“Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, (and) not solid food. Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil. Therefore, let us leave behind the basic teaching about Christ and advance to maturity, without laying the foundation all over again: repentance from dead works and faith in God,instruction about baptisms and laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.” Hebrews 5:12-6:2
The author of the above verse is saying to his readers, “Grow up.” They had been taught the truth and were at a point where they should be teaching others the Truth of God’s Word. But instead, they lacked discernment, they weren’t experienced in the “word of righteousness” (i.e. they weren’t reading and studying the scriptures) and needed to be retaught the basics of the Christian faith. They were living off of milk, when they should have been living off of solid food.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary says regarding this passage, “Christ despises not his babes; he has provided suitable food for them. It is good to be babes in Christ, but not always to continue in that childish state; we should endeavor to pass the infant state; we should always remain in malice children, but in understanding we should grow up to a manly maturity. There is strong meat for those that are of full age, (v. 14). The deeper mysteries of religion belong to those that are of a higher class in the school of Christ, who have learned the first principles and well improved them; so that by reason of use they have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil, duty and sin, truth and error.” The believers who require milk are not to be looked down on. Christ has supplied them with everything they need through the scriptures. And those who are mature should be there to teach, guide, and train them into further instruction. The idea is to go from “milk” to “solid food”. “To those who are given much, much is required”. (Luke 12:48) Those who have been given the ability and capacity to learn and understand God’s Word, will be expected to speak it, preach it, and teach it to others. And to do so according to God’s Truth, not their own.
Now, there is a large number of Christians within the church today who have moved beyond milk, they are seeking the knowledge of God and understanding of His word, and trying to grow to maturity in Christ. The problem is, however, they are doing it not by reading and studying the Word of God, but by relying on the teaching and preaching of men. These Christians are seeking out spiritual principles and philosophies that sound good, they have a filling of a “spiritual feeling” when they hear the messages presented to them, and they walk away with a sense of “understanding” about the things of God. But they never take it back to scripture to see if the things they are being taught are God’s Truth (Acts 17:11). They pursue knowledge, but neglect discernment. The result is not a maturity based on “solid food”, but rather a “spiritual knowledge” based on feeling good, the experience of others, and the use of scripture taken out of context. It is like a teenager feasting on “Junk Food”. It tastes good, and fills you up, but it provides absolutely no nourishment.
Paul told the Corinthians, “Brothers, I could not talk to you as spiritual people, but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it. Indeed, you are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh.” (1 Corinthians 3:2-3) Christians who are looking for a “feel good” gospel are of the flesh. They require “milk”, or basic scriptural principles, because they are not ready (or interested) to hear the Truth. “Yet we do speak a wisdom to those who are mature, but not a wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away. Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, and which none of the rulers of this age knew; for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:6-8) We need to be pursuing the mysteries of God’s Word. The deeper truths found when you study the WHOLE Bible and allow scripture to interpret scripture.
In an article by Table Talk Magazine Titled, “The Lost art of Spiritual Discernment”, the author writes, “[Discernment] requires of us that we employ our minds by informing ourselves through the study of the truth revealed in God’s Word. To be grounded in the revealed truth is the surest way to prepare to be able to recognize error.” Anything and everything we listen to, read, or watch, whether it’s called Christian or not, needs to be weighed with scripture. And the more you know your Bible, the easier it will be to recognize those teachings that are not in line with the teachings of Christ.
Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
[For] they received the word with great eagerness, examining [anakrino] the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Acts 17:11
See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
Guard your heart and mind. Test everything against scripture. Being mature is not about being right- it is about letting the Word of God speak. We should all grow in Christ to become teachers of the Word. And hearing the preaching of other teachers can help us understand complex biblical Truths. But examine what you hear prayerfully against the Word of God. God’s Word is the measuring stick, not the teaching of men.