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The Bible identifies what are the essential doctrines to the Christian faith by consistently promoting them through the gospels, the book of Acts and especially the epistles that were written to the churches.
To define what we believe is to make clear what is historic/ biblical Christianity. What is presented in the Bible as necessary teachings that we must adhere to. Many do not understand Christianity is the fulfillment, the completion of Judaism. It is the goal of what was started with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Given to Moses and the prophets. The Bible for the most part is written through the context of Jewish writers and prophets. This is why Jesus and the apostles all refer back to the Old Testament as the basis for the new covenant, for prophecy being fulfilled and their teachings to the new entity, the church.
Scripture, alone is said to be "God-breathed" (Theopnuestos) by it alone believers are complete equipped for- every, good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is the Bibles position, not a promotion of a certain denomination. It is the Word that is to be our guidance and source for living a spiritual life. We are admonished to teach sound doctrine which encompasses the whole counsel of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation.
1Timothy 4:6 Paul writes for us to be “nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.”
To explain to others what is the Christian faith we are encouraged to, “Study to show thyself approved, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” (1 Timothy 2:15). The word “study” in this passage means “to make an effort, to be earnest, and diligent, with labor.” The phrase “rightly dividing” comes from the Greek word “orthotomeo,” which means “to make a straight cut, to dissect correctly, to rightly divide.” In other words, with no hesitation, make every effort to understand correctly what the Word of God actually says, so it can be used to benefit yourself and those you speak to. The Holy Spirit is given to us for understanding the Scripture, to lead us into all Truth and to give us the power to live it.
Christians believe there is only one God who is self- existent before anything was made.
Isa. 54:5 : “Holy One of Israel; he is called the God of the whole earth.”
I King 8:60: “that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other.”
God is triune in His nature is seen by the persons that are called God in the Bible. each having an eternal nature and the attributes and characteristics of God, but different positions (Mt.28:19).
Numerous doctrines are to be accepted for one to be called a Christian. The virgin conception, the incarnation; the Deity of Christ - Jesus is God in flesh. The sinfulness of man and the need of a savior. The new birth by the Gospel (death burial and physical resurrection of Jesus), the rapture/ resurrection, the second coming, eternal mediator and priesthood of Jesus, the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, judgment and rewards to the believers. These are essentials that are clarified all through the Scripture.
When people claim Christ but do not understand the uniqueness of His person, they eventually incorporate Christ as a teacher among the many other teachers, not as the way the truth the life-the only way to the Father. The way to God is accomplished not by keeping the commandments but by God's grace working by faith in the work Christ did by his crucifixion. Romans 3:24: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” We are saved by grace through faith alone, and kept by God’s grace as we walk in faith.
There is no Christian faith without “sound doctrine” being taught to the church (1 Tim. 1:10; Titus 1:9), “sound instruction” (1 Tim. 6:3), or the “pattern of sound teaching” (2 Tim. 1:13-14). It is this doctrine, or, more precisely, the truth it contains that expresses what was “taught” by Holy Spirit through the apostles and “delivered” to the Church. One cannot be a Christian and grow in their faith unless they are being taught the Bible correctly. The word is our light; we are like a new plant that stretches out toward the light for its life, it soon falls over if it has no root and does not grow sturdily upward. Various things come against us as we receive the word (Mt.13 the parable of the sower and the seed).
The basics need to be taught over and over until the believer is established. We start with foundational teachings, the milk. As we grow we are expected to digest the meat. There are basics we need to understand as our foundation before we can go on to the deeper or harder teachings. The cults often major on the hard teachings and then use these to make themselves unique. Things quickly become confusing as one has not built on the foundation correctly.
The New Testament exhorts people to have right doctrine more often than practicing right conduct, because if you believe and practice right doctrine, right conduct will naturally follow. Right doctrine means your Christianity will be practical and effective. People will see the change in your life and Christ will be glorified.
All through the book of Acts “Then the word of God spread” (Acts 6:7, 13:49); when they were scattered, they “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4); “the word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24). It was their concentration on the Word that brought an increase to the church. “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Notice that doctrine (teaching) came first. Those who believed the gospel were brought into the Church and “they continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine, having all things in common, and the Church increased daily.”
The epistles are what the church was taught to be discipled. “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (1 Timothy 4:6). Paul writes “Till I come give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13). “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).
We have a great need to understand what we believe so we can better explain it to others so they understand the differences. “These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine” (Isaiah 29:24).
We should be able to explain the overall teaching on salvation through the new covenant which Jesus completed when he died and resurrected. That salvation it is by grace not by works or by keeping the Old Testament commandments. This is what separates a true biblical church from what we classify as cults. All of Christianity begins with and centers upon the person of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. It was Paul who said the cross was everything to him.
In Rev. 3:7 Jesus commends the church for keeping both His “word and his name.”
We are to have the goal of trying to be true and accurate to God’s word and to continue to have his blessing on our ministry.
for other articles on this subject
What is a Christian and Not a Christian
Have you been Saved by the Gospel
The Bible Delivered to us Today