“For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” — 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
There is a variety of Christian experiences available to the believer today. We can pick a church that aligns with our worship viewpoint. If we like old hymns, we could go to a church that only sings hymns. If we like worship services with loud music, lights. and fog we can find a church like that. If we want a more relaxed environment that serves coffee in the lobby, we could find a place for excellent coffee. We do not even have to leave our homes to experience any one of these except we have to drink our own coffee. But regardless of what the church does or doesn’t do, the church’s foundation must be built on sound doctrine.
“Doctrine” sometimes has the reputation of being just a cold set of rules and regulations debated by scholars. Christian doctrine is the teaching found in the Bible—about who God is, who we are, why the world exists, and so on. The subject merits careful thought because it plays a vital part in every Christian’s life. Titus 2:1 says, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”
In Acts 2:42 we read: “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…”Notice the word “devoted.” The doctrinal instruction by the apostles was considered a necessity, not a luxury. The King James Version says, “they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine…” Even after three thousand new converts were added to the church, (Acts 2:41) the priority continued to be providing sound doctrinal instruction for the new believers.
Sound doctrine is so important to every disciple because it gives them the mind of Christ, makes them like Him, and motivates them to love Him and know Him more intimately. The closer we are to Jesus, the better we will represent Him in this lost world. “You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18).
Think of it this way. We love God and if you love someone, you want to know everything about them. When you fall in love, you want to know all sorts of things about him or her – which school did they go to, what their hobbies are, their plans for the future, etc. If we love God, we’ll want to know all about Him – about His nature, His character, His purposes, His commandments to name a few. In other words, we’ll want to study doctrine. Doctrine enables us to relate to the God who’s really there, not the God we imagine Him to be.
- What does the word “doctrine” mean to you?
- Where can you improve in your knowledge of doctrine?