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The Need to Move on to Maturity

11 On this topic we have much to say[a] and it is difficult to explain, since you have become sluggish[b] in hearing. 12 For though you should in fact be teachers by this time,[c] you need someone to teach you the beginning elements of God’s utterances.[d] You have gone back to needing[e] milk, not[f] solid food. 13 For everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced in the message of righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.

Therefore we must progress beyond[g] the elementary[h] instructions about Christ[i] and move on[j] to maturity, not laying this foundation again: repentance from dead works[k] and faith in God, teaching about ritual washings,[l] laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this is what we intend to do,[m] if God permits. For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, become partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the good word of God and the miracles of the coming age,


  1. Hebrews 5:11 tn Grk “concerning which the message for us is great.”
  2. Hebrews 5:11 tn Or “dull.”
  3. Hebrews 5:12 tn Grk “because of the time.”
  4. Hebrews 5:12 tn Grk “the elements of the beginning of the oracles of God.”
  5. Hebrews 5:12 tn Grk “you have come to have a need for.”
  6. Hebrews 5:12 tc ‡ Most texts, including some early and significant ones (א2 A B* D Ψ 0122 0278 1881 M sy Cl), have καί (kai, “and”) immediately preceding οὐ (ou, “not”), but other equally significant witnesses (P46 א* B2 C 33 81 1739 lat Or Did) lack the conjunction. As it was a natural tendency for scribes to add a coordinating conjunction, the καί appears to be a motivated reading. On balance, it is probably best to regard the shorter reading as authentic. NA28 has καί in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
  7. Hebrews 6:1 tn Grk “Therefore leaving behind.” The implication is not of abandoning this elementary information, but of building on it.
  8. Hebrews 6:1 tn Or “basic.”
  9. Hebrews 6:1 tn Grk “the message of the beginning of Christ.”
  10. Hebrews 6:1 tn Grk “leaving behind…let us move on.”
  11. Hebrews 6:1 sn It is clear from the context that the phrase “dead works” are works that need to be repented from and thus are sins. The same phrase occurs in Heb 9:14 in which the author of Hebrews states that our consciences need to be purified from them. As Bruce states, they are works “that belong to the way of death and not the way of life” (F. F. Bruce, Hebrews [NICNT], 138).
  12. Hebrews 6:2 sn See Hebrews 9:10 and Mark 7:4 for other references to the Jewish practice of ritual washings.
  13. Hebrews 6:3 tn Grk “and we will do this.”