Bible Study: Essential to Growth
"Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation" (1 Peter 2:2 - New American Standard Bible).
I know I've said it before, but it is so applicable here; Johnny Smith enlightened me about babies when my wife and I were expecting our first. He said, "When babies are first born all they know how to do is suck and cry; you have to teach them every thing else." Boy howdy was Johnny right! Katie would wake up crying like a mad child; Care would get her bottle warmed and the very moment the nipple was put into her mouth she was happy, soothed, and satisfied. She was getting what she needed and what she craved. As a new parent, often I would walk her, try to play with her by cooing or making funny faces, or change her diaper...nothing doing...she was hungry! She was empty and her only way to let us know was to scream.
I think this, and stilled quietness, is one of the key elements the average Christian is missing in life. Our lives are screaming! No amount walking the floors (read: activity), cooing (read: entertainment), or diaper changes (read: unloading problems) will help when what we need is to be fed.
I can honestly say that those quiet moments of feeding my infant child were the times our intimate connection was built upon. Likewise, it is my personal opinion that the times we are being fed by God are the times we build that intimacy with Him; it is from that intimacy that a prayer life naturally flows. It is from that prayer life that understanding His heart occurs. It is from understanding His heart that I am driven to serve Him. I could go on and on, but I hope you get the picture.
Let's unfold this verse...
The first thing to notice is ATTITUDE. A newborn baby will literally grab a bottle of milk and suck the bottom out of it! Dr. Hendricks says, "The baby has to have milk to sustain its life physically; you have to have the Scriptures to sustain your life spiritually." Like a baby is soothed by a nourishing bottle, the believer is soothed by the filling of God's word and His Spirit. Peter must have seen a baby feed; he grabbed a perfect expression in to describe the right attitude toward the word. Our attitude toward to the word should be to grab it and suck it down!
The second thing to notice is APPETITE for the word. We should "long" for it. We should crave it! Some people feel like the word is crushed spinach...just plain nasty! Others think it's like plain oatmeal...nourishing, but not that interesting to eat. I want to love to feed on the word like it's honey...like Winnie the Pooh breaking a fast! (Reference: Psalm 19:10) Our appetite for the word should be insatiable!
The third thing to notice is the AIM of the Bible. What is it? According to 1 Peter 2:2 it is "that by it you may grow". It's not for us to only know stuff. We cannot grow without knowing, but we CAN know without growing. The Bible was not given to us to so that we could use it like an encyclopedia; it was given to us to help us conform to Christ's image.
We need a good attitude toward the Bible. We need a healthy appetite for it. With those two things we WILL grow by it!What can you do? You can begin by increasing your Bible study time by five minutes a day and work from there. Purchase a good teaching method book (such as Living by the Book) so that you can start to study in the right way. Slow down, stop the rushed, screaming life, and get fed! Stop doing all the things that don't satisfy the basic need and get to the main thing...eat at the buffet of God's word. Begin a better diet today! Add a few minutes to your plan and chart your growth!