|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.
Verse 13. - For every one that partaketh of milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. Reason for saying that they are such as have need of milk; for milk is the nourishment of infants, and he that is an infant in respect of spiritual growth is ἄπειρος λόγου δικαιοσύνης: not of necessity unacquainted with it altogether, but still not versed in it; he is but a tyro. "Word of righteousness" may be taken as a general term to denote what we might call religious lore; referring here especially to the gospel, which is eminently the revelation of the "righteousness of God" (Romans 1:17; cf. 2 Corinthians 3:9, ἡ διακονία τῆς δικαιοσύνης: and 2 Cor 11:15, διάκονοι δικαιοσύνης); but not excluding a more general conception. There is no need to suppose an exclusive reference to the more perfect doctrine in opposition to the elements, since, of the whole subject of religious knowledge, the νήπιος may be said to be ἄπειρος in the sense of being without the matured skill that experience gives. Hence, too, we are certainly not justified in finding in the phrase a specific allusion to the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith only, which is not suggested by the context or by what follows. Still less may we (with Delitzsch) so ignore the notable significance of δικαιοσύνη as to reduce the expression to a synonym for "rightly framed, that is sound and orthodox discourse."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For everyone that useth milk,.... And sits down contented with the first principles of the Gospel, such as are easily taken in and digested; or makes use of the ceremonial law, as a schoolmaster to teach him the Gospel:
is unskilful in the word of righteousness; the Gospel, which is a doctrine of righteousness; not of works of righteousness done by men, and of justification by them, or of a man's own righteousness; but of the pure, perfect, and everlasting righteousness of Christ: and it is called so, because it is the means of stripping a man of his own righteousness; and of revealing the righteousness of Christ unto him; and of working faith in him to lay hold upon it; and of discovering the agreement there is between the righteousness of Christ, and the justice of God; and of teaching men to live soberly, righteously, and godly: and such are unskilful in it, who either have no knowledge of the doctrine of justification; of the matter of it, Christ's righteousness; of the form of it, by imputation; and of the date of it, before faith: or have a very confused notion of it, joining their own works with Christ's righteousness, for justification, as many judaizing professors did; or who, if they have a notional knowledge of it, have no practical concern in it; do not believe with the heart unto righteousness; have not the experience, sweetness, and power of this doctrine upon them; and do not live lives agreeable to it:
for he is a babe. This word is used sometimes by way of commendation, and is expressive of some good characters of the saints; such as harmlessness and inoffensiveness, humility, and meekness, a desire after the sincere milk of the word, freedom from rancour and malice, hypocrisy and guile; but here it is used by way of reproach, and denotes levity and inconstancy, ignorance and non-proficiency, want of digestion of strong meat, and incapacity to take care of themselves, as standing in need of tutors and governors.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. useth—Greek, "partaketh," that is, taketh as his portion. Even strong men partake of milk, but do not make milk their chief, much less their sole, diet.
the word of righteousness—the Gospel wherein "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith" (Ro 1:17), and which is called "the ministration of righteousness" (2Co 3:9). This includes the doctrine of justification and sanctification: the first principles, as well as the perfection, of the doctrine of Christ: the nature of the offices and person of Christ as the true Melchisedec, that is, "King of righteousness" (compare Mt 3:15).
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