"Milk of the word"

"As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." (1 Peter 2:2.)

Is not this a passage often misconceived of? Does it mean that we are to be always as babes in Christ returning to the first elements for nourishment? I apprehend this is how many take it. But it is not its force, as a little consideration may suffice to show.

There is of course a stage in our life as Christians in which we are necessarily and rightly "babes." The apostle John addresses himself to these (1 John 2). But the Corinthians were rebuked for the continuance of such a state, and to them carnality was the true synonym for its protraction: "I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ" (1 Cor. 3:1). And both here and in the epistle to the Hebrews the apostle blames them for the necessity they had for "milk."

Here in Peter the thought is different. The Word itself is milk, the whole of it, and we are to be not simply as babes, but as new-born babes in our desire for it. To a new-born babe what is milk? Its very life, we may say. And such is God's word to us, and such is to be its place in our affections. The Word, the whole of it, is that which God has provided for us, and it would be but dishonoring it and Him who gave it, to extract certain elements from it, and dismiss the rest as not available for food. It is all food, if appropriated as such. The highest and most advanced truths, so-called, do but expand, illustrate, and confirm, the Gospel itself, than which no truth is more wonderful, deeper or "higher." We do not leave the Gospel behind as we go on with Scripture, nor even have to turn back to it to find the refreshment it supplies for our souls; but it is the Gospel itself that travels on with us, more and more learnt, more and more developing itself to us continually.