By: Whitney Davis
I’ve been a church girl my whole life. I attended summer camp, VBS, youth group, Sunday morning service including Sunday School, Sunday night and Wednesday night service, revivals, you name it, and I was there. My testimony doesn’t consist of much promiscuity or worldly, sinful living growing up. I knew Bible stories, Bible verses, I was dedicated to Bible study, and what I deemed holy living. However, I reached adulthood and realized I had very little understanding of the Bible. It all seemed like one big overwhelming book of individual stories that I could not connect into a big picture. While I believed it was the absolute truth and believed in the gospel message entirely, my grand understanding of the Big Story of the Bible was virtually non-existent. As I have tackled the mountain of understanding God’s Word, I have come to believe these things.
For many years, Christians have put their attention on their felt needs, rather than sound doctrinal truth. We focus on topical sermons and studies that meet our immediate needs, rather than seeking to study the Bible as a whole, to unleash a deeper level of understanding. In so many ways, we have focused on stories and feelings, rather than facts. We have taught children, from the lens of Christianity, the importance of having a relationship with God. However, we don’t always stress biblical knowledge as being an essential foundation of truth. While our faith is relational and more than just facts and doctrines, we must be careful never to make it less than that. It is the Christian’s responsibility to learn sound doctrine, to know the truth, and discern error.
We must know the Word of God to know sound doctrine. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Believers must be diligent about sitting under the teaching of God’s Word in the local church, must make regular habits of studying and meditating on the Bible personally, and must seek out discipleship from trusted mentors to help obtain Biblical literacy.
Parents must take on the responsibility of providing Biblical education to their children. Pastors must also bear this responsibility. Acts 20:20 urges us to teach both in public and in private– this would include within the home, small group, large group, and all settings. To teach the truth, you must know the truth yourself. We must be ready in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul urges Christians to teach sound doctrine and pass it on to others to ensure its preservation (2 Timothy 2:2). As we ourselves develop our foundation of Truth, we are to test all things according to the Scriptures and be willing to teach and disciple others in the gospel.
We should commit ourselves to prayer and persistence, as we train ourselves in sound doctrine. God has provided us with everything we need to develop a deeper understanding of His Word, but we must understand this will not happen overnight. As we pray for revelation from the Lord, we must be faithful in the daily investment we make to personal study, weekly devotion, and gathering with our church and family. As we seek to pursue a deeper understanding to form the foundation of sound doctrine in our own lives, the Lord who began this work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).