In our quest to get back to the basics, we need to consider the first idea mentioned in Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine …” However, before we get to this first “basic” we need to understand the meaning of the phrase: And they continued steadfastly …
This phrase means (1) to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing; (2) to continue all the time in a place; (3) to persevere and not to faint. You see, the importance of this phrase cannot be overstated because it speaks to the level of consideration that the members of the first New Testament church gave to those thing taught them by the Apostles.
Doctrine is not just for theologians or for people seeking a place in the ministry, but rather it is for every believer to know, understand , and continue in all the time. While the world today argues that doctrine in unimportant as long as you “love Jesus,” quite the opposite was true in the era of the New Testament writers.
Paul tells Timothy to “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.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
Again, this time in Romans 16, Paul warns, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (vs. 17-18)
Doctrine was then and is now a basic in the life of the believer. How can we be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks of the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15) if we don’t understand the doctrines of the faith? The new believers in Jerusalem did not know what they should about Jesus, his life and teachings, and how they should effect their daily living. It was necessary then, as it is now, for God’s people to understand God’s teachings.
How much do you concern yourself with doctrine? How can you help others to understand its meaning in everyday life?