Is Doctrine Your Greatest Ally or Greatest Foe?

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1Ti 1:6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,
1Ti 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.


1 Timothy 1:5-7
If you remember my last post, then you will remember that Paul instructed Timothy (and us) that true doctrine should not cause you to doubt God and His Word but instead that it should firm up your foundation. For this reason Paul commanded Timothy to “instruct certain men to stop teaching a different doctrine.” Today I am examining the aim or goal of proper doctrine and the charge to correct it. Paul states “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Here we learn that the aim [(telos) the end or conclusion] of this charge is love (agapē) . Some would consider this charge to command some not to teach this “different doctrine” as unloving and unnecessary but here Paul makes it clear that correcting errant doctrine is the most loving thing to do. Why? Why is having the correct doctrine so important? Let’s first examine some reasons why doctrine is not important.

  1. Head knowledge
  2. To only apply to others and their situations
  3. To reign over others
  4. To belittle others
  5. To make one proud

This list of reasons why doctrine is not important helps understand the reasons why doctrine is important. Here are some reasons doctrine is important:

  1. Doctrine helps us understand God and enhances our worship
  2. Doctrine informs us how to live in light of who God is and what He has done
  3. Doctrine helps understand how to deal with life and its problems
  4. Doctrine should take the focus off of us and onto God
  5. Doctrine helps us understand how to interpret or understand our “feelings and emotions”
  6. Doctrine gives us comfort when tragedy befalls us
  7. Doctrine helps us not to be puffed up with false pride

What should be the spirit of correcting someone’s errant doctrine?

  1. Love from a pure heart – a heart that is clean and undefiled, no false underlying motives, motivated by glory of God and persons good
  2. Love from a good conscience – no moral compromise, a conscience informed by the Word of God
  3. Love from a sincere faith – a faith that is real or genuine, trying to live out the doctrine you hold or know

All in all, doctrine is important because it informs us how to live and behave in the corrupt fallen world. Doctrine is how we tap into the holy purposes of God and how we learn to trust Him for all our needs, failures, problems, and blessings. Doctrine helps us interpret life from a God honoring perspective. You could look at it like you would a microscope. Say the lens is all smudgy and dirty, do you think you would be able to accurately perceive the specimen in view? Of course not! Instead you would want a clean accurate lens that would help you properly perceive all the nuances and terrain of the specimen. What happens when you use doctrine incorrectly or have a false view of doctrine? Verse 6-7 fill us in:

  1. You swerve from the three part love described above
  2. You wander away
  3. You descend into vain discussion
  4. You desire to be a teacher but don’t understand the things you teach
  5. You make confident assertions without knowing what you are saying

Doctrine is practical, useful, and necessary for all believers. But it must be used properly, and if wrongly defined, used improperly, in an uninformed way it can do much damage.

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