The Importance of Proper Doctrine

The term doctrine has at times for me seemed like a negative word. I grew up in a church culture that was very much about feelings and experiences. Not to say that I didn’t hear solid teaching because I did. But it often seemed to come second after all that. I guess I often thought that having an intellectual faith somehow paled in comparison to a dramatic experiential faith. This has contributed to my cynicism toward much of the modern church.

But lately I’ve been coming to understand the importance of proper doctrine and understanding truth. I would say I have always had an affinity for this since I truly started following Christ at the age of 16. But the last few years has had me focusing on a smaller number of things – namely the centrality of Christ and church practice. Obviously those aren’t bad things or even small things. They’re actually very good things. I would say they are crucial. Christ is in fact central to all of scripture. All scripture, Old and New Testament both, points to Him. But it’s easy to get caught up in theory and to allow those beliefs to be separated from the way we live. 

Another big thing for me in the last few years has been unity in the body of Christ. Understanding that it is Christ alone who is our ground for fellowship and not our beliefs about speaking in tongues, eschatology, politics, and all those other pleasant topics in the Christian world. Again, important stuff. But I think what I have done is allowed that to keep me from speaking absolute truth and teaching proper doctrine that lines up with scripture.

Paul writes to Titus saying in Titus 2:1:

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Paul goes on to explain what type of living and values (or character) stems from proper doctrine.

We live the way we live because we believe the way we believe.

I can’t remember who to attribute that quote to. But someone well-known said it and it’s absolutely true. That is a condensed explanation of why proper doctrine is so important. Our study and knowledge of God leads to influence how we think about God and how we live. Now, we can’t come to understanding unless the Holy Spirit reveals it. But we’re promised that if we seek God we will find Him. If we ask it will be given and if we knock the door will be open to us. It’s important that we study, seek, & discuss the Word of God so that we can come to understanding. If you seek Him you will find Him.

This is the first post in what will probably become a series on proper doctrine and the importance of what we believe as Christians. Please understand that this is just me writing out my thoughts in hopes of getting some input and feedback and to also better understand what’s in my mind.

What are your thoughts on proper doctrine? Share in the comments below. 

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  1. says

    I understand where you’re coming from and have certainly heard this before from some Christians I’m close to and I would be lying if I said the thought hasn’t tugged on my mind before. At least for the believers I know, a clarification is helpful: they don’t mean doctrine is the bad guy. They mean that doctrine isn’t an end in itself, but when it becomes that or a club to bludgeon others with differing minor views, then and only then is it harmful. Also, I think it’s helpful to understand that SOUND doctrine in Greek literally means “healthy.” This is important to me because it elucidates the ultimate importance of doctrine, which ties into God’s greater purpose, and that is to lead us to experience the divine life. Truth and life are deeply related.

    • says

      I completely agree! Thanks, Kyle. I tried getting that across too, although this post was just a quick outlet to organize some thoughts. The biggest point or me is that we keep an intelligent side to our life in Christ and not merely an emotional one. That definitely means being open to varying thoughts and unveilings of truth. Our only ground for fellowship with one another is and will always be Christ alone. Our continued knowledge and study of Him will lead to a greater love and commitment to Him. Doing that in community leads to a greater love and commitment to Him and His church. I hope you had a great Christmas, man!

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  3. Nancy Northrup says

    I agree we need to know proper doctrine. We need to know what we believe and be able to give an account of what we believe when asked. I do have a “but” though. I grew up in the Brethren (closed), and “sound doctrine” seemed to replace Christ as the focus of our Christian life. Also, Jesus prayed in John 17 that we would be one, even as He and the Father were one, and yet I saw that doctrines, including those that weren’t related to the main items of the faith, were used to “rightly divide” the Body of Christ. So my feeling is that we need to know the essential truth of the faith, but also be diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit with other believers who may differ on non-essential matters.

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