational, but not rational in the
worldly sense, but rational in a spiritual sense. Human reason must be
subject to the written revelation God has given of Himself in the
Bible. But you cannot know God without using your mind, since He has
revealed Himself in the propositional revelation of the written Word.
Into the Word)
Rienecker has this note on milk
The many-breasted goddesses of the
heathen religions who were to sustain and nourish life were widespread
in the ancient world. The rabbis also compared the Law to milk" (New
Linguistic & Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament)
Irenaeus, an early
church father, wrote that heretics "mix chalk with the milk".
(= not pure).
Tertullian, another early
church father, said that...
"The Word is to be desired with
appetite as the cause of life,
to be swallowed in the hearing,
to be chewed as cud is by rumination with the understanding, and
to be digested by faith"
William Barclay explains
Logos is the Greek for word, and
logikos means belonging to
the word. This is the sense in which the Authorized Version takes the
word, and we think that it is entirely correct. Peter has just been
talking about the word of God which lives and abides for ever
(1Pe 1:23, 24, 25). It is the word of God which is in his mind; and we
think that what Peter means here is that the Christian must desire
with his whole heart the nourishment which comes from the word of God,
for by that nourishment he can thrive and grow up. In face of all the
evil of the heathen world the Christian must strengthen his soul and
his life with the pure food of the word of God (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press
An unknown writer listed
these seven rules for good health spiritually...
A person who is “born again” starts
a new life similar to that of a newborn infant. Seven rules that
promote good health in babies can be adapted and applied to a
Christian’s spiritual growth.
1. Daily Food. Take in the “pure milk of the word” through
study and meditation.
2. Fresh Air. Pray often or you will faint. Prayer is the
oxygen of the soul.
3. Regular Exercise. Put into practice what you learn in God’s
4. Adequate Rest. Rely on God at all times in simple faith.
5. Clean Surroundings. Avoid evil company and whatever will
weaken you spiritually.
6. Loving Care. Be part of a church where you will benefit from
a pastor’s teaching and Christian fellowship.
7. Periodic Checkups. Regularly examine your spiritual health.
Rules for "Good Health")
I like the old but venerable
commentator you may or may not be familiar with (but with whom I
encourage you to become familiar) Matthew Poole who wrote...
Pursuant to his discourse, 1Pe
1:23, where he speaks of their new birth, he here calls them
new-born babes; but that not in opposition to those that are
adult, or of full age, as Heb 5:14; 1Co 3:1, but in opposition to
their former corrupt and unregenerate state, in which they were
destitute of all spiritual life; and so this agrees, not only to young
converts, but generally to all regenerate persons.
Desire; being new-born babes, act as such in earnestly desiring
and longing for that spiritual nourishment, which is so needful for
you, even as children, as soon as they come into the world, are
lingering after the breast.
The sincere milk of the word: the Greek may be rendered (and is by
some) reasonable milk, viz. such as is for the soul, not for the body;
that whereby the mind is nourished and strengthened; or, wordy milk,
the substantive from which it is derived properly and first signifying
word, or speech, and being used for the word of God, Heb 4:12. But
this not being proper English, our translation renders it best, the
milk of the word, i.e. the word which is milk. The apostle uses an
adjective for a substantive, but that adjective doth not signify the
quality of the subject, milk, as the other, sincere, does, but the
subject of itself. The like phrase we have, 1Pe 3:7; Greek, female, or
wifeish, weaker vessel, which we turn by the substantive, wife, who is
said there to be the weaker vessel. So that the doctrine of the gospel
is here to be understood, as Isa 55:1, and believers are to be
nourished by the same word, as their food, by which, as the seed, they
are said to be begotten, 1Pe 1:23. This milk of the word is said to be
sincere, i.e. pure, without mixture or adulteration, not blended, or
diluted, (as vintners do by their wine, to whose practice Paul
alludes, when he speaks of men's corrupting the word, 2Co 2:17; 4:2),
with human fictions or traditions. Infants love the sweetness of their
mothers' milk, and desire it pure, as it is: believers should desire
the word pure, as it is in itself, not mixed with any thing that may
lessen its sweetness and hinder its efficacy.
That ye may grow thereby; that by the word, as your spiritual
nourishment, ye may grow more in spiritual life and strength, till ye
come to be perfect men, Eph 4:13. (Matthew Poole's Commentary on the
Steven Cole writes...
In his book,
A Quest for Godliness [Crossway
Books], subtitled “The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life,”
J. I. Packer reports that a
Puritan preacher named Laurence Chaderton once apologized to his
congregation for preaching for two hours. They responded, “For God’s
sake, sir, Go on, go on!” Ah! Every preacher’s dream! At 82, after
preaching for 50 years, Chaderton decided to retire. He received
letters from 40 clergy begging him not to, testifying that they owed
their conversion to his ministry of the Word (p. 57). Packer states
Puritanism was, above all else, a
Bible movement. To the Puritan the Bible was in truth the most
precious possession that this world affords. His deepest conviction
was that reverence for God means reverence for Scripture, and serving
God means obeying Scripture. To his mind, therefore, no greater insult
could be offered to the Creator than to neglect his written word; and,
conversely, there could be no truer act of
homage to him than to prize it and pore over it, and then to live
out and give out its teaching. Intense veneration for Scripture,
as the living word of the living God, and a devoted concern to
know and do all that it prescribes, was Puritanism’s hallmark.
