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FIVE DEADLY SINS!

That is, if you love God's Word!

"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." 1st Peter 2:1-3

 

Photo of the Preacher and  Debbie

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1: 

While every verse in the Bible is special, certain passages have tremendous tactical importance.

Such is 1st Peter 2:1-3. "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."

Here's one "reading" of this Text anyway. To those of you, rather let me say to those of us who really crave God's Word, longing to learn its precious truths, certain sins absolutely must be avoided!

Don't misunderstand, all sin is dangerous! Any type of unconfessed iniquity will dull a man or woman's perception of and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, but five particular shortcomings are simply deadly to one's "hunger" for God's Word!

This Text presents those five poisonous pitfalls!

These verses might not appeal to everyone. But they will, like a magnet toward a steel nail, certainly draw Bible students' attention!

For the next few days we shall investigate these three verses.

It's particularly interesting that Peter does not only demand that we "confess" these sins. No, we must "lay aside" such deadly things! The verb the Holy Spirit uses here is "apotithemai." It's stem, "tithemai," means "to place" something somewhere. Usually to lay it in a horizontal position! To render it passive and neutral and inoperative! There's a verb the Lord could have used that means "to place it off to the side in an upright position, in an active mode, "histemi." On the other hand, another verb would have suggested a complete prostration of these sins, making them utterly powerless! That's "keimai."

The prefix "apo" before "tithemai" here just intensifies its meaning. To place "away" from oneself such sins!

The Holy Spirit is an Absolute Wordsmith! He not only chooses the words of Scripture, but words with precisely crafted shades of meaning!

These sins can never be fully and completely eradicated while we are on our earthly journey. But they can be conquered and rendered ineffective in our lives! They must not be left freely standing in our hearts!

We must here carefully apply such verses as Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."

"Apotithemai" is also the first word of Verse one in the Greek Text, nearly the first in the English Text too. That adds to its vital importance. To study these five Bible-lovers' pitfalls is not nearly enough! We must also actively put them out of our hearts! They cannot be named among us!

To be technical for a minute, this verb is an aorist middle nominative plural participle here. Thus "apotithemai" becomes "apothemenoi." A participle is a verbal adjective, telling us how newborn Christians must act. By its being framed as an "aorist" verb, the action should have been in the past, completed by now! "Middle" voice verbs reflect great impact on their subjects! We Christians are to be changed by our renunciation of these five sins! The change especially impacts our love for the Scriptures! Its "nominative" case tells us that it's located in and directly modifies the subject of the Text, the saints of God! And its "plural" number reveals that Peter is preaching to a host of Believers, not just a single individual.

And how do we know he's even talking to Christians selectively, restrictively really? By the previous verses, even back into chapter one. Folks who have been "begotten unto a lively hope by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!" People who have "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them." Even saints who "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Even more plainly, people who are "not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." And if any doubt yet remains, those who have been "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

Bible loving Christians must avoid these sins!

Yet Peter really believes that all true saints will be Bible lovers!

That's why the little word "wherefore" is inserted into the Text. Spelled "oun," it means "consequently, accordingly or therefore." Adverbially in English, conjunctively in Greek, it says "since you are saved, true hunger for the Word of God necessarily follows!" You can't have one ... without the other!

Yet we all realize that appetite varies with individuals! While a whole group may be hungry, some within it are nearly starving, or think so anyway! Others may be sickly and will only "nibble" at their meals!

Anyone ready to study?

Five sins that will kill, or nearly so, one's hunger for God's Word!

Lord willing, lesson two tomorrow morning!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, "MALICE:"

The word is "kakia" in Greek. That's pronounced kak-ee'-ah, accenting the second syllable. In the King James Text it is translated several ways; "malice" 6 times and "maliciousness" 2 times and "evil" once and "wickedness" once and even "naughtiness" once.

We must focus upon this little noun today because it's first in a list of deadly sins, deadly to anyone longing to deeply hunger for God's Word!

