The Pure Milk of the Word: I Peter 2:1-12

thumbnail12Therefore….. putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (I Peter 2:1-3)

“So…..clean house!  Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.  You’ve had a taste of God.  Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness.  Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.”  (I Peter 2:1-3, paraphrased by Dr. Eugene Peterson, The Message, Catholic/Ecumenical Edition) 

Throughout the remainder of this study of St. Peter’s letters I will use The Message paraphrase of the Bible from time to time (See Sources and Resources) and cite it, Peterson, MCEE.  I am acquainted with Dr. Peterson and with many of his writings from my Baptist and Presbyterian years.  He is a reliable scholar and pastor (and poet); his paraphrase of the Scriptures is meant to acquaint newcomers to the Bible in an engaging way, and is also meant to bring a fresh readability to the Scriptures for people so well-acquainted with them (for example, in the Liturgy) that comprehension has been dulled and the excitement of God’s powerful word asks to be reawakened in their hearts during personal or group study.  For people studying the Scriptures seriously, as we are, such a paraphrase adds another dimension to the meaning of certain passages, even though the translator does not claim to do justice to all that is being referred to by the original writer.  And, I must say, knowing what I do about Dr. Peterson, he has done his paraphrase–a huge undertaking!–with great seriousness and with much prayer.  My husband has kept the original edition of The Message in his eye clinic reception room for many years, and it has become quite dog-eared!

So, for those who want to delve more deeply into the first three verses of chapter 2, here are some other passages to read, related to each verse, along with suggestions from the Catechism (CCC):

I Peter 2:1–See the beautiful passage we studied in Ephesians this past Spring, Ephesians 4:22-24 as well as James 4:10-12.

Chapter 2:2–See the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 18:3 and 19:14;  Mark 10:15; and Luke 18:17.  St.Paul mentions these things in I Corinthians 3:2 and 14:20.

Chapter 2:3–Psalm 34:8 is the famous and beautiful verse referred to, here.

The CCC 2475,ff and CCC 2500 are particularly helpful references for expanding upon the meaning of these three verses.

I Peter 2:4-10 is a section of the letter full of references from Old Testament prophecies.  Verse 6 sends us to Isaiah 28:16.  Verse 7 cites Psalm 118:22.  Ephesians 2:19-22 relates beautifully to these verses, as do CCC756 and 1179.  For verse 8, see Isaiah 8:14.

A  more extensive study can be done of verse 9 by going to Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 10:15; Isaiah 42:6,7; 43:20,21; 61:6; and 66:21.  And see CCC1141 and 1546.  Verse 10 sends us to Hosea 1:10 and 2:23.  Underlying this, of course, is Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.

I will end this study of verses 1-12 with Dr. Peterson’s lively paraphrase of verses 11 and 12:  Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it.  Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.  Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices.  Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. (MCEE)

Blessings on your studying this week,  JC