...the Bible, if you take it
straight, tells you the honest truth about yourself. It exposes the
very thoughts and motives of your heart so that you have no where to
hide (He 4:12, 13-notes
It is not uncommon, after I preach, to have someone come up to me and
“Did anyone tell you about what I
went through this past week?”
When I assure them that no one told
me anything, they say,
“It seemed like you knew everything
and you were aiming that sermon directly at me.”
It isn’t me; it’s the Bible! We
tend to deceive and flatter ourselves. But the Word of God cuts
through the deception and lays out the honest truth so that we can
deal with our problems. I must warn you that there are legions of
so-called evangelical churches where the Word of God is being watered
down by upbeat preachers who want to be liked and who want to make
everybody feel good about themselves. But that’s like going to a
doctor who doesn’t talk about sickness, but who gives his patients
sugar-coated pills that make them feel good without dealing with the
root cause of their problems. As the Lord said to Jeremiah,
“They have healed the wound of My
people superficially” (Jer. 6:14).
declares that the root cause of our problems is our sin. By
confronting our sin and presenting God’s remedy for it, the Bible
brings lasting healing. So I try to preach the Bible in its pure, not
deceitful form, because then it confronts us with where our lives have
gone astray and shows us God’s way to get back on the path. (Getting
Into the Word)
Constant Companion - When my
wife and I are preparing for a trip, one of the first things we do is
get out the road atlas. We study it intensely to learn the best
routes, determine the number of miles we’ll have to travel, pick out
interesting places to visit, decide how far we can get in a day, and
estimate expenses. On the journey, the atlas is our constant
companion, and we consult it many times a day. We couldn’t get along
For Christians, the Bible is an atlas for their spiritual journey, but
it is much more. It is described as:
sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10-note;
a lamp (Psalm 119:105-note)
rain and snow (Isaiah 55:10,11)
a fire (Jeremiah 23:29)
a hammer (Jeremiah 23:29)
water (Ephesians 5:26-note)
a sword (Ephesians 6:17-note)
solid food (Hebrews 5:12-note,
a mirror (James 1:23-note)
milk (1Peter 2:2-note)
Like the highway traveler, we as
Christians are on a long and sometimes hazardous journey. We face many
decisions and will have many needs on our pilgrimage to paradise. The
Bible has been given to us to help us make those decisions and to meet
those needs. It should be our constant companion–studied diligently
and consulted often along the way. We can’t do without it. --
David C. Egner (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
I have a companion, a dear,
A union of blessing that never shall end;
Till Jesus returns with His saints from on high
We'll travel together, my Bible and I.
The Bible is like a compass—
it always points the believer in the right direction.
Grow, Baby, Grow! - Whenever
children visit relatives, they often hear this kind of greeting: “My,
haven’t you grown!” This embarrasses them, but inside they’re glad
they’ve outgrown babyhood. Not that babyhood is bad. How else can life
begin? But it is sad when babies remain babies.
Sometimes mature Christians, eager to keep new converts from
stagnating in their growth, make them feel guilty for being babies and
rush them down the road to maturity before they are ready.
In 1 Peter 2, the apostle affirmed that spiritual babyhood is normal.
Instead of forcing newborns to run before they can walk, he encouraged
them to crave the wholesome milk of Christ’s basic teaching. He knew
that as they continued to take in milk, in time they would move on to
solid food and maturity (Heb 5:14-note).
What a joy to see that happen!
Several years ago I received a phone call from a friend, a former drug
addict and now a Christian. “Hi, Chris,” I responded cheerily. “How
are you doing?” A long, worrisome pause made me wonder, Had he slipped
back? Then came words that uplifted my heart: “Growing, Joanie,
growing!” That said it all. I hope you can say the same. - Joanie
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
O to be like Thee! O to be like
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art!
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
The Christian life is more like
climbing a mountain
than riding an elevator.
Like newly-born children
(babes at the breast)—either an indication that this part of the
homily had been originally addressed to the newly-baptized, or a
reminder that, however experienced, they were not beyond the need of
simple spiritual nourishment for the regenerate life, that they might
grow up to salvation (the other side of 1Pe 1:5). This is a striking
and original expression; the present attitude of Christians is more
than mere waiting for the imminent salvation (1Pe 1:9), it is an
active faith and love for the Lord which here and now brings them into
vital contact with him. Thirst for (as the one food you appreciate)
the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, i.e. for what faith receives
from the living Lord. Peter does not contrast milk with solid food, as
Paul had done in 1 Corinthians iii. 2 (see Hebrews 5:12, 13, 14); he
describes it as spiritual, using, like Paul (in Romans 12:1), a Greek
term, logikon, which in contemporary religious language had acquired
this sense. The mistaken idea that there was a play on the resemblance
between it and logos (Word) led to the rendering ‘milk of the Word,’
as though Christ were the content of Scripture or the Word. By a
quaint custom in the later church the newly-baptized were sometimes
given milk and honey as a symbol of their birth into God’s household—a
practice for which there was apparently a precedent in the cults; the
initiated in some Phrygian rites received milk, to symbolize their new
birth to life eternal. The prevalence of such rites would lend point
to Peter’s figure. But what is in his mind is 3 a reminiscence of
on The Milk of the Word...
