Hebrews 5:12-14

12 You 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.
13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.
14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Hebrews 5:12-14 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO HEBREWS 5

The apostle having made mention of Christ as an high priest, in the preceding chapter, proceeds in this to give an account of an high priest, and applies the character of him to Christ; and shows that he is of another order of priesthood than that of Aaron, even of the order of Melchisedec; of whom he could say many things, but the Hebrews were dull of hearing them; which leads him to blame them for their rudeness, and non-proficience. The description of the high priest is taken from his relation to men, separation from them, and ordination for them; from his oblation of their gifts and sacrifices; from his sympathy with them, and from his call of God, Heb 5:1-4 all which are accommodated to Christ; as his vocation of God, Heb 5:5,6 confirmed by two testimonies out of Ps 2:7, 110:4 his being a man, and having infirmities, though sinless ones, and his sympathy with men, and compassion on them, Heb 5:7 his obedience and sufferings, and the oblation of himself, whereby he became the author of salvation to his people, which is the main thing in his priesthood, Heb 5:8,9 and which was not of the order of Aaron, though in some things there was an agreement with it, but of the order of Melchizedek, Heb 5:10 of whom the apostle could say many surprising things; but these Hebrews were dull of apprehension, and incapable of receiving them, Heb 5:11. And then he proceeds to blame them for their dulness, which he aggravates by the time they had been in the school of Christ, when it might have been expected they would have been teachers of others; by their being yet scholars, and of the lowest class, who had need to be taught the first rudiments of the Christian religion; yea, by their being as babes that stood in need of milk, and could not bear meat, Heb 5:12. And then follows a description both of babes, and of adult persons; such as are unskilful in the word of righteousness are babes, and use milk; but those who exercise their spiritual senses, to discern between good and bad doctrine, are adult, and can digest strong meat, Heb 5:13,14.

Hebrews 5:12-14 In-Context

10 And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
11 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.
12 You 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.
13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.
14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or about the oracles of God.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.