I. Christ’s life as our high priest (7-10)
II. The need to grow in maturity (11-14)
I. Christ’s life as our high priest (7-10)
• How did Christ’s suffering/crying/tears help him fill the requirements of being a high priest?
• Which event in Jesus’ life might verse 7 be referring to?
• How did Christ “learn obedience” since He was already perfect? How was He “made perfect?”
• How did Christ’s earthly experiences “perfect” Him as a high priest?
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
Matthew 26:38-46 – The account describes Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prepared for all the pain and suffering that fulfilling His mission would bring.
Matthew 27:46 – About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
Matthew 3:15 – Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
1 Peter 3:18 – For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. Verses 7-10 overview – We see in verses 7-10 Jesus’ humanity. He suffered. He cried. He prayed for deliverance from the cross. As high priest, He came not as a superhuman or alien robot who couldn’t feel pain or understand the human emotions. In the last lesson in verses 2-3 we learned that the high priest was one of the people. Jesus did not sin, but in other ways He is like us. Because of His humanity He can represent us before God as being one of us and having personally experienced the breadth of human emotions and suffering.
2. Verse 7 – I believe this verse is referring to His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus asked for the cup to be removed from Him. The request was real and shows Jesus’ human side, the side of Him that wanted to avoid the immense pain and agony of the cross. MacArthur believes that the last part of the verse “He was heard” shows His prayer of not remaining in death was answered. This is one possible explanation since clearly it doesn’t mean that Jesus was able to avoid the fate of crucifixion.
On a side note, the first part of the verse says, “in the days of His flesh.” The implication is that the days of Jesus did not only include His time as a human. You wouldn’t say in the time when Abraham Lincoln was a person unless there was a time when he wasn’t a person. Thus, this phrase reminds us of the teaching of Christ’s eternal existence.
3. Verse 8 and 9a –
Hebrews 2:10 – For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
The perfection and learning do not refer to His divine character. Neither does it mean that He was sinful and then became perfect. Rather His sufferings perfected His human nature by giving Him a more personal understanding of what we face so that He can sympathize with us deeper because of His own experiences. I hesitate to say He could do anything better after His experience as a human since He was perfect already. Yet He did experience something He hadn’t before.
At the same time, He proved He was sinless and fulfilled all righteousness by successfully resisting every temptation. He also set down the perfect example for us to follow, things we could not have seen in action unless Christ became a person. Therefore, it is accurate to say that He accomplished many things better as a human than He could do if He was never incarnated.
4. Verses 9b – Followers of Christ are required to obey Him. True belief will bring obedience. Faith without actions is dead. Are you obeying Christ?
5. Verse 10 – See notes on verse 6.
II. The need to grow in maturity (11-14)
• “Concerning him we have much to say.” Who is “him?”
• Why is it hard to explain? Was it because the author was not good at explaining such logic?
• What does it mean to become “dull of hearing?”
• What stage should they have been at in their spiritual walk? What does this tell us about who should become teachers? (Pretty much everyone. It is a natural progression to teach others what we know about Christ.)
• How do you understand the analogy about milk and solid food? What would you think of an adult who continued to drink milk as the staple of their diet?
• What do you think may have been some of the causes that kept them stuck as spiritual babies?
• Are you growing in Christ as much as you would like? Do you sometimes get “stuck” at a certain spiritual level? What are some causes why you don’t grow as much as you should?
• What can we learn from verse 14 that is essential for growth in Christ?
• How can you begin to partake of more solid food instead of milk? How can you train your spiritual senses and sharpen your spiritual discernment? What can you do to “chew” on the meat of the Word?
• What does the end of verse 14 (discern good and evil) show us about what maturity is?
Deuteronomy 6:7 – Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Colossians 3:16 – Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Matthew 28:20 – And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Mark 5:19 – Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Romans 3:1-2 – What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
Galatians 3:23-24 – Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. Concerning him – Another possible translation here could be “of which we have much to say.” Either way, it means the same thing. Him refers to Melchizedek. The author has a lot of points he wants to make about the relationship between Christ and Melchizedek. These points are deep and harder to grasp than the basic teachings they had received before.
2. Since you have become dull of hearing – The listeners were not very sharp spiritually. They had a hard time understanding and grasping biblical concepts. The author is rebuking them for their dull hearing. Dull hearing is not a normal or proper state for believers. No outside forces cause a person to be this way. Rather their own actions (or inaction) render them this way. They are dull of hearing by their own choice. Because of their own lethargy and laziness, they don’t understand the weightier principles of God. Instead of progressing, they have either stayed on the same spiritual level or have regressed.
3. By this time – This indicates that a period of time has passed since they have first been exposed to biblical teaching. During this time, they should have been learning and obeying and growing. But they were stuck.
4. You ought to be teachers – They had been listening to teaching long enough that they should have become teachers themselves at this point. This verse has a very subtle, but very important, point which we need to explore. The implication is that after a period of time every believer should become a teacher in at least some capacity.
