The Apostle Paul had much that he yearned to teach the Hebrew believers — wonderful truths that would have thrilled their hearts — but these truths were “hard to be uttered,” or difficult to explain to them, since they were “dull of hearing.” The word “dull” in Heb. 5:11 really means “slothful,” or indifferent (as in Heb. 6:12). They were not merely hard of hearing, as we say, but were too lazy, too indifferent, spiritually, to pay attention. They were not sufficiently interested.
This is always a serious condition in the light of the fact that “God hath spoken,” and that disobedience to His Word will be judged (Heb. 1:1,2; 2:1-3). Yet, alas, this is the condition of the professing Church today. The great majority of religious people are not sufficiently interested in what God has said to engage in diligent, prayerful study and, like those of Paul’s day, still have to be taught “the first principles” of the Bible. They have remained babes, spiritually, unable to digest anything but “milk,” and so remain “unskillful in the Word of righteousness” (Heb. 5:12-14).
What has brought this condition about? Is it because our Bibles are being burned and the Church persecuted for reading it? Is it because God is unwilling to lead us further into His truth? Most assuredly not. It is because so many men of God in high places no longer have the single passion to know God’s Word and to make it known. They could be as greatly used of God in teaching the Scriptures as their predecessors were, but they are “slothful of hearing” and hence can present their hearers with little that is of true value.
This, in turn, is reflected in the religious masses. They “love” their Bibles, but not enough to study them diligently and become workmen whom God can approve. Let us not be numbered among these. Rather, let it be our one great desire to gain a clear understanding of God’s Word, rightly divided — for His sake, for our own sake and for the sake of the needy souls about us.