Listen to Peter: "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 ...." 1st Peter 2:1-2

Best I can tell, here's a balanced definition of "malice." One teacher says it means "ill-will" toward someone. Another says it represents a "desire to injure" a person. "Badness," a third chimes. Hateful feelings! One expert believes that "kakia" denotes a vicious disposition, yet basically held within a person! While another word, "poneros," expands that feeling, letting it loose to do actual harm to others! Hateful!

A person filled with malice will apparently have no craving for Scripture!

This word is the very opposite of "arete," the Greek term for virtue or excellence!  Thus, "kakia" is a badness in quality too.

Do notice that Peter expects us to quit ALL malice! This little adjective, "pas," means "the whole" of anything. All of it! None remaining! That can only be achieved through the expulsive power of the Holy Spirit!

Lest we misunderstand the expression, Jesus in Matthew 6:34 teaches us that every day brings with it some "evil," using the word "kakia." You will not live an entire 24 hour period of time without the opportunity of "malice" appearing in your life! These will come. We must reject them! "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

The exceedingly wicked person, the "reprobate" according to Paul in Romans 1:28-29, is filled with "kakia" (inner attitudes of hatred) and also "poneros" (outer attitudes that attack and hurt others) as well.

In 1st Corinthians 5:8 "malice" ("kakia") is like leaven. Again Paul here includes "kakia" with "poneros." Maybe we are being taught that the milder sin ("kakia") generally leads to the bolder one ("poneros") ... just like first grade leads to the second grade.

And watch 1st Corinthians 14:20. "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." We are to be like little boys or girls when it comes to "malice," knowing very little!

Using a verb for "put away" that means "to lift it up" and remove it, Paul tells us to so deal with "malice" in our lives. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." Ephesians 4:32

The word picture of pulling off a dirty shirt and putting on a clean one prevails in Colossians 3:8-10. "Put off all these; anger, wrath, MALICE ... and put on the new man."

Paul even admits to Titus that we all once lived in malice! But no more! "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." Titus 3:3

James indicates that "malice" can quickly grow into something big! He calls such a monster the "superfluity of naughtiness!" That's an excessive abundance of it, malice "all around," everywhere! Read the verse. "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." By the way, here in James 1:21 we again have "kakia" contrasted with a love for the Word of God!

Especially Christians, the people on earth with the most liberty of all, must be careful in this area. Apparently "malice" can be coated with certain spiritual terms and allowed to flourish under cover! "As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God." 1st Peter 2:16 uses "cloke" as a covering or a veil or coat of some kind.

But Preacher Bagwell, if I expel malice from my heart and life ... what takes its place?

Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:31-32. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." The negative ... put away malice! The positive ... be kind to everyone!

Kill that bitter stuff with love and sweetness and forgiveness and understanding and humility!

Amen!

That's enemy number one if you wish to be a diligent life-long student of God's Word!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

P. S. --- I just mentioned that "kakia" represents a "badness in quality." Some Greek teachers even say it carries the idea of that which is "good-for-nothing!" One says it's "worthlessness!" Being "of no account!" That surely seems to be the way Paul uses the term in 2nd Corinthians 5:10. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." There certainly exists a word to which the Holy Spirit had easy access, "poneros," which indicates a much more virile and malicious form of evil!

Many saints do NOT have rank hatred or evil intent deeply abiding in their hearts! Indeed not! But they might have some "badness of quality" there! Much of what we do, when examined from the standpoint of our motives, could prove to be "good-for-nothing" some day! At the Judgment Seat of Christ!

Think about it!

Sobering, yea frightening, isn't it?

Paul, writing to Christians and referring to the Judgment Seat of Jesus, says: "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences." 2nd Corinthians 10:11

 

 

LESSON 3, "GUILE:"

The Christian who is cultivating a keen delight for the Word of God must particularly avoid certain sins. 1st Peter 2:1-3 enumerates five of them. "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 ...."

As you can see, included in this number is "guile."

The noun "dolos" basically means "deceit" of any kind. It may be related to a word that means "to decoy" someone. It was sometimes used to speak of the "bait" a sportsman used in capturing or catching or killing his prey.

