Friday 6th November 2020
Hebrews 5: 11 – 14
About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
The ‘this’ about which much should be said and which is hard to explain is presumably that which has been referred to in the preceding verses, it is the reference to Christ being a ‘high priest according to the order of Melchizedek’.
In this passage the writer relates to the readers in a direct way. They were long-standing Christians, they should be able to teach the faith to others, but as far as the writer is concerned, they lack understanding and they need someone to teach them basic principles or as the Revised English Bible puts it, they need someone to teach them ‘the ABC of God’s oracles all over again’.
The distinction between infants who live on milk and the mature who live solid food, is found in Greek writings as well, and is used by Paul in 1 Corinthians (3:1-20). Paul could only speak to the Corinthians as infants in Christ, for they could not take solid food..
Speaking of those who live on milk, the reference to ‘righteousness’ is about living in the way that is required by God, They are unskilled, in living in his way, whereas the mature are trained by their practice of the faith and come to understand the difference between right and wrong.
The writer thinks his readers are failing to understand, but the hope of the writer is that through persistent prodding they will come to understand the deep theological message that is to be unfolded in the epistle.
Thinking about how this might relate to us in this present day, it is a challenge to today’s disciples, not only to learn of God, but also to be teachers, ready to speak of our faith.
forgive us when we have been slow to learn of you and your ways.
May our minds be open to learn.
May our mouths be ready to speak.
In Christ’s name.
Author: David Wiggs
I am the webmaster for Purley United Reformed Church and have been involved with the church since my late teens. I work in Croydon and live in Caterham.