This passage has often been used to encourage us to study the Bible piece by piece, precept upon precept.
Isaiah 28:10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” ESV
But is that really just an encouragement to us?
How about also a rebuke that we are not getting beyond the spoon-feeding and milk phase?
See here is the full passage.
1 Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!
2 Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand.
3 The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot;
4 and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer: when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand.
5 In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,
6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
7 These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.
8 For all tables are full of filthy vomit, with no space left.
9 “To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast?
10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”
11 For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people,
12 to whom he has said, “This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose”; yet they would not hear.
13 And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. ESV
You see what is happening here. The Lord is accusing the people of being babes engulfed with their own pleasure and drunkenness. Even when teaching is done “precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” they are not learning and progressing.
They are falling backward!
They will be broken, snared, and taken!
Here are the Geneva Bible notes on Isaiah 28:9 – 13.
For there was no one that was able to understand any good doctrine: but were foolish and as unfit as young babes.
They must have one thing often repeated.
Let one teach what he can, yet they will no more understand him, than if he spoke in a strange language.
Or how about Matthew Henry’s commentary.
The prophet here complains of the wretched stupidity of this people, that they were unteachable and made no improvement of the means of grace which they possessed; they still continued as they were, their mistakes not rectified, their hearts not renewed, nor their lives reformed.
This is so much like my working with one of the children in math. We get to a new topic, such as dividing fractions, yet we must return to the basic division and basic fractions study again. Why? Because the “little by little” is not being remembered and applied to the more advanced subjects, there is very little progress that is made over all.
So the question is, are you growing and progressing on to the meat?
Or are you stuck on being spoon fed every drop of milk over and over again yet still continuing to remain a babe?