This author of Hebrews is in the middle of trying to explain a difficult concept to grasp for these Hebrew Christians and he pauses in his information to say in a nutshell (with my own paraphrase), “You guys will not get what I’m telling you about Jesus because you are a bunch of slow and lazy learners in the faith.” In the context of this sentence he continues to tell them that by now they should be teaching the Gospel, but instead need to be taught the simplest of truths because they just don’t get it yet. They have to keep learning the simple things over and over and over.
Looking at the Greek to solidify what I’m saying, “dull” means “slow or sluggish,” according to Strong. It is slothful.
It is the same as reviewing the ABC’s with a senior in high school who should have gotten this down in kindergarten and moved on to reading books with combinations of letters forming words at a level he can comprehend. Honestly, if that were happening today he or she would be held back until they got them and could move forward. For the sake of a visual, I used this example. It produces a rather sad visual, I think.
Evidence of having dull spiritual hearing could be:
- desiring a tickling of the ears with feel-good information,
- resistance to conviction of the Holy Spirit,
- lack of reading/studying the Word for yourself – relying on others to tell you what it says most of the time,
- practicing a backward hermeneutic – making a passage of the Bible fit your life circumstance rather then discerning the context of the author’s writing, realizing the timeless truth of the Scripture and then applying it to your life.
Those are just a few examples of what being dull of hearing spiritually “sounds” like. What do you believe are some examples? Do you have any from your own life?
What could dullness untreated lead to? Here are two of several things the writer of Hebrews pointed out:
- inability to distinguish good from evil (5:13-14),
- lack of pressing on to maturity in Christ (6:1).
These Hebrew Christians had some things going on that could have contributed to their dullness of hearing; call them blockages, if you will. The Temple was still standing and their Jewish friends were still living under the Law, the Old Covenant, with its commandments and sacrifices/offerings taking place. Yet, these Hebrew Christians were no longer under the Law as they recognized Christ the Messiah having come already. They were being persecuted for leaving their traditional ways. It would have been so much easier for them to go back to the old ways, but to do so would have been to renounce Christ and His atoning work for them. Yet, some were contemplating it. Life was just so hard.
So, one of their blockages to sharper hearing and maturity was their confusion over what to believe as well as their toying with going back to their past ways and beliefs.
I believe we are living in days similar to theirs. As Christians we can believe lots of things from many sources claiming to be truth sayers; when in reality, some of these claimers of truth are liars. They are forsaking the clear teachings found only in the Bible and preaching another Gospel or neglecting to preach the Gospel at all. Another problem is the dumbing down of the Word.
There is a place for being seeker friendly to draw in the lost to Christ and welcome them into the Church. But, at some point, discipling must take place to encourage the body of Christ to press on to maturity in order to not just have more Christians who are dull of hearing and living compartmentalized lives where they believe it is acceptable to keep God out of their social lives, their marriage or dating, their parenting, their progress in school, etc., and relegate Him to church only.
No. God sent Jesus to be Lord of our lives, not parts of our lives; He is to be Lord of every area of our lives.
To conclude, I have a question for you. Are you dull of hearing or are you a disciple who is pressing on toward maturity in Christ?
What are some areas where you need discipling? How will you accomplish this?
Take a step toward maturity today.