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QUESTION: What is the “Meat” of the Word?


The following question came directly to me from a reader of this blog.

I have a quick question, and if you can answer this I’d be obliged.  I’m starting my first class tonight on grace (my first time ever teaching!), and as I polish my notes, I have one thing to address and with my bible knowledge and researching capabilities, I won’t get it done in time.

Basically, in Heb. 1-3 the writer has told us that it is time to move beyond milk…and he goes to define milk as baptisms, hands, etc.  But it is time to move on to meat.  I’ve searched the surrounding context, and don’t see where the writer has stated exactly what the “meat” is.

So can you tell me, is there somewhere further back/forward in the book where he says what is meat?

The Milk & Meat passage is in Hebrews 5:12-14. The key to what the “Meat” is, is in 6:7-12. The writer changes the metaphor from food to fruitfulness, but this is what it is. “Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God” contrasts with “Land that produces thorns and thistles, is worthless, and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.” This is the “meat” of 5:12-14. The “meat” is to actually do the will of the Father, as Jesus said to His disciples in John 4:32 (KJV).

If you want to get a little deeper, you can talk about the priesthood of Jesus after the order of Melchizedek. After all, 5:10 introduces Melchizedek, and 7:1ff develops that theme. I look at this (to some degree) in my series on acceptable worship here, but don’t take on that challenge if you do not feel up to it. Basically, what happens is that Jesus (as High Priest) fulfills all of the Old Testament sacrifices in the sacrifice of Himself. This is his “priestly service.” We (as priests of God) also offer our bodies as “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1f) and perform the priestly service of announcing to the world the good news of the sacrifice of Jesus (Romans 1:9). In both of these texts, the Greek word is the same as in Hebrews 9:1 for worship and is similar to the word used in Hebrews 9:14 for serve the living God.

It’s interesting that the “Milk” is doctrine; the “Meat” is life. Somehow, we would rather talk about these the other way around. It is interesting – but is also sad, because we miss the entire point of the gospel if we do not translate it into  life.

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2 Responses

  1. Jerry,

    I am so grateful for you answering this for me. I got your answer as soon as it came in yesterday, but I was trying to get my prep done and couldn’t respond.

    Thanks for the answer…it is exactly what I expected the answer to be, I just couldn’t connect the scriptures the way you did.

    I’d like to share with you my experience in giving this answer last night. I am teaching the 18-30yr olds, very law-oriented. I asked them what they thought was meant by “meat”, and they all thought meant getting more fine-tuned on doctrinal matters. Being said, most in this class are students, and they know there is a giant crevasse between how we are supposed to serve, and the serving we actually do.

    This answer was a major “light bulb” for all of us. The teacher that preceded me had introduced this passage, and he said at their age, it was time to get to the “meat”. He didn’t define meat.

    So your help on this was a major blessing to all of us. My class is a study on grace (largely based on “Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace, by Jay Guin), and this intro of the milk/meat just simply couldn’t have been more pertinent. God works in wonderful, mysterious ways!

    • Glad this was helpful to you and your class. I’m sure you noticed that my post today added a little to what I emailed you yesterday – especially about Jesus’ comment in John 4.

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