May 12, 2024

Our Growth in God’s Word (1 Peter 2:1–2)

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

Our growth in God’s Word is about deepening our understanding and application of the Bible in our lives. It’s not a sudden experience but a consistent, continuous process of learning and transformation. In 1 Peter 2:1-2, “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.”

Prerequisites for Our Growth in the Word

Abstinence from sin is the first prerequisite for our growth in the Word. In verse 1, Peter exhorts us to lay aside sins. If we were to grow in the Word, sins should not be allowed to remain in our lives.

Five categories of sins hinder one’s growth in the Word. Interestingly, all the five groups of sins mentioned here refer to how we relate to others. The sins mentioned here are those which offend others. However, it does not mean that other kinds of sin do not affect spiritual growth. If we do not eradicate offences against fellow brethren, they will hinder our spiritual growth.

Let us understand the nature of these sins that hinder our growth. First, “all malice”. The word “malice” denotes “a spirit of ill will with a desire to get even”. A child of God should not entertain thoughts of retaliation. Second, “all guile”. The original Greek term used for “guile” has the idea of ‘deceit’. Christians should never knowingly engage in any deceitful business or practices. Third, “hypocrisies”. It is all about pretence. Our natural tendency is to paint a perfect picture of ourselves and the worst possible picture of the one we got into trouble with. Let us not “cover up” but confess what we really are before the Lord. Fourth, “envies”. It is an unwarranted desire for something that belongs to someone else. It unconsciously creates a feeling of jealousy towards or resentment against the owner. Envy and jealousy are like two sides of a leaf. Instead, believers must rejoice in one another’s progress. Fifth, “evil speakings”. Christians must guard their mouth from uttering words with evil motives and purposes. Evil communications can significantly curtail Christian growth. These five sets of sins are hindrances to one’s spiritual growth and are also marks of spiritual immaturity. Abstinence from these sins will draw us to one another and God.

According to Peter, the next prerequisite for spiritual growth is a strong desire for the sincere milk of God’s Word (v. 2). The path to spiritual maturity isn’t paved with indifference. The very next step, as crucial as the first, is an insatiable hunger for God’s Word. Imagine a newborn baby, mewling and rooting, being driven by an instinctive need for milk. That’s the kind of yearning a Christian should have for Scripture. It’s not a casual glance or a bored skim, but a deep, primal desire.

Growing Christians’ cravings for God’s Word and a distaste for sin go hand in hand. As you immerse yourself in the truth, your desires begin to shift. The things that once held allure start to seem hollow compared to the richness of God’s promises. It’s a natural progression – the more you fill yourself with light, the less darkness has room to linger. Similarly, souls that don’t crave for sin will crave for the Word. Remember, “Sin kisses but kills.” “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.” Let God’s Word increase, and sin vanish from our hearts.

Process of Our Growth in the Word

1 Peter 2:2-3 states, “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.” 

The strong desire for God’s Word must be met with the provision of ‘sincere milk of the Word’. The word ‘sincere’ means ‘unadulterated’ or ‘pure’. Believers must feed on the pure teaching of God’s Word to grow well. The source of pure spiritual milk for believers is the Word of God and not people’s experiences, traditions, cultures, or philosophies. 

We must be concerned with the kind of materials our young believers read, especially with the plethora of so-called Christian websites, videos, podcasts and books so easily available everywhere. New Christians must be helped with sound teaching of the Word to know God’s will correctly and adequately.

If we lack regular intake of the ‘sincere milk’ of God’s Word, we will have severe problems with our spiritual growth. Do you have a regular intake of good spiritual food? Peter insists that all truly born-again individuals will pursue God’s Word. They will have a deep, continuous longing for the Word of truth.

We must daily read the Bible and meditate upon it to attain good spiritual growth. Psalm 1:2-3 says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” 

We must not forsake the assembly of the saints, where the Bible is expounded faithfully. Listen attentively to the Sunday sermons and apply them in your lives. Participate in its Sunday School and other Bible Studies. Reading sound Christian periodicals is also a good means of receiving the sincere milk of the Word.

Think about it: how can you possibly grow if you’re not actively feeding yourself? The ‘sincere milk’ of God’s Word is nourishment for the soul. It strengthens your faith, guides your steps, and brings you closer to God. Just as a baby wouldn’t thrive on empty air, a Christian soul can’t flourish without the sustenance of Scripture.

Peter’s exhortation to spiritual growth ends with a brief discussion of what motivates a person to grow spiritually. He puts it as “if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (v. 3). Those who have had the initial taste of God’s grace and goodness through the Gospel of salvation can grow and receive a more excellent knowledge of His grace. Peter’s emphasis in v. 3 is that growth will never occur without first having the experience of God’s grace. The grace of God in Christians’ hearts is a motivation to lay aside sins and to desire the pure teaching of God’s Word. Those who have no desire to put aside their sins and learn God’s Word have not tasted the Lord’s grace of salvation. Charles Spurgeon said, “He that doth not hear the Word of God to his renovation, shall hear it to his condemnation.” All genuine children of God esteem God’s Word more than their necessary food!

GBI-Vizag Update

Dear Pastor Koshy,

We thank God for His help in finishing another semester of learning from God’s Word in GBI (Vizag). This semester, we had 12 students taking various subjects. Four were residential students (two from Shillong and two from Odisha). They took classes from the Kotapadu campus. Thank God for the provision of good internet connectivity that we’ve got through a special leased line from a service provider. Online classes offered by GBI and FEBC went on smoothly at the Kotapadu campus. Nonetheless, as the lease of the campus is going to expire by the end of next year, we are praying for God’s guidance and provision for a permanent campus for GBI. 

Students in the city also came regularly for classes, except on some days when we had painting works being carried out at the city campus. Thank God for some renovation work done recently by the building owner. In addition to the online classes, Bro Seraph and I taught four subjects during in-person classes. I would like to thank you for taking two live classes every week (Homiletics and 1 Corinthians). I am also thankful for the opportunity for some students to enrol in the Greek language class taught by Pr Cornelius Koshy.

Three students (Shyam Kishore, Pastor John and Adab) have finished their studies and graduated on 2nd May 2024. Thank you for visiting us and sharing God’s Word at the graduation service. Through the preaching from the Third Epistle of John, based on the life of Gaius, we were indeed reminded of the importance of faithful service to God and fellow believers.

On behalf of the staff and students here, I like to extend our gratitude for the generous support for the ministries in Vizag. Because of the support from Gethsemane Church and the Malayalam Fellowship, we can provide teaching to students free of cost, including provision of accommodation for students. May God continue to bless the outreach efforts of Gethsemane in various parts of the world. We look forward to joining you all for the upcoming missionary conference in June.

In Christ,
Pastor Sujith Samuel

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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