PAUL'S BABY LANGUAGE
"But we were babes in the midst of you, as when a nurse cherishes her own children" 1 Thess. 2:7
I have resolutely adopted the marginal reading of the Revised, substituting the word "babes" for "gentle." Most of the ancient authorities have this word "babes." The word "gentle" has been preferred because it has been thought to suit the context better. Personally I do not think it does. The statement as it stands is very full of beauty. Perhaps no word of Paul anywhere more vividly sets forth his tender solicitude for his spiritual children. Observe the latter part of the figure first. It is not that of a mother. It is that of a nurse and mother. The Revised helps us here, by the rendering, "a nurse cherishes her own children." THE CONCEPTION IS THAT OF THE MERGING OF TRAINED INTELLIGENT SKILL WITH NATURAL MOTHER-LOVE. That is perfect care. A nurse may, have real skill, and even be scientifically devoted to her charges, but all this leaves something lacking which is found in motherhood. On the other hand, mothers whose love and devotion are undoubted have often wronged their children through ignorance. Given a nurse with her own children, and the ideal is realized. Paul said that this was his attitude toward his spiritual children, and he gives a beautiful description of it as he writes: "We were babes in the midst of you." Origen interpreted this to mean that Paul had talked to them in BABY LANGUAGE. Immediately the nurse-mother among her children is seen and heard, and there is nothing more to be said. Such was Paul's method with his babes in Christ; and such should ever be the way of those who have the oversight of the new-born children of God.