1 Peter 2:2 MEANING

1 Peter 2:2
(2) As newborn babes.--The word "newborn" is, of course, newly, lately born, not born anew, although the birth meant is the new birth of 1 Peter 1:23. They are said to be still but newborn because they are still so far from maturity in Christ, as these sins testified. The metaphor is said to be not uncommon in Rabbinical writers to denote proselytes. St. Peter would, therefore, be describing Jews who had newly received the word of God, as proselytes of the new Israel. "As" means "in keeping with your character of." (Comp. 1 Peter 1:14.)

Desire the sincere milk.--The word for "desire" here is a strong word--get an appetite for it. Bengel is perhaps right when he says on "newborn babes," "It is their only occupation, so strong is their desire for it." St. Peter here again seems to lend a thought to the writer to the Hebrews (Hebrews 5:12-14). In both places Jewish Christians are beginning to rebel against the Gospel instructions, and in both places they are warned that they have not yet outgrown the need of the very simplest elements of the Gospel. The epithet "sincere" should have been rendered guileless, as it contains a contrast with "guile" in the verse before; perhaps the intention of the epithet may be to rebuke the attempt to deal deceitfully with the Old Testament Scriptures after the example of the Septuagint passage quoted above.

Of the word.--This translation of the original adjective cannot possibly be right. The only other place in the New Testament where it is used, Romans 12:1, will show clearly enough its meaning here. There it is rendered "your reasonable service"--i.e., not "the service which may be reasonably expected of you," but "the ritual worship which is performed by the reason, not by the body." So here, "the reasonable guileless milk" will mean "the guileless milk which is sucked in, not by the lips, but by the reason." The metaphor of milk (though used by St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 3:2) was not so hackneyed as now; and the Apostle wished to soften it a little, and explain it by calling it mental milk," just as (so Huther points out) he explained the metaphor in 1 Peter 1:13, by adding "of your mind." It is needless to add that the "mental milk" would, as a matter of fact, be "the milk of the word," and that the Apostle is pressing his readers to cling with ardent attachment to the evangelical religion taught them by the Pauline party.

That ye may grow thereby.--All the best manuscripts and versions add "unto salvation," which may confidently be adopted into the text. "Grow" is, of course, said in reference to the infant state of the converts as yet, and the maturity set before them (children long to be grown up) is spoken of as "salvation." When we compare this with 1 Peter 1:18, we see that the perfect emancipation from Jewish superstitions is a main part of the "salvation" to which they are to grow up.

Verse 2. - As newborn babes. The words look back to 1 Peter 1:3, 23. God begat them again; they were new-born babes in Christ, they must remember their regeneration. The rabbis used the same metaphor of their proselytes; but the apostle was doubtless thinking of the Savior's words (Matthew 18:3; Mark 10:14, 15). Desire the sincere milk of the Word. Desire, long for it eagerly (ἐπιποθήσατε), as babes long for milk, their proper food, the only food necessary for them. It seems that in the adjective λογικόν (paraphrased in the Authorized Version "of the Word," rendered "spiritual" or "reasonable" in the Revised Version) there must be a reference to the Word of God (λόγος Θεοῦ), mentioned in 1 Peter 1:23 as the instrument of regeneration, and called by our Lord (Matthew 4:4, from Deuteronomy 8:3) the food of man (but the Greek in Matthew is ῤῆμα, as in 1 Peter 1:25). The paraphrase of the Authorized Version gives the general meaning; but the adjective means literally, "reasonable" or "rational." The apostle is not thinking of natural milk, but of that nourishment which the Christian reason can regard as milk for the soul - spiritual food, pure and simple and nourishing, capable of supporting and strengthening those newborn babes who not long ago had been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the Word of God. The adjective occurs only in one other place of Holy Scripture (possibly St. Peter may have read it there) - Romans 12:1, τὴν λογικὴν λατερείαν ὑμῶν, where it means the service of the sanctified reason as opposed to the mechanical observance of formal rites. It is explained by Chrysostom as ebony ἔχουσαν σωματικὸν οὐδὲν ταχὺ οὐδὲν αἰσθηνπ´ν Thus it seems nearly to correspond with the use of the word πνευματικός, spiritual, by St. Peter in ver. 5 of this chapter, and by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:3, 4. St. Paul also speaks of milk as the proper food of babes in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:2; comp: also Hebrews 5:12), though the thought is somewhat different; for St. Peter's words do not convey any reproof for want of progress. This spiritual milk is ἄδολον, pure, unadulterated (comp. 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:2). That ye may grow thereby; literally, therein, in the use of it. All the most ancient manuscripts add the words, "unto salvation." The soul which feeds upon the pure milk of the Word groweth continually unto salvation.