In the King James Bible this noun is used only twelve times.

Here's an example of this kind of guile, perhaps in its worse form. "And consulted that they might take Jesus by SUBTILTY, and kill him." Here in Matthew 26:4 the Greek word "dolos" has been capitalized for easier identification. Mark 14:1 is the parallel passage: "After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death."

The Disciple Nathaniel was a man without guile, according to Jesus. "Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" John 1:47

Paul absolutely refused to use any guile in his preaching! "For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts." 1st Thessalonians 2:3-4

Jesus himself, Peter says, "did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." 1st Peter 2:22

Here's a promise for those who hold no guile! "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it." 1st Peter 3:10-11

When "guile," the arch-enemy of any Bible student, is analyzed in a good Greek lexicon, certain facts emerge. "Dolos" is related to the verb "doloo," which means "to adulterate." That is, "to water down" something, something like a glass of tea ... diluting it to make it serve more people.

To dispel guile from one's life is to not deceive folks! To be "real" in your testimony and walk with the Lord!

To be sincere!

The very opposite of "guile" or "dolos" is another little Greek noun, "adolos," meaning "no guile." Without guile! This is the very expression, the very word, used later in our text for the "sincere" milk of the Word of God!

God's Word, the Holy Bible, contains no guild! No deceit! Is nowhere watered down or diluted!

Maybe this fact explains it all!

If I am to learn God's precious Word, taught by the Holy Spirit Himself, I cannot have "dolos" or "guile" in my life! Not while I'm studying and learning the "adolos" or "guileless" Word of God, the "sincere" Word of Truth!

How clear this should be!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, "HYPOCRISY:"

It is called a "loan word."

In Greek it's spelled "hupokrisis" and, when borrowed by the English, it becomes "hypocrisy!"

And it is one of the sins that appears to be especially dangerous for an aspiring Bible student!

Peter says so! "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." 1st Peter 2:1-2

But, Preacher Bagwell, what is a hypocrite?

The dictionary on your shelf or down at the library will say something like this: "Professing beliefs, feelings or virtues that one does not truly hold or possess; falseness."

Similarly, the Greek noun used here is spelled "hupokrisis," blending its prefix "hupo," a preposition meaning "under" ... and its stem "krino," a verb meaning "to judge, to discern or to decide." Thus, "hupokrisis" was in the ancient world the practice of talking one way, but deep down in one's heart believing another way!

Faking it!

Pretending!

Lying with one's actions!

The term "hupokrisis" was eventually brought to the Greek stage, where drama was such an integral part of their culture. It came to mean an actor who did not play himself! He or she "put on a mask" and pretended to be another person, the hero or villain of that particular production!

This is the very opposite of being genuine!

"Hupokrisis" became a synonym for flattery or deception.

Playing a made-up role!

Jesus particularly derided hypocrisy! In Matthew 23:28 He equated it with iniquity or lawlessness, "anomia." Here are His words: "Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

Yet Jesus was never deceived by hypocrites! "But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye Me? " The truth Mark 12:15 just gave us remains in force yet today! Jesus still knows!

To Jesus one group of religious pseudo-saints were dominant! "In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." Luke 12:1

A similar term, "apokrisis," just means an "answer" in Greek! "Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us." (John 1:22) Therefore, a "hypocritical" response to someone's question would involve an insincere reply! Virtually that's lying! That why Paul become so upset with Peter in Galatians 2:13. "And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation." I use this verse because "dissimulation" is here spelled "hupokrisis!" Peter, having gladly practiced eating with the Gentile Christians, had suddenly refused to do so any longer ... because some "big-shots" from Jerusalem, "Jews" par excellence, had arrived to "inspect" the new Church! Peter had become a "hypocrite" in his table practices!

In 1st Timothy 4:1-2 Paul warns us Preachers especially. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron." Apostates! Preaching deception!

