Milk or Meat? Hebrews Chapter 5: Part 3

17 November, 2021

Hebrews 5:12-14 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. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

This is a unique and important portion in the book of Hebrews. In the previous chapters, we learnt about the laws and duties of the high priest, Jesus designated by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek and how during the days His earthly life, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears, and He was heard because of His reverence. He became a role model for us by living as a human on Earth. Although Jesus had personal and internal struggles throughout his life on Earth, He aligned Himself to live according to the will of the Father. We too will have struggles when we live obeying God’s Word, but we need to learn obedience through those adversities and grow into maturity. 

And then the author of the epistle says, ‘we have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain, because you are dull of hearing’ . The reasons for the same may be explained as follows: 

1. The Hebrew believers had been saved for many years by then. 

2. But they were all still immature spiritually 

3. By this time, they ought to be teaching others, but still need someone to teach them the basic things of God over and over.

 Every believer is supposed to be a teacher. Ephesians 4:11 onwards says about 5 kinds of ministry: Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists and Teachers. The teacher mentioned there is an office attained by a specific calling and gift, and being trained over the years. But in the context in the Book Of Hebrews, a person who is saved can teach others the next moment by conveying that Jesus is the Savior. By teaching the revelations that are received through sermons and God’s Word, you become spiritually mature. Serve what you receive! Give freely what you received freely. Teaching is the final step to learning. Acts 12:24 The Word of God continued to spread and flourish. The Word spread when the believers shared the Word. Make use of every opportunity and facility to spread God’s Word.

4. They had to be taught the first principles again. Usually we learn alphabets and numbers at the start of school life. But imagine a 10th grader still reciting the same: A for Apple, B for Ball or sitting with a coloring book when he/she is supposed to be preparing for the board exam.

5. They have come to need milk and not solid food. It is like a sixty year old person still drinking only milk. Every infant is initially fed breast milk. A few months later the parents would progressively introduce solid food and the sight of their child enjoying the food will surely bring them immense joy. But it would be disappointing if a five year  old, or a teenager or a youngster depends on milk alone for energy and nutrition. So too with spiritual food. 

If you consider the Christian messages uploaded in Youtube, the greatest viewership will be for sermons related to healing, blessings, deliverance, salvation, etc. – light food. All this is elementary.

6. Those who can be taught only the elementary principles are spiritual babies.

7. Being always a baby is a very painful thing to the parents. 

8. Solid food can be given only to those who are mature.

Who is a spiritual baby? 

1 Peter 2:2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.

We all do include milk in our diet in certain amounts and that’s totally acceptable, but having milk alone as the main and only source of nutrition beyond the infant stage isn’t desirable.

1 Corinthians 3:1-5 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one

1. Spiritual babies refers to those who are carnal, cranky and divisive. Those who form small groups and seclude themselves are also considered as spiritual babies. 

2. Those who have little understanding. 

1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

3. Those who are tossed by the wind of teachings (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 

Parents often take turns in carrying their babies, and sometimes grandparents, friends, or the elder children in the family do take care of them for a while. Likewise, we all need to be cared for by the five-fold ministers mentioned before.

4. Those who quarrel on account of their leaders

1 Corinthians 1:12 – What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

5. Those who always sleep

 Babies sleep most of the time. If you are always spiritually asleep, you are a spiritual baby. 

The Hebrew believers ought to be raising others as they were led to Christ years ago. Though the author wants to give them more weighty content, he is unable to and writes from that frustration.

Finally, it is those who are spiritually mature who are able to use their spiritual senses to discern both good and evil. 

1.Taste

1 Peter 2:3 – now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Psalm 34:8 – Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

2. Hearing

Isaiah 55:3 Hear, and your soul shall live;..

Revelation 2:7Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

3. Sight

Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Mathhew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

4. Smell

Isaiah 11:3 & Philippians 4:18 – I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

5. Touch

Ephesians 4:18,19having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Spiritually mature people use these spiritual senses to discern good and evil whereas it is difficult for babies to discern such things. Babies/kids would place their hand on fire, or watch inappropriate channels/content,  or even place hazardous things in their mouth as they lack discernment.

Each one of us must have  a deep desire to grow spiritually into maturity.

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About the Author

Ps. Damien Antony 

BRev. Damien Antonyorn and brought up in a Christian family, Ps. Damien Antony possessed an unquenching quest for truth right from his boyhood days and eventually his relentless search led him to the Bible. He is a Revival Preacher, Bible Teacher, Leadership Trainer, Author and a Life Coach. He moves under the anointing for Prophetic, Healing, Deliverance, Inner Healing and Financial Breakthrough. God has also blessed him with an Apostolic Mandate to take the Universal Body of Christ to the next level of revelation and anointing.