Anthony W. Brooks
“2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation-
3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” – 1 Peter 2:2-3 ESV
The Lord is good. We have tasted his salvation and like every Christian you know where that faith came from, the proclamation of the Word of God. And in this word you delight. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. – Romans 10:17
But do we just read the word? This is the question I’m asking. In college I was required to read many books and essays by this historian and that political philosopher and this Theologian over there, but I would just read them. I forgot a majority of what they said and move on with my life writing papers off of one thesis statement usually contained at the top of the second chapter somewhere. This is not feasting, but mere skimming. We are not just to skim the Bible to find what fixes our troubles, but to feast.
The Word Likened to Food
“12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” – Hebrews 5:12-14
The writer to the Hebrews here is comparing the teachings of God to food. Milk is the easy stuff which the writer says they need because they are “unskilled in the word of righteousness” and solid food is the more advanced stuff for those with the firm foundations of the basics. The basics give you discernment because they ground you in foundational teaching, if you know what you believe then the hard stuff will not lead you away from the truth because you have the discernment necessary to sort out the bones from the good stuff. More on this in another article.
But the writer is using the metaphor of food to make a point. They can’t move onto solid food because they can hardly handle the milk. They are not mature in the foundations so they can’t chew on the advanced material. The audience as a whole has neglected the foundations to the point where solid food is more damaging to them than the milk. So the only way they will be able to handle the solid food is by drinking milk. This is where most of Evangelicalism remains, always on the milk and for a good portion the milk has been made sour by our opinions.
Learning to Feast
We have to learn to feast before we can set the table and invite over the guests. Before I could invite my family to feast on the word with me I had to feast myself. I spent weeks hammering out a study system for myself before I started teaching my family the word, how could I teach them what I didn’t know? And this was an unfortunate setback for me. Yes, I knew a bunch of scripture and theological facts but I could not teach them to love the scriptures, to breathe the breath of God in his word. I had to learn this myself. It is not enough to read systematic theologies, memorize Spurgeon quotes, and be able to name off five dozen terms from a theological dictionary. These things might be useful, but they can be idolatry if separated from a true love and joy of the banquette that God has spread out in his word.
Learning to feast on the Word can be as simple as reading the scriptures broadly, get a feel for the bigger picture of God’s precepts. Open up your computer and download a Bible reading plan like this one and just read for 15 minutes a day. Get a feel for it. I know it seems like I am contradicting myself from my earlier statements above but I’m not because you won’t be simply skimming, but outlining for yourself the truth of God’s redemptive plan. Mark the phrases and concepts that stand out to you and study them out further. It will only be as hard as you make it.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Picture: Crossway ESV with Creeds and Confessions