Jared Smith's Bible Doctrine

28 Bible Doctrine – A Devotional Review

A transcript of the video teaching

I’d like to welcome you back to another session of studies in the Word of God. As you know, these studies are designed to serve as Signposts for your Journey through the Bible. For today’s study, I would like to look at the subject of Bible Doctrine. 

Around this time last year, I put on hold these studies, but it was strategically planned. I had just completed the twenty-seventh study, bringing to an end what could be considered the preface to the series. A preface, of course, is an introduction to the introduction. It sets the tone for the work that follows, and that’s precisely what I have done with this first set of studies.

Let us take a few minutes to review the topics covered. 

Our first study answered the question, “What Is A Framework Of Doctrine?”, where I attempted to show the importance of formulating a systematic overview of the various branches of theology, or Bible teachings. 

Our second study answered the question, “What Do These Labels “Arminianism”And “Calvinism” Represent?”, where I provided a basic definition for these theological nicknames. 

Our third study answered the question, “Do These Teachings Originate With Arminius And Calvin?”, where I traced Arminianism and Calvinism to the garden of Eden, showing that Arminianism is rooted in free will humanism, whereas Calvinism is rooted in free grace salvation. 

Our fourth study answered the question, “Do These Teachings Identify A True Christian?”, where I emphasized the significance of regeneration and the spiritual growth of those who are born again.

Our fifth study answered the question, “What Is The Spectrum Of Sovereign Grace?”, where I provided a gradient scale charting various degrees of understanding, from High-Arminianism to High-Calvinism.

Our sixth study answered the question, “Are There Adaptations Of Arminianism And Calvinism?”, where I explained the differences between the various shades of understanding ranging from High-Arminianism and High-Calvinism.

Our seventh study answered the question, “What Is Hyper-Calvinism?”, where I responded to many of the false charges brought against this set of teachings. 

Our eighth study answered the question, “What Are The Strict And Particular Baptists?”, where I explained the meaning of the labels “Strict” and “Particular”.

Our ninth study answered the question, “Who Are The Strict And Particular Baptists?”, where I introduced several men and women throughout the 18th and 19th centuries who belonged to this group of churches. 

Our tenth study answered the question, “Do The Strict And Particular Baptists Have A Framework Of Doctrine?”, where I gave some practical guidance on how to read and study the works of those belonging to this group. 

Our eleventh study answered the question, “Have Arminians Diagramed Their Framework Of Doctrine?”, where I presented several examples on how ‘free will humanists’ have attempted to illustrate their teachings. 

Our twelfth study answered the question, “Have Calvinists Diagramed Their Framework Of Doctrine?”, where I presented a couple of examples on how ‘free grace salvationists’ have attempted to illustrate their teachings. 

Our thirteenth study answered the question, “Have I Diagramed My Framework Of Doctrine?”, where I challenged the believer to diagram his/her own understanding of Bible teachings—each person is responsible to know what he/she believes and why he/she believes it.

Our fourteenth study answered the question, “How Did Timothy Formulate His Framework Of Doctrine?”, where I explained how he approached working out a systematic theology. 

Our fifteenth study answered the question, “What Is The Framework Of Sovereign Grace?”, where I presented my diagram of God’s masterplan for the ages.

Our sixteenth study answered the question, “Can You Expand On The Analogy Of The Potter And The Clay?”, where I explained the process, based on Paul’s teachings in Romans 9, on how the TriUne Jehovah administers grace to the members of the human race.

Our seventeenth study answered the question, “How Does Paul’s Teaching In Romans 9 Fit Within The Letter To The Romans As A Whole?”, where I provided a structural overview for Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Our eighteenth study answered the question, “How Does Paul’s Teaching In Romans 9 Align With God The Father’s Role In Salvation?”, where I explained the doctrine of Unconditional Election as it is set forth by Paul in Romans 8:28-11:36. 

Our nineteenth study answered the question, “How Does Paul’s Analogy Of A Potter And The Clay Fit Within The Context Of Romans 9 As A Whole?”, where I provided a structural overview of the chapter as a whole, showing how the Potter analogy fits within the immediate context of the passage. 

