What is  doctrine?

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 (Ephesians 4:14, KJV)

What is doctrine showing a professor lecturing

Doctrine significantly influences Christian behavior and, consequently, our earthly experience. We’ll delve into what doctrine is and why it’s so crucial.

In Ephesians 4:14, the Apostle Paul describes doctrine as a powerful current of air that can sweep Christians off their faith path. The term “doctrine” originates from the Greek word ‘didaskalia,’ closely related to ‘didactic,’ meaning teaching. Simply put, doctrine is the content of teaching. It involves at least three elements: truth, interpretation, and dissemination. For doctrine to exist, there must be a teacher and a learner.

This nuanced nature of doctrine differentiates it from truth. While truth is unchanging, doctrines can deviate from the truth if interpreted and taught incorrectly. Doctrine often reflects what a community accepts as truth, making it vulnerable to manipulation for personal or group interests.

This power of doctrine to shape belief and behavior underscores its double-edged nature. People often accept doctrines as truth from God, letting down their guard. We see examples of this in the Bible, where the Pharisees formulated self-serving doctrines (Matt. 15:9). The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church also developed specific doctrines during the Dark Ages. Nowadays, denominations are vivid examples of the impact and existence of doctrines.

The alignment of one’s doctrine with the truth is a blessing. However, deviation from the truth can be dangerous. As Paul emphasizes in Ephesians 4:12-14, the antidote to destructive doctrines is Christians’ growth and maturity in the accurate knowledge of God.

Meditate

What sets doctrine apart from truth, as discussed above?

Apply the Word

Critically examine every teaching you encounter, no matter the source. It’s detrimental to condition Christians to accept teachings without scrutiny. Be like the Bereans who, after listening to Paul, examined the Scriptures to verify the accuracy of his teachings( Acts 17:11).

Pray

Ask the Father to shield His Church from the destructive winds of false doctrines.

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