by Shawn Brasseaux
On December 20, 2008, my niece Kamryn celebrated her third birthday, and as of yesterday, my nephew Logan is eight months old. They certainly have grown quite a bit: Kamryn is talking, learning new words and Bible verses and songs, and Logan is turning himself over, smiling, laughing, cooing, crawling, and trying to talk. Neither of them will stay a small child forever—and this is good because we want them to grow up and mature into adults.
But, how many decades-long church members are still in a state of spiritual immaturity, having never grown in God’s Word? For instance, some people have been church members for 50 years, but they have only been taught men’s ideas and church tradition. Sadly, many of them are still “just as lost as a goose.” For many of those who are saved, and have sat in a denominational church for decades, they know as much sound Bible doctrine as a person who has never been to church or read the Bible. These poor people are not being taught God’s Word rightly divided: they are only hearing God’s Word from the viewpoint of a denomination or pastor. I personally know hundreds of these people; in fact, I used to be one of them.
In 1 Peter 2:2 KJV, the Apostle Peter wrote to the Jews: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” Now, these Jews were already saved, so Peter was not referring to their “growing into salvation” (as modern English Bibles erroneously teach in these verse). Peter meant that these kingdom believers (Jews) should grow in the faith and in the knowledge of the Scriptures. The Apostle Peter concludes his last epistle with (2 Peter 3:18): “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
“Baby Christians” grow spiritually by studying God’s Word rightly divided (that is, using dispensational Bible study). The Corinthians were “carnal” (fleshly, worldly) because they struggled with arguments and divisions/denominations (1 Corinthians 1:11-13). In 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, Paul tells these believers in Corinth that he knows they are not spiritual. He writes that they are “babes in Christ,” spiritually immature, unable to eat solid spiritual food.
“1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
The writer of Hebrews chides spiritually immature Jewish believers in Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV. Notice:
“11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
The book of Hebrews addresses Jews who were unlearned, “dull of hearing.” Instead of being able to teach the Bible to others, they had to re-learn even the basics of Scripture (cf. Hebrews 6:1-3)! These Jews were “babes” spiritually, and just like the Corinthians, they could only digest spiritual milk (the Bible basics) instead of solid spiritual food (the more complicated Bible doctrines). What a travesty! Yet, unfortunately, the same is true today of billions of professing Christians. They know little to nothing about what the Bible actually says.
New Christians need to get into the deeper doctrines of Scriptures, and not just rely on basic concepts of the Word like doctrine in the Old Testament and the Four Gospels. Every believer needs to know the “mysteries” (secrets) that can only be found in Paul’s 13 epistles. Believers in Christ today are “stewards [managers] of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). Christians should understand these grace doctrines (the doctrines found in Romans through Philemon), and they should be telling others about them. However, very few church members know anything about the mysteries of Paul’s writings, for church tradition does not recognize the special ministry the ascended Lord gave unto the Apostle Paul.
Usually, churches focus on Matthew through John (Christ’s earthly ministry), rather than emphasizing Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon (Christ’s heavenly ministry). Because of this widespread failure to understand the importance of Paul’s ministry, very few church members are able to teach others the Pauline truths of God’s Word (God’s Word to us today is in Paul’s epistles alone). God said of Israel, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). God says the same thing about the Church the Body of Christ today!
God wants us Christians, His children, to grow spiritually. He wants us to memorize Scripture so that we can then apply those scriptural truths to their lives. By studying our King James Bibles—specifically, using dispensational Bible study, “rightly dividing the word of truth” as 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV commands—we are then enabled to put those Biblical principles into practice so the lost world can see Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:3-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-9; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). The more we learn from the Scriptures, the more capable we will be able to successfully discern what is good and what is evil (Hebrews 5:14). This in turn will help us better equip and teach other believers, and ensure that we are those that listen to us are not deceived by false teaching (see 1 Timothy 4:16).
Ephesians 4:11-16 KJV says:
“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
God wants His believers “edified,” built up, “no more children” who are “tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine.” As long as we stay in God’s Word (the King James Bible) rightly divided, we will not fall prey to Satan’s deception.
God wants us Christians to “grow up into him [Christ Jesus] in all things.” He wants us “to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). The Lord wants us to better understand what He is doing today, so we can then go in faith and participate in accomplishing His will! The only way we will grow and reach a spiritually maturity is by studying and believing God’s Word, God’s way (dispensational Bible study). We read in 2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV:
“16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Saints, get off the baby bottle, and grow up! God wants mature Christian believers, so “put away childish things,” and speak and think as a spiritual adult (1 Corinthians 13:11). Grow up!