What does Hebrews 5:12-14 really mean?

Hebrews 5:12-14 is about the author admonishing the believers for their spiritual immaturity and urging them to grow in their understanding and use of the Word of God in order to discern good and evil.

12 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.
13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.


Setting the Scene for Hebrews 5:12-14

In Hebrews chapter 5, the scene is set in a humble meeting room within a community of early Christian believers. The room is dimly lit by oil lamps, casting a warm glow on the faces of those gathered. The air is filled with the scent of incense, creating a sense of reverence and peace. The room is furnished simply with wooden benches and a small table at the front where a scroll of scripture lies open.

Among those present are a group of believers who have come together for a bible study class led by their spiritual leader, a wise and gentle elder named Timothy. The group consists of both new converts and seasoned followers of Christ, all eager to deepen their understanding of the teachings of the gospel. As Timothy begins to speak, his voice is filled with authority and compassion, drawing in the listeners and guiding them through the complexities of scripture.

As the discussion unfolds, Timothy addresses the group, pointing out the importance of spiritual growth and maturity in their faith journey. He encourages them to move beyond the basic principles of Christianity and strive for a deeper understanding of God’s word. The room is filled with a sense of unity and purpose as the believers engage in thoughtful reflection and discussion, seeking to apply the teachings of the gospel to their daily lives.

What is Hebrews 5:12-14 about?

Hebrews 5:12-14 delves deep into the concept of spiritual growth and maturity. It highlights the importance of continually learning and digesting the teachings of God. Spiritual growth calls for consistent study and application of the word of God, just as physical growth requires nourishment and exercise.

This passage challenges us to reflect on our own spiritual maturity. Are we still relying on basic teachings or have we progressed to deeper understanding and wisdom? Are we actively seeking to grow in our knowledge of God’s word and applying it to our daily lives? It reminds us that spiritual growth is a lifelong journey that requires intentional effort and perseverance, but the rewards of deepening our relationship with God and strengthening our faith are immeasurable.

So, let Hebrews 5:12-14 serve as a gentle nudge to evaluate our spiritual growth and inspire us to actively pursue a deeper understanding of God’s word. Let it encourage us to strive for maturity in our faith, so that we can be better equipped to navigate life’s challenges and reflect the light of God’s love to those around us.

Understanding what Hebrews 5:12-14 really means

The Book of Hebrews provides a rich tapestry of theological truths and practical exhortations for believers. In Hebrews 5:12-14, the writer addresses the crucial aspect of spiritual maturity and growth within the Christian faith. The passage begins by admonishing believers, stating that by a certain point, they should have progressed enough to be teachers themselves. This highlights the expectation of continual growth and development in one’s faith journey, echoing James 3:1, which underscores the weighty responsibility of teaching others.

Moreover, the text emphasizes the necessity of revisiting the elementary truths of God’s Word before delving into deeper spiritual matters. Just as a child needs milk before solid food, believers require a solid foundation in basic doctrines before grappling with more complex theological concepts. This sentiment aligns with Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, where he speaks of feeding on milk rather than solid food to signify the stages of spiritual growth.

The metaphor of milk versus solid food symbolizes the distinction between fundamental Christian teachings and more profound spiritual insights. Those who remain content with spiritual infancy, akin to being sustained on milk, lack the depth of understanding regarding righteousness and fail to grasp the intricacies of God’s Word. In contrast, mature believers, likened to those who partake of solid food, exhibit discernment and the ability to differentiate between good and evil, as highlighted in Ephesians 4:14.

The relevance of these verses extends to contemporary believers, emphasizing the importance of ongoing spiritual growth, the responsibility to teach and guide others, and the necessity of discernment in navigating a morally complex world. Just as physical growth is expected, so too is spiritual maturation essential for a vibrant Christian life. Stories of individuals who have transitioned from basic understanding to profound faith can inspire and encourage others on their journey.

Furthermore, mature believers bear the responsibility of guiding and instructing those who are still growing in their faith. Mentor-mentee relationships exemplify this principle, showcasing the impact of wise counsel and discipleship on spiritual development. Additionally, the ability to discern between good and evil is crucial in a world filled with moral ambiguity. Real-life examples of how discernment has guided individuals to make righteous decisions can serve as powerful illustrations of this biblical truth.

In conclusion, the call to move from spiritual infancy to maturity is a timeless exhortation that resonates with believers of all ages. The journey towards spiritual growth involves not only personal edification but also the sharing of knowledge and wisdom with others. As we reflect on our own spiritual progress, may we be spurred on to seek deeper understanding of God’s Word, cultivate discernment in our daily lives, and embrace the responsibility of nurturing fellow believers in their faith walk.

How can we mature in our spiritual understanding?

We can mature in our spiritual understanding by continuously growing in our knowledge of the Word of God. Spiritual growth is vital for our maturity in faith, just as physical growth is necessary for maturity in the natural realm. Delving deeper into the teachings of the Bible, meditating on scripture, and seeking understanding through prayer can help us develop a solid foundation in our faith.

Additionally, we must also practice what we learn and apply it to our daily lives. Understanding alone is not enough; we must live out our faith through actions that reflect our beliefs. We can grow in wisdom and spiritual discernment by consistently living in accordance with the teachings of the Bible, distinguishing between good and evil.

Furthermore, seeking guidance and wisdom from mature believers and spiritual leaders can also aid in our growth. Surrounding ourselves with a community of fellow believers who can offer support, accountability, and encouragement can help us navigate the challenges of spiritual maturity. We can gain valuable insights and deepen our understanding of God’s ways by learning from those who have walked the path of faith before us.


Don’t stay idle in your spiritual journey; it’s time to grow and reach new heights. Embrace the challenge of strengthening your faith, gaining wisdom, and spreading light around you. Let’s dive deeper into our relationship with God and live His teachings every day. Will you step up and embark on this path of spiritual growth and enlightenment?