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Way of Life Literature


Publisher of Bible Study Materials

The Importance of Bible Doctrine
April 8, 2009
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The following is excerpted from the Advanced Bible Studies Series course “Give Attendance to Doctrine,” which is available from Way of Life Literature.

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The word “doctrine” simply means teaching. Bible doctrine, therefore, refers to the teaching of the Scriptures. Since the days of the apostles, Bible-believing people have had an emphasis upon sound doctrine, but today doctrine is often downplayed in favor of ecumenical unity. The following statement by popular singer Pat Boone, a charismatic, typifies the attitude that is common among ecumenists: “Doctrine divides, experience unites. We don’t all have our doctrine all completely correct, but God doesn’t judge us on our understanding of doctrine.” (August 17, 2001).


According to the Word of God, sound doctrine is extremely important.

1. The two Greek words translated “doctrine” in the King James Bible,
didaskalia and didache, are also translated “teacheth” (Ro. 12:7) and “learning” (Ro. 15:4). These Greek words are used more than 140 times in the New Testament, which shows how important doctrine is before God.

2. Doctrine and its companion terms are referred to 59 times in 1 and 2 Timothy alone.

3. “The truth” is referred to 10 times in 2 and 3 John alone. The apostle John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 Jn. 4).

4. 1 Timothy 1:3 says that no false doctrine is to be allowed, which is a very narrow view of doctrinal purity.


“truth” (1 Ti. 2:4)
“the faith” (1 Ti. 3:9; 2 Ti. 3:8; Tit. 1:13)
“wholesome words” (1 Ti. 6:3)
“sound words” (2 Ti. 1:13).


In the previous quote by singer Pat Boone, we are told that, “We don’t all have our doctrine all completely correct, but God doesn’t judge us on our understanding of doctrine.” The Lord Jesus Christ, though, said that a believer can know sound doctrine.

We know sound doctrine through obedience (Jn. 7:17). If a man is open to the truth and willing to obey God, the Lord will give him wisdom so that he can discern sound doctrine from false. In Proverbs 1:23 God says, “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” God has promised to make His truth known to those who repent and submit to Him.

We know sound doctrine through continuing in God’s Word (Jn. 8:31-32). In 2 Timothy 2:15 the believer is commanded to rightly divide the Word. This refers to interpreting it properly and knowing its doctrine correctly. Would God require a Christian to rightly divide the Word of truth if He did not intend to give him the ability to do that? This verse indicates that God will hold the Christian accountable for this task, because the one who rightly divides the Word of truth is approved. It is implied that the one who does not rightly divide the truth is disapproved. This means that Pat Boone and other ecumenists are wrong when they say that God does not hold the believer accountable to know sound doctrine.

We know sound doctrine through the Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:20-21 says, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” Verse 27 says further, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” Thus the Scriptures plainly state that the believer has the Holy Spirit to teach him and he can know the truth.

If the ecumenical philosophy is correct and a believer cannot be certain of sound doctrine, the commandments and promises of God make no sense.


- We are to continue in the apostles’ doctrine (Ac. 2:42).
- The apostles filled Jerusalem with doctrine (Ac. 5:28).
- We are saved by believing the right doctrine (Ro. 6:17; 1 Jn. 5:20; 2 Jn. 9).
- We are to separate from those who teach false doctrine (Ro. 16:17).
- We must be careful of winds of false doctrine (Ep. 4:14).
- No false doctrine is to be allowed (1 Ti. 1:3).
- The preacher is to give himself to doctrine (1 Ti. 4:13).
- The preacher is to take heed to doctrine (1 Ti. 4:16).
- Preachers who labor in doctrine are to be rewarded (1 Ti. 5:17).
- Sound doctrine is to be adorned with godly living (1 Ti. 6:1,3; Tit. 2:1).
- The Bible is given for doctrine (2 Ti. 3:16).
- The Bible is to be preached with doctrine (2 Ti. 4:2).
- The last days is characterized by a turning from sound doctrine (2 Ti. 4:3).
- The preacher must be able to use doctrine to protect the church (Tit. 1:9).
- Our doctrine is to be uncorrupt (Tit. 2:10).
- We abide in Christ by sound doctrine (1 Jn. 2:24-27).
- True Christian love is grounded in truth or sound Bible doctrine (2 Jn. 1; 3 Jn. 1).
- Those who abide not in sound doctrine are not of God and are not be to received (2 Jn. 9-10).

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