The use of the word doctrine may intimidate those who do not realize the vital role it plays in the understanding of biblical truths. Yet, for anyone desiring to live a holy and practical Christian life, it is essential to understand the purpose and function of doctrine. Doctrine is simply a body of teaching about any particular Bible subject. Everyone holds to one form of doctrine or another. This even includes those who despise God’s words and His ways.
It is very important for Christians to keep their doctrine pure because doctrine affects a believer’s practice. Without sound doctrine, there will not be sound practice. If a person’s doctrine is false, so goes his practice. A classic example of a man whose faulty doctrine messed up his practice is Simon Peter. He was looking for an earthly kingdom, and he was expecting it to be imminent. The Lord Jesus Christ told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). This proclamation followed Simon Peter’s sword wielding, when he cut off a man’s ear in an effort to keep the Lord Jesus from being delivered into His enemies’ hands (John 18:10). Peter’s doctrine (assuming the immediacy of the kingdom) affected his practice (fighting for the kingdom). This was in direct contradiction to sound doctrine and practice.
Every sincere Bible student and teacher recognizes the importance of sound Bible doctrines. However, there is considerable debate as to the primary doctrine—the one doctrine deemed supreme to all others. Many have created lists and ranked these doctrines in order of importance. These lists vary greatly in number and content.
Though the debate rages, there should be little or no doubt as to the identity of the most crucial doctrine of the Christian faith. Surprising to many people, the most crucial doctrine is not the Doctrine of God (Theology), the Doctrine of Christ (Christology), or the Doctrine of Salvation (Soteriology). The most important doctrine must be the foundational doctrine upon which all other doctrines are built. Therefore, it can only be one doctrine, and that doctrine is Bibliology—the Doctrine of the Bible.
It is impossible to have a sound viewpoint of who God is or what He does apart from a sound viewpoint of His words. It is foolish to contend for the deity of Christ while denying the authority of His words. It is irresponsible to contend for a plan of salvation that is found in a fallible book. There may be some things in herein that are difficult to understand or that will cause some to disagree. But keep in mind that no human author is the authority. Rather, it is the Author of the Bible that is both the supreme and final authority. If anyone disagrees with something herein, “[s]earch the scriptures” and let the scriptures speak for themselves.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39)
Every Christian should seek to be like the noble Bereans. The Bible says of these believers, who searched the scriptures daily, that they were nobler than their contemporary Christian counterparts in Thessalonica.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)