Of Milk and Solid Food

The time for being babes in Christ is over.

Hebrews 5 (6)


The writer launches into an “if the shoe fits, wear it” excursus on the differences between those who feed on solid food and those who sip only on the milk of the Word. If you’re a milk-sipper, you mustn’t be content to stay there. You’ll never reach maturity on that diet alone. You need solid food, and if solid food is not to your liking, then there may be a problem. He’ll discuss the implications of that in chapter 6. The writer wants us to have the attitude of Job and Jeremiah toward the Word. Do you?

Meditate on Job 23.12 and Jeremiah 15.15, 16.

Read Hebrews 5.13, 14.

Think it through.

1. The writer says that those who only sip on the milk of the Word are “unskilled in the word of righteousness.” The Greek word ἄπειρος (unskilled) means “pertaining to the lack of knowledge or capacity to do something – inexperienced in, unacquainted with” (Louw & Nida). What does it mean to be “unskilled” in Scripture? Is this a desirable place to be? Why does it make sense to describe such a person as a “babe”? Why does he refer to Scripture as “the word of righteousness”? What does it mean to be “skilled” in that Word? 

2.  Mature people, on the other hand, feed on solid food. He mentions two identifying marks of those who feed on solid food and are thus mature. (1) What does “reason of use” suggest? How does this relate to our diet of the Word of God? (2) And what does it mean “to discern both good and evil”? Why is this important? How does this work in a mature person’s life?

“Search and hold fast with great precision and faith the things that are said, so that, understanding the will of God accurately from the divine Scriptures, you may be able without stumbling to distinguish the noble from the inferior, and not obey every spirit, nor be carried about by harmful thoughts. Be fully convinced, my brothers, that there is nothing so prone to save us as closely following the divine commands of our Savior.” Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022 AD)

…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, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ… 
Ephesians 4.14, 15

Show me, Lord, those areas of life in which I need to become more mature, and help me to…

Pray Psalm 132.1-18.
What benchmarks of maturity can you identify as you pray this psalm? Ask God to make them more real and evident in your life.

Psalm 132.1-18 (Finlandia: Be Still, My Soul)
Remember, Lord, we pray, in David’s favor
The hardships he endured, the oath he swore, 
The vow he made to Jacob’s mighty Savior:
“I shall not enter through my palace door; 
I shall not sleep, nor slumber my eyes favor, 
Until I make a dwelling for the Lord!”

The word throughout the chosen nation spread, 
To Ephrata, and in the fields of Jaar:
“Now let us go,” the faithful people said, 
“And worship where our Savior’s dwellings are!
Around His footstool let our worship spread; 
Come, gather to Him, all from near and far!”

Arise, O Lord, come to Your resting place; 
Your holy presence meet with us in might. 
Clothe us with righteousness in Jesus’ grace, 
And we will shout to Your divine delight!
For David’s sake, turn not away Your face, 
But look upon us in Your holy light.

Remember, Lord, the oath You swore to David; 
Do not turn back, do not deny Your Word:
“One of your sons, with your throne I will favor, 
And He shall keep My cov’nant evermore, 
And walk within My testimonies ever, 
Thus He shall ever rule as Israel’s Lord.”

God dwells among us, and He will forever, 
To meet our needs and clothe us with His grace.
He has to us sent Jesus Christ, our Savior, 
And made us His eternal resting-place.
His foes are banished from His presence ever, 
But we shall reign with Him before His face.

T. M Moore

For a better understanding of the book of Hebrews, and all the books of the Bible, order a copy of the workbook, God’s Covenant, from our online store. The studies in this workbook will show you how the parts of the Bible connect with one another to tell the story of God’s redemption and glory (click here). To learn more about Christ in His exaltation, order the book, The Kingship of Jesus (click here).

Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute buttonat the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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