Then, in a strange use of "hupokrisis," James 5:12 says: "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation." Yes, "condemnation" here is "hupokrisis!" And, for the real Christian, hypocrisy is condemnation! Here again "hupokrisis" is associated with one's words!

We have now reviewed each of the times "hupokrisis" as a noun is found in the whole New Testament.

Dear student of God's Word, for some inspired reason, Peter tells us that this sin of hypocrisy is a killer! It destroys the saint's hunger for God's Word!

Maybe it's as simple as this. I cannot speak false words and act pretentiously one day ... then apply myself wholly to God's Word, the very Truth of Truth, the next day! Jesus in John 17:17 prayed to His Father, "Thy Word is Truth."

Amen!

Friends, be real!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, "ENVY:"

It's a sin!

Not a "sexual" sin, but a "social" sin.

Envy!

And for some reason it's on the list of sins that will hinder one's spiritual hunger, especially our craving for God's Word.

There are five such sins according to 1st Peter 2:1-3. Namely; malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking!

The noun "envy" is spelled "phthonos" in Greek. It means, in its negative implication as used here, "ill feeling over the good  success of another person." It is closely related to our idea of jealousy or even spite! "Phthonos" stems from a root word, "phtheiro" which means "to shrivel or wither or be spoiled or ruined!" That's what envy does to a person! Envy corrupts and defiles and ultimately destroys one's soul, each of these verbs being valid translations as used in the King James Bible!

Now to study a few instances of the Holy Spirit's grammatical work, how He used "envy" in the New Testament. Out of nine instances, we shall choose two or three.

The chief priests and elders of Israel had precipitated Jesus' arrest. Why? "For He knew that for envy they had delivered Him." They were envious of our Lord! They harbored ill will toward Jesus because of His power and success and popularity with the common people. Matthew 27:18 and Mark 15:10 both say this.

In Philippians 1:15-16 Paul contrasts "envy" and strife with "good will and love." Hear him: "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel." This Verse lists for us the very opposite of envy!

Paul, before he was saved, was an "envious" man! So were we. "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." Look at the dark activities he associates with envy here in Titus 3:3.

Do keep in mind however that occasionally in Scripture "envy" can be used in a good sense. Then it has reference to God's "protective jealousy!" James for example tells us that "The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy." And James 4:5 is NOT attributing a sinful act to the Holy Spirit! This is "envy" in that holy sense! Like Paul when he admitted, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." 2nd Corinthians 11:2

The etymology of our English word "envy" is also enlightening. It is derived from a Latin expression, something like "in" then "videre." Meaning what? "To see or peer," our very word "video," down "inside" a person, scrutinizing him intently and carefully ... with a spirit of malice, with an evil eye!

If a Christian, one who wants to grow in grace and knowledge, maintains a spirit of envy in his life ... he cannot possible do the one main thing that produces such growth ... love and study and internalize the Word of God!

Why?

Because a man or woman can only desire and crave and obsess upon one main thing at a time!

If consumed with envy, he or she will have expended all his or her "desire" strength to some inferior and worthless project, not the Scriptures themselves! And Jesus Himself in Matthew 6:24 taught us, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

If I am deeply envious and jealous over an acquaintance's success or promotion or whatever, wanting such a thing for myself ... my "desire" batteries are then currently empowering an emotion that will cost me dearly!

For, you see, no "power" will be left to "desire" God's Word!

How sad!

Envy must go ... if the Word of God is to come!

Expel the one ... to pursue the Other!

You just can't have both!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, "EVIL SPEAKING:"

Peter calls it "evil speaking."

It probably includes such sins as gossip and slander.

And it's one of the "five deadly sins," at least for a Bible student!

"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." 1st Peter 2:12

Yes, "evil speaking," right along with envy and hypocrisy and guile and malice, can wreck a man's hunger for the precious Word of God!

The exact word Peter used is "katalalia." This Greek expression fuses a preposition and a noun. "Kata," here a prefix, means "under" or "down under." And "lalia" means speech, as in the very words one utters. Now it's easy to see the definition, "talking down" on someone! To defame an individual! Elsewhere the King James Bible translates it "backbiting."

