Why Study Bible Doctrine
September 9th 2017
The Bible is God’s Word. I believe the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of the living God. Yes, you can label me a “fundamentalist” if that makes you happy.
1 Timothy 3:15 provides us the purpose for the Bible:
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
[2 Tim 3:15]
As we read further within this passage in 2 Timothy 3, we learn more about the Bible and why it was given to us:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
[2 Tim 3:16-17]
There are four parts found within these two verses - teaching, reproof, correction, and training:
- Teaching: the Bible is truth and therefore the foundation for all teaching in the Church.
- Reproof: the Bible confronts sin and exposes everything in our lives which does not please God.
- Correction: the Bible is the only source of correction against false teaching and for exposing sin.
- Training: the result of teaching, reproof, and correction is to make you more mature and more effective in serving the Lord.
God commands us to study Bible Doctrine and to be mature in Christ:
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; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
The entire Church is commanded to no longer be like children, but to “grow up” into Christlikeness. It is therefore imperative that pastors and teachers lead the way, shepherding the flock. Pastors, elders, and teachers fail their people if they allow them to be content and to remain as spiritual infants.
There are three stages in studying Bible Doctrine:
- Learn the truth and know what the Bible says.
- Be convinced of that truth and allow it to penetrate your heart and to change your thinking.
- Continue in the truth and be “steadfast.”
How is one to study Bible doctrine? The answer is that they must be systematic. Systematic theology is the process of collecting and summarizing everything the Bible teaches on each doctrine. You must be certain that the conclusions you come to in studying theology are consistent with what the Bible teaches. That means that you must be aware of the context of each passage you refer to. The meaning of a passage never changes and cannot be two different things relating to different doctrines. The overall teaching of Scripture must be considered, not just individual passages isolated from the rest of the Bible.
You must also be Biblical when you study Bible doctrine:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
[2 Tim 2:15]
You must always ask, “What does the Bible teach?” You must always be willing to test your own ideas, your own prejudices, and your theological beliefs by the actual teaching of the Bible. God will never ask you if you were a Calvinist or an Arminian, but He will judge whether or not you handled His Word accurately.
You must also be active and involved when you study Bible doctrine:
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.
Learning Bible doctrine is not merely intellectual. You must be involved with the actual words of the Bible during your studies. You must think through what it means by what it says. Learning the great truths of the Bible requires hard work, but it is the most rewarding work you can do when it leads to you learn(ing) it; when you are convinced of it; and when you continue in it. Be like the believers at Berea, who did not believe only because of what they heard – they investigated for themselves.
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
[2 Tim 3:14 NASB]
h/t Pastor Jim Harris and his teachings on Hermeneutics