The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible1 Corinthians 3:2
I have fed you with milk…
It is usual with the Jews to
compare the law to milk, and they say F3, that
``as milk strengthens and nourishes an infant, so the law
strengthens and nourishes the soul;''
but the apostle does not here mean (hrwt lv blx) , "the milk of the
law", as they F4 call it, but the Gospel; comparable to milk, for
its purity and wholesomeness, for the nourishing virtue there is in
it, and because easy of digestion; for he designs by it, the more
plain and easy doctrines of the Gospel, such as babes in Christ were
capable of understanding and receiving: and not with meat; the more
solid doctrines of the Gospel, and sublime mysteries of grace; the
wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom; such truths as were
attended with difficulties, to which the carnal reason of men made
many objections, and so were only fit to be brought before such who
are of full age, young men, or rather fathers in Christ; who have
had a large experience, and a long time of improvement in spiritual
knowledge, and have their senses exercised to distinguish between
truth and error. The reason he gives for this his conduct is,
for hitherto ye were not able to bear it;
they could not receive,
relish, and digest it; it was too strong meat for them, they being
weak in faith, and but babes in Christ; wherefore he prudently
adapted things to their capacities, and that in perfect consistence
with that faithfulness and integrity, for which he was so remarkable:
for the Gospel he preached to them, which he calls "milk", was not
another Gospel, or contrary to that which goes by the name of "meat":
only the one consisted of truths more easily to be understood, and
was delivered in a manner more suited to their capacities than the
other: he adds,
neither yet now are ye able;
which carries in it a charge of dulness
and negligence, that they had been so long learning, and were
improved no more in the knowledge of the truth; were as yet only in
the alphabet of the Gospel, and needed to be afresh instructed in
the first principles of the oracles of God; for anything beyond
these was too high for them. The apostle seems to allude to the
manner and custom of the Jews, in training up their children to
learning; as to their age when they admit them scholars, their rule
is this F5,
``they introduce children (into the school) to be taught
when six or seven years of age, (wpwg Nynbw Nbh xk ypl) ,
"according to the child's strength, and the make of his
body, and less than six years of age they do not take any
But sooner than this, a father is obliged to teach his child at
home, concerning which they say F6,
``from what time is his father obliged to teach him the law?
as soon as he begins to speak, he teaches him the law
Moses commanded us, and "hear O Israel", and after that he
instructs him, (Myqwop Myqwop jem jem) , "by little and
little, here and there a verse", till he is six or seven
years of age, and, (wyrwb ypl lkh) , "all this according to
the clearness of his understanding";''
i.e. as he is able to take things in; and even till twelve years he
was to be used with a great deal of tenderness:
``says R. Isaac F7, at Usha they made an order, that a man
should "use his son gently", until he is twelve years of
age; the gloss upon it is, if his son refuses to learn, he
shall use him (Mykr Myrbdbw txnb) , "with mildness and tender
F3 Kimchi in Isa. lv. 1. Abarbinel, Mashamia Jeshua, fol. 26. 1.
F4 Jarchi in Cant. v. 12.
F5 Maimom. Talmud Tora, c. 2. sect. 2.
F6 Ib. c. 1. sect. 6.
F7 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 50. 1.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=1co&chapter=003&verse=002>. 1999.