The Word As Milk
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Because Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4 KJV), it behooves us Christians to continually be in the word of God. But because most of us tend at times to neglect our Bible reading and meditation, it is good to remind ourselves frequently of the life-giving nature of God's word. Peter gives us a wonderful passage to help us do just that:

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby, if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious (I Peter 2:1-3 KJV).

Peter is probably not addressing new converts. Rather he is exhorting all Christians, in their relationship to God's word, to be just like babies are in their relationship to milk. Babies desire milk. "Desire" (#1971--epipotheo) means to long for, yearn for, pursue with love, intensely crave possession of. Babies instinctively recognize and are motivated to get milk. So we also ought to be toward the word of God.

Milk nourishes babies, sustains their life, and supplies what they need to grow. To hear and receive God's word is to get and drink milk (see Isaiah 55:1-3). When Peter speaks of the milk of the word, he is not referring to the elementary truths versus the more advanced ones elsewhere called meat or solid food (I Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:12-13, but he is contrasting the "sincere" milk (#97--adolos; pure, unmixed, unadulterated) to the guile and hypocrisies referenced in the previous verse (I Peter 2:1). Thus by "milk" he means all the truth of God's word which the Holy Spirit would open to us as we read and meditate.

If we long for the word like babies long for milk, and take it in, and let it work within us, we will "grow" (#837--auxano; to grow, increase, become greater, of plants, infants, and inward Christian growth). This word was applied to John the Baptist (Luke 1:80) and to Jesus (Luke 2:40), who both "grew and waxed strong." We are to "consider the lilies of the field, how they grow" (Matthew 6:28 KJV). Consequently, God assures us that we will grow as Christians if we take His word into us. Thus Peter exhorts us to "beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen" (II Peter 3:17-18 KJV).

Peter says we are to desire the word "if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." Psalm 34:8 says, "O taste and see that the Lord is good." We who have been born again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3) have certainly tasted God's gracious goodness. May our appetites be whetted daily to drink again and again of God's life-giving Word.

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