Our twentieth study answered the question, “What Does Lapsarianism Mean?”, where I explained the issues surrounding the logical order of God’s decree according to electing love. 

Our twenty-first study answered the question, “Why Is Supralapsarianism The Correct View?”, where I put forward several reasons God the Father must have elected and reprobated members of the human race before viewing them in sin.

Our twenty-second study answered the question, “Why Is Supralapsarianism An Important Issue?”, where I explained the ramifications of discarding the matter, as many are prone to do. 

Our twenty-third study answered the question, “How Are The Doctrines Of Grace Structured?”, where I provided a structural arrangement for the Five Points of Calvinism. 

Our twenty-fourth study answered the question, “How Do The Five Points Of Calvinism Align With The Framework Of Sovereign Grace?”, where I overlaid onto the Framework of Sovereign Grace each of the Five Points of Calvinism. 

Our twenty-fifth study answered the question, “How Can The Five Points Of Calvinism Be Used As A Tool For Evangelism And Discipleship?”, where I explained what the terms evangelism and discipleship mean, and gave guidance on how the Five Points of Calvinism may serve as a teaching tool for both. 

Our twenty-sixth study answered the question, “Are There Disadvantages Using The Five Points Of Calvinism As A Tool For Evangelism And Discipleship?”, where I pointed out some of the set backs if the Five Points of Calvinism are made the primary teaching tool for evangelism and discipleship.

Our twenty-seventh study answered the question, “How Can The Framework Of Sovereign Grace Be Used As A Tool For Discipleship And Evangelism?”, where I made a case for the Framework of Sovereign Grace serving as the better teaching tool for evangelism and discipleship. 

Now, this is, as I have said, the preface to my series of studies on Bible Doctrine. I might point out, that if the length of the preface is any measure for the length of the entire series, then you would be right to conclude we will likely be at these studies for quite a while. This doesn’t bother me in the least, for I am happy to bring a systematic overview of Bible doctrine no matter how many studies are required. And, I can only suppose that if you are following these teachings, then the length of the series also doesn’t bother you. Of course, if it does, then you have the option stop watching. 

Alright, well, with the time we have remaining, I would like to bring an exhortation from the Word of God. I am reading from the book of Proverbs, chapter 4, verses 1 and 2:

“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.”

 The words were written by King Solomon, and they may be understood literally or figuratively. 

If understood figuratively, or spiritually, then God is the one speaking, exhorting His children to receive His instructions and apply themselves to the understanding of His teachings. While this is certainly a true statement, for God is our Father and we are His children, and He gives us instructions and we are to receive them and grow in our understanding of them, yet I cannot see how this can be the interpretation of the text. An application of the text, yes, and the application is true—but an interpretation, no. 

I say then, the passage should be understood literally. These are the words of King Solomon to his children—he is exhorting them to receive his instructions and to increase in their understanding. Now, Solomon may be addressing one of two groups:

First, he may be speaking to his biological children—those who were under his parental care. If so, then there is in this chapter an excellent example on how parents should exhort and admonish their children. In fact, Solomon has a great deal to say throughout the book of Proverbs about the responsibilities of parents towards their children. He points out in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” And you see, that is precisely what Solomon is doing in the fourth chapter of this book. If you look in your copy of God’s Word, then you will discover, verses 1-13 and verses 20-27, are exhortations addressed to Solomon’s children to receive his instructions and apply themselves unto wisdom; and then, sandwiched between these passages, in verses 14-19, he admonishes his children to abstain from bad company, explaining how evil communications corrupt good manners. If you are a parent, especially of younger children, then I believe you will benefit greatly from a study of this fourth chapter—it will serve to make you better parents, if you follow Solomon’s example. But you know, it seems to me, parents today, generally speaking, expect their children to know these things by default, seldom if ever instructing them in an active way as done by Solomon in this fourth chapter. But we read in Proverbs 29:15, “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” The reason for this is because the child is conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity, and if left to his own nature, to his own devices, without the active discipline and instructions of his parents, he will grow up in accordance with his sinfully corrupt nature, bringing shame to himself and his parents. An untrained child will become an untamed adult. And so, if we understand these verses literally, they may refer to Solomon’s instructions to his biological children. 

