Pure Spiritual Milk (1 Peter 2:2) – What is It? – Part 2

In yesterday’s post we saw that the majority of commentators understand “milk” in 1 Peter 2:2 as referring to the word of God. We used Wayne Grudem’s commentary on Peter as an example. But Karen Jobes in her commentary on Peter from the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament says this “widespread consensus” should be challenged even if it does seem “too strong to question much less abandon.” (141) Jobes argues that if Peter had intended us to understand milk as the word of God he “he surely could have used the epexegetical genitive (to gala tou logou, the milk of the word) to refer directly back to 1:23 without ambiguity. Instead, Peter chooses a word rarely used in Christian writings, with the same root as logos but with a somewhat different meaning; this fact should be a clue that there probably is more to it.” (133)

Rather than look to the previous verses Jobes says we should consider the immediate context, 2:1-3. Verse 2 is completed in verse 3 with a reference to Psalm 33 (LXX; Ps. 34:8 MT/Eng) “which Psalm is extensively quoted in 1 Pet. 3:10-12. Therefore, Ps 33 LXX contributes to the interpretive context within which Peter’s command to crave milk should be understood. . .” (135) She notes Calvin’s interpretation which “has the strength of making a strong logical connection between the participial phrase listing the vices and the imperative to crave logikon milk.” (136) In this passage logikos has the meaning of “rational” or “reasonable” (cf. Rom. 12:1 “logikos worship). “Peter writes that life in this new reality requires sustenance that is true to its nature. . . . Therefore, while it is not incorrect to direct Christians to the word of God in Scripture for spiritual sustenance throughout life, it is unlikely that Peter means to limit the milk metaphor exclusively to the written word of God. This would be especially true at a time before the gospel of Jesus Christ is fully and formally inscripturated in the NT.” (136-37) “Peter’s readers are to crave the Lord by adopting attitudes and behaviors that will sustain the new life they have begun by faith in Christ. The ethical exhortation is consistent with the content of Ps. 33 LXX, where those who seek the Lord for deliverance must stop speaking deceit and evil (33:14 [34:13]) and must turn away from evil and pursue peace (33:15 [34:14]). Thus it is the ethical transformation that qualifies them to be the people whom the Lord will deliver. . . . logikos milk means not the word-milk but the milk that is true to the nature of the new eschatological reality established by the resurrection of Jesus Christ and into which Peter’s readers have been reborn (1:3). This understanding of logikos also works well in Rom. 12:1, where Paul instructs Christians to logikos worship—worship that corresponds to the new eschatological reality in which they are living in Christ by ethical and moral transformation in contrast to their former ways of worship.” (140)



About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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3 Responses to Pure Spiritual Milk (1 Peter 2:2) – What is It? – Part 2

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write this out. It’s very instructive.


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