Hebrews 5:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!

New Living Translation
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.

English Standard Version
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,

New American Standard Bible
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

King James Bible
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God's revelation again. You need milk, not solid food.

International Standard Version
In fact, though by now you should be teachers, you still need someone to teach you the basic truths of God's word. You have become people who need milk instead of solid food.

NET Bible
For though you should in fact be teachers by this time, you need someone to teach you the beginning elements of God's utterances. You have gone back to needing milk, not solid food.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For you ought to be teachers, because of the time you have had in the doctrine, but now, again, you need to learn those things which are the primer letters of the first words of God, and you have need of milk and not of solid food.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
By now you should be teachers. Instead, you still need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word. You need milk, not solid food.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For you should now be teaching others, if we look at the time, yet you need to be taught again which are the first elements of the oracles of God and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong food.

King James 2000 Bible
For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.

American King James Version
For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

American Standard Version
For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For whereas for the time you ought to be masters, you have need to be taught again what are the first elements of the words of God: and you are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Darby Bible Translation
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have again need that [one] should teach you what [are] the elements of the beginning of the oracles of God, and are become such as have need of milk, [and] not of solid food.

English Revised Version
For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.

Webster's Bible Translation
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need of one to teach you again which are the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong food.

Weymouth New Testament
For although, considering the long time you have been believers, you ought now to be teachers of others, you really need some one to teach you over again the very rudiments of the truths of God, and you have come to require milk instead of solid food.

World English Bible
For although by this time you should be teachers, you again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food.

Young's Literal Translation
for even owing to be teachers, because of the time, again ye have need that one teach you what are the elements of the beginning of the oracles of God, and ye have become having need of milk, and not of strong food,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:11-14 Dull hearers make the preaching of the gospel difficult, and even those who have some faith may be dull hearers, and slow to believe. Much is looked for from those to whom much is given. To be unskilful, denotes want of experience in the things of the gospel. Christian experience is a spiritual sense, taste, or relish of the goodness, sweetness, and excellence of the truths of the gospel. And no tongue can express the satisfaction which the soul receives, from a sense of Divine goodness, grace, and love to it in Christ.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 12. - For when, by reason of the time (i.e. the time that has elapsed since your conversion), ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that some one teach you (or, that one teach you which be) the first principles (literally, the elements of the beginning) of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. Τῆς ἀρχῆς in this verse seems best taken in union with τὰ στοιχεῖα, rather than with τῶν λογίων; the phrase, τὰ στοιχεῖα τῆς ἀρχῆς, meaning "the initiatory elements" - the A, B, C of Christian teaching. The word λογία ("oracles"), is used elsewhere for the revelations of the Old Testament, as Acts 7:38; Romans 3:2. Here its meaning can hardly be taken as confined to them, since the first principles of the gospel are being spoken cf. Still, a word that includes them in its meaning may be purposely used by way of intimating that the elements intended are those of Judaism as well as Christianity, or of the latter only in its first emergence out of Judaism. And accordingly, vers. 1, 2 of Hebrews 6, where they are enumerated, are (as will be seen) so worded as to imply no more than this; nor are the first principles there mentioned beyond what an enlightened Jew might be expected to understand readily. Be it observed that the Hebrew Church need not be supposed to have actually lost sight of these first principles, so as to require a new indoctrination into them. There may be a vein of delicate irony in what is said, after the manner of St. Paul. All that is of necessity implied is that there had been such a failure in seeing what these principles led to as to suggest the necessity of their being learnt anew. The writer does not, in fact, as he goes on, require them to be learnt anew; for he bids his readers leave them behind, as though already known, and proceed from them to perfection, though still with some misgiving as to their capability for doing so. The figure of milk for babes and solid food for full-grown men, to illustrate the teaching suitable for neophytes and for advanced Christians, is found also in 1 Corinthians 3:1, 2; and that of νήπιος in 1 Corinthians 14:20; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 4:14. This correspondence, though no proof of the Pauline authorship, is among the evidences of the Pauline character of the Epistle.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,.... These Hebrews had had great advantages; they were not only descended from Abraham, and had the law of Moses, and the writings of the Old Testament, but some of them had enjoyed the ministry of Christ, and however of his apostles; and it was now about thirty years from the day of Pentecost, in which the gifts of the Holy Ghost were bestowed in such an extraordinary manner, and a large number were converted, and a church state settled among them; and therefore considering the length of time, the opportunities and advantages they had enjoyed, it might have been expected, and indeed it is what should have been, that they would have been teachers of others, some in a private, and some in a public way: from whence it may be observed, that to have time for learning, and yet make no proficiency, is an aggravation of dulness; moreover, that men ought to be hearers, and make some good proficiency in hearing, before they are fit to be teachers of others; also, that persons are not only to hear for their own edification, but for the instruction of others, though all hearers are not designed for public teachers; for to be teachers of others, requires a considerable share of knowledge: to which may be added, that the churches of Christ are the proper seminaries of Gospel ministers. But this was so far from being the case of these Hebrews, that the apostle says of them,

