Why We Need Good Doctrine In Our Lives
8/9/2022 • By Larry Martinez
When it comes to the word "doctrine", some believers have a negative connotation. They might think it’s not important, and we should just focus on loving Jesus and each other.
Others assume that anytime you talk about doctrine, you're focused only on "head knowledge" and are just looking to argue with someone else.
I want to address these issues today. The Bible clearly speaks about the importance of doctrine, and we should strive to get a clear and healthy understanding of how we should approach doctrine as believers in Christ.
The Bible Is Our Authority
The Bible is our ultimate authority on these issues. So, it should be said that if the Bible says doctrine is bad and not to be discussed, then we should avoid it. On the other hand, if the Bible does address these issues, we should not be afraid to talk about them, no matter what anyone says or thinks.
First, let’s look at how the English dictionary defines the word doctrine:
As you can see, doctrine is defined as a position of beliefs, teaching, or instructions.
Anytime someone talks to you about prayer, God, Jesus or anything else they read from the Bible, they're talking to you about doctrine – beliefs and teachings. Doctrine is something that cannot be avoided as a Christian, because it is our perception about God, His Word, and scripture.
What Does the Bible Say About Doctrine?
When Jesus’ apostles are brought to the religious leaders of their day early in the book of Acts, I want you to look at one of the reasons why they were brought:
Acts 5:28 (NKJV) — saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?
And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”
They were being told not to preach doctrine to the people anymore! This is something that
should not be read over in haste, because it lets us know the apostles found it important to talk and preach doctrine to the people.
As you move forward through the book of Acts, we also come across a time when Paul is in Athens and the people desire for him to speak:
Acts 17:19 (NKJV) — And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?
These philosophers that encountered Paul were interested in the doctrine that he was sharing. This is very different from what many Christians think about doctrine today. People just seem to not interested in doctrine or the teachings of scripture.
So, what are people interested in?
Too Much Encouragement??
Many Christians are just interested in being encouraged and uplifted. In their walk with God, they're looking for messages that "pump them up" and encourage them to keep going. They're looking for someone to tell them that a blessing is just around the corner.
But let me be clear:
There is nothing wrong with being encouraged and uplifted during a message. But it’s also important to know doctrine. We must know and understand why we believe what
I’ve been in ministry for over 15 years, and from my personal experience with other
believers, most do not know why they believe the things they do.
But how can we provide answers about our faith if we ourselves do not even know what we believe?
We need to be like the people of Berea. When they encountered Paul and listened to his
message, they did something that a lot of people do not do today. Look at what it says:
Acts 17:11 (NKJV) — These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
Once the apostle Paul preached to them, they went on their own and studied to make sure that what Paul was saying was in line with scripture. As a Christian it’s just as important for you to study the scriptures and what you're hearing and reading to make sure that it's in line with what the Bible teaches.
It doesn't matter who the individual is. It could even be your favorite preacher.
You must be a student of God’s Word and make sure the doctrine is correct. Doctrine was so important to the apostle Paul, who wrote ¾ of the New Testament, that he encouraged his spiritual son to make sure that he focused on doctrine:
1 Timothy 4:13 (NKJV) — Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Timothy was told by Paul to give himself to doctrine. This means he was encouraged to teach the people the things concerning their faith. It does not seem to me that the apostle
Paul had the mindset that doctrine was not important or that we should not focus on it.
Paul's Jaw-Dropping Statement
The apostle Paul made a jaw-dropping statement when he wrote to the Galatians about the
doctrine they were to follow:
Galatians 1:8–9 (NKJV) — 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Paul went as far as to say that even if an angel from heaven, not hell, were to preach another gospel, they were not to receive it. He then goes on in the following verse to affirm once again to make sure they were hearing the right message, gospel - which is their doctrine!
There might be some who want to believe that everyone is preaching and teaching the truth. But if we are going to be honest, this is just not true. Therefore it’s important for Christians to learn how to study the Bible themselves.
It’s also important for you not to just read this article, but for you to grab your Bible and make sure everything you read here is lined up thoroughly with the Scriptures. We must make sure the doctrine that is being presented to us is correct.
It doesn't matter what the modern world says today. There is still such a thing as truth and error.
Ya, But Is Doctrine REALLY A Big Deal?
You might be saying to yourself, "Is it really that big of a deal?"
Let’s find out what the scriptures say:
Ephesians 4:14 (NKJV) — that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and
carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of
When this scripture is read in context, Paul is leading the Ephesians to know the reason why God gave the apostle, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and teachers.
He concludes here by letting them know that it’s for the purpose of them not being persuaded and drawn away by every doctrine. I would say based off this verse, it seems to me that it WAS a big deal. He did not want the believers to be drawn away by everything they hear.
It’s also important to note that part of the role of the leadership in a church is teaching doctrine.
I will be bold and say that you should find a church who puts a great emphasis on teaching
correct doctrine to grow you in your faith. If all we ever hear is encouragement and practical life application messages, I would be very careful of an atmosphere like this.
Because you need to be hearing doctrine and understanding the things you believe clearly from scripture. Once you have a strong foundation of your belief about God and other doctrinal issues, you will not be easily persuaded or moved by other belief systems.
The New Testament Is Full of Teaching
I would like to encourage you to read the New Testament thoroughly and pay close attention to how much time the apostles and the New Testament writers spent showing you who God was and what it means to be righteous and sanctified.
They spent time writing about our nature in Christ as believers. They dealt with issues of baptism and the resurrection from the dead.
I will say this is very different than what modern Christianity presents.
I think it’s time that we reconsider how we look at doctrine and value it more because the scriptures seem to say very clearly that it is important.
"People Who Want to Discuss Doctrine Just Want to Argue."
Lastly, I want to address the idea that because people discuss doctrine or desire to talk about it, they are somehow being argumentative or just full of head knowledge.
This issue is dealt with in Acts 15 when the leaders of the church get together and discuss the issue/doctrine of circumcision. It goes on to say that the elders and apostles of the church got together to consider the issue.
This informs us that the leaders of the church in the book of Acts found it important to discuss doctrine among each other. Yes, there was a back-and-forth that needed to happen, but it was for the purpose of coming to a mutual conclusion about the issue.
They didn't have the mindset of some today that we should not be discussing these issues
because it just causes division and fighting. They approached it with a desire for truth, and I think this should be our motive for understanding doctrine, as well.
How can we ever know if our doctrine is true unless we discuss it with others and gain input and insight?
There is a proverb that I believe goes with this:
Proverbs 27:17 (CSB) — Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.
Start getting around people who can sharpen you, stretch you, and help you with doctrine in a better way.
I have people in my life who I’m able to share beliefs with and throw ideas off of to help better shape my understanding of scripture and doctrine. We do not always end up seeing eye-to-eye, but it’s always great to hear different perspectives. It helps me to reevaluate my position and to see where I might need to make some adjustments in my understanding.
Yes, doctrine involves head knowledge. But it does not have to stop there. We have to make a conscious decision to allow what gets into our mind to drop into our hearts so that it can transform the way we relate to God and each other for the better.
I hope that you see from this small writing that doctrine is important, and we shouldn't stay away from it. We should study and take into consideration what we are being told to
see if it aligns with scripture.
If it doesn't, get rid of it. But if it does, hold onto it tight and don’t let anybody move you from it.