While our noun here is used only twice in the whole New Testament, its verbal cousin is found five times. Some of these occurrences are quite instructive. James manages to use "katalaleo" three times in one verse! "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge." James 4:11 says we can belittle both our Brethren in Christ ... and the Word of God too!

Otherwise Peter seems especially fond of the word. "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." 1st Peter 2:12

And ... "Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." 1st Peter 3:16

One lexicon calls "katalalia" this, "hostile speech!"

Another says it's an "insult!"

Of course, defining the word is quite different from explaining why this particular sin is so poisonous to a Christian's appetite!

Spiritual appetite, that is!

To one's hunger for God's Word!

Maybe it's this. James reminded us: "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" James 3:11 uses an argument from the world of nature. No, one source does not generally yield both good and bad water! Not at the same time anyway!

Then, can a mouth, a Christian's mouth, spill forth bitter words (backbitings and slanders and other vicious verbal attacks) and then immediately afterward speak flowing words of Truth, the very essence of God's Word?

No!

Not likely!

The same tongue can't spit forth garbage and then ingest large blocks of Scripture!

The Holy Spirit just does not operate that way!

The implication here is that, instead of talking bad about someone, I should be building them up ... to the Glory of God!

Here's a choice, a dramatic one at that!

Keep on running your mouth, bitterly so, and so remain ignorant of the Word of God!

Or ... heavily get into God's Word, the power of Which will make me say good things about my Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

This choice today should be easy!

                                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 2:

If a Preacher walked to the Pulpit and began to denounce certain sins, malice and guile and hypocrisy and envy and evil speaking for example, what would you think? Would you assume he was preaching to a group of new Believers in Christ Jesus ... or older more seasoned saints?

I would have guessed the latter!

Surely we have walked into a "Deeper Life" Conference somewhere. Mature saints everywhere, right?

Not necessarily!

Peter, Disciple of our Lord, rails against these five sins ... even while specifically preaching to the newest of Christians!

Let me prove that.

"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire ...." 1st Peter 2:1-2

It's amazing what the Holy Spirit can do in the lives of born-again people! And He can often do those thing rather quickly!

To further cement the argument, the opening verbal unit, "laying aside" is NOT a present participle! No, it's "apotithemi" in its aorist middle form! That suggests grammatically that the renunciation of those five sins is an accomplished fact already! Not that they have been eradicated, but conquered in the Name of Jesus!

Astounding!

The exact term "newborn babes" is interesting too.

The Greek adjective "newborn" is spelled "artigennetos" and blends two words into one. "Arti" is an adverb that means "just now." Actually it stems from "airo," a main verb meaning "to lift up." That is, something hanging right above your head! Then "gennetos" is added. It just means "born," being built upon the verb "gennao," to procreate.

These folks have not been saved very long at all!

And "babes" is "brephos," usually meaning just an infant! However, back in Luke 1:41 and 44, "brephos" is twice used of the "unborn." There little John the Baptist leaped in his Mother's womb upon hearing the announcement of Jesus' soon-coming Virgin Birth!

Here's "brephos" again: "And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." Luke 2:12

Then came the Shepherds! "And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the BABE lying in a manger." Luke 2:16

Later in Jesus' adult Life, "And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them." Luke 18:15

Then comes Acts 7:19 and its description of Pharaoh's slaughter of the innocent little Jewish children down in Egypt. "The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live."

And just in case you want to know how young one can be when he or she begins to learn God's Word: "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." Paul reminded Timothy of that little biographical fact in 2nd Timothy 3:15, still using "brephos," newborn!

It indeed looks like the Holy Spirit has some kind of advanced learning plan, accelerated education! At least that's so for a clean and willing new Believer in Jesus!

But what is that new saint to do?

"Desire!"

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." 1st Peter 2:2

The verb here is an imperative!

It's a command!

The implication is clear though, with those five sins being confessed and forsaken, such desires will come much more easily!