ye have need that one teach on again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; by the oracles of God are meant the Scriptures, not the law of Moses only, but all the writings of the Old Testament, which were given by the respiration of God, and are authoritative and infallible; and by the "first principles" of them are intended, either the first promises in them, concerning the Messiah; or the institutions, rites, and ceremonies of the law, which are sometimes called elements, Galatians 4:3 where the same word is used as here; and which were the alphabet and rudiments of the Gospel to the Jews: or else the apostle designs the plain doctrines of the Gospel, which were at first preached unto them, in which they needed to be again instructed, as they were at first; so that instead of going forward, they had rather gone back:

and are become such as have need of milk; of the types, shadows, and figures of the law, which were suited to the infant state of the church, who by sensible objects were directed to the view of Gospel grace; or of the plain and easier parts of the Gospel, comparable to milk for their purity, sweetness, nourishing nature, and being easy of digestion:

and not of strong meat: such as the deep things of God, the mysteries of the Gospel; those which are more hard to he understood, received, and digested; such as the doctrines of the Trinity, of God's everlasting love, of eternal election and reprobation, of the person of Christ, the abrogation of the law, &c.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

12. for the time—considering the long time that you have been Christians. Therefore this Epistle was not one of those written early.

which be the first principles—Greek, "the rudiments of the beginning of." A Pauline phrase (see on [2552]Ga 4:3; [2553]Ga 4:9). Ye need not only to be taught the first elements, but also "which they be." They are therefore enumerated Heb 6:1, 2 [Bengel]. Alford translates, "That someone teach you the rudiments"; but the position of the Greek, "tina," inclines me to take it interrogatively, "which," as English Version, Syriac, Vulgate, &c.

of the oracles of God—namely, of the Old Testament: instead of seeing Christ as the end of the Old Testament Scripture, they were relapsing towards Judaism, so as not only not to be capable of understanding the typical reference to Christ of such an Old Testament personage as Melchisedec, but even much more elementary references.

are become—through indolence.

milk … not … strong meat—"Milk" refers to such fundamental first principles as he enumerates in Heb 6:1, 2. The solid meat, or food, is not absolutely necessary for preserving life, but is so for acquiring greater strength. Especially in the case of the Hebrews, who were much given to allegorical interpretations of their law, which they so much venerated, the application of the Old Testament types, to Christ and His High Priesthood, was calculated much to strengthen them in the Christian faith [Limborch].

Hebrews 5:12 Additional Commentaries
Context
Warning against Drifting Away
11Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.…
Cross References
Acts 7:38
He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.

1 Corinthians 3:2
I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

1 Corinthians 14:20
Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

Galatians 4:3
So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.

Hebrews 5:11
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.

Hebrews 6:1
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

Hebrews 10:32
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.

1 Peter 2:2
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
Treasury of Scripture

For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

for the.

Matthew 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, …

Mark 9:19 He answers him, and said, O faithless generation, how long shall …

teachers.

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and …

Psalm 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

1 Corinthians 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, …

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching …

Titus 2:3,4 The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, …

teach.

Isaiah 28:9,10,13 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand …

Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things …

the first.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us …

the oracles.

2 Samuel 16:23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counceled in those days, …

Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel …

Romans 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that to them were committed the oracles of God.

1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man …

as have.

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: …

Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has …

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to …

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may …

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