Don’t Remain Like Babies; Go Beyond the Basics
11There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognise the difference between right and wrong.
6 1So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 2You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. 4For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— 6and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.Heb 5:11-6:6
I hope you have read the passage enough times to have picked up on what the writer is telling us all in this passage. To aid you in the process of understanding I have highlighted the pieces of this passage for us to see what the writer is telling us. Notice I wrote US. Yes, of course the focus has been on the Israelites of old because of their rebellion over a period of forty years “in the wilderness”. But the writer is not concerned so much with those ancient Israelites. He has only used them as an example to encourage the Jewish Christians at the onset of Nero’s persecution to cling on to Christ and not return to the “safety” of the synagogue. The message of the Gospel, the Good News of salvation and zoē life in Christ, is for every generation. It must always be applied to each current generation. The Bible writers tell us the stories of past believers and non-believers in order for us to get the message of how trust in Christ and being right with God works.
- Is it so hard?
- Is it so difficult to understand?
- Can the author not explain it simply?
- Is the problem with the author’s understanding of the basic things?
The simple, clear answer to each of these questions is ‘No’. The problem is on the receiver’s end of the communication. It is not that the writer can’t explain it. It was not that Moses didn’t understand the principles of God. The problem lay with the recipients. Communication is a two-way-process: the sending of the message and the receiving of the message. A clear message can be sent but the reception needs to be clear as well, in order that good communication takes place. The writer of Hebrews is making it clear to us that the fault was on the recipient end; not the sender.
Look again at the clear statement made at the beginning of this passage.
There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.
All words are very carefully chosen to get the message across.
There is much more we would like to say
but it is difficult to explain,
you are spiritually dull
and don’t seem to listen.
Ouch! That makes it clear, doesn’t it. Where is the fault? It’s in YOU. There are three key words we need to understand if those of us hearing or reading this in the 21st Century are going to understand it any better than those in the time of Moses or those in the 1st Century AD.
- [δυσερμηνευτος] (dusermēneutos) – difficult to be explained, hard to be understood, hard to interpret that which was said
- [νωθρός / νωθροι] (nōthros) – slow, sluggish, lazy, slothful, indolent, dull, figuratively “stupid”
- [ἀκοή / ακοαις] literally “the ones hearing”, “those who are hearing the message”
The way each of these words have been used put the responsibility on the ears of the hearers. The last two words in Greek [ταῖς ἀκοαῖς] indicate that the problem in this communication process is on the part of the hearers. Literally “the hearers”, “those who hear”. The problem is not found in the explanation; it’s at the receiver’s end. Those two words are left until the end of the sentence. In Greek all words are tagged semantically, so the word order is not important to communicating the relationship between the words. In Greek the words are in agreement as to the part of speech and as to what each word refers or is connected to. That leaves the writer free to place the key words at the beginning or end of the sentence to highlight them. That is what has happened in this sentence. “The hearers” have been placed at the end in the place of emphasis.
Having clearly stated where the problem lies, the writer goes on to give the warning signs. I am sure that you can see now what I have done for you in this Gem. I have laid out the propositions clearly for you 21st Century readers. The writer has stated clearly that the problem is with us and then he has given the warning signs to watch out for. We will unpack the warning signs in the next Gem. You will have noticed too I am sure that I have not done anything yet with the last three verses, Hebrews 6:4-6. That’s because they need special treatment. More to come on that later.
If you limit your story to the days between birth & death, you brace yourself for a sad ending. You are made for more than this life.Max Lucado
I will walk as God created me to be; full grown; mature; in the full stature of Christ. I will be RESPONSIBLE.T D Jakes
Don’t expect or allow everything the preacher tells you about the Word of God to be everything you know about the Word of God.Ian
Paying attention to detail in the Word of God is a major part of being responsible for your own spiritual life.Ian