Beloved young Christians, hear what
your Father has to say in this word. You have just recently given
yourselves to the Lord and have believed that He has received you. You
have received the new life from God. You are now as newborn infants.
He will teach you in this word what is necessary so that you may grow
The first point is: you must know that you are God's children.
how distinctly Peter says this to those just converted: "You have been
born again," "you are newborn infants," "you are now converted," "you
are now the people of God." (1Pe 1:23; 2:2,10,25) A Christian, however
young and weak, must know that he is God's child. Only then can he
have the courage to believe that he will make progress and the
boldness to use the food provided in the Word. All Scripture teaches
us that we must know and can know that we are children of God. (Ro
8:16; 1Cor. 3:1,16; Gal 4:6,7; 1John 3:2,14,24; 4:13; 5:10,13) The
assurance of faith is indispensable for a healthy, powerful growth in
the Lord. (Ep 5:8; Col. 2:6; 1Pe 1:14,18,19)
The second point which this word teaches you is: you are still very
weak, weak as newborn children.
The joy and love which a new convert
sometimes experiences do indeed make him think that he is very strong.
He runs the risk of exalting himself and of trusting in what he
experiences. He should nevertheless learn much about how he should
become strong in his Lord Jesus. Endeavor to deeply feel that you are
still young and weak. (1Co 3:1,13; He 5:13,14) Out of this sense of
weakness comes the humility which has nothing in itself. (Mt. 5:3; Ro
12:3,10; Ep 4:2; Php 2:3,4; Col. 3:12; 4:14; 1Th 4:1; 2Pe 3:18) It
therefore expects all from its Lord. (Mt 8:8,15,27,28)
The third lesson is: the young Christian must not remain weak.
make progress and become strong. He must grow and increase in grace.
God lays it upon us as a command. Concerning this point, His Word
gives us the most glorious promises. It lies in the nature of the
thing--a child of God must and can make progress. The new life is a
life that is healthy and strong. When a disciple surrenders himself to
it, the growth certainly follows. (Jdg 5:31; Ps 84:7; 92:13,14; Pr
4:18; Is40:31; Ep 4:14; 1Th 4:1; 2Pe 3:18)
The fourth and principal lesson, the lesson which young disciples of
Christ have the most need of, is: it is through the milk of the Word
that God's newborn infants can grow.
The new life from the Spirit of
God can be sustained only by the Word of God. Your life, my young
brothers and sisters, will largely depend on whether you learn to deal
wisely and well with God's Word, whether you learn to use the Word
from the beginning as your milk. (Ps 19:8,11; 119:97,100; Is 55:2,3;
See what a charming parable the Lord has given us here in the mother's
milk. Out of her own life does the mother give food and life to her
child. The feeding of the child is the work of the tenderest love. The
child is pressed to the breast and is held in the closest fellowship
with the mother. The milk is just what the weak child requires,
food--gentle and yet strong.
Even so, the very life and power of God is found in His Word. (Jn
6:63; 1Th 2:13; He 4:12) Through the Word, His tender love will
receive us into the gentlest and most intimate fellowship with
Himself. (Jn 10:4) From the Word, His love will give us what is needed
for our weakness. Let no one suppose that the Word is too high or too
hard for him. For the disciple who receives the Word and trustfully
relies on Jesus to teach him by the Spirit, the Word of God will prove
to be as gentle, sweet milk for newborn infants. (Ps 119:18; Jn 14:26;
Dear young Christians, would you continue standing, would you become
strong, would you always live for the Lord? Then hear this day the
voice of your Father-"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the
Word." Receive this Word into your heart and hold it firmly as the
voice of your Father. Your spiritual life will depend on your use of
the Word of God. Let the Word of God be precious to you above
everything. (Ps 119:14,47,48,111,127)
Above all, do not forget, the Word is the milk. The sucking or
drinking on the part of the little child is the inner, living, blessed
fellowship with the mother's love. Through the Holy Spirit, your use
of the milk of the Word can become warm, living fellowship with the
living love of your God. Long very eagerly for the milk. Do not
consider the Word something hard and troublesome to understand-in that
way you lose all delight in it. Receive it with trust in the love of
the living God. With a tender motherly love, the Spirit of God will
teach and help you in your weakness. Always believe that the Spirit
will make the Word in you life and joy-a blessed fellowship with your
Precious Savior, You have taught me to believe Your Word, and You
have made me a child of God by that faith. Through that Word, as the
milk of the newborn babes, You will also feed me. Lord, for this milk
I will be very eager. I will long after it everyday. Teach me,
through the Holy Spirit and the Word to walk and converse everyday in
living fellowship with the love of the Father. Teach me to always
believe that the Spirit has been given to me with the Word. Amen.
1. What texts do you consider the best for proving that the Scriptures
teach us that we must know we are children of God?