Second, he may be speaking to those who came to him for counsel—those who seek his pastoral care; they weren’t his biological children, but they were his ‘children’ in the sense that they reverenced him as a father, seeking his counsel and guidance. Now, when I say these people were seeking Solomon’s pastoral care, I’m not talking about the office of Pastor within the context of a church, but rather, the work of a counselor who seeks to guide and nourish those who come to him for help. Solomon, in this respect, exercised a pastoral ministry. And rightly so, for the Lord richly blessed him with a measure of wisdom that far exceeded all others. We read in 1 Kings 4:29-34 that “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men…And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” You see, not only did the people of his own kingdom seek him out for wisdom, but monarchs and princes of other nations came to him for counsel, and all who came to him never returned disappointed. You see, in such cases, Solomon assumed the role of a mentor, teacher and guide, and those who came to him for help were his mentees, students and followers. It is therefore not improper that he calls them his ‘children’, and refers to himself as their ‘father’—he is their ‘father teacher’, and they are his ‘children students’. And my dear friends, each of us will be given by God both roles to fill throughout the course of our lives—we will be ‘children’ to those men and women we reverence and come to for godly counsel and guidance; and we will at the same time be ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ to those younger persons who reverence us and come to us for godly counsel and guidance. What a privilege to fill both roles simultaneously throughout our pilgrimage in this world!

Now, I want to mention that this parental-styled relationship between teacher and student is not unique to this chapter in Proverbs. You may remember the Apostle Paul, when writing his first letter to the church in Corinth, referred to himself as the spiritual father of the believers in that place. The purpose of his letter was to rebuke them for violating a number of gospel precepts, and therefore being in need of corrective disciple, he spoke to them as a father to his children—1 Corinthians 4:14-16: ”I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” That is, you may sit under the gospel ministry of other great Bible teachers, for they too are instructors in Christ and you may learn from them, but I am the one who first preached the gospel to you, and in this capacity, I am like your spiritual father, and you my spiritual children. “Wherefore I beseech you,” writes Paul, “Be ye followers of me.” Even as children are to follow the good example and wise instructions of their father, so those who had been brought to Christ by Paul were to follow him in his doctrine and practice. 

Paul speaks in similar terms when writing his first letter to the churches of Thessalonica. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7,8, he speaks of himself as a nurse, or a mother, exercising a motherly care over them—”But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” And in verses 11,12, he speaks of himself as a father, training up his spiritual children in the way they should go—“As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”

And so, Solomon says to those who came under his pastoral care, I am your father-teacher, your father-mentor, your father-guide; you are my children-students, my children-mentees, my children-followers. 

Solomon then goes on in verse 2—“For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.” 

The word doctrine means teachings, instructions, lessons—every teacher must have something to teach, and that something is called doctrine. Solomon says his doctrine is good—his teachings are true, excellent, rich, valuable, precious and therefore pleasant. That is the meaning of this Hebrew term translated ‘good’. How did Solomon know his teachings are good? Well, he knew it because he learned it from the revelation of God. We know he was acquainted with the general revelation of God, for he speaks of it at length in the book of Ecclesiastes and throughout the book of Proverbs. Of course, God’s general revelation is that which He is pleased to make known about Himself through the creation of the world, and His providential orderings throughout history and the law He has inscribed upon the human soul. Solomon was well acquainted with all of this. But he was also a student of the special revelation of God, which is none other than the holy Scriptures. Solomon knew the books of Moses and the other writings that had been added to this revelation—he studied the Scriptures, which made him wise unto salvation through Christ. And in fact, it was his understanding of the holy Scriptures and saving grace which enabled him to properly interpret God’s general revelation through nature, and providence and the witness of his conscience. You see, my dear friends, Solomon knew his doctrine was good because he knew the doctrine—he had the root of the matter in his heart; he had a personal knowledge of it, he nurtured a personal understanding of it and he exercised a personal wisdom in it. He knew his doctrine was good because it established his thoughts and nurtured his heart. 

