|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 14. - But solid food is for them that are of full age (τελείων, equivalent to "perfect;" but in the sense of maturity of age or growth, in contrast with νήπιοι; as in 1 Corinthians 14:20; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:6; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 3:15), those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil. Here the comparison is carried out with peculiar aptness. Τὰ αἰσθητήρια in the illustration are the organs of sense. In the infant the digestive organs, in the first place, exercised in the beginning on milk, acquire through that exercise the power of assimilating more solid and more complex food, while at the same time its sensitive organs generally, also through exercise, become consciously discriminative of "good and evil" (cf. Isaiah 7:15, 16, where "to know to refuse the evil and choose the good" denotes, as if proverbially, the age after early childhood). So, in the spiritual sphere, the mental faculties, exercised at first on simple truths, should acquire by practice the power of apprehending and distinguishing' between higher and more recondite ones. It was because the Hebrew Christians had failed thus to bring out their faculties that they were open to the charge of being still in a state of infancy.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,.... Or perfect; see 1 Corinthians 2:6. This does not intend a perfection of justification; for though some have a greater degree of faith than others, and a clearer discovery of their justification, yet babes in Christ are as perfectly justified as more grown and experienced believers; nor a perfection of sanctification, for there is no perfection of holiness but in Christ; and though the work of sanctification may be in greater perfection in one saint than in another, yet all are imperfect in this life; and as to a perfection of parts, babes have this as well as adult persons: but it designs a perfection of knowledge; for though none are entirely perfect, yet some have arrived to a greater degree of the knowledge of Gospel mysteries than others, and to these the strong meat of the Gospel belongs; they are capable of understanding the more mysterious parts of the Gospel; of searching into the deep things of God; and of receiving and digesting the more sublime truths of the Christian religion:
even those who by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil; that is, their spiritual senses, the internal senses of the understanding and judgment, signified by external ones; as by seeing the Son; hearing the voice of Christ; savouring or smelling a sweet odour in the things of God, and Christ; tasting that the Lord is gracious; feeling and handling the word of life, as these are held forth in the everlasting Gospel: and these being exercised on their proper object, by use, an habit is contracted; and such are qualified for discerning, as between moral good and evil, and the worse and better state of the church, and between law and Gospel, so between the doctrines of Christ, and the doctrines of men; who find they differ: the doctrines of Christ such experienced persons find to be good, wholesome, nourishing, and salutary; and the doctrines of men to be evil, to eat, as does a canker, and to be pernicious, poisonous, and damnable; and the discernment they make, and the judgment they form, are not according to the dictates of carnal reason, but according to the Scriptures of truth, and their own experience.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. strong meat—"solid food."
them … of full age—literally, "perfect": akin to "perfection" (Heb 6:1).
by reason of use—Greek, "habit."
senses—organs of sense.
exercised—similarly connected with "righteousness" in Heb 12:11.
to discern both good and evil—as a child no longer an infant (Isa 7:16): so able to distinguish between sound and unsound doctrine. The mere child puts into its mouth things hurtful and things nutritious, without discrimination: but not so the adult. Paul again alludes to their tendency not to discriminate, but to be carried about by strange doctrines, in Heb 13:9.
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