2. What are the three points in which the sucking child is to us an
example of the young child in Christ in his dealing with the Word?
3. What must the young Christian do when he has little blessing in the
reading of God's Word? He must set himself down through faith in
fellowship with Jesus Himself and believe that Jesus will teach him
through the Spirit, and so trustfully continue in the reading. (Ed:
I would add he should take personal inventory of the list of sins in
confess and repent of any that are identified by the searching light
of the Spirit.)
4. One verse chosen to meet our needs, read ten times and then laid up
in the heart, is better than ten verses read once. Only as much of the
Word as I actually receive and inwardly appropriate for myself is food
for my soul. (Ed: Beloved, have you not had this experience?
You read a chapter in the morning and by noon you can't even remember
what book you read it in! See related topics -
Memorizing His Word;
Memory Verses by Topic,
Primer on Biblical Meditation)
5. Choose for yourselves what you consider one of the most glorious
promises about making progress and becoming strong, and learn it by
heart. Repeat it continually as the language of your positive
6. Have you learned to understand well what the great means for growth
in grace is? (From Andrew Murray's book for new Christians -
The New Life)
IN ORDER THAT BY IT YOU MAY GROW
IN RESPECT TO SALVATION: hina en auto auxethete (2PAPS) eis soterian: (2Sa
23:5; Job 17:9; Pr 4:18; Ho 6:3; 14:5,7; Mal 4:2; Eph 2:21; 4:15;
2Thes 1:3; 2Pe 3:18)
When a man is ill, he often loses
his taste. The most delicious food is nauseous to him. His "soul abhors all manner of meat" (Ps 107:18). But such is the flavor of
the truth that the Lord is gracious, that it is more pleasant to us
when we are sick than at any other time. The love of Christ is a
delicious refreshment for a sufferer.
(hina) is a purpose clause. Whenever you encounter a purpose
clause (identified by "in order that", "so
that" [991x in NAS95], "for the purpose
that") consider the "5P's" (Pause to Ponder
the Passage then Practice it in the Power of the
Hina means "to the end
that." As we observe it, we will find ourselves naturally re-reading
the previous section (context). Questions we can ask include "What is
the purpose?", "How do we achieve this purpose?", "What has to happen
for this purpose to become a reality?", etc.
Peter is explaining
the purpose of intake of pure milk, with the implication that we should make
sure it is indeed pure! The fulfillment of the purpose is critically
dependent on the purity of the product, so to speak!. In short,
the aim of the desire for God’s pure spiritual milk is growth in
In summary, Peter's conclusion is simple - Just
as babies grow best on pure milk, so too believers grow best on the
pure milk of the Word of God. Believers never reach a place in this
life where they stop needing pure milk.
We are said to be born again unto
salvation (1Pe 1:3, 5, 9) and in this passage, to grow unto salvation.
Peter had in view Ps 34 which in the ninth verse (Ps 34:9), in the
words following those used by Peter, offers salvation "O taste and see
that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."
Fuller and happier experiences follow the first tastes of God's
goodness. (Amen!) (The
critical English Testament being an adapt...)
Robert Leighton says that we
Crave the Word not
just to hear it, but to grow from hearing
it. The ear is the mouth of the mind, but meat that goes no further
than the mouth does not nourish. To desire the Word in order to
increase in knowledge, while necessary and commendable, is not the
true reason for listening to the Word. As the Word is the means for
beginning the Christian life, so it is also the means for continuing
the Christian life.
First, this will happen if
we consider the nature of the Word in general, that it
is spiritual and divine. The Gospel is called “light,” and God’s
children are also called “light.” They are transformed by the Gospel
and thus become even more enlightened the more they hear it, and so
Second, if we look more
particularly at the nature of the Word, it will be seen that it
is most fit for increasing the graces of the Spirit (Ed:
Cp Heb 10:29b-note)
in a Christian, for there are truths in it that apply to them and
through which they grow.
It fans “into flame the
gift of God” (2Ti 1:6-note).
It does this by particular exhortations regarding the study and
exercise of those graces, sometimes emphasizing one and sometimes
The Word feeds faith by
setting before it the free grace of God, His rich promises, and His
power to carry them all out. The Word shows the strength of the New
Covenant, so that “through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the
glory of God” (2Corinthians 1:20).
The Word feeds repentance by
making the vileness and deformity of sin daily more clear and visible.
The Word increases our love for
God by opening up more and more of His infinite excellency and
loveliness to us.
The Word brings Jesus Christ
into our view, not only as the perfect pattern, but as the
fountain of all grace. As we contemplate Him as God’s perfect image,
the soul sees Him more clearly and can grow spiritually.....
As far as spiritual growth is
concerned, remember that it is not observable in people while they are
growing, but only after they have grown. It may appear that you are
not growing in grace, but if you grow more in self-denial and are
humble about your slow growth, all is not lost. While the branches may
not be shooting up as fast as you would wish, yet if the root grows
deeper, that will be useful for future growth. The person who is still
learning to be more in Jesus Christ and less in himself, and is
seeking all his dependence and comfort in him, is doubtless a growing
Many people wrongly conclude they
are growing just because they are acquiring more knowledge. But the
natural man is incapable of spiritual growth, for he is dead and does
not have any of the new life to which this growth relates. Remember,
Herod “liked to listen” to John (Mark 6:20).
