STRONG MEAT OF THE WORD?
by Keith Hunt
It's possible that some have not understood why I wrote the first
part of this topic of STRONG MEAT. It was written in response to
some people I've met, who, to them strong meat is and must be
"the deep technical" side of Bible study. I was trying to show
that in certain situations, especially as the apostle Paul found
himself with certain church groups, what Paul was trying to teach
them, what he was correcting them on, was often not "deep
technical stuff" at all, but the meat of the word for them was to
get into better spiritual shape than they were in.
So within a certain context, a certain spiritual climate, moving
beyond the basic milk of the word, is, for different people,
different things, which in the end result will mature them as
better everyday Christians in this work-a-day world, as well as
serving and loving the brethren more.
As you look at the outline of the foundational milk doctrines of
the Word of God, as listed in Hebrews 6; repentance, faith,
baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, eternal
judgment. Those doctrines are the relatively easy to find and
understand. You can take strong' Concordance and look up all the
passages where say the word "repentance" is found in the entire
Bible, and you should be able to come to see from that study the
truth of "repentance."
So it goes with the rest that Paul lists. Subjects that between
Strong' Concordance and Nave's Topical Bible, in conjunction of
course with reading the Bible from cover to cover, you should
easily find the truth of the matter on those subject.
And I will say it again. You do not have to have a "theological
degree" or a technical knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. God has
written His word in a way that when you get all Scriptures
together on an specific topic you can come to clearly understand
the foundational MILK doctrines of God, from which you then go on
or move on to "perfection" as Paul wrote in Hebrew 6:1.
I have met people who believe that moving on to the meat of the
word, for them at least, is moving on to deep, and large,
"technical" studies of Greek and Hebrew words, searching out the
more technical Bible prophecies that have "ex" days in them,
making prophecy maps and charts, trying to determine that 2012
will be a special year, or 2116 will be special for it adds up to
10 - the 10 commandments will be the rule of the world under the
return of Jesus. For some they have 2020 as the pin-pointed year,
for 20 plus 20 is 40, God number for trials and tests - and the
world is to be tested indeed before Jesus returns. And so it
goes. It seems as each decade starts to come to a close, there is
this rash of NEW meat understanding (well to them it is meat) of
prophecy, with time lines, charts, this prophecy tied to that
prophecy and on it goes once more, as ever before in the last 150
Then there are others who must always be looking at meat in the
Word, as technical studies on this or that subject. For some it
is hidden meanings in this sentence or this symbol, which is just
out of their head, with no letting the Bible interpreting itself.
What many "meat of the word" searchers miss, it that a lot of
meat, doctrinal maturity, moving to perfection, is moving in the
right path that will lead to NOT FALLING into having to be
plainly corrected, as the apostle Paul had to do much of the
time, towards many churches. Some were in such a spiritual mess,
that Paul said they could only be fed on MILK - they had not yet
got out of the dug-out. They were in the dug-out and were
fighting among themselves who should get out first, and they all
seemed to have their particular guy whom they thought was the
best "get out of the dug-out leader."
When you get bogged down over some technical stuff, and it
becomes your very thought all the time, that the tech stuff is
the meat of the word, you have set your mind into a gear that
then gets stuck in that gear, and your mind is not open to other
parts of the maturing Christian life, as it should be.
Anyone who has been on this Website knows full well, that there
are MANY technical studies here. So I'm not against technical
studies - I've been in them - I've done a lot of them, yes,
using Greek and Hebrew and the tenses of it all. Years ago I
loved delving into technical studies, spent hours and hours doing
it. As I'm now older, 65 in this year of 2008, I'm not doing much
in-depth hours or weeks of technical studies. I'm not against it
by any means, I've now seen that the meat of the word is not just
and only, some technical study, like trying to figure if it was
an apple or an orange that Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden
A technical study on this Website would be the studies on
"death." To research it all like the author of those studies did,
was a lot of deep work, delving into Hebrew and Greek words,
searching for hours and hours in the Scriptures. Another study
that I would classify as "technical" is the study I did on the
"calendar question" - it took MONTHS to bring it all together,
and hours in the Public Library read the Jewish Encyclopedia, and
the book by Maimonides called "Sanctification of the New Moon."
