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!

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.

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.

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,

Hebrews 5:12 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

For when for the time - They had heard the Gospel for many years, and had professed to be Christians for a long time; on these accounts they might reasonably have been expected to be well instructed in Divine things, so as to be able to instruct others.

Which be the first principles - Τινα τα στοιχεια· Certain first principles or elements. The word τινα is not the nominative plural, as our translators have supposed, but the accusative case, governed by διδασκειν· and therefore the literal translation of the passage is this: Ye have need that one teach you a second time (παλιν) certain elements of the doctrines of Christ, or oracles of God; i.e. the notices which the prophets gave concerning the priesthood of Jesus Christ, such as are found in Psalm 110:1-7 :, and in Isaiah 53:1-12 : By the oracles of God the writings of the Old Testament, are undoubtedly meant.

And are become such - The words seem to intimate that they had once been better instructed, and had now forgotten that teaching; and this was occasioned by their being dull of hearing; either they had not continued to hear, or they had heard so carelessly that they were not profited by what they heard. They had probably totally omitted the preaching of the Gospel, and consequently forgotten all they had learned. Indeed, it was to reclaim those Hebrews from backsliding, and preserve them from total apostasy, that this epistle was written.

Such as have need of milk - Milk is a metaphor by which many authors, both sacred and profane, express the first principles of religion and science; and they apply sucking to learning; and every student in his novitiate, or commencement of his studies, was likened to an infant that derives all its nourishment from the breast of its mother, not being able to digest any other kind of food. On the contrary, those who had well learned all the first principles of religion and science, and knew how to apply them, were considered as adults who were capable of receiving στερεα τροφη, solid food; i.e. the more difficult and sublime doctrines. The rabbins abound with this figure; it occurs frequently in Philo, and in the Greek ethic writers also. In the famous Arabic poem called al Bordah, written by Abi Abdallah Mohammed ben Said ben Hamad Albusiree, in praise of Mohammed and his religion, every couplet of which ends with the letter mim, the first letter in Mohammed's name, we meet with a couplet that contains a similar sentiment to that of the apostle: -

"The soul is like to a young infant, which, if permitted, will grow up to manhood in the love of sucking; but if thou take it from the breast it will feel itself weaned."

Dr. Owen observes that there are two Sorts of hearers of the Gospel, which are here expressed by an elegant metaphor or similitude; this consists,

1. In the conformity that is between bodily food and the Gospel as preached.

2. In the variety of natural food as suited to the various states of them that feed on it, answered by the truths of the Gospel, which are of various kinds; and, in exemplification of this metaphor, natural food is reduced to two kinds:

1milk;

2. strong or solid meat; and those who feed on these are reduced to two sorts:

1children;

2. men of ripe age. Both of which are applied to hearers of the Gospel.

continued...

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

for the.

Matthew 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?...

Mark 9:19 He answers him, and said, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him to me.

teachers.

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

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, that by my voice I might teach others also...

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs...

Titus 2:3,4 The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine...

teach.

Isaiah 28:9,10,13 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk...

Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

the first.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection...

the oracles.

2 Samuel 16:23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counceled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God...

Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spoke to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers...

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 minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives...

as have.

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat...

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, even as to babes in Christ...

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

Library
The Lesson of Life
Fifth Sunday in Lent. Chester Training College, 1870. Windsor Castle, 1871. Hebrews v. 7, 8. "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." This is the lesson of life. This is God's way of educating us, of making us men and women worthy of the name of men and women, worthy
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

Our Compassionate High Priest
"Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity."--Hebrews 5:2 The high priest looked Godward, and therefore he had need to be holy; for he had to deal with things pertaining to God. But at the same time he looked manward; it was for men that he was ordained, that, through him, they might deal with God; and therefore he had need to be tender. It was necessary that he should be one who could have sympathy with men;
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

The Impossibility of Renewal.
"Of Whom we have many things to say, and hard of interpretation, seeing ye are become dull of hearing. 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. For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But solid food is for full-grown men, even those who by reason of
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews

I am first to give you some directions for bringing your people to submit to this course of catechizing and instruction.
I am first to give you some directions for bringing your people to submit to this course of catechizing and instruction. 1. The chief means of all is this, for a minister so to conduct himself in the general course of his life and ministry, as to convince his people of his ability, sincerity, and unfeigned love to them. For if they take him to be ignorant, they will despise his teaching, and think themselves as wise as he; and if they think him self-seeking, or hypocritical, and one that doth not
Richard Baxter—The Reformed Pastor

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.

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