The author (inspired by the Spirit) says that at this point they should be teachers. They should be passing on what they have learned and modeling it for others. Yet instead they are stuck in first gear and need to keep learning and re-learning the same basic points. Although there are certain people who have been blessed with the gift of teaching, it doesn’t mean that those without the gift of teaching are not supposed/required to teach. Deuteronomy 6 and Colossians 3:16 show that every believer should be teaching others.
What can you teach? You can start off by teaching others what Christ has done for you (Mark 5:19). God does not want believers to merely be pew-warmers. His blueprint is not for a small select number of super-teachers who do all the teaching while everyone else listens. Our job is not just to bring people to the church to listen to others teach them. It is our responsibility to teach others what we have learned about Christ. This demonstrates the principle of reproduction found in 2 Timothy 2:2, which shows us that believers should disciple others to disciple still another generation.
It means that the world is reached by training people (or you could say teaching people) to train others to train others to train others. If anyone is surprised by this model, they shouldn’t be. Jesus followed this model when He taught the disciples and told them that the Holy Spirit would remind them of the things Jesus had taught them so that they could teach these things to others (John 14:26). It’s the model of apprenticeship. Each apprentice learns from his master. After a while he starts his own shop and takes on his own apprentice.
Application: Are you doing this? Are you teaching others from what you have learned? Are you a HOT Christian (Hearing, Obeying, and Telling)? We should make the habit to tells others about what we are learning in our daily life. Tell your roommate, friend, or family members about what you have learned in study today. Share your quiet times with others.
5. Verse 12b – Instead of pushing forward by obeying and passing on what they had learned, they needed constant reviewing, constant reminding.
Illustration: The image is something like that of a piano student. The student goes to lessons regularly and sits through “listening” to his teacher. She gives him homework and asks him to practice during the week. The next week she finds that he hasn’t improved at all. Not only has he not improved, but he doesn’t even seem to remember the previous week’s lesson. This happens over and over and over. Eventually the teacher feels like teaching the student is just banging her head into a wall repeatedly because no matter how hard she tries, he is not paying close attention and he is not practicing and he is not improving. In this case, it was necessary to teach them the basic principles (milk) again because they weren’t doing it. Perhaps when they heard these principles, they thought it was good to do and even planned to it. But they didn’t obey. They could have been like the man in James 1:19-27 who looked at himself in the mirror and walked away unchanged.
6. Verse 13 – Babies are supposed to grow up. This is a natural part of life, a natural progression. Sometimes babies do not ever grow, perhaps physically or mentally. In 100% of those cases there is a problem. Perhaps it’s a disease or birth defect. Either way, it is an abnormal condition. Spiritually speaking, it is also abnormal, like a disease, to be stuck as a spiritual baby. There is no shame in being a baby spiritually. Everyone is after they just receive Christ. However, no one should be a baby forever. If a thirty-year-old man is still dependent on his parents and behaving childishly, people will call him a “big baby” or “immature.” The one point we can get from this passage is that God wants all believers to grow to maturity in Christ.
7. Verse 14a – God wants us to grow up to maturity and partake of solid food. This basically means we need to obey the things we know we should do while digging deeper and deeper into God’s Word. This can enable us to understand more of His character and apply the principles we learn from Him to every aspect of our life, sometimes parts of our life or principles we wouldn’t have thought of when we first came to Christ.
Application: Can you give any examples of applications you can make from God’s Word in deeper areas (beyond salvation)?
8. Verse 14b – This shows us that practice makes perfect. We have to train ourselves to chew on the meat of the Word. A baby is not born knowing how to chew meat. The first time it is a bit difficult, but after doing it several times it becomes second nature. As adults, we don’t even think about how to chew (do you?), we just do. Almost every learned ability is like this including: language learning, walking, riding a balk, math, etc. We can challenge ourselves mentally. We can listen to sermons. We can read books. We can meditate on the Scriptures (even ones that seem tough to understand.) We can engage in each of the five ways we can use to understand the Bible (hear, read, study, memorize, meditate). At the very beginning when a person starts to read the Bible, he or she may find that it is difficult to understand. But the more you study it, the easier it will become until it becomes second nature.
9. To discern good and evil – What is the purpose of this solid food? Of this practice and this training? The purpose is so that we can become righteous. Discerning good and evil is not just a mind game. It is the way by which we make decisions. Discernment is like wisdom. It is seeing into the heart of a matter. A discerning person will discover the truth and then he will act on that truth.
Application: Are you growing in Christ as much as you would like? Do you sometimes get “stuck” at a certain spiritual level? What are some causes why you don’t grow as much as you should? What can we learn from verse 14 that is essential for growth in Christ? How can you begin to partake of more solid food instead of milk? How can you train your spiritual senses and sharpen your spiritual discernment? What can you do to “chew” on the meat of the Word?
Comment: What are your thoughts on this Hebrews 5:7-14 Bible study? We would love to hear your insights below in the comment section.
Hebrews Bible Study E-book – If this study is helpful, you can get our complete Hebrews Bible study as a downloadable E-book or a paperback version from Amazon.