Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Training in Wisdom (Hebrews 5:12-14)

"But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).

When God created Adam, He placed him in an orchard and told him to pay especial attention to two trees. One was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam was not to eat of the Tree of Good and Evil. By resisting the temptation to partake of that tree, Adam would gradually learn more and more what good and evil entail. In this way, he would become prepared to rule as a glorified “Melchizedekian” priest-king over the world.

We must spend many years in apprenticeship to become rulers, learning practically how to distinguish good and evil in a variety of circumstances. This is what Jesus did, as He “learned obedience” and “became perfect.” In the same way, the Hebrew Christians were to mature in their knowledge of good and evil to become teachers and leaders in the church.

We learn the ins and outs of distinguishing good and evil by using our moral abilities. An interesting verse, 1 Chronicles 12:32, speaks of the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” These men had become mature. First of all, they knew the Bible inside and out. Second, they had studied their times and had wrestled with the problems of the day, both at the level of their personal lives and also in terms of their society. As a result, they “knew what Israel should do.” They were equipped to provide Godly leadership.

This is what the author of Hebrews exhorts his readers to do. They must know the Bible thoroughly, and they must constantly apply it to various situations in life. If they do this, they will grow in wisdom and readiness to lead.

We live in one of the greatest periods of ignorance the church has ever seen. The “evangelical, Bible-believing” church in the United States is characterized by people who pursue happy experiences, and whose knowledge of the Bible is limited to junior high school level fill-in-the-blank booklets. They don’t study the “Mosaic Law” for its wisdom in social issues. They have no idea of what is in the Prophetic Books. They know only a smattering of the Gospels and Epistles. And they are not making progress and having influence in our society.

Too many Christian publishers shy away from books of theology because there is a small market. Most books are baby food “how-to” books, with stories beginning each chapter. Are you ready to become truly serious about learning and applying the Bible? If so, read more theology books of depth!