Throughout the Word of God, those who are truly saved, are exhorted to grow and to be firmly established in their faith. We see a special emphasis of this in the New Testament epistles. For those who heed these admonitions, there are a multitude of blessings. For those who ignore them, there are consequences, sometimes severe.


Before we start our study of this important subject, it needs to be made clear, there can be no growth until there is life. Until we are regenerated by the Spirit of God, there can be no growth because there is no life present.

Our foundational verses for the study are found in Psalm 1.

Ps. 1:1-3, 6 – How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.

In our study we will see that one of the most important ingredients necessary for spiritual growth is the Bible. One of the many results of spending time in God’s Word is that believers will be established in their faith. The Apostle Paul emphasized the importance of this for all believers. From his perspective, being established in the faith is absolutely essential.

Col. 1:21-23 – And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach–if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

Rom. 1:11 – For I long to see you in order that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established.

Col. 2:6-7 – As you therefore have received Messiah Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

1 Thess. 3:11-13 – Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

Rom. 16:25 – Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus the Messiah, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past.

Gal. 4:19 – My children, with whom I am again in labor until Messiah is formed in you.

1 Pet. 5:10-11 – And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Messiah, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The word “establish” means to strengthen, to fix, make firm or solid. It contains the thought of making firm or solid by providing a support or buttress. According to the book of Acts, a major priority of those ministering in the early years of the church was to do everything they possibly could to strengthen the new believers and to help them to come to a place of maturity.

Acts 15:32 – And Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.

Acts 16:5 – So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.

Acts 14:21-22 – And after they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Acts 15:41 – And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Acts 18:23 – And having spent some time there, he departed and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

This strengthening process helps to lay that all important foundation that is necessary for all believers to possess. Without it, they will be subject to falling prey to false teaching, false conclusions about God and a host of other things that will harm one’s development as a believer.


1 Pet. 2:1-3 – Therefore, 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.


1 Pet. 2:1 – Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,

The obligation to grow involves the negative duty to remove all hindrances to growth. This must take place before the yearning for the milk of the Word can be realized. It’s not a call for perfectionism, but sin needs to be taken seriously and dealt with.

1. “putting aside” – This is the prerequisite.

a. The word pictures someone flinging off a badly stained garment.

b. We can’t cover them up, try to hide, or pretend they don’t exist. They will hinder our growth.

The Apostle Paul used the same analogy when he penned several of his epistles.

Eph. 4:22, 25 – that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Col. 3:8-9 – But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.

2. What is it that needs to be put off?

a. “Malice” – wickedness, evil conduct, basic ill-will toward others. It is an all inclusive word for sin referring to general wickedness and baseness. The Scriptures are filled with exhortations to do away with malice.

Rom. 1:28-29 – And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

Eph. 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Messiah also has forgiven you.

Titus 3:3 – For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

When it comes to malice, we are to be like babes.

1 Cor. 14:20 – Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil (malice) be babes, but in your thinking be mature.

b. “Guile” – deceit, craftiness, bait or a fishhook. It’s the attitude that desires to get the better of another by deception. It denotes dishonesty and falsehood.

Acts 13:8-10 – But Elymas the magician (for thus his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him, and said, You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?

Matt. 26:3-4 – Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth (deceit), and kill Him.

c. “Hypocrisy” – It denotes an actor playing a role, or a part that hides his true identity. It refers to insincerity and pretense. The word describes any behavior that is not genuine with what one says they believe.

Matt. 23:28 – Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you (scribes & Pharisees) are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Rom. 12:9 – Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

Gal. 2:13 – And the rest of the Jews joined him (Peter) in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.

1 Tim. 4:1-2 – But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.

James 3:17 – But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

d. “Envy” – It’s the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others. Accompanying envy are feelings of resentment, grudges, bitterness and conflict.

Matt. 27:18 – For he knew that because of envy they had delivered Him up.

Phil. 1:15 – Some, to be sure, are preaching Messiah even from envy and strife, but some also from good will.

1 Tim. 6:3-4 – If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions.

Gal. 5:19-21 – Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Titus 3:3 – For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

e. “Slander” – It refers to speech that runs down another by defaming one’s character. It has in it the idea of gossip and backbiting.