You don't generally have to teach a newborn to crave the bottle! He is born hungry!

The verb "epipotheo" means "to yearn" for something! To actually "crave" it! To "long" for it with all your heart!  Really "potheo" means "to dote" upon something or someone! The verb "dote" is from a Middle English background and means "foolish!" The world, if it really knew, would call the Christian's love for his or her Bible sheer fanaticism! Foolishness! Craziness! "Dote" later came to mean "to bestow or express excessive love or fondness habitually!" That's a dictionary definition!

What love for the Word of God is being suggested! Rather, being commanded! Even to a young Believer in Christ!

Just as the Holy Spirit "dotes" over us ... so are we to "dote" over God's Holy and precious Word! Our word for "dote" or "desire" here is translated "lusteth to envy" in James 4:5, "The spirit that dwelleth in us LUSTETH TO ENVY."

Occasionally I hear someone accuse a fellow Believer of loving the Bible too much, overemphasizing the written Word!

Is that, in the light of today's verse, even possible? "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." 1st Peter 2:1-2

How much does God Himself love His Word? The Psalmist tells us! "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." Psalm 138:2

Enough has been said!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

One more thing, in studying how the New Testament elsewhere uses that critical verb "desire," I've discovered something. "Epipotheo" is used by Paul seven of its nine times in Scripture. And in each of those instances except one, a Believer is "desiring" to see some other loved one in Christ, a Brother or Sister in the Lord! And most of the time that person is Paul himself!

For example, Paul wants to visit that little Bible-believing Church in the city of Rome... "For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established." Romans 1:12

And the Philippian Assembly too ... "For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:8

Then at times just one person, like Timothy ... "Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy." 2nd Timothy 1:4

The one exception in the Pauline corpus is 2nd Corinthians 5:2. There Paul longs for his glorified body! "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked." 2nd Corinthians 5:2-3

Do we truly "long" for the Word of God, in a way similar to our yearning for our very closest friend?

To Jeremiah the Scripture was as dear as his daily bread! "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts." But even Jeremiah 15:16 here is topped by Job 12:12 I think. "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." Amazing!

Come to think of it, the Lord was that way too! "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," Jesus said in Matthew 4:4.

Do we really love the Word of God?

 

 

LESSON 8, STILL VERSE 2:

"The sincere milk of the Word," that's what Peter called it!

I love that phrase, "the sincere milk of the Word."

That's what the whole Text, 1st Peter 2:1-3, concerns! "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."

The renouncement of those five sins, plus that deep and intense craving, then the resultant growth, including the sweet tasting of God's goodness, ALL are either "prerequisites TO" or "consequences of" focusing on God's precious Word, majoring on it fully!

"The sincere milk of the word," obviously the Bible is in view here.

The Word of God keeps us from sin! "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee," says Psalm 119:11. Either that, or sin keeps us from the Word of God!

The Word of God also insures our growth from babes in Christ to young men or women in the faith then finally to fathers and mothers, established in the things of God! For example, Paul says to the Corinthians, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." 1st Corinthians 3:1-2

The Word is here compared to "milk," the most basic item on an infant's diet, "the sincere milk of the Word." Spelled "gala" in Greek, it means just that, milk! Only used five times in the New Testament, it is never rendered as anything but "milk."  While babies are expected to consume milk, older children and adults are not! Paul illustrates this in Hebrews 5:13-14. "For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

Yes, God's Word contains milk, but also meat! Honey too! It's also Bread! Scripture is our spiritual sustenance, absolutely necessary for growth!

But the Bible is not only milk, but "sincere" milk! This adjective, "adolos," means "without guile." Having nothing deceitful! The Bible is not a misleading Book! It is honest! Here is Jesus' philosophy about sincerity; "If it were not so, I would have told you." Furthermore, when used with a drink of any kind, "adolos" means unadulterated! Not watered down at all! Full strength! The word is an hapax legomenon here, occurring only once in all the Bible!

