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Two Major Concepts Concerning the Apostles’ Doctrine
The apostles’ doctrine builds a sure spiritual foundation in a Christian’s heart. These teachings are the “milk of the word” and are the perfect food to help us grow spiritually. In fact, we grow up as “calves of the stall,” fed with the milk of the word of God (Mal. 4: 2). This ensures that we will be ready to receive the more difficult truths to contemplate and believe. The seven general teachings that make up the apostles’ doctrine are absolutely necessary for followers of the King to grow and be strong in God.
For these teachings are the “principles of the doctrine of Christ,” the “first principles of the oracles of God” (Heb. 5: 12; 6: 1-2). And they are the only way to soldier on to full maturity in spiritual growth, which is perfection, the seventh doctrine.
The scriptures of truth are the place where we find His teachings: repentance from dead works, faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment, and on to perfection/maturity. The very first purpose of the Holy Scriptures is for doctrine. “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 [mature], thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3: 16).
Intertwined and Multi-Leveled
This doctrine that the apostles continued in are the teachings that Christ taught. In a rush to get to the “meat of the word,” people have taken them for granted because they are just milk, just so much food for children. They have ignored them in their desperate search for quick enlightenment. Yet God says that everything must be done decently and in order. Skipping to the meat of His word, without having the depth of the milk’s sustenance, leaves seekers unstable and weak, unable to “discern both good and evil.” They will inevitably fall prey to false teachings. They will fall because their foundation is not secured by a deep study of Christ’s teachings.
So as we go on deeper into His teachings, we must remember two concepts concerning them. First, the seven doctrines are intertwined. Like gold is found with silver in a vein of whitish quartz, even so teachings go side by side. Two, three, and four of them can be found in one passage of scripture. Rarely do we find them alone. As we mine the truth from the scriptures, we will see them surface in groups. For instance, you can’t have repentance from sin without faith toward God. Nor can you comprehend and apply baptism without repentance.
Second, Christ’s doctrine is multi-levelled. Each teaching has many spiritual depths. We should know this, for we are contemplating “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3: 8; Rom. 11: 33). The principle of the multi-level harvest in Matthew 13’s Parable of the Sower holds true here. For example, there is a repentance from sin and a repentance from faults. There is also repentance from old leaven false concepts about God learned before our deeper walk began. All of them are applied on a personal, national, international, and universal level. Such is the power and scope of the Kingdom of God and its King. But no matter what level we are walking in, the humility of the cross empowers our way.
We are talking about Christ’s very teachings and how they will dramatically affect lives. “And they were astonished at His doctrine, for His word was with power.” Christ’s teachings are inexhaustible, past finding out, even though we continue steadfastly in studying them. They are a deep well of the everlasting water of life. And He wants us to go after it and drink with great gusto. Kenneth Wayne Hancock