“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.” (1 Peter 2:1–3, AV)
Recently, we had a new birth in the family, a grandson. I had forgotten what it was like to have an infant around. Yet, I learned quite quickly that newborns have a craving. They crave food, pure milk. Our grandson craved milk. It was natural for him to do so. He did not need to be educated about it. When he was hungry, he would let you know. This milk was essential for his physical growth.
In the previous verses, Peter wrote about how it was the word of God that resulted in the miraculous transformation of believers in the new birth. He indicated that it was because of the good news preached to them that they were born again of the Spirit. Here, he continued with that theme and indicated that since they were saved by God’s grace, that they should function differently.
He began by indicating that they should put away all forms of evil. This is a natural inclination of every true believer. There is a desire in their hearts to live differently because they have now experienced the work of regeneration by which they have a new nature. They will desire God and the things of God. However, since the old nature has not been put away, there is always a struggle between the flesh and the Spirit (Gal 5:17). Thus, believers must endeavor by God’s grace to live by the spirit and in so doing overcome the evil lusts of the flesh (Gal 5:16).
In conjunction with this, Peter exhorted them to crave the pure milk of God’s word. Strong’s indicates that the word “desire,” epipotheo, in verse two refers to an earnest desire, to yearn, i.e. to intensely crave (Strong G1971). Believers should like new born babies crave for the “pure spiritual milk” (v2, ESV) of God’s word.
Other passages of Scripture exhort believers to move on to solid food and not live on milk. However, Peter’s use of milk here is not to be confused with these other exhortations. Peter’s point is that believer should crave the pure truths found in the word of God like babies crave their mother’s milk. The emphasis is on the will of believers that they should be desiring the word of God. Believers should have an insatiable hunger for the truths of Scripture, all of it.
The result of this craving and feeding on the word of God is that believers will grow in their salvation. They will grow in the faith. They will not be spiritually malnourished. Yet, Peter adds this defining clause, “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:3, ESV). Those who have received the word of God leading to salvation are those who have tasted of the Lord’s goodness. It is these who know how awesome the Spiritual food of God’s word is and it is these that should naturally be hungry for more. Those who devour the word of God are they who “have tasted that the Lord is good.”