Then we come to the term "Word." This should be simple, but it's not! The exact term in the Textus Receptus, the Greek Manuscript from which the King James Bible is translated, is "logikos," not "logos" as usual. "Logikos" is an adjective, an accusative singular one. It can mean "rational" or "spiritual" too. It's only other New Testament appearance is in Romans 12:1. There it is translated "reasonable!"

Now there is no doubt that Peter has the Bible in mind here, God's dear Word. The very context proves that. Look at verses 23 and 25 of the preceding chapter. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." Then, "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." Both mention the Scriptures, the former using "logos" and the latter using "rhema" twice. And these two verses clearly introduce our Text, 1st Peter 2:1-3. The Bible is in view! It's the topic.

But the use of the adjectival form "logikos" in 1st Peter 2:2 suggests that the Word of God is also being considered as a very "reasonable" Book! Logical! As well as spiritually inclined!

Amen!

Thus, the Bible is nourishing!

The Bible is pure!

And the Bible is intelligent!

To that we all would agree.

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 3:

Peter has been talking about a hunger for the Word of God!

But he implies that a Christian will only have such a hunger if He has already "tasted" something.

Here's his command: "Desire the sincere milk of the word."

Now here's the logic behind such a command, its impetus and motivator: "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." 1st Peter 2:3

One "taste" ... and the appetite is aroused!

The opening expression, "if so be," is built as a first class condition in Greek. That means that the premise being advanced is true. "If so be ... and this is truly the case ... that you have tasted the Lord is gracious." Actually "eiper" is a conjunction meaning "since" or "though."

The verb "tasted" is spelled "geuomai" and means "to try the flavor of" something. Three times in the King James Bible this verb is plainly translated "eat." It's a middle voice here too, revealing the fact that the subject is changed in the tasting process! By the way, Hebrews 6:5 also talks about tasting the "good Word of God!"

The "gracious" Lord is He Who is kind and good, mellow, not harsh or bitter. The word is "chrestos." Defined as the inability to be harsh and mean, it's comparable to a just ripe apple, not too tart and not too soft! Probably the stem of "chrestos" means "that which is useful." The mother verb, "chraomai," means "to furnish what is needed."

We indeed tasted the Lord when we were saved!

We have tasted His Wisdom every time we've been in the Word of God.

We have tasted His goodness with each newly answered prayer.

We have tasted His Grace with each fresh day He gives us!

No wonder Paul said that for him ... "to live is Christ!"

Really I think that Peter here is quoting the Psalmist. "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Psalm 34:8

And all I can say is "Amen!"

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Here's an afterthought! It came as I continued to ponder today's verse. This business of "tasting" that the Lord is gracious has precedent! Jesus used such language, actually when He was talking about salvation. Here's John 6:51 first: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Then two verses later our Lord again said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." Now the Lord certainly did not have in mind some form of cannibalism here! He is obviously not speaking literally. But when one believes on Jesus, is saved by the Grace of God, he or she does metaphorically eat of Jesus' flesh and drink of His Blood, mentally and spiritually internalizing the dear Lord as Saviour and Governor and future Bridegroom!

I myself have tasted, yea eaten, at the Cross of Calvary ... the perfect fulfillment of the Peace Offering of long ago! What a Feast to a wretched sinful soul!

Also Jeremiah gives us a classic example of tasting the Lord in a Biblical context. Here's a blending of the act of eating, the Person of the Lord and the literal infallible Word of God. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts." Jeremiah 15:16

Again, I close. "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."

We who are Christians surely have!

 

 

LESSON 10, CONCLUSION:

This great Text, 1st Peter 2:1-3, is beautifully "constructed" by the Holy Spirit of God.

Not to be redundant, but to illustrate my point, here it is again: "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."

By now we have studied every word in this great Passage. In conclusion, let's examine the overall structure of the paragraph.

Yesterday something became apparent to me. As the Lord does in many other places too, He here again constructs a Biblical pattern that looks like a mountain. Let me explain.

