It is clear that the Bible teaches the necessity for belief. It is also evident that just claiming the name of Jesus is not sufficient. Jesus said: "Many shall come in my name" (Matt. 24:5). Claiming to be religious does not insure Christianity. We are saved "by grace through faith," according to the Bible. (Eph. 2:8) But just what is faith? Is it a blind alley, without verifiable fact or reason? True faith comes by hearing the word of God..
Our faith is real because we have heard God’s Word, accepted it as truth, and responded to what it says. We, as the Bereans of old and young Timothy, have searched the Scriptures, and have found certain things to be so.
- "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17).
- The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Acts 17:10-11 (NASB)
Faith fostered in this manner can amount to Bible faith? It is not enough to believe as we do because it is the way our parents believed or the way our denomination teaches. To believe something because it has been handed down to us has a huge possibility for error.
- Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15 (NASB)
What is Doctrine?
As can be seen from the definition above, doctrine is used in at least two different ways in the New Testament. It is used to mean both the substance being taught and the act of teaching itself.
- What is doctrine?
- Is doctrine important?
- What is its function?
For example, Matthew 15:9: "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines (The Substance) the commandments of men. Jesus was concerned about people who used the commandments of men as the substance of their teaching. Jesus said, "My doctrine (the act of teaching) is not mine, but his that sent me" (John 7:16). If our doctrine emanates or is influenced by men rather than God’s Word, it is nothing more than a mere commandment given by men. It is our job to carefully analyze that doctrine.
Simply put, doctrine is what churches and individuals believe as well as the act of teaching. It is not something to be avoided or dreaded. It is a testimony of our faith:
When we discuss the hope we have within us, we enter into doctrinal dialogue, just as Jesus did in Mark 4:2 and in 12:38: "HE SAID UNTO THEM IN HIS DOCTRINE." He opened up "doctrinal dialogue." Doctrine should not be organized without due consideration of what the scriptures say and any doctrine needs to be analyzed through that microscope. If there is to be "doctrinal purity"; it must be based on "thus saith the Lord."
- "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).
Good Doctrine is GOD Inspired
Our teaching will only be as strong as its foundation. If it is founded on the scripture it will stand. Doctrinal dialogue was attended by those mentioned in Acts 2:42 who "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship." It was important for the people to hear these men who were giving an answer of the reason of the hope that was within them. (I Peter 3:15) Paul admonished Timothy to "give attendance...to doctrine" (1 Tim. 4:13). Attend where there is public reading of the scriptures together with encouragement and doctrinal dialogue. It can be beneficial.
- "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine" (2 Tim.3:16).
Special care should be taken as it relates to doctrine. A number of reasons are given in the New Testament. A trusting soul can automatically endanger himself and others if he is not very careful, being on guard against the danger of false doctrine. Jesus told the disciples to:
- "TAKE HEED UNTO THYSELF, AND TO THE DOCTRINE." (1 Tim. 4:16)
- "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees....Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matt. 16:6,12).
He also warned that "false Christs and false prophets would arise and show great signs." So strong will be their attraction that Jesus said "if it were possible they would deceive the very elect." Matt. 24:24
The Apostle John went further than most would dare go. He gave a strong warning to all those who have, promote and listen to doctrine. Read this and judge whether you would go this far? This is strong language. I doubt if this attitude will be accepted in our pluralistic society; do you?
Peter spoke on this subject:
- If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 2 John 1:10-11 (KJV)
Just because someone comes in the name of religion: speaking religious language; is recognized by the majority as being a religious leader; and uses the name of God or Christ, does not mean we should accept everything or anything they teach. "TAKE HEED...BEWARE."
- But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies (opinions) and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered.3 In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed. 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NLT)
Words of faith include "good doctrine." See 1 Tim. 4:6. Doctrine must be "sound" (Titus 2:1). A failure to endure "sound doctrine" is a problem today. Doctrine should not be a dirty word. Doctrine can be good (ITim. 4:6) if it is based on “thus saith the Lord”. Doctrine is something that needs obedience from the heart. Rom. 6:17. Doctrine is a tool of exhortation (2Tim. 4:2) not something to beat someone over the head with. While saying that let me also remind you that doctrine edifies. It truly can be a good thing, an asset.
- Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. Titus 1:9 (NASB)
Sound Doctrinal Truth
From this statement it is obvious that Paul was anticipating a downturn for the church, due in the greater part to the peoples' attitude toward sound doctrine. We must maintain a healthy attitude toward what we teach; what we allow to be taught; and what we give our support to.
- For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Tim. 4:3-4 (NASB)
Proper growth and maturity within the church will allow for unity as it pertains to the faith, and will assure continued doctrinal purity.
- "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20:29-30 (NASB)
Such growth and maturity is enhanced by "Elders that rule well...who labor in the word and doctrine" (1 Tim. 5:17). When this form of doctrine is obeyed from the heart (Rom. 6:17) that labor will surely not be in vain. The "doctrine of God should be adorned" (Titus 2:10) and not just snugly tucked away in some convenient corner. The NLT puts it this way: make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way. Indeed the apostles had "filled Jerusalem with their doctrine" (Acts 5:28).
- "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph.4:14).
In order for people to be astonished at our doctrine as they were by the doctrine of the Lord (Matt. 7:28; Acts 13:12) it must be:
It is much easier to simply join in with the multitude of religion and religious activity; dilute our own doctrinal understanding and be a part of the religious community. Doingmight not be following in the steps of either Jesus or the apostles. Can we as Joshua say, "AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD"? Joshua 24:15.
- Shared as a reason of our hope
- Maintained as good and sound
- Obeyed from the heart
- Adorned as beautiful clothing
- Shared to the fullest