What Newborns, the Bible, and Your Health Have in Common

Babies grow by drinking milk—lots of it. They don’t take in one glass on Sunday and another the next Sunday. They drink all day, every day, several times a day.

(And night.)

But imagine if a mother only fed her baby one day a week. What would happen to that baby? Even if it survived, it would grow up malnourished, with serious growth defects.

Many Christians are trying to make their way in the world like this. They drink the milk of God’s Word once a week (more or less), and then they’re surprised that their spiritual life lags. They shouldn’t be. As the Apostle Peter says, we grow in faith by imbibing God’s Word: “Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow up into your salvation, if ‘you have tasted that the Lord is good’” (1 Peter 2:2–3 CSB).

Peter gives three qualities of the Word that explain why, even more than physical nourishment, it is so necessary to our lives.

1. The Word Lasts Forever.

“… you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

– 1 Peter 1:23–25

Everything else in the world is temporary, but God’s Word is forever. If you build your life on anything else—the approval of people, the strength of your family ties, the love of your spouse, your financial security—you’ll feel insecure and constantly anxious. All these things will eventually fade—and you along with them, if you build your life on them.

One of my favorite poems from high school literature class endeared itself to me for two reasons: (1) It was really short, and (2) the imagery is striking. “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley is about the discovery of a buried monument, corroded and covered by sand, forgotten by history, with the really faint words etched on it, “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Shelley’s point was that what seems prestigious and permanent in one generation is forgotten or mocked in the next.

The only way to find permanence in your life is to build it on the Word of God.

2. The Word Is Living.

The Bible is not just a book of theological doctrine and premises; it is the living, breathing Word of God. In it, we encounter the very voice of God—the same voice that created the stars, healed lepers, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead. Scripture is not just about learning ancient truths. It is about God speaking to us, in real time, with real direction. Without that, our souls will shrivel and die.

3. The Word Gives Us Confidence.

Throughout Peter’s first letter, he interchanges “Word of God” and the person of Jesus seamlessly. For example, at the end of chapter 1, Peter is talking about building our lives on the Word; then in chapter 2, he shifts to the rock on which we build being Jesus. For Peter, “the Word” and “Jesus” are the same. In the Word of the gospel, we meet Jesus, who gives us a taste of the goodness of God and teaches us that, in all things, we can trust him. In Jesus, we see that at our worst moment, he still loved us, and we know that if he loved us then he will never leave us now.

So, Peter says, nourish yourself constantly on that good gospel Word. Drink it like the milk a baby drinks to survive and without which he’ll remain severely undernourished.

For many people, the only Bible they get is from the preacher on Sunday. Not having a daily quiet time, where you pour God’s Word into you, means you will shrivel up spiritually—and it won’t matter how long you’ve been a Christian or how many facts you know. We need the constant intake of the imperishable, life-giving Word of God. Even Jesus was saturated in it.

Are you?