The first passage is found in 1 Peter 2:2:
Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.
Let me give you three words to unpack the truth contained here. Write them in the margin of your Bible, next to this verse. The first one is attitude. Peter is describing the attitude of a newborn baby. Just as the baby grabs for the bottle, so you grab for the Book. The baby has to have milk to sustain its life physically; you have to have the Scriptures to sustain your life spiritually.
Jeanne and I had four children, and when they were babies we learned early on that about every three or four hours a timer goes off inside an infant—and you’d better not ignore it. You’d better get a bottle of milk there fast. As soon as you do, there’s a great calm. Peter picks up that expressive figure and says that’s to be your attitude toward Scripture.
But he also says a word about your appetite for the Word. You should “long” for it, he says. You’re to crave the spiritual milk of God’s Word.
Now to be honest, that’s a cultivated taste. Every now and then somebody will say to me, “You know, Professor Hendricks, I’m really not getting very much out of the Bible.” But that’s a greater commentary on the person than it is on the Book.
Psalm 19:10 says that Scripture is sweeter than honey, but you’d never know that judging by some believers. You see, there are three basic kinds of Bible students. There is the “nasty medicine” type. To them the Word is bitter—yech!—but it’s good for what ails them. Then there is the “shredded wheat” kind. To them Scripture is nourishing but dry. It’s like eating a bale of hay.
But the third kind is what I call the “strawberries-and-cream” folks. They just can’t get enough of the stuff. How did they acquire that taste? By feasting on the Word. They’ve cultivated what Peter describes here—an insatiable appetite for spiritual truth. Which of these three types are you?
There’s a purpose to all of this, which brings us to the third word, aim. What is the aim of the Bible? The text tells us: in order that you might grow. Please note—it is not only that you may know. Certainly you can’t grow without knowing. But you can know and not grow. The Bible was written not to satisfy your curiosity but to help you conform to Christ’s image. Not to make you a smarter sinner but to make you like the Savior. Not to fill your head with a collection of biblical facts but to transform your life.
When our kids were youngsters growing up, we set up a growth chart on the back of a closet door. As they grew, they begged us to measure how tall they had gotten and record it on the chart. It didn’t matter how small the increments were; they bounced up and down with excitement to see their progress.
One time after I measured one of my daughters, she asked me the sort of question you wish kids wouldn’t ask: “Daddy, why do big people stop growing?”
How could I explain that big people don’t stop growing—we just grow in a different direction. I don’t know what I told her, but to this day the Lord is still asking me, “Hendricks, are you growing old, or are you growing up?”
How about you? How long have you been a Christian? Nine months? Seven or eight years? Thirty-nine years? The real issue is, how much have you grown up? Step up to God’s growth chart and measure your progress. That’s what this passage is teaching.
So the first reason for studying Scripture is that it is a means of spiritual growth. There is none apart from the Word. It is God’s primary tool to develop you as an individual.
Hendricks, H. G., & Hendricks, W. D. (2007). Living by the Book: The art and science of reading the Bible (21–23). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
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