Consider, then, what true delight
we might have in this. You find it a pleasure to see your children
growing as they begin to stand and walk. But for the soul to be in the
process of becoming more like God is a pleasure beyond all other
pleasures. To find pride, earthliness, and vanity abating, and faith,
love, and spiritual-mindedness increasing is the greatest delight. “You
have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in
your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm
(1 Peter 2:1,2 Commentary-in depth)
means to cause to increase, to become greater in extent, size, state,
or quality, (like a plant or a tree [or follower of Christ] would
increase in size, stature, beauty, fruitfulness, etc). Figuratively,
auxano describes the supernatural effect of the Gospel of grace (1Cor
something to grow, it must be acted upon by an outside power and/or have
the element of life within. In the spiritual realm, this growth is in
a sense "synergistic" - that is to say believers must fulfill their
responsibility to take in the Word of truth (James 1:18-note)
that they might "be energized" in their spiritual life (Mt 4:4). As we
take in the living and active Word (Heb 4:12-note),
God's Spirit uses that nourishing supernatural source to
supernaturally grow us into the likeness of God's Son, Jesus Christ.
To reiterate, no intake of spiritual food equates with no spiritual
There is much published in America regarding how to "grow"
one's church, but the focus is primarily on methods for
increasing church membership. What Peter
is addressing is the growth in grace and knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18-note) that should be occurring in those believers who
are already in the church.
Auxano - 23x/23v in NAS -
Matt 6:28; 13:32; Mark 4:8; Luke 1:80; 2:40; 12:27; 13:19; John 3:30;
Acts 6:7; 7:17; 12:24; 19:20; 1 Cor 3:6f; 2 Cor 9:10; 10:15; Eph 2:21;
4:15; Col 1:6, 10; 2:19; 1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 3:18. NAS =
causes the growth(1), causing the growth(1), full grown(1), grew(1),
grow(8), growing(2), grows(2), increase(2), increased(2),
In Acts 6:7 Luke records that the church
in Jerusalem had leaders who were devoted to prayer and the ministry
of the Word (Acts 6:4), with the result that...
the Word of God kept on
- growing); and the number of the disciples
continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the
priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
This passage teaches that as we
are faithful to the Master's Plan to
(Mt 28:18, 19, 20) "church growth"
will take care of itself and it will be a church no longer filled with
spiritual babies (See 1Cor 3:1-3, Heb 5:12-14-note) but with mature
who are trained to fight
the good fight of faith (1Ti 6:12-note).
See the same figure of speech (metaphorical
in Colossians 2:19-note
where the entire body grows
with a growth which is from God".
Similarly, in Ephesians 4:15-note
Paul instructs us to be "speaking the truth [The "pure milk of
in love, we are to grow up [auxano]
in all aspects into Him, Who is the head, even Christ."
or just growing old?
Appetite for the Word needs to be developed and part of the
development process involves putting off the old habits, sins, etc
(See 1Peter 2:1-note).
When you say
"I'm not getting much out of the Bible"
This says more about you than it does about the Bible!
Beloved, if you desire to be a growing, healthy Christian, don't treat
the Bible as snack food. A
Chinese proverb says “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only
of standing still” which is the tragic plight of many who profess to
be Christians and yet never take time to open God's Word!
As someone has said "Just as you can’t be standing still
you should never think that you have “arrived’ in your growth! – For
“as long as you're green, you're growing. As soon as you're ripe, you
start to rot.”
second epistle Peter commands his readers to...
continually, not an arrival on this earth but a process, glorification
is the arrival in eternity future) in the grace and knowledge of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the
day of eternity. Amen. (2Pe 3:18-note)
You may be asking "So how can
I measure my growth in Christ likeness?" There are many ways one could
answer this question but one way to measure your growth in grace is by
your sensitiveness to sin.
Christian author Jerry Bridges spoke to our need to continually
grow in grace and knowledge of Christ when he said that....
It is impossible to practice godliness
without a constant, consistent and balanced intake of the Word of God in
Vance Havner understood this
truth about the power of the Word and it's relation to spiritual
growth, explaining that...
The storehouse of God’s Word was never meant for mere scrutiny, not
even primarily for study but for sustenance. It is not simply a
collection of fine proverbs and noble teachings for men to admire and
quote as they might Shakespeare. It is ration for the soul, resources
of and for the spirit, treasure for the inner man. Its goods exhibited
upon every page are ours, and we have no business merely moving
respectfully amongst them and coming away none the richer.
A. H. Strong (of Strong's numbers fame) wrote that...
A student asked the President of his school whether he could not take
a shorter course than the one prescribed. ‘Oh yes,’ replied the
President, ‘but then it depends upon what you want to be. When God
wants to make an oak, He takes a hundred years, but when He wants to
make a squash, He takes six months.’”
