~~ by tkbrown
1 Corinthians 3:1, 2 (NKJV)
- 1 — “And I , brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal , as to babes in Christ.”
- 2 — “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;”
23 September 2020 — While working on posts for the “Greek Words for ‘love’ in the New Testament” series, I have thought much on my Biblical studies through the years. During my younger years, I studied mostly by verse and by topic. When I needed spiritual strengthening, I would search out scriptures on a particular topic and study it. The scripture was indeed food for my soul.
I grew up in a rural area, so our church family was small. When I was fourteen, I began teaching the Sunday night Children’s Class. There were five children in the class, ages five to twelve. We could not afford the purchase cost of lesson materials, so I started with the four Gospels, and we would take a few verses each week. I would write out the lesson sheets for each child.
The lessons consisted of scripture, copied word for word, with blanks to be filled in. During class, we would read the lesson scripture and fill in the blanks. The youngest could not write, but his siblings helped him fill in the blanks on his sheets. I knew from when I was younger, he could remember what we talked about, especially with two siblings who probably talked with mom and dad about what had been studied. During the two years I taught the class, we digested many morsels as they began being introduced to solid spiritual food.
As I have pondered the purpose for my reminiscing, I realized, the study of Greek words for “love” began in my teen years. The minister taught the teen / adult class. We did much the same as I did with the children, except we did not have fill-in-the-blank sheets. We studied directly from the scripture–a few verses a night. It was during my teen years, in these classes where I learned to study more in depth. The minister spoke of the Greek words for “love” occasionally during these classes, as he did for other words when he thought we could benefit from the learning.
I awoke this morning with understanding of why I had been pondering my younger days. I was being shown, during my teen years, how to study as a mature Christian. In order to do this, we begin as babes in Christ needing the “sincere milk of the word,” referenced by Peter in 1 Peter 2:2:
- “as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” (King James Version — KJV).
- “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” (New King James Version — NKJV).
The King James Version (KJV) of the New Testament uses the wording, “sincere milk . . .,” whereas, the New King James Version (NKJV) has changed “sincere” to “pure.” Personally, I prefer the “sincere milk . . .” for this thought process. Just as I fed my babies “milk” in their early days in order to aid their healthy growth — especially bone and teeth growth needing much calcium, we as new Christians need the “milk” of the scriptures to form a firm foundation for our Spiritual growth. As we grow, we are introduced to the more mature instruction so we can develop strength in other areas as we also continue consuming the “milk” to aid continued strengthening of the foundation.
As I pondered this, I realized my attention was being brought to the “solid food” aspect of scriptural study. When I prepare an especially savory meal for physical nutrition, I savor every morsel. This savoring is part of the spiritual growth process too. It is necessary, at times, to take a scripture word by word to learn the true meaning behind the original Greek text in the New Testament. It is necessary to chew it slowly, try to discern which spices were added during preparation. What were the other solid foods added to the dish? Our spiritual study must be taken just as slowly at times.
I said all of the above to say this: The series on Greek words used for “love” in the New Testament is a word by word type of study. We are taking each word as a single morsel of solid food and savoring each flavor (meaning) in order to absorb the most nutrition (understanding) from the food. By learning the various words used in the original Greek text, we are sorting through the flavors of Greek nutrition in order to truly understand what the English version says when it only uses one word, “love,” in its translation.
It was necessary for me to step back and explain this before progressing any further with the Greek words for “love” study in order for you, the readers, to understand the importance of knowing the original Greek term. Just as a chef must know exactly which flavors are needed to achieve a certain flavor, it is necessary for us to know what words added to the flavor of the original text. This is what is meant by the apostle Paul’s reference to “solid food” in 1 Corinthians.
I hope this little aside helps you to understand the “why” behind the “what” of what we are doing with this study. This is my prayer! Blessings to all!