Many Christians think of doctrine as irrelevant to their daily lives. They hope their pastor studies it, but they don’t think of it as having practical importance to the average Christian on a Thursday afternoon.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. You see, it is understanding and believing “the faith” that allows us to exercise daily faith.
When Jude wrote to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3), he addressed his epistle “to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” In other words, that’s every Christian.
So, if strong doctrine leads to strong faith, what should we know about developing strong doctrine?
Our Faith Rests on the Word of God
For a Christian, all doctrine comes from one final authority: the Word of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16).
God revealed His truth that he wanted us to have, recorded it in the inspired words of Scripture, and preserved it for all generations.
Jesus told His apostles that He would give them His truth and they were to pass it on to the early church. In Acts 2:42, we learn that after three thousand souls were saved on Pentecost, the believers “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship . . . .” The moorings of the early church and the rapid spread of the gospel was dependent upon sound doctrine to unify the believers in the local churches.
The early church delivered the gospel and the faith to their generation, who in turn passed it on to the next generation, and now we have these precious truths today. All of this transfer happened through the written Word of God. What God delivered to us through “holy men of God” who “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21) is all we need. It is final, complete, infallible, inerrant. It is absolute truth.
Our understanding of truth may grow, but the Word of God itself is, like God, immutable, infallible, and eternal.
Our Faith Is Kept by Sound Theology
The faith once delivered to the saints can only be maintained and grow when we live and practice sound doctrine. Paul told Titus in Titus 1:9, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
Without sound doctrine, would we know the truth about salvation, eternal life, and eternal security? Would our faith have any stability or confidence? Would we be able to adequately give godly counsel? Would we be able to witness to the unsaved with confidence? Would we be able to defend our faith? Would we not be deceived by false teachings? Would we know how to walk in the Spirit and live a holy life? The answer to all of these is “no.” To live and propagate our faith it must be built upon the sound teachings of the Scriptures.
Our Faith Should Lead to Daily Application
A.W. Tozer said, “There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Truth divorced from life is not truth in its biblical sense, but something else and something less.” Our doctrine should affect our behavior. James 1:22 admonishes us, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” A wealth of theological knowledge is practically meaningless unless we are regularly applying truth to our daily lives. Then, and only then, will our theology bring growth to our lives.