>The table is set and today, my sister, my best friend, my teacher, Norma, will be sharing with us on this banquet, a great entrée, an introduction to Doctrine.
I love you, sis!
|Image Katie Lloyd Photography*|
We know we are to study Biblical doctrine, but at the same time we hear how doctrine divides, so, what are we supposed to do? God called us to keep the doctrine and live in unity: do they contradict each other? By all means, the answer is no.
I think we first need to understand what doctrine is not. It is not a point of view, an interpretation of Scripture, a movement based on feelings or personal experiences, is not something for theologians only, and is not something that doesn’t really matter “as long as you have accepted Christ as your Saviour.”
What is Doctrine?
It is the basics of Christianity. It is, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary,a set of beliefs, a principle or position, or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief.
Doctrine means to understand what the Bible teaches on different topics. It is the duty of every Christian to know what the Bible teaches, and compare to see if what is being taught at church or the book we like to read agrees with the Bible’s teachings as a whole or not.
“False doctrine”, on the other hand, is what is taught that doesn’t agree with the whole counsel of God.
Doctrine is not only for those who want to be ministers, pastors or missionaries. The study of Doctrine is for new Christians and old, for children and adults, for men and women, for people in the East and the West, for rich and poor, it is for all of us. And it is our responsibility to study it, and be careful to keep as it is taught in the Holy Scriptures.
How to study it?
First of all read the Bible. Read it all, read each verse in its context within each chapter, each book, and in the overall context of the whole Bible (O.T and N.T).
It is important, however, to point out that today there are so many books and teachers out there that have mixed truth with lies, that it has become hard to know which teachings are correct and which are not. To solve that problem, I recommend you to read commentaries of the founders of the faith. Read their biographies, their books, their teachings along with the Holy Word. Stay away from preachers that attract masses. Know who they are before you buy their materials or trust their teachings. Just because a book is sold at a Christian bookstore it does not mean it’s Christian. Or because many are reading it, doesn’t necessary mean that it is a good book that teaches sound doctrine.
Be jealous of the Biblical doctrine and defend it in your heart so that it may not bring shame to the Gospel of Christ. Self-help books are packing today’s Christian culture. Many churches are social gatherings and the basic doctrines of the Bible are seldom taught. Women, have respect for the Lord and fear Him. Fear Him enough to know why you believe what you say you believe! Practice having a quiet and gentle spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. And instead of living for the day, live for heaven, for eternity.
Does it matter?
Yes. The more you study it, the stronger you foundation will be and the harder will be to fall, although you will fall. You’ll have a greater understanding of His love, mercy, grace, patience, goodness. The more you dig deeper into the Word, the more you will love Him and the more you will want to live for Him. Your view of Christ, His sacrifice, His atonement, His life, His resurrection, His priesthood, His sovereignty, His glory, His holiness, my wretched condition without Him, prayer, mortification of sin, my dependence on Him, the role of the woman in her house, at church, with her children, with other women, all these will come into place. It will be easier to spot lies from truth (no matter how sweet they may appear) because you will know the truth. The truth will be your daily bread, and the lie will quickly taste as food not prepared at home. You will identify it with God’s grace.
Does doctrine divide?
Yes. It will separate. It will bring light where light is not wanted, because darkness is much more comfortable and more palatable for many. There are no stands where they need to stand, there are neither blacks nor whites, every situation is assessed according to the circumstances or the person involved, with no base to judge right from wrong. (1 Cor. 5:12) Doctrine will bring you to an understanding of the Scripture as a whole, but many will not like it. Many will disagree and will not like “your” God, the God of the Bible. But those appointed for Salvation will hear and receive it.
Please, listen to Paul’s plea today,
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”