The Need for Doctrine
Doctrinal knowledge supplies the need for an authoritative and systematic statement of truth. John 17:17
Authoritative statements are important so that we may be able to convince the gainsayers(Titus 1:9). Doctrinal knowledge also helps the Believer understand at least three things: 1) Who we are (sinners/saints/loved/judged, etc.), 2) where we came from (dust, image of God, etc.) and 3) where we are headed (heaven, hell, blessings, curses, etc.).
Correct doctrinal knowledge is essential to salvation.
I Timothy 4:16—Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee .
Every experience we enjoy with God is dependent on faith. (Faith is not a shot in the dark, but is securely founded on the WORD OF GOD. Romans 10:17) Paul asks a significant question that establishes our point in verse 14 of Romans 10, “how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?”CORRECT doctrinal knowledge is essential, because it is not sufficient to just believe in something, but we must possess that which is TRUTH. God does not respond to hope-so's, or I've been told that…, but God does respond to faith in His Word.
EXAMPLE: Acts 17:22-34. The people of Athens had erected an altar with the inscription “To the Unknown God.” Paul declared on Mars Hill that this Unknown God whom they ignorantly worshipped was the God who made Heaven and earth. The people of Athens had not known SALVATION through ignorant worship, but those that came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and him crucified and resurrected from the dead did absolutely experience salvation! I Timothy 4:16 infers that the if we do not take heed unto the doctrine than we will be lost.
Doctrinal knowledge is essential to the full development of Christian character, and contributes to our instruction in righteousness. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17
2 Timothy 3:17 —That the man of God may be perfect, …
Perfect, that is, full development . There is progressive development in the spiritual life as there is in the physical life. There are stages of perfection. Is a baby perfect? As a baby, yes! But growth must take place or we would say something is wrong. I Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby :”
It is more important to live right than to know doctrine, but you will not live right without right Christian doctrine. Correctness of opinion is second to correctness of living, but correctness of opinion is a necessity to living right. (Gal. 2:17; Titus 1:16; I Peter 1:22; Eph. 2:5,8-10; Phil. 2:12,13; Heb. 12:14; I Peter 1:16)
Can you truly love Jesus without knowledge of God’s Word? An understanding of doctrine is essential to growth in Christian character. It has been well said that “Christian character is a fruit that grows only on the tree of Christian doctrine.” Correct doctrine is to a Christian what a man’s backbone is to his body. He does not wear it on his chest, but without it he would be a hump-backed or jellyfish Christian. A lasting relationship with Christ requires a commitment to truth. We need a strong backbone—Doctrine.
Jesus is our foremost example and He had Doctrine :
Matthew 7:28,29—…the people were astonished at his doctrine : 29 For he taught them as one having authority , and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:22; Luke 4:32; John 7:16)
Why is doctrine so important?
Eph 4:14—That we henceforth be no more children , tossed to and fro , and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men , and cunning craftiness , whereby they lie in wait to deceive ;
We need sound doctrine and conviction for those truths. We need to what we believe and why we believe it. An ignorant Christian does not scare the devil. Many people compromise and fall into error because not only do they lack doctrine, but they lack conviction for the truths they do know. Most Christians are filled with preferences instead of convictions towards doctrinal truth. Preferences can be changed with no apparent loss, but convictions cannot be changed without great loss.
CONVICTION: You SEE it as God's Word, BELIEVE it to be truth, and LIVE by it (and possibly die for it!). UNNEGOTIABLE
PREFERENCE: You've HEARD about it, been TOLD or even TAUGHT, but don't believe in the absoluteness and authority of the doctrine. NEGOTIABLE (Only your opinion.)
Clear cut beliefs make for clear cut convictions.
BEWARE OF FALSE DOCTRINE
I Timothy 4:1—Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ;
Always follow the Word. We need to approach every problem with the question, “What saith the Scripture?” (Romans 4:3). If the whole world would unite in an agreement contrary to the Word of God, then the whole world is absolutely wrong! Keep it simple: Stick to the Word. How do we know that which is truth from that which is false? (John 8:31,32) Continue in His Word .
Because of the ugly fact that not all preaching is truth (Matthew 16:12), every Christian must thoroughly involve themselves with the Word of God. Truth is greatly needed! (Colossians 2:8; Hebrews 13:9) There is a need to study the Word of God.
2 Timothy 2:15—Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth .
The Bible student must be earnest, diligent, and careful. In our study of the Word of God, we compare Scripture with Scripture for no prophecy of the Scripture is of private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20). So much error happens because men grab a Scripture out of context and just run with it. Interpret Scripture by Scripture.
EXAMPLE: What does being “born–again ” mean in John 3:3? Is Jesus meaning to enter the mother's womb a second time? No. The answer is not No just because of logic or reasoning, but because Jesus Himself qualifies the term in verses 6-8—born of water and of the Spirit…. See also: John 1:13; James 1:18; I Peter 1:23; Eph. 4:26.
In our study and search for truth it is imperative to remind ourselves to be wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil (Romans 6:19). We do not need a complete knowledge of the wrong, but we do need a complete understanding of that which is right.
Doctrinal knowledge comes in obedience to the will of God.
John 7:17—If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
We need to test the Word of God. Put God to the test and see if He will not be faithful. David said, “O taste and see that the Lord is good .” (Psalm 34:8) As we walk in the will of God we will experience and witness the truth and reality of the words Christ spoke. God does not just command us to believe an unopened book, but he opens the pages of Scripture to our understanding and invites us to experience every word. It is in this experience that a deeper knowledge of doctrine comes. Until then, all we have is hear-say .