By Earl E. Robertson
The apostle wrote, “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. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:12-14).
This is a sad commentary indeed! And, all too often this deplorable condition obtains among so many brethren. At the time this statement was written, which was perhaps some thirty five years after the resurrection of Christ and the establishment of the church, some of these brethren ought to have been teachers (of God’s word), but they were in dire need of being again taught the fundamentals of the gospel. How long should it take for converts to Jesus to become teachers? The answer to this question depends on several factors: one’s ability, knowledge, dedication, and his love for God and his word. One can readily see how either one or all of these factors enters into this picture. One’s ability is of little value without his dedication; his knowledge is worthless in the absence of love for God and his holy word.
Casual observance reveals many things about this sinful problem. Many men are quick to speak of their long service to Christ, even a “charter member” of some congregation, but have never brought any to the Lord. They are often unable to intelligently respond to the more basic Bible questions, much less teach others. How can one be in Christ for years and never develop into anything of value for the Lord? The apostle says such a person is a “babe.” It might be that this kind of person simply has no desire to grow himself, to be of no spiritual help even to his family or friends. This is a grave problem! Heavenward traveling people “desire the sincere milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2). From a spiritual standpoint, the person is sick. It might be that ne is interested in the things of this life, and if this interest has prevented his development, he is worldly and spiritually sick. It might be that he is stingy and will not, therefore, use either his time or money that he might learn. But, whatever the cause for one not becoming a teacher, it is still a violation of this passage. One with this character never amounts to anything of value to the kingdom of God. If you think otherwise just take a close look in your next Bible class.
Though this one needs someone else to teach him, the Bible says, yet he oftentimes thinks he is the teacher and usually is the one who creates most of the problems and burdens within the churches. Ignorance is dangerous. Only when one (like this) can see himself as he really is and change his attitude will he effect any appreciable change in his character and worth for truth and righteousness.
Truth Magazine XXI: 24, p. 373
June 16, 1977