And such is the experience for every sinner who has been born again! When God united my soul with Christ, He imparted to my mind and heart a spiritual knowledge and understanding of the glories of Christ in the gospel. The Person and work of Christ suddenly became good news of glad tidings to my soul—I discovered myself to be the chief of sinners, even at a young age, but also discovered the Lord Jesus Christ to be the chief Savior, and it was then the doctrine of God was not only understood, but it became to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart! God’s doctrine—Christ’s doctrine—is good doctrine. 

Have you had that experience, my dear friends? Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit that you are one of His redeemed vessels of grace? Do you know your sins forgiven and the righteousness of Christ clothing you as a royal robe? Does the life of Christ flow into your soul by virtue of a union with Him—can you say you have been quickened by the Holy Spirit; made alive unto God through the Lord Jesus Christ? If you have been quickened, then you know it my friend! If you have been made alive unto God through Christ, then you don’t need me or anyone else to affirm that to you—the Spirit of God affirms it to your heart without my encouragements or commendation. Do you know this experience I am describing? Do you know the Lord God through the glorious gospel of Christ? 

In Deuteronomy 32:2-4, Moses spake the words of this song to the congregation of Israel—“My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

Has the doctrine of Christ dropped as rain to your soul? Has it distilled as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, as the showers upon the grass? Ah, if it has there can be no doubt, my dear friends. You cannot mistake the workings of the Holy Spirit upon your soul, applying the redeeming work of Christ to your heart and mind, for anything else. That is why you rejoice when the name of Jehovah is published; that is why your heart ascribes all glory to God, for you know He is your Rock, and His work is perfect, and all His ways are righteous; you know He is the God of truth and without iniquity, freely justifying your soul through the redeeming work of Christ, whereby He remains now and forever just and righteous in all His ways. 

Paul wrote on this matter in Romans 6:17: ”But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”

The servants of sin we were prior to the new birth, but now that we have been born again, the Spirit of God works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, whereby we are enabled to obey from the heart that form of doctrine—that gospel of Christ—which was delivered to us. Can you say that of yourself, my friends?

Luke tells us that three thousand sinners were born again after they heard the gospel preached by Peter—Acts 2:42: ”And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

The apostle’s doctrine was Christ’s doctrine, for as ambassadors of Christ, they preached only that message given to them by Him. And you see, these regenerate sinners continued in Christ’s doctrine steadfastly. Can you say that of yourself, my friend? Having been born again, are you continuing in the doctrine of Christ? 

Paul told the church in Ephesus one of the reasons God gives to His church under-shepherds is that they might build up regenerate sinners in their most holy faith, Ephesians 4:14: ”That [they] 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 [false teachers] lie in wait to deceive.” 

Henceforth, Paul instructed Timothy, a young pastor that had come under Paul’s mentorship—1 Timothy 4:13-16: ”Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” Doctrine, my dear brethren. Good doctrine, as Solomon describes it. The doctrine of Christ. Give attendance to it, says Paul. Take heed to it, continue in it. 

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul told him that—2 Timothy 3:16,17: ”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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Henceforth, says Paul,—2 Timothy 4:1-4: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

And so, I say to you, my dear brethren, I have a commission from the Lord, even as Timothy was given a commission, to preach the word; to reprove, rebuke and exhort with all doctrine. Henceforth, “hear, ye children, the instruction of a father-teacher, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, the doctrine of Christ,” and that is the purpose I am bringing to you this series on Bible doctrine. “Forsake ye not my law”. This word law means ‘standard’—do not forsake this standard of teaching, the doctrine of Christ. Here is the boundary of truth; here is the measure of righteousness; here is the framework of doctrine. Don’t forsake it; don’t leave it; don’t depart from its borders; don’t abandon it for another standard; don’t lose your grip of it through negligence; don’t let others pry it from your hand! 

Ah, my dear friends, I pray the Lord will continue to make these studies on Bible Doctrine profitable to your soul, increasing your knowledge in the doctrine of Christ, while simultaneously strengthening your understanding that in all things you might apply your heart unto wisdom—a wisdom unto salvation, which price is far above rubies and gold. Well, I leave it here with you. Until we meet again for our next study, may you continue to know the blessings of the Lord!