Strong also wisely points out to us that “growth is not a uniform
thing in the tree or in the Christian. In some single months there is
more growth than in all the year besides. During the rest of the year,
however, there is solidification, without which the green timber would
be useless. The period of rapid growth, when woody fiber is actually
deposited between the bark and the trunk, occupies but four to six
weeks in May, June and July.”—there are no shortcuts to reality! A
meteor is on a shortcut as it proceeds to burn out, but not a star,
with its steady light so often depended on by navigators. To taste of
the grace of God is one thing; to be established in it and manifest it
in character, habit, and regular life, is another.
Experiences and blessings, though real gracious visitations from the
Lord, are not sufficient to rest upon, nor should they lead us to
glory in ourselves, as if we had a store of grace for time to come, or
were yet at the end of the conflict. No. Fruit ripens slowly; days of
sunshine and days of storm each add their share. Blessing will succeed
blessing, and storm follow storm before the fruit is full grown or
comes to maturity.”.
Consider some familiar names of believers whom God obviously brought
to maturity and used for His glory—such as Pierson, Chapman, Moody,
Goforth, Mueller, Taylor, Watt, Trumbull, Meyer, Murray, Havergal,
Gordon, Hyde, McCheyne, McConkey, Paxson, Carmichael and Hopkins.
The average for these was 15 years after they entered their life work
before they began to know the Lord Jesus as their Life and ceased
trying to work for Him and began allowing Him to be their All in all
and do His work through them.
As Horatius Bonar once
We must study the Bible more. We
must not only lay it up within us, but transfuse it through the whole
texture of the soul.
The Word of God is our spiritual
food: milk (1Peter 2:2), bread (Mt 4:4), meat (Heb 5:11-14), and even
honey (Ps. 119:103). Just as the physical man needs a balanced diet if
his body is to be healthy, so the inner man needs a balanced diet of
spiritual food. The baby begins with milk, but as he grows and his
teeth develop, he needs solid food. It is not difficult to determine a
believer’s spiritual maturity, or immaturity, if you discover what
kind of “diet” he enjoys. The immature believer knows little about the
present ministry of Christ in heaven. He knows the facts about our
Lord’s life and ministry on earth, but not the truths about His
present ministry in heaven. He lives on “Bible stories” and not Bible
doctrines. He has no understanding of 1Corinthians 2:6, 7.
sozo= to save, to deliver, to
rescue from danger or destruction or from injury or peril, keep safe
describes a condition of safety, deliverance, preservation from danger
Christians are those who are being saved (present tense
salvation = sanctification), those who
have been saved (past tense salvation) and will be saved (future tense salvation =
glorification 1Pet 1:5). (See discussion of the
Tenses of Salvation)
We need to be "saved" every day of
our life on earth, and every word that proceeds from the mouth of God
provides the daily bread necessary to fight this life long battle with
our mortal, indefatigable enemies, our fallen flesh, the evil world
system and the Evil One himself (and his minions).
Henry Alford explains the
salvation to which Peter refers...
The end to which growth leads is
perfected salvation. “Growth is the measure of the fulness of that,
not only rescue from destruction, but positive blessedness, which is
implied in salvation
John Bunyan spoke of our
need for daily milk (bread) when he said that...
Sin will keep you from this book,
or this book will keep you from sin.
You and I need bread for the body
(Mt 6:11), but we must not live by physical bread alone. We also need
food for the inner person to satisfy our spiritual needs. This food is
the Word of God (Ps 119:103; Jer 15:16; 1Pe 2:2). What digestion is to
the body, meditation is to the soul As we read the Word and meditate
on it, we receive spiritual health and strength for the inner person,
and this enables us to obey the will of God.
Spiritual Famine - In the
novel No Blade of Grass, a destructive virus attacks the grasses of
the world. Not just the grass in lawns but all grasses, including
wheat, barley, rye, oats, and rice. In a matter of months, the world
is plunged into famine and its brutal companion, violence. People
begin by fighting, then killing, for food.
The novel depicts a scene that has been lived out in the real world in
recent famines and is terrifying when seen on TV news networks. Yet I
can only imagine what it’s like.
The prophet Amos spoke of a different kind of famine. He called it a
famine of “hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). While a lack of food
can lead to disease and death, a famine of the Word can produce
eternal consequences. Without access to God’s Word, we lack wisdom for
life and the message of eternal life in Christ. As Christians, we need
“the pure milk of the Word, that [we] may grow thereby” (1Peter 2:2).
We can identify with the prophet when he said, “Your words were found,
and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my
heart” (Jer. 15:16).
The world is starving for the knowledge of the God who can satisfy the
needs of the human heart. Let’s help fill their hearts by sharing His
Word. --Bill Crowder
Give us, O Lord, a strong desire
To look in Your Word each day;
Help us to hide its truths in our heart,
Lest from His path our feet would stray.
Without a heart for God,
we cannot hear His Word.
Word Hunger - I had just
completed a night of Bible conference ministry in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia, and was chatting with some of the people who had attended.
At the end of the line was a young man in his twenties. He shared with
me that he had been a Christ-follower for only about 4 months, and he
was eager to learn more of the teachings of the Bible. I referred him
to the RBC Web site with the Discovery Series topics as one possible
resource for his personal study.
