All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
If you’ve ever had a sweater with a loose thread, you’ve probably noticed something. Some threads are no problem. You pull on them till they lock up, then you snip them off.
No big deal.
But other loose threads aren’t so easy. If you pull on them, the whole sweater comes unravelled.
It’s the same way with basic teachings in the Bible. Some of them won’t cause huge issues if we don’t get them right. But there are other teachings in the Bible that are so important, if we get them wrong, the whole message of Christ comes unravelled.
In this book, I want to introduce you to those most important teachings of the Bible. I want to help you know what you believe, and why you believe it.
To do that, let’s nail down some terms.
The word doctrine simply means teaching. Doctrine especially refers to biblical teachings that have a technical term attached to them, like the doctrine of justification, or the doctrine of propitiation. We met both of those doctrines in The Cross, book 3.2 in the Grace Pathway Series.
I love doctrine! Doctrine is God’s gift to us. It is a gift that makes truth clear, and organized, and consistent. Doctrine also lets us think deep thoughts about God, his world, and our lives. It is how we grow mature in our understanding, and in our whole lives. And it is how we organize the Bible’s teaching, topic by topic.
The more you know doctrine, and doctrinal terms, the more you can read any part of your Bible with confidence and understanding.
Another helpful term is the term cardinal. No, not the bird, and no, not the religious leaders of Catholicism.
Cardinal means “of chief importance.” Some doctrines are cardinal doctrines and some doctrines are not. The cardinal doctrines are the ones that unravel the whole sweater if you get them wrong.
In this book, I want to introduce you to the cardinal doctrines. Consider these the core of our faith.
They are the basics of everything we believe as Christians.
The cardinal doctrines are the heart of the heart of what we believe and of who we are.
Everything we believe and everything we teach has to come from Scripture. More than that, it has to come from the clear and abundant teaching of Scripture. You can’t pick out obscure Bible verses and put together doctrines from them.
When God reveals his heart on a topic, he makes it super-clear. He weaves his most important truths throughout many places in Scripture. That way, we can’t miss his message.
Truth Fits With Truth
One last thing before we get into the basics….