God's Word, Our Protection.

God's Word has tremendous protective value in the development of our spirit. Many places in Scripture affirm its transformative power and stress the importance of memorizing and applying the Bible.

The context of Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus Christ. The writer pauses to give a parenthesis of warning in Hebrews 5:11-6:3. He assumes that his audience is saved, but has instruction to give regarding how they handle the Word of God. We can learn five aspects of growth from this passage.

True Christians grow.

Healthy babies grow. If they are not progressing in their first few checkups, that is reason for concern! Similarly, the Holy Spirit compels a true believer to grow. The Spirit who regenerates believers then indwells them and illuminates Scripture to their understanding. The audience for the book of Hebrews had been growing in the Word, but now was paralyzed because they became lazy in their learning of the Word.

If you are not growing, you are shrinking.

When a child has grown beyond infancy, it is unnatural for him or her to continue eating baby food. This shows something is wrong in their physical maturity. The Hebrews needed to rebuild their foundational understanding of basic doctrine. The "basic principles" are literally the abc's, the simple things of the Word. "Milk" often refers to the whole of God's Word, but here it is differentiated from "meat" or "solid food." These are important, but they are not sufficient.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 shows that teaching these basic doctrines is not the primary job of the pastor, but every Christian in the body of Christ is to be teaching each other! Hebrews 5:12 teaches that every believer has an obligation to be teaching the Word to one other person.

Growth is seen only as you apply God's Word.

Hebrews 5:13 says those who do not move past the milk of the Word are "not accustomed to the word of righteousness." They do not have practice or experience in applying God's Word to their life. In the Greek, "accustomed" is an athletic term. Not everyone has athletic talent in their physical DNA, but every Christian has been equipped to go far spiritually if he or she is willing to work hard. This requires dedication, time, and self-discipline. God provides the help when we are willing to do the work.

We know someone is growing when they are willing to learn more about doctrine.

Growing Christians desire to layer their learning. Hebrews 6:1-2 lists three areas of basic doctrine:

  • The Gospel: Salvation is by faith and repentance, not works.
  • Baptism: the different kinds of baptism in the Bible and what it means to lay hands.
  • Resurrection and Eternal Judgement: the different kinds of resurrection in the Bible and what happens at the end of time.
Growth is realized when we add more discipline to study.

2 Peter 2:1-3 shows that Christians who do not continue to learn deeper truths of God's Word are more easily drawn in by false teachers. Deeper learning can be done through formal classes and personal study. No matter your schedule or educational level, God provides the grace to learn more truth when you commit to pursuing it. Every believer needs to be learning from teachers and pastors to protect them. Even newer believers can be teachers; they can still share what they're being taught with others!

Application Point

  • What specific temptation do you struggle with? Find a couple verses that apply to that temptation and work at memorizing them. Having God's Word already in your mind will be a great strength when you are tempted!

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4, Joshua 1:8, James 1, 1 Peter 2:2, John 17, Ephesians 5:25-28, Colossians 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12 – The power and importance of God's Word.
A Hymn to Encourage: "We Rest on Thee"

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee through endless days.