The studies I did on Pentecost, and how to count to Pentecost,
especially when the first day of the Feast of Un-leavened Bread
falls on a Sunday - would be another "technical" study. The
Passover studies (dozens of them) was a lot of time and involved
My studies on the subject of "divorce and re-marraige" contains a
lot of "technical" stuff.
Once we have the foundational doctrines of God in the bag so to
speak - and they should be the first ones to study for new
converts to Christ. Then with those behind, we move on to more
maturity in the Lord. We move into more KNOWLEDGE!!
Ah, yes, it was Peter who was inspired to say "GROW IN GRACE AND
KNOWLEDGE" - grace is growing in Christian living, and you will
find DOZENS of studies on that phase of growing, on this Website.
Then we start to move INTO KNOWLEDGE - knowledge of many more
things God wants us to know, about Himself, about Jesus, about
their plan of salvation for the world, about truths concerning
the Kingdom of God, about why you are here and what you can
become. The truth of where and how the THOUSAND year reign of
Christ, is a study of growing in grace and knowledge - putting
Scripture with Scripture.
This is all meat of the word as well, and it is true some of that
knowledge does contain "technical" things like putting Scripture
with Scripture, which is probably the very first step in moving
into deep "technical" studies. So there is a certain amount of
"brain work" - mental energy - needed in growing in grace and
knowledge. But it's not the all in all of itself ... growing in
grace and knowledge does not have to be on a PhD level of theology.
It is true, the meat of the word would include (but not to the
exclusion of all the above) some of the more "technical"
doctrines of God.
But prioritize - make sure you are founded firmly on the bedrock
of the basic doctrines and teaching of God FIRST! Then move on to
spiritual growth into fuller knowledge of the teachings that
surround the milk foundation. If you are a recent Christian this
is especially the way to go, it is the right and correct starting
position. Without that firm bedrock foundation you can be easily
tossed here and there.
I praise the Lord, growing up in a Church of England school,
where just reading the Bible for the first half hour every Monday
to Friday, gave me lots of the basics of the foundational milk of
the word. Then just as a kid reading my Bible at night before I
went to sleep, just added to the firm milk foundation. When I
came to Canada at age 18, I was ready for the Lord to move me on
to grow in KNOWLEDGE, AND I DID! After some years the Lord was
then able to lead me into the more "technical" studies.
Growing in grace and knowledge .... one recent study of mine
would be, as I did, re-reading the passages about the "night to
be much observed" mentioned in Exodus 12. You read the context,
you keep the context, you find the other verses on the subject,
you get rid of pre-conceived theology ... and WAM BAM! You grow
in knowledge. You discover the context of the night to be
observed is PASSOVER NIGHT - the beginning of the 14th, and has
nothing to do with the 15th. No Hebrew lexicons needed, no
"technical" this or that from this or that other books. You just
read the Bible and keep the context in view, you just want the
truth, and you are willing to be corrected. At times growing in
grace and knowledge is that simple.
It is a one, two, three, process. If you don't have the first
two down pat, you probably will get blown away, tossed here and
there by the many technical studies.
The first part of this study was to show you that "meat of the
Word" is not automatically meaning "technical meat." There is
meat of the Word that is not getting into deep fancy explanations
of phrases and sentences. While meat of the Word is not condemned
as such, I've done my fair share of those technical studies over
the years. What you need to remember is to PRIORITIZE!
Get the MILK of the word, the foundational doctrines as in
Hebrews 6 - get them FIRST! Then move on to more KNOWLEDGE of our
Lord and Savior.
After all that, then head for the deeper technical studies.
As is often said, don't jump in the deep end of the swimming pool
before you can swim in the shallow end first.
Entered on this Website January 2008