A Study of Hebrews 5:12
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.”
I recently heard a prominent Christian preacher and author express his frustration at the instruction of the publishing companies that publish his books. They always tell him, “Make it simpler.” Certainly, there is a need for simple, clear teaching of God’s word. Teaching shouldn’t be needlessly complicated. However, if there is the growth that ought to be occurring in God’s people, the publishing companies would eventually say, “Go deeper. The people are growing and they’re hungry!”
Our above verse speaks of God’s people spiritually feeding on milk. The next verse calls them “babes.” It is wonderful to think of a new-born spiritual babe in Christ. Whatever bit of truth they get, they gobble it up. They don’t know much, but they love what they know! This is beautiful. But, if five years later, they still only know a bit of truth here and another bit there something is wrong. My two-year old delights me when she talks and sings. It is cute two-year old language. But if she is still in that language when she is eight, I’m going to be deeply concerned.
Where are you today? Where is the church today? Are we still being bottle-fed on the Bible or are we plunging deeper in our understanding of and walk with God? There are probably too many of us who are still eating the baby-food of Scripture when we should have dived into the meat and potatoes long ago.
This is not a call to set aside the sweet and simplest truths of the Bible and put on an artificial air of “deepness.” However, there is a deep aspect of those simple principles that many may be missing out on. May God help us all to have a capacity to enjoy both the milk and the nourishing, strengthening meat of the word.
Some promote the need for Christians to emphasize love, while not putting too much emphasis on doctrinal principles. Certainly, love is an essential part of our faith, but it is not to be divorced from doctrinal truth.
Why go deeper in the word?
Because the more we know of the Scriptures, the more we know about God. Scripture is, after all, His self-revelation.
Do I want to remain a “first-grader” in my knowledge of God or drink more deeply of His greatness?
As I know Him more, this will lead to me loving Him more. Paul prayed for the Philippians that their love would “abound more and more in knowledge” (Philippians 1:9). This is not a shallow love for God, but one that digs deeper into our hearts the more we discover of Him. This is where true wealth lies. Paul desired these things for the Colossians describing them in terms of riches and treasures (Colossians 2:2-3). O, that we would all “strike it rich” in these valuables!
Furthermore, deeper knowledge of God’s word instructs and equips us in our daily walk. It is true that our purpose in life is to bring glory to God.
But, I’ve got to know how do to that!
The Scriptures educate me in that noble pursuit. Sadly, there are consequences when God’s people remain milk-feeders only. God proclaimed through His prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Lack of knowledge and obedience to God’s word brings significant damage in our lives, families and churches.
Much more could be added. Going deeper in the word brings us rich promises, strengthens our faith, and conforms us more to Christ-likeness. May these few thoughts inspire us to increase in our knowledge of the Scriptures.
By Timothy Guess