Warning 3 – Becoming Dull to the Word

Hebrews 5:12–6:12

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  [Hebrews 5:12]

This begins a third warning of the letter.  The first was drifting from the word [2:1-4]; the second doubting the word [3:7-4:13]; the writer now warns about dullness to the word.  Note the digression.

One of the great physical maladies recorded in the Bible was leprosy.  Leprosy was not only a physical disease, it brought social devastation as well.  Lepers were deemed “unclean” and then forced into isolation.  Because of this they withered away bodily and alone.  What is interesting about leprosy is that the disease itself never really killed anyone.  It only dulled the senses, it deadened nerve-endings so that a person couldn’t feel anything.  A leper therefore might lean on a hot coal without feeling it.  It would then be the infection from the burn that claimed his life, not the actual disease of leprosy.

This is similar to the warning in Hebrews 5:11:  “You have become dull of hearing.”  Firstly, they drifted from the word; secondly, they doubted the word; and now they have become dull [insensate] to the word.  The dullness causes one to not know they are perishing.  And thus there is an even greater danger of “falling away.”

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.” [Heb 6:4-6; emphasis mine]

These are very serious warnings, and ones for us to seriously ponder.  Can we become so dull to God’s word that we fall away?  The logic is this, if we can’t fall away why does the writer of Hebrews warn us not to?  We would be wise to heed all the warnings [all five] in this letter.