Elementary Principles

Several years ago I opened my Greek New Testament during my morning preparation for the day, and found that I had opened to Hebrews 5:12, which, in the Modern King James Version says:

Heb 5:9-14  And being perfected, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him, being called by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek; of whom we have much to say, and hard to be explained since you are dull of hearing. For indeed because of the time, you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again what are the first principles of the oracles of God. And you have become in need of milk, and not of solid food. For everyone partaking of milk is unskillful in the Word of Righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, even those who because of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

But as I say, I had opened a Greek New Testament, and what caught my eye was part of verse 12:

τα στοιχεια της αρχης των λογιων του θεου

Young's Literal Translation gives this for that Greek passage:

"the elements of the beginning of the oracles of God"

I was stuck in that passage for months, praying for all the understanding which God wanted me to have concerning the 'elements of the beginning of the oracles of God'.

The first thing I observed is that it must be different from the similar passage in Hebrews 6:1-2

6:1  GNT Διὸ ἀφέντες τὸν τῆς ἀρχῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ λόγον

YLT 6:1  Wherefore, having left the word of the beginning of the Christ
My translation:  "Therefore, having left the account of the beginning of the Christ...."

I note that in Hebrews 6:1 the Greek word Stoicheia - translated 'elements' by Young or 'elementary principles' by others does not appear as it does in chapter 5 verse 12.  I concluded that if the 'beginnings' are similar to atoms, then the elements or elementary principles must be akin to sub-atomic particles.

So I began to ask Jesus to show me examples of the 'elements' to which this word applied, and began to understand that these elements or elementary principles are found 'hidden in plain sight' in the Scriptures.

For example, one such element is contained in this verse:

Pro 3:5  Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.

Another such elementary principle is in this verse:

Oba 1:3  The pride of your heart has deceived you, dwelling in the clefts of the rock; his dwelling is lofty, saying in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?
Oba 1:4  Though you rise high as the eagle, and though you set your nest between the stars, I will bring you down from there, declares Jehovah.

Another such elementary principle is in this verse:

Zec_8:19  So says Jehovah of Hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah for joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.

2Th 2:10  and in all deceit of unrighteousness in those being lost, because they did not receive the love of the truth in order for them to be saved.

Another such elementary principle is in this verse:

Psa 19:12  Who can discern errors? Acquit me from secret faults.


The conclusions I draw from the foregoing passages of Scripture are formed by a vision I had several years ago.  At that time I was sitting in church, listening to the pastor teaching, and I had a vision of this pastor trying to make an ice sculpture out of an iceberg!  He was working away on the exposed top 10% of the iceberg while never touching the hidden 90% of the iceberg which is under water.

I realized that the Father George Story is a prime example of this vision.  Fr. George had spent his whole life working on the visible 10% of his and others' lives while never touching the invisible 90% of his and their 'icebergs'.  But one touch from Jesus on the unseen portion of his life completely transformed his life and his ministry!

Another observation I made from the Fr. George Story is that God allows us to try everything else until we are desperate for Him, and then when we are broken and contrite He leads us to the Rock that is higher than "I".

Please notice that I said 'broken and contrite'.  This condition is mentioned in Psalm 51:17, and is the key to everything that is missing in our lives:

(MKJV)  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

I understand this:  'brokenness' means the realization that my life can never be whole without God as the foundation of my life, and 'contrition' is the realization that my brokenness is my fault, no one else's fault.  My brokenness is the result of the fact that 'all of us have gone stray from God.  Each of us has gone his or her own way.'

It is not enough to be broken.  Many people who are broken but not contrite live lives of bitterness and regret.  Those who become broken and contrite find that their newfound humility enables them to become able to receive the truths about themselves which set them free.  That freedom from former delusions of self-righteousness or self-loathing enable a person to know these elementary principles of the oracles of God.