The next night the young man returned to the conference and shared
that he had stayed up until 3:30 reading and processing the biblical
truths he discovered in that online resource. With a big smile on his
face, he declared that he just couldn’t get enough of God’s Word (1Peter 2:2).
What spiritual hunger! That excited young man is a reminder to us of
the wonder of the Bible and its heart-enriching truths. It’s all too
easy for us to ignore God’s Book in a world filled with voices
screaming for our attention. But only in the Bible can we find God’s
wisdom for our struggles, God’s answers for our questions, and God’s
truths for our understanding. These truths are worth hungering for.
For Further Study - If you’re interested in digging deeper into the Bible, review the
Discovery Series at www.discoveryseries.org. You’ll find more than 150
Study the Bible to be wise;
Believe it to be safe;
Practice it to be
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ILLUSTRATIONS OF BIBLE TRUTH
by Harry A. Ironside - MILK YOUR OWN COW
"As newborn babes, desire the
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Pet. 2:2)
Patrick was an Irish Catholic, who for years had longed for the
assurance of peace with GOD. A visiting tourist, who fell in
conversation with him, left him a copy of the New Testament. Through
reading this, Pat was brought to a saving knowledge of the LORD JESUS
CHRIST, and from that time on, read and studied his Testament with
eagerness, ever seeking a deeper knowledge of the things of GOD.
The parish priest, who had missed him from the regular services,
called on him and found him deep in the study of the Word.
"Pat," he asked, "what is that book you are reading?"
"Sure, your riverence," was the reply, "it's the New Testament."
In horrified accents the priest exclaimed, "The New Testament! Why,
Pat, that's not a book for the likes of you. You'll be getting all
kings of wild notions from reading it and will be funning off into
"But, your reverence," remonstrated Pat, "I have just been reading
here -- it's the blessed apostle Peter himself that wrote it -- 'As
newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow
thereby,' and sure it's a newborn babe in CHRIST I am and it's the
milk of the Word I'm after. So I can't see the harm of reading the
"Ah," said the priest, "It's perfect true, Patrick, that you need the
milk of the Word, but the Almighty has appointed the clergy to be the
milkmen. The clergy go to the college and the seminary and learn the
meaning of the Word and then when the people come to the church we
give it to them as they are able to bear it, and explain it in a way
that they won't misunderstand."
"Well, sure, your reverence," said Pat, "you know I
kept a cow of me
own out there in the barn, and when I was sick, sometime ago, I had to
hire a man to milk the cow and I soon found he was stealin' half the
milk and fillin' the bucket up with water, and sure it was awful weak
milk I was gettin'.
But now that I am well again I let him go and
I am milkin' my own cow, and so it's the rich cream I am gettin' and
not watered down milk. And your riverence, when I was dependin' on you for the milk of
the Word, sure it was the blue, watery stuff you were given' me. But
now I am milkin' me own cow and enjoyin' the cream of the Word all the
We may well emulate Patrick and each for himself milk his own cow and
thus get GOD's Word firsthand as He opens it by the HOLY SPIRIT.
(See the best Bible Study method for "milking your own cow" so to
Inductive Bible study)
Beloved are you milking your own
cow? Have you read the Word of God today? Or have you instead read
someone's devotional on the Word? There is nothing like milking the
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Open Wide - Early in the
spring, my wife and I watched a fascinating bird show outside our
kitchen window. A couple of blackbirds with straw in their beaks
entered a small vent in the house next door. A couple of weeks later,
to our delight, we saw four baby birds stick their heads out of the
vent. Mom and Dad took turns feeding their hungry babies.
Seeing the babies’ wide-open mouths reminded me of how important it is
for followers of Christ to eagerly desire spiritual food. In 1 Peter
2:2, the apostle Peter uses the analogy of babies longing to be fed:
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow
thereby.” The Greek word translated “desire” speaks of an intense
yearning. It is a compound word meaning to “earnestly desire” or to
It might seem strange to be commanded to earnestly long for something.
But unlike hungry birds and babies, we need to be reminded of our need
for spiritual nourishment. Even though we may have fed on the Word in
the past (v.3), we need to realize that our need is ongoing and that
without more nourishment we will grow spiritually weak. God is eager
to feed His dear children. So, open wide! (Our
My hunger for the truth He
Upon the Word, the Living Bread, I feed:
No parching thirst I know, because His grace,
A pool of endless depth, supplies my need.
Neglecting the Word will famish your soul;
meditating on the Word will feed it.
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Are You Starving...Spiritually
Speaking? - Many of us live in countries where food is abundant and people are
well-fed. That's why we may not be familiar with the symptoms of
starvation. At the outset, victims have an insatiable craving for
nourishment. As time passes, however, the body weakens, the mind is
dulled, and the desire for something to eat wanes. In fact, starving
people actually reach a point when they don't even want food that is
placed before them. Spiritual starvation follows much the same course.
If we have been feeding daily on God's Word, it's natural to feel
"hungry" when we skip our quiet time. But if we continue to neglect
it, we may lose all desire to study the Scriptures. In fact, we may be
starving ourselves. How much time do you spend reading the Bible and
meditating on its truths? Do you miss the Word when you neglect it?
