When a word appears 49 times in 15 out of the 27 books of the New Testament that may be a “clue” to its importance. And these “clues” lead to the importance of following, believing and teaching proper doctrine.
The word doctrine itself comes from the Greek word “didache” meaning, “that which is taught; doctrine, teaching concerning something; the act of teaching and instruction particularly in Christian religious assemblies.” So basically “doctrine” means what a person teaches concerning religious issues specific to the God of the Bible and His will for our life.
Now, although there are many different doctrines taught in the religious world today (which is actually against the doctrine of God taught in the Bible to begin with – John 17:20-22) I want to quickly whittle down all of these doctrines to two different kinds:
There is “sound” doctrine: “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9)
There is “strange” doctrine: “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.” (Hebrews 13:9)
The word “sound” literally means “to be well and in good health” and “having an understanding and teaching free from any mixture of error.”
The word “strange” (which represents any other doctrine other than sound ones) means “without knowledge of” or “unheard of; new.”
So you can see how any lesson, sermon, or opinion, etc. religiously speaking can fall into these two categories.
Now, in light of these two very plain definitions and scriptures shown above, some people today still insist that it doesn’t matter what a person’s “doctrine” is. In other words they believe that a person can teach just about anything they want as long as they are sincere in their belief, but how does the Holy Spirit feel about that particular doctrine?
Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:3-7 to “…charge some that they teach no other doctrine….” He also told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:3 that “…the time will come when [people] will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.”
John said when a person abandons the doctrine of Jesus the Christ, in reality they abandon God: “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2 John 1:9-11)
Jesus Himself warned about and condemned any doctrine other than God’s when he said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (Matthew 15:8-9) And as a matter of fact in Revelation 2:15 Jesus told the compromising church of Pergamos that He hated the doctrine of the Nicolatians that they were allowing to be taught.
So according to Jesus the Son of God, the Holy Spirit of God, and John and Paul the apostles of God, does our doctrine matter? Can our doctrine make a difference in our relationship with God? The answer is a resounding YES.
But before I finish I must ask, can we know and teach “sound doctrine?” Again the answer is a resounding YES. How does this happen? How can we do this? By listening to the Spirit of God through God’s word and God’s word alone found in the Bible and by teaching doctrines that do not contradict God’s written and revealed will for our lives (Matthew 7:24-29).
2 John 1:9 teaches the importance of staying within the boundaries of the New Testament, and that means we must study God’s word to know the sound doctrine that comes from God. And if you’re not convinced yet, read 2 Timothy 2:14-18 and then try to tell me with a straight face that the Bible doesn’t say our doctrine makes a difference. Think about it. EA
“How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 6:11-13)