2 Cor. 12:20 – For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances.

Peter’s list does not take into consideration every sin that we need to put aside, but it’s sins like these that will hinder the free flow of the Word of God into our hearts that will prevent growth.

The removal of hindering vices must be followed by active efforts to promote spiritual growth.


To help us understand how essential the Word of God is for the believer in order for growth to take place, Peter gives us an illustration that most people are very familiar with; a new born baby and its’ desire for milk.

1. “Like new born babes” – This is the pattern. Peter says that just like newborn babies need milk, believers need the Word of God. There’s not much else that will satisfy a baby’s need when it’s hungry than milk. It’s boiled down to one dominate desire.

*Peter uses the illustration of a new born baby, but this truth is not singling out new believers. This should be our desire no matter how old we are in the Lord. It’s important for us to understand that, new believers start out on the milk of the Word, but there must come a time when they advance to the meat of the Word. This is not what Peter has reference too. He is merely talking about the desire believers should have for it. But, the Bible does make it clear that there comes a time when we graduate from milk to meat.

1 Cor. 3:2 – I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able.

Heb. 5:12-13 – For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.


1. “Long for” – This is the passion. This is a command for believers to strongly desire or crave something. In this instance, Peter says it’s the Word of God we need to long for. We have this same type of longing in other areas of our life, we also need to have it for the Bible. This same word is used several times in Scripture.

Rom. 1:11 – For I long to see you in order that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established.

2 Cor. 5:2 – For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven.

Phil. 2:26 – because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.

Phil. 1:8 – For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Messiah Jesus.

2 Tim. 1:4 – longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.

Ps. 42:1 – As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God.

2. “Pure milk of the Word” – This is what we are to desire. The word “pure” refers to something that is unadulterated or uncontaminated. There’s not too many things that falls into the category of being pure, but that is how Peter describes it. Peter commands believers to desire the Word of God. The one who desires it will read it, study it, meditate on it and spend a lot of time in it. The believer who desires the Word, will not neglect the Word of God.


1. “That by it you may grow” – This is the result of desiring the Word of God. Without a steady intake of the Word, believers will not grow. True growth is something which is done by the Holy Spirit. He takes the Word that we feed upon and empowers it in our lives to bring about growth and maturity.

Eph. 2:19-21 – So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.

Eph. 4:11-16 – And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Messiah; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Messiah. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Messiah, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

a. What does spiritual growth consist of? How can we measure to see if we are growing spiritually? 1. Spiritual growth consists of an increase of spiritual light – a discerning of spiritual truth.

  • *Growth in rightly understanding God.
  • *Growth in seeing our sinfulness and pollution of our heart.
  • *This is something the unsaved person does not have the capacity to do.

Rom. 8:6-8 – For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

1 Cor. 2:14 – But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

This light enables us to see God more clearly in His attributes and works. When there is less light in a room, only large objects and obvious clutter can be discerned. When sun shines its rays brightly into a room, we can see in those rays a multitude of dust particles which previously were not visible. Such is also true here. The more we see God, the more we will understand Him in His holy attributes and ourselves in our sinfulness.

2. Spiritual growth consists of a desire to have a more persistent and steadfast fellowship with God.

  • *Our mind and heart will be more inclined to the ways of God.
  • *Our thoughts will be directed towards God instead of temporal things.

Ps. 10:4 – The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Ps. 73:28 – But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Thy works.

Col. 3:2 – Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

3. Spiritual growth consists of making the Lord Jesus the center of our lives with more understanding and faith.

*The more we understand that we can do nothing without the Lord Jesus the better.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Col. 2:6-7 – As you therefore have received Messiah Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.


1. “If you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” – Since all believers taste the kindness of the Lord at the time of their salvation, Peter wants us to know that there is much more available. He doesn’t want us to stop with a mere taste. Since we were so satisfied with the taste, the logical implication is that we would want to keep on desiring what God has to offer.

Ps. 34:8 – O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

Acts 20:32 – And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.