These verses start down in the valley. It's a dark valley with dangers everywhere. Traps of the devil lurk here, decoys that must be avoided! Yonder is malice, and there are guile and hypocrisy. We've just passed envy too. Stalking us is a little devil named evil speaking! If we are detained by any of these sins, we will never reach our goal, never climb the mountain and reach its gorgeous peak! Never breath the purified air and see the glorious view that awaits true over-comers!

But as we confess our sins and lean on the dear Holy Spirit and faithfully pursue our Christian walk, higher and higher we trod. One Preacher called it "plodding" for Jesus! Climbing the mountain!

But, with the Lord's help, possibly soon but certainly eventually ALL true Christians reach the peak! Here's some good news too, this trek can be made by infants as well! Yes, "newborn babes" will be found at the top of this experiential mount! That's proof that not merely human effort is involved! There is Someone to carry us here, again the Holy Spirit is meant!

Preacher Bagwell, what's at this peak? A hunger for the Word of God lives here! This craving for Scripture is not enjoyed by those who are still down in the dark valley of unconfessed and unforsaken sins, particularly those five slime-pits I just mentioned. Again, they are: "all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings." Just a quote! Oh, the delight and victory and peace and joy of living here! Let's never descend from this place! Let's live on top of Bible Mountain!

But look, true to the last part of our Text, here come some other folks! Fellow Believers in Jesus they are. Unlike the way God saved us, which is accomplished only one way: by grace through the power of the Blood of Jesus and His Death and Burial and Resurrection ... two ways exist to scale this peak! These new arrivals, perhaps less disposed to those five deadly sins, climbed the trail known as Grace Boulevard! They quite early in their Christian walk tasted the Lord's Goodness, His amazing, manifold, ineffable Grace! The more they walked with the Lord, as have many other saints ... Enoch and Noah for example, the more they tasted His Character and Person and Essence, the higher they were elevated! Their goal also, a deep passionate hunger and longing for the precious Word of God!

Yes!

To conquer pesky sins ... it takes the Bible! "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalm 119:11

And to know God, enjoying His Person, "tasting" His very Being, it also takes the Bible. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward." What a token of praise Psalm 19:7-11 presents! God's Holy Word, here comprised of His Law and Testimonies and Statutes and Commandments and Judgments, all "taste" mighty sweet!

Two ways to become addicted to God's Word!

Don't be offended by the word "addiction" either. It's Biblical and good in this sense! Others in Scripture are commended for their addictions! Paul, for example, writes: "I beseech you, brethren, ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints, That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth."

Dote over the Word of God!

Crave it!

Be obsessed with it!

Day and night!

Always!

Unceasingly!

It, the Bible, is its own reward!

Nothing else has to be added, although innumerable side effects will result!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Well, let me add this. One reward of living on Bible Mountain is this: "growth!" Here it is verbatim: "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby."

This verb is carefully selected. "Auxano" means "to spread" or "to increase" or "to enlarge." But here it's a subjunctive mood passive voice word of action! It implies "probability." Crave and then subsequently enjoy God's Word ... growth will result in all probability! Almost for sure! Even 99% so! Also it's a passive voice verb! We do not institute that spiritual growth, it is performed on us by Another! It happens to us through the power of the Word of God as administered by the Holy Spirit!

"Auxano" is also an aorist here. The action is stated as in the past. It's a foregone conclusion! Forsake those five sins ... you WILL grow! It's a done deal, as if a completed act! Taste God's Goodness and Graciousness and growth will ensue, just as soon as you learn to ingest the Word!

And the greater one's appetite, the longer he or she lingers at the table, the more intense the growth becomes!

I just thought, the goodness of God leads to more than repentance then! Clearly, "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance," says Romans 2:4. But God's Goodness (also the noun "chrestos," just as is "gracious" in our Text here) leads one to a deep hunger, a constant craving for the Word of God!

What a spiritual secret! One known to all Believers and experienced by them too! "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."

Amen!

 

anybody hungry?

 

 

There's just nothing like the Word of God!

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