Hebrews chapter 5

ErJesus Christ is our great High Priest. We need to grow out of our spiritual infancy into an active ministry to other people. [UPDATED]




VERSE 1. For every high priest, being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.

high priest. One of the major themes of the Letter to the Hebews is this: Jesus Christ is our great high priest.


VERSE 2. The high priest can deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray, because he himself is also surrounded with weakness.

ignorant and going astray. The people of the LORD God are prone to going astray. In those times, they need a godly shepherd to bring them back. Read more »


VERSE 3. Because of this, he must offer sacrifices for sins for the people, as well as for himself.

for himself. An ordinary high priest commits sins and needs to make a sacrifice for himself. But Jesus Christ did not sin. He does not need to make a sacrifice on his own behalf.


VERSE 4. Nobody takes this honor on himself, but he is called by God, just like Aaron was.


VERSE 5. So also Christ didn’t glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was he who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your father.”

Psalm 2:7. I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my son. Today I have become your father.

Luke 3:22. and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form like a dove on him; and a voice came out of the sky, saying “You are my beloved Son. In you I am well pleased.”

Hebrews 5:5. So also Christ didn’t glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was he who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your father.”


VERSE 6. As he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”


VERSE 7. He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear,

NIV translation: During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Letter to the Hebrews and from the entire Bible.

in the days of his flesh. During the days of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry.

having offered up prayers and petitions. Jesus Christ offered up prayers and petitions.

with strong crying and tears. Jesus Christ prayed with loud cries and tears. Do you?

1 Peter 3:18. Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit,


VERSE 8. though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered.

the things which he suffered. In what ways did Jesus Christ suffer?

Isaiah 53:3. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (NIV translation)


VERSE 9. Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation,

Having been made perfect. What does this mean? Some people say there was a time when Jesus Christ was not perfect. Then a process occurred which transformed him until he was finally perfect.

However, the Christian belief is that he was always perfect. That is how God the Father “made” (begot) him.


VERSE 10. named by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.




VERSE 11. About him we have many words to say, and hard to interpret, seeing you have become dull of hearing.

you have become dull of hearing. They were no longer putting the teachings into practice.


VERSE 12. For although by this time you should be teachers, you again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the revelations of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food.

by this time you should be teachers. After a process of discipleship training, we should be able to minister to other people. We should grow from spiritual infancy into active ministry. That is the biblical norm.

How is spiritual maturity manifested? It is not by intellectual means. Rather, it is when we are actively ministering to other people.

The Bible describes many such ministries. Here are the ones we consider the five key ministries:

  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Apologetics
  • Ecumenism
  • Interreligious Dialogue

The Bible describes 20 Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Those gifts equip us for ministry.

you again need to have someone teach you. These believers had not begun any ministry yet. That means they were still infants in the spiritual life. Their growth was stunted.

the rudiments of the first principles. As stunted believers, they needed to be taught and re-taught the basic teachings of the faith.

It is normal that new believers need to be taught the basic matters of the faith: repentance, faith in Jesus Christ, and the ways of Christian discipleship.

In the ministry of discipleship, we train new believers in those things.

However, the particular believers described in this chapter were simply being immature. They wanted to focus on receiving and getting, rather than giving. The nature of ministry is that you give.

Matthew 10:8. Heal the sick, [raise the dead,] cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give.

You … need milk … not solid food. Those teachings in discipleship are like “milk.” The goal is to establish the new believer in them, and then to help keep them moving toward more solid food.

The term “solid food” refers to active ministry to other people.


VERSE 13. For everyone who lives on milk is not experienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby.

he is a baby. This is where we get the terms “baby believer” and “new believer.”

When we first come to faith in Christ, we are baby believers. We are spiritual infants. We need to be taught first principles:

Hebrews 6:1. Therefore leaving the teaching of the first principles of Christ, let’s press on to perfection—not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith toward God,

Hebrews 6:2. of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.


VERSE 14. But solid food is for those who are full grown, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.

solid food is for those who are full grown. The term “solid food” refers to active ministry to other people.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.