This article was written by Dazzarai and he answers this question very articulately:
WHAT IS DOCTRINE?
Firstly, let us define the term “doctrine”. It is derived from the Greek word didache (Strong’s G1322)
It can be defined as the following: teaching, that which is taught, the act of teaching, instruction. In religious assemblies of the Christians, to speak in the way of teaching. In distinction from other modes of speaking in public.
Now you have an understanding of the meaning of ‘doctrine’, let us explore what the Word of God says concerning this, and how important it is for Christians and our walk with Christ.
I have noticed while conversing with many Christians that there seems to be confusion to “where” doctrine comes from. The bible speaks of ‘doctrines of God’, ‘doctrines of men’ and even ‘doctrines of devils’.
How can we know whose doctrines we are following?
Jesus said in John 7:16 – “Jesus answered them, and said, my doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me”.
If we remember that doctrine means “teaching and instruction”, we understand that Christ is saying that what He teaches is from God. They are the doctrines of God and not man, as other men were teaching at the time.
Some people believe that the teachings of Christ over rule the teachings of the apostles, i.e. Peter and Paul.
This ideology could not be more wrong. The apostles taught the doctrines that Christ taught them and passed them down to the believers.
Paul says in Galatians 1:11
‘I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.’
Also the bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16 ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (Emphasis added.)
Firstly we see that ALL scripture (not just the words of Christ in red) is given by inspiration of God. God has used man to write His word. Secondly scripture is profitable to us, firstly for DOCTRINE or as we said before, teaching and instructing in the things of God. Everything we need to walk and be perfected as Christians is in the scriptures. God no longer needs to give individual revelations to us; he has given his guidance in his Word. The problem is we are just too lazy at times to STUDY the word for ourselves.
IS YOUR DOCTRINE SOUND?
The bible says in 1 Timothy 1:9-11
‘9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.’ (Emphasis added)
‘Sound’ is the key here. Is your doctrine sound? Does it line up with the teachings of Christ and the apostles? Or do you choose which parts of God’s doctrine you practise?
The bible also says in 2 Timothy 4:3
‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’ (Emphasis added)
I’m sure most Christians today will agree that we are in the season of the last days, yet most will deny that there are false teachers about. I find this very disturbing to say the least.
Never before have there been so many teachers and so little gospel. People are heaping to THEMSELVES teachers (a great number) teaching a gospel that is not a gospel at all. Some rarely mention Jesus except when trying to Jes-ify there worldly teachings. You cannot take the things of this world, add Jesus to it and call it the teachings of Christ. This is a grave deception. Hence, we are to “STUDY to show ourselves approved, also RIGHTLY divide the word of truth.
It is funny how Christian’s, even leaders today will tell you “let God deal with people if they are teaching doctrines that are false”. Here’s what the word of God says:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
1 Timothy 1:3
I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer.
He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Refute those who oppose it? So we should not just sit back and let God deal with it. You know why God won’t do anything about it? Because we are charged to deal with it, it’s that simple. Unfortunately, most Christians today have been sold a lie, that Christianity promises a great life on this earth. So because we don’t want any persecution we would rather allow doctrines of devils to plague the body of Christ. Is that not wicked?
DOCTRINES OF MEN & DEVILS
This is what Christ said concerning those who teach the commandments of men:
Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Hebrew 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
The teaching of the tithe is a great example of this scripture. Men have turned the grace of God (Gods’ determining of whether we have health, finances, etc) and turned it into meats (If you do, God will do, when the praises go up, the blessings come down, i.e. works), yet it has not profited them that practise these things.
For example, the next time you meet someone who says tithing WORKS (and that’s exactly what it is WORKS,) ask them when last they had so much blessing that they had no room to receive it. Or do they have any bill that they struggle with while a tither?
It amazes me how so many tithers are broke yet believe in the tithe as the means for God to bless them, according to Malachi 3. Someone has to be a liar and it certainly is NOT God. I guess that leaves the teacher then, or a lack of understanding of scripture…
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
So many people today are being tossed to and fro, believing and being deceived by whatever they hear their “favourite” preachers say and teach. I’ve heard preachers say that people must have blind faith about the things they are taught; to just believe them. Or you are poor because you are slow to believe. What happened to the Bereans in Acts 17?
As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
This is a prime example of how we as Christians are to receive the Word of God. And as teachers if what you teach are the doctrines of Christ, then you need not be afraid to have your teachings examined. It’s very simple, don’t you think?
THE DOCTRINES OF GOD
We have gathered that the doctrines of God are profitable for us, but what are the doctrines of God. The doctrines of God are what we are taught by Christ and by the apostles in the Word. It is very simple: follow what Christ AND the apostles taught.
The bible is filled with doctrines of Christ including but not limited to: his birth by a virgin, his miracles, his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God. However, there are many other important doctrines of Christ. These include His church, worship, repentance, baptism, the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s Supper, order of ordination of ministers, correct applications of the gifts of the Spirit, right living, and His Second Coming as well as others. There is a tendency to emphasise Christian living and neglect Christian doctrine. They go hand in hand: one cannot go without the other.
Basically, when you read the Word of God, obey it and you will find favour with God.
SO IS DOCTRINE IMPORTANT?
1 Timothy 4:16
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
We will be saved if we hold on to the teachings of Christ and the apostles. One of the dangers of losing our salvation is being deceived away from the doctrines of Christ. So the answer is YES, doctrine is very important to the believers. Especially if you are a teacher, since you will be held accountable for those you lead away from Christ by the doctrine you teach, if it is not of Christ.
“By laying these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Jesus Christ, being fed with the words of the faith and of the good teaching which you have followed (1 Tim. 4:6),
Verse 13: “Until I come, pay attention to reading, to comforting and to teaching (doctrine)”
I hope you will continue (or begin) to pay more attention to the doctrines of Christ as you continue to grow as a Christian, following in the noble footsteps of the Bereans in Acts 17, rightly dividing the word of truth, so that no man will deceive you.
May God bless you and keep you,
In Jesus’ name,