“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”
that you may grow thereby
“Grow” means to increase in size, enlarge, foster, strengthen, to cause something to increase. This is a growth of that which lives, naturally or spiritually (Eph 4:15; Col. 1:6,10; II Pet 3:18). “Grow” here means to be nourished up. God wants us to grow up. Growth occurs only in proportion to our growth in the Word.
God wants us to grow in our knowledge of God (Col 1:10). We may render this phrase as “you will know God more and more.”
The Greek has a prepositional phrase at the end of this phrase translated by one word here — “thereby.” The Greek of the word “thereby” means “on account of salvation.” That is because God saved our soul we should have a hunger for God’s Word.
Once we pass into spiritual life, we need to grow. Many Christians do not know what they are missing in the Christian life. Only Christians can grow because only Christians have eternal, spiritual life.
I Cor. 3:1 “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2I 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; 3for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?”
Heb 5:12 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”
The Word of God causes a Christian to mature in his Christian life.
Many Christians never develop in the Christian life. They suffer from malnutrition. Their new life in Christ becomes a drag because of a lack of nourishment. It is the Word of God that nourishes the Christian life.
When a person first becomes a Christian everything looks rosy. Little knowledge makes us dangerous. New Christians are vulnerable to all sorts of distortions within the Christian community. If they get into some of these mutilations they will deform their new life in Christ. They will become a spiritual pygmy for the rest of their spiritual lives. There are many spiritual dwarfs in evangelicalism.
The Bible exposes us to our sins. It reveals our motives. It keeps us aware of the presence of God.