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Spiritual Milk

“Peter tells his newborn converts to do: “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow up to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). The phrase here rendered “milk of the word” is the Greek logikon gala, a phrase notoriously hard to translate. The Greek word logikos is cognate with the word logos, “word,” a noun rich in nuance and history, one that occupies over two pages of explanation in a Greek lexicon. Some versions render the phrase “spiritual milk”—compare Paul’s use of the word in Romans 12:1, where he bids us offer up our bodies as a logiken latreian, as “spiritual worship,” a contrast to the literal milk from the mother, with the meaning “metaphorical.”…the brainwashing from the World is daily and constant and never-ending. All that we have to counteract it is the pure milk of the Word, a word which we have freely chosen and in which we find true liberty. Drinking this we receive pure spiritual nourishment, and we turn from lies and half-lies to truth in all its fullness.” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)

“…Hebrews 5:11-6:8 emphasizes the necessity that everyone should continue to grow in faith and the knowledge of the faith…Paul says that they should be ready for solid food, the meat of the church’s doctrine. But they are stuck on a diet of milk of the elementary principles of the oracles, that is, the maxims of God’s Word…They cannot digest solid food because it is palatable only to those who are “of full age.” It is the proper food for the “fully grown”…According to the apostle, these mature persons have developed this solid diet by “reason of use” (Hebrews 5:14). They are not dependent on others to teach them about such things as the difference between right and wrong. But by constant “practice”,…they have “exercised their senses,” that is, they have trained their perceptions…“to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).” (Fr. Basil)

“We labor under the myth of being an “information-based” society. We imagine that we are deeply informed, have ready access to massive amounts of information on the basis of which we are able to make free and well-considered decisions. This over-simplification of our human experience is deeply flawed. Among the things we’ve learned in the past year-and-a-half is that “distance education” doesn’t work very well. There’s a good reason for that: education is not merely about the acquisition of information. Interaction with a computer screen in insufficient. We are social beings and require the presence and direct interaction with others in order to learn well and fully. Our mistake about all of this could be compared to imagining that infants merely need milk and not touch, cuddling, cooing, and the human face. We know the result of such mistaken notions: babies die, suffering from “failure to thrive.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

Many Americans are longing for the “meat” of sound doctrine. They have grown tired of the “milk” of a trite and banal, watered-down faith expressed in pious platitudes and simplistic moralizing…” (Fr. Thomas Kulp)

“The pure milk of the word is apostolic doctrine (Acts 2:42), the basic teaching of the Church—both written (1:10–12) and spoken (1:25). These lead us to the meat of the word (1Co 3:2), the sacraments of the Church, and continual growth in the Christian life. We have tasted that the Lord is gracious and should long for this spiritual nourishment.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Peter 2:2-3)


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