J. I. Packer serves as a professor of theology at Regent College and on the editorial board of Christianity Today magazine. He is the author of numerous books including the classic bestseller Knowing God and Taking God Seriously—the book from which this week's readings are adapted. He also served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.
What he Said … Solid Food
What is doctrine? Doctrine is the revealed truth of God as defined and taught in the church, by the church, for the church, and for the world.
The New Testament church appeared as a community of learners, some of whom became teachers as well, but all of whom were called to the lifelong task of taking in, digesting, and living out—which includes giving out—the good news of Jesus Christ that the apostles [explained] to them. The church was seen as a fellowship of disciples, and any congregation that did not consist of persons laboring to learn more about Christ would hardly count as a church by New Testament standards.
The New Testament highlights one such congregation, that to which the letter to the Hebrews (Jewish Christians) was written. See how the writer chides them: "You have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food. … Solid food is for the mature" (Heb. 5:11-12, 14, ESV).
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