The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”
+ Biblical Teaching +
The word doctrine appears many times throughout the Scriptures in the Old and New Testament. Biblical doctrine is essential to the salvation and survival of God’s people. True doctrinal teaching is at an all time low in churches today. There is either no doctrine or false doctrine. This is a result of a lack of interest in the study of doctrine and a failure of preachers preaching it. Fiction and novels are outselling doctrinal books in our day. Theology is not important to the average church attendee. In my estimation, fiction books are a waste of time and in some cases they foster false doctrine. A good example of this are the Left Behind series.
May the Lord stir a renewed interest in doctrinal truth among His people so that His church will remain established on solid ground. The saints of God are to adorn the doctrine of God (Titus 2:10).
“The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action.”
- A.W. Tozer
This article will consider the meaning of doctrine and the different types of doctrine as well as the necessity of sound doctrine. In John 7:16-17, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of His doctrine, “Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” He declared to the people that His doctrine was divine in its origin and nature (vs. 16). In vs. 17, He reveals the way to receive doctrine from the Lord. Pure motives and a heart’s desire to do God’s will give light from Heaven. The Lord God will reveal His truth to those who are willing to work in His will. If the heart is not right, what value is there in knowing doctrine? This would be in vain.
Spiritual things do not come through intellect or reason, but through the heart by faith.
The Meaning of Doctrine
The word doctrine simply means teaching. In a general sense it means, “whatever is taught,” whether it be true or false. But the Biblical usage refers to the sound teaching that is based upon Scripture. The first reference to the word doctrine in the Bible is in Deuteronomy 32:2, “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:” The context of Deuteronomy chapter thirty-two is the song Moses gave to Israel. He calls this song, “my doctrine” which means, his teaching. The song deals with the greatness of God and His deliverance of His people. In reference to doctrine, there are other Scriptures given in the Old Testament (Job 11:4; Proverbs 4:2; Isaiah 28:9; 29:24; Jeremiah 10:8).
In reference to teaching, the word doctrine is found in many places in the New Testament. In Matthew 7:28-29, our Savior’s teaching of the Sermon on the Mount was His doctrine, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” According to Mark 11:18, the Scribes and Pharisees wanted to betray Jesus because of His doctrine and what He taught the people. In Acts 2:42, the saints of the early church continued in the Apostles doctrine (teaching), “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The teaching, fellowship, prayer, and breaking of bread was very important to God’s people in their early days. Also, in Acts 5:28, the disciples filled Jerusalem with their doctrine, “Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.”
The Types of Doctrine
In Matthew 16:12, Jesus spoke of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their doctrine was in opposition to the doctrine of Christ and the Bible (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7). In Colossians 2:22, the Bible speaks of the doctrines of men. Hebrews 13:9 tells us we are told not to be carried away with divers and strange doctrines. In the Scriptures, I Timothy 4:2 speaks of doctrines of devils, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
The word doctrine is pluralized in most of these references because there is no unity and harmony in the teaching of men or devils. One author plainly explains it this way, “Men’s doctrines are diverse and conflicting, but God’s truth is indivisible and harmonious.” The point being, there is only one faith according to Ephesians 4:1-7, but this unity does not exist with the doctrines of the world. In Titus 1:9, the Bible also speaks of sound doctrine that is good, wholesome, healthy, and pure (Titus 2:1, 7, 10.) We are told in Titus 2:10 to adorn the doctrine of God.
The Necessity of Doctrine
According to II Timothy 3:16, the Scripture is our foundation and final authority when it comes to doctrine, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” The Bible is called “Holy Scripture” in verse 15, and according to verse 17, they give us all that we need for spiritual truth. We are commanded to preach doctrine in II Timothy 4:2, because there will be strong opposition to sound doctrine until the Lord comes to redeem His church. Doctrine is necessary because it is essential to the believer’s salvation and survival. The Apostle Paul told Timothy that if he would give attendance to doctrine that he would both save himself and them that heard him from apostasy (I Timothy 4:6; 13-16). The minister of God is to labor in Word and doctrine (I Timothy 5:17). He is to perfect the saints so that they are not carried about with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). The saints are commanded to abide in the doctrine of Christ and to receive no other doctrine into their midst (II John 9-10). We are to identify those who preach false doctrine and avoid them (Romans 16:17-18). As doctrine is being set aside, apathy and ignorance are prominent in our churches today. There is no greater duty than to maintain purity of doctrine.
Our salvation and obedience both are based upon correct doctrine, Romans 6:17, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” The entire chapter is dealing with our position in Christ and our daily walk. Please notice that verse 17 speaks of the form of doctrine obeyed from the heart. Christians are now the servants of God unto righteousness and no more the servants of sin (vv. 6-23). It is the doctrine of God that puts us on the narrow path to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). Let no one say that doctrine is of no value, for our eternal destiny and existence depends wholly upon it. One author put it this way, “Doctrine without duty is a tree without fruits. Duty without doctrine is a tree without roots.” The issue is not whether a doctrine sounds good or is beautiful, but whether it is true. The doctrine of Christ has made me free from the bondage and wages of sin and has given me eternal life (Romans 6:22-23).
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” II Timothy 4:2-4
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523