“as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3).
This passage offers the first of several analogies (or comparisons) that appear here in 1 Peter chapter two. The first of these analogies serves to encourage us to develop an appetite for the Word of God. Just as milk is essential to the growth and development of an infant, the consumption of God’s Word is essential in nourishing our spiritual development.
However, we should also note the reference to purity within this passage. Milk that is tainted or diluted cannot nourish us properly. In the same way, we should recognize that books, videos, or messages pertaining to spiritual matters should never serve as a substitute for God’s Word, no matter how helpful they seem.
This offers several important considerations for today. For instance…
- Spiritual messages that consistently revolve around the speaker’s subject of interest cannot (and should not) substitute for the verse-by-verse study of God’s Word.
- A ministry that specializes in a specific area of Biblical doctrine should not regard their area of expertise as the only valid measure of legitimate spiritual belief. Such expertise does not negate the validity of other Biblically-grounded perspectives.
- A book, video, or spiritual message that simply purports to help us live happier or more successful lives may fail to represent the “…pure milk of the word” as quoted above.
These considerations should lead us to ask some important questions:
- Do we spend more time engaging with books, videos, or messages that explore various spiritual themes rather than the Bible itself?
- Do our devotional readings primarily consist of topical messages that are supplemented with a small selection of Bible verses?
- Are the sermons at my place of worship devoid of Biblical content, or feature minimal references to the Scriptures?
Devotional studies and the acquisition of spiritual knowledge are valuable and necessary pursuits. But if we follow those pursuits to the exclusion of the Scriptures (or carefully selected commentaries that help us understand the Scriptures better), we ultimately do ourselves a disservice. It is crucial to have a working knowledge of God’s Word in order to interpret it correctly. For this reason, we should seek to read and study the Biblical Scriptures for ourselves.
While some Biblical texts may seem dull or repetitive, those portions of Scripture are comparable to the meals we might consume over the course of a week. Even though we may not recall the specifics of those meals, they still provided us with nourishment. The same is true of the Word of God in our spiritual lives.