2:1-10 Evil-speaking is a sign of malice and guile in the heart; and hinders our profiting by the word of God. A new life needs suitable food. Infants desire milk, and make the best endeavours for it which they are able to do; such must be a Christian's desires after the word of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is very merciful to us miserable sinners; and he has a fulness of grace. But even the best of God's servants, in this life, have only a taste of the consolations of God. Christ is called a Stone, to teach his servants that he is their protection and security, the foundation on which they are built. He is precious in the excellence of his nature, the dignity of his office, and the glory of his services. All true believers are a holy priesthood; sacred to God, serviceable to others, endowed with heavenly gifts and graces. But the most spiritual sacrifices of the best in prayer and praise are not acceptable, except through Jesus Christ. Christ is the chief Corner-stone, that unites the whole number of believers into one everlasting temple, and bears the weight of the whole fabric. Elected, or chosen, for a foundation that is everlasting. Precious beyond compare, by all that can give worth. To be built on Christ means, to believe in him; but in this many deceive themselves, they consider not what it is, nor the necessity of it, to partake of the salvation he has wrought. Though the frame of the world were falling to pieces, that man who is built on this foundation may hear it without fear. He shall not be confounded. The believing soul makes haste to Christ, but it never finds cause to hasten from him. All true Christians are a chosen generation; they make one family, a people distinct from the world: of another spirit, principle, and practice; which they could never be, if they were not chosen in Christ to be such, and sanctified by his Spirit. Their first state is a state of gross darkness, but they are called out of darkness into a state of joy, pleasure, and prosperity; that they should show forth the praises of the Lord by their profession of his truth, and their good conduct. How vast their obligations to Him who has made them his people, and has shown mercy to them! To be without this mercy is a woful state, though a man have all worldly enjoyments. And there is nothing that so kindly works repentance, as right thoughts of the mercy and love of God. Let us not dare to abuse and affront the free grace of God, if we mean to be saved by it; but let all who would be found among those who obtain mercy, walk as his people.As new born babes,.... The Syriac version renders it, "be ye simple as infants"; and as if it was a distinct exhortation of itself, and from that which follows; though it seems rather to be descriptive of the persons spoken to, and a character of them, under which the apostle addresses them; which carries in it a reason strengthening the exhortation after given: he takes it for granted that they were begotten again, according to the abundant mercy of God, and born of incorruptible seed, by the word of God, and that they were just, or lately born; and which is to be understood of them all in general, and not of younger converts among them, who might be called little children with respect to others who were young men or fathers; but that, comparatively speaking, those that had been of the longest standing were but as it were newly born, it being at most but a few years since they were called by grace: and they were as "babes", not on account of their want of knowledge, or unskilfulness in the word of righteousness; or of nonproficiency in the learning of divine truths, and their great dulness, backwardness, and imperfection; or because of their incapacity in taking in, and digesting the strong meat and sublimer doctrines of the Gospel; or for their instability and simplicity, being easily deceived and beguiled; nor for their weakness in faith, not being able to walk alone, and their insufficiency to defend, or provide for themselves; but because of their harmlessness and innocence, meekness and humility; and for the sincerity of their faith and love, obedience and profession. The proselytes to the Jews' religion are often said (m) to be , "as an infant just born", or a new born babe; to which the allusion may here be made:

desire the sincere milk of the word; this is not a declaration that these new born souls did do so, though that might be true, but an exhortation to them so to do, as it became them: by "the sincere milk of the word" is meant the Gospel, even the whole of it, and not, as elsewhere, the more plain and easy truths of it; which is compared to milk for its purity in itself, for every word of God is pure and for its purifying nature, as used by the Spirit of God; and for its sweetness and agreeable taste to a regenerate man; and because easy of digestion to a spiritual one; and because it is nutritive to him, by it he is nourished up unto eternal life; and because, as milk is of a cooling nature, so the Gospel is a means, in the hand of the Spirit of God, of assuaging those inflammations, and of allaying that wrath and fiery indignation, raised in the conscience of a sinner by the law; and because as milk, medicinally used, is a restorative in consumptive disorders, so the Gospel is not only the means of helping a declining person, and who is wasted and consumed by sin, but even of quickening such as are dead in sin; it is the savour of life unto life. The Jewish writers speak of , "the milk of the law" (n), of which they generally interpret (o) the passage in Isaiah 55:1 but it is much better applied to the Gospel, which is the milk of the word, or "rational milk": not that the Gospel is a scheme according to the carnal reason of men; it is contrary to that, and above sound reason, though not repugnant to it; but it is what is calculated for faith, the spiritual reason of men, and for such who have their spiritual senses exercised, to discern between good and evil; it is a spiritual drink, and is made up of spiritual things, and suited to the spiritual man; it is milk, not in a natural, but in a mystic and spiritual sense: the Syriac version renders it, "the word which is as milk, pure and spiritual": and it is "sincere"; without mixture, unadulterated with the inventions and doctrines of men, Jews or heretics: or "without deceit"; being neither deceitfully handled by the faithful ministers of it, nor causing deceit, or deceiving those that cordially receive it. Now, this it becomes regenerate person, to "desire"; and vehemently long after, as a new born babe does after its mother's milk; for the Gospel is that to one that is born again, as the breast is to a babe: desire after it supposes knowledge of it; and where there is an experimental knowledge, there will be a value and esteem for it, even above necessary food, and, at times, an hungering and thirsting after it, an impatient longing for, and desire of it; when such souls will labour after it, and diligently observe and attend every opportunity of enjoying it, and think long ere the seasons of meeting with it return; for it is suitable food for them, savoury food, such as their souls love, and which indeed they cannot live without: now the end of this exhortation, and of such a desire, and of feeding on the words of faith and sound doctrine, is,

that ye may grow thereby: regenerate persons are not at their full growth at once; they are first children, then young men, and then fathers in Christ; the Gospel is appointed as a means of their spiritual growth, and by the blessing of God becomes so, and which they find to be so by good experience; and therefore this milk of the word is desirable on this account, for the increase of faith, and the furtherance of the joy of it; for their growth in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and in an experience of spiritual strength from him, and unto him, as their head in all things; not merely in the leaves of a profession, but in the fruits of grace, righteousness, and holiness. The Alexandrian copy, and several others, and also the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, add, "unto salvation": that is, until they come to a perfect knowledge of Christ, and to be perfect men with him, being arrived to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, and in the possession of that salvation he has obtained for them,

(m) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 22. 1. & 48. 2. & 62. 1. & 97. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Issure Bia, c. 14. sect. 11. & Eduth, c. 13. sect. 2.((n) Jarchi in Cant. 5. 12. (o) Jarchi, Aben Ezra, & Kimchi, in Isaiah 55.1. Abarbinel, Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 26. 1.

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