Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
My burden in this message is the basic principle of the word of righteousness. Hebrews 5:13 says that “everyone who partakes of milk is inexperienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.” Although many Christians understand the word of grace (Acts 14:3; 20:32), the word of life (Phil. 2:16), and even the good word of God (Heb. 6:5), not many know what the word of righteousness is. Why must the word be the word of righteousness? The writer mentioned the word of righteousness at a time when he was speaking of Christ as the High Priest according to the order of Melchisedec. Concerning Melchisedec he had “much to say” which was “hard to interpret” since the receivers of this epistle had “become dull of hearing” (5:11). They had been learners for quite a long time. In verses 12 and 13 the writer said of them, “For when because of the time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you what are the rudiments of the beginning of the oracles of God, and have become those who have need of milk and not of solid food.” Although they should have been teachers, at the time of the writing of this epistle, they still needed someone to teach them. They were still babes. Since “everyone who partakes of milk is inexperienced in the word of righteousness” (Heb. 5:13), we see that the word of righteousness is for the mature, not for babes. Now in this message we need to see what the word of righteousness basically is.
If we would understand this matter of the word of righteousness, we must firstly be deeply impressed that the word of God is not mainly for knowledge. In this short portion of the Word (5:11-14), there seems to be a contradiction. Verse 12 uses the words “teachers” and “teach.” This surely refers to knowledge. However, in these verses it is clearly and definitely indicated that the word of God is for nourishment, for it likens His word to either milk or solid food. Milk and solid food are not for knowledge. People do not study them; they drink and eat of them as nourishment.
For years we have been saying that our need is not mere teachings; it is food. Many have argued with me, saying, “How can you say that we don’t need teaching? Don’t you believe that the Bible is a book of teaching? Even you yourself teach people.” Yes, the Bible is a book of teaching, but it does not teach us merely for mental knowledge; its teaching ministers food to us. The aim of the Bible is not for our mental comprehension and knowledge; it is absolutely for our spiritual realization and nourishment. According to the word of the Lord Jesus, the words of God are for us to eat. In order to live, we must take the word of God as our food. When the Lord was tempted by the Devil, He answered him, saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). The word of God should be our food, and we must eat it daily and live by it. Even in the Old Testament times, Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them” (Jer. 15:16). The prophet realized that the word of God is for nourishment, not for knowledge. Furthermore, the New Testament not only tells us that we must feed ourselves with the word of God but that we must feed others with it. Paul’s concept concerning his ministry of the word was that of feeding. He fed the Corinthians with milk and desired to feed them with the solid food (1 Cor. 3:2). Therefore, according to the basic principles of the Bible, the word of God is for nourishment rather than for knowledge.
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