Thomas Guthrie wrote,
If you find yourself loving any pleasure better
than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any persons better
than Christ, or any indulgence better than the hope of heaven--take
If you've lost your taste for the "bread of life," confess
your negligence and ask God to revive your appetite for His Word.
Avoid spiritual starvation! --Richard W De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word.
is a sign of a well-fed soul
How To Live For God - Have
you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? Are your sins forgiven? Does
God’s Spirit bear witness with your spirit that you have passed from
death unto life (Ro 8:16)? Have you been born again, and do you really
want to live for God? If so, there are five things I would ask you to
First, be sure of your own
How can you know you are saved? By God’s Word. The blood makes you
safe, and the Word makes you sure. “These things have I written unto
you...that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life (1 John 5:13). “Him
that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Have you
come to Him? Then where are you, out or in? He says He won’t cast you
out. Then He must have taken you in. You see, it depends on God’s Word
not on your feelings. Believe what God says.
Second, take a public stand for
Don’t try to be a secret believer, for it won’t work. Confess
Christ at every opportunity. “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of
me and of my words...of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed”
(Mark 8:38). If you want to grow rapidly, confess Him openly.
Third, turn from all you know to
He gives you a new nature, a nature that loves righteousness and
hates iniquity. You can now overcome. “Sin shall not have dominion
over you” (Rom. 6:14). But you must choose righteousness and forsake
sin. Turn your back on it. Put it away. “Let not sin therefore reign
in your mortal body” (Rom. 6:12). Come clean. Be through with sin.
Fourth, spend much time in Bible
study and prayer.
The more you read the
Bible the more you will want to read it. If you want to grow in grace,
meet God every day. Have a place and time for prayer and Bible study.
Be a Bible Christian. Never let a day pass without spending time alone
with God. “As newborn
babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”
(1 Peter 2:2).
Fifth, keep busy in God’s
Satan always finds mischief for idle hands to do. Therefore find
something to do. Give out gospel tracts. Get into a soul-winning
church. Sing in the choir. Help in the young people’s work. Attend the
prayer meeting. Put first things first. God to church where people are
being converted and where the message is, “Ye must be born again.” If
you follow these simple steps, you will be a bright and happy
Christian, God will use you in His service, and you will be a blessing
wherever you go. - Oswald J. Smith
In his conclusion of his excellent
message on this section of Peter, Pastor Steven Cole has the
J. I. Packer (A Quest for
Godliness, pp. 47-48, 97-98) tells of a Puritan preacher in the 1620’s
named John Rogers who bore down on his 500 hearers for neglecting the
Bible. First he personated God to the people, telling them, “I have
trusted you so long with my Bible ... it lies in such and such houses
all covered with dust and cobwebs; you care not to listen to it. Do
you use my Bible so? Well, you shall have my Bible no longer.” And he
took the Bible from the pulpit and seemed as if he were going to carry
it away from them.
But then he spun around and
personated the people to God. He fell on his knees and pleaded
earnestly, “Lord, whatever you do to us, take not your Bible from us.
Kill our children, burn our houses, destroy our goods, only spare us
your Bible! Don’t take away your Bible!”
Then he personated God again to the
people: “Say you so? Well I will try you a while longer; and here is
my Bible for you. I will see how you will use it, whether you will
love it more, observe it more, practice it more, and live more
according to it.”
At this point, according to Thomas
Goodwin, who was there and who later became a powerful preacher in his
own right, the entire congregation dissolved in tears. Goodwin
himself, when he got outside, hung on the neck of his horse weeping
for a quarter of an hour before he had the strength to mount, so
powerful an impression was upon him.
If you don’t have a craving for
God’s Word, there could be several reasons. Maybe you’ve never tasted
the Lord’s kindness in salvation. You need to believe that He died for
your sins and that He offers His salvation to you as a free gift. Take
it! And start feeding on the Bible. You may not have a craving for
God’s Word because of sin in your life. Someone has said that God’s
Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from God’s Word.
Confess and forsake it! And get back into the Bible.
You may have ruined your appetite
by feeding on the junk food of this world. “Hunger makes a good cook,”
as the saying goes. If you don’t sense your great need for God and His
Word, it may be because you’ve filled up on junk like television. Shut
it off! Or, maybe you’ve been filling up on the junk food being sold
at Christian book stores under the label of Christian, but which
waters down the pure Word of God with modern man’s wisdom. Such junk
food makes you feel full, but it doesn’t nourish the soul. Don’t waste
your time reading it! There are some excellent Christian books that
will help you to understand and apply God’s truth. They’re well worth
reading. But above all else, read your Bible! Hunger for God’s truth.
Drink it in like a nursing infant. You’ve got to have it above all
else if you want to grow in your salvation.
1. How can a person know if a
preacher is giving out pure or watered down milk?
2. Must every Christian become a student of the Word in order to grow?
What if a person just isn’t a reader?
3. How can these relational sins (2:1) hinder desire for God’s Word?
4. Should we read the Word only when we’re motivated or even when we
don’t feel like it? Why? (Getting
Into the Word)
(Copyright 1992, Steven J. Cole, All Rights Reserved)