|Series Theme: Bible Study Approaches|
Title: 11. How to Study a Doctrine
A page that explains a variety of approaches to Studying the Bible
This page is for more mature Christian students who may wish to explore what the Bible says about specific Christian doctrines.
To see the distinction that we use between a doctrine and a topic, please go to the page on Studying a Topic.
2. Thinking about a Doctrine:
1. These are specific elements of the Christian faith.
2. Examples of these might be: God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Justification, Sanctification, Glorification, Sin, Reconciliation, Atonement.
3. Look up the word use as considered on some of the earlier pages in this series.
4. Watch for similarities in use, differences in use, themes , similar ideas etc. especially noting the development of it from the Old to New Testaments.
5. Keep a notebook and jot down observations about this doctrine as you come across it in the Bible.
6. Borrow or buy and introductory book on doctrine.
3. Example of a Doctrine Study in Outline: The Law of God
Because the Law of God comes up so often in Scripture and Christians often seem confused as to whether God's Laws apply today, this Study covers this specific topic.
1. The Different Laws in the Old Testament
A. Social Laws:
1. Examples found in Ex 21:1- 23:11 / Lev 11:1- 15:23 etc.
2. The social laws were given by God to Israel as a nation under God.
3. Many of these laws are simply not applicable to modem life today e.g. Laws about slaves Ex 21 :2
4. We do NOT live in a nation specifically called into being by God & living under God and we cannot, therefore, expect those laws to be applied by our Society.
5. However, we should study these laws to observe the wisdom of living under God, so that we may learn principles that may help us in life, e.g. need for restitution Ex 22: 1-15
B. Ceremonial Law:
1. Examples found in Ex 23:14 -19/25:1 -30:38/ Lev 1:1- 7:38
2. The ceremonial laws were given to draw the people closer to God as individuals within a nation under God.
3. The ceremonial (tabernacle, offerings, feasts etc.) reveal truths seen and fulfilled in Jesus (Mt 5: 17 / Heb 9)
4. The need for the ceremonial law therefore ceased with the coming of Jesus.
5. We should study these laws, seeing them in the light of the New Testament explanation, as pointing to the grace of God in Jesus.
C. Moral Law:
1. Found in the Ten Commandments (Ex 20: 1-17) and summarised by "love your God with all your heart..." (Deut 6:5) and "love your neighbour as yourself" (Lev 19: 18 ) and summarised by Jesus (Mt 22:37 -40)
2. The Ten Commandments have never been repealed and still stand as the firm foundation for all moral law for every Society in God's creation.
2. The Law and the Christian
1. The Law reveals sin Rom 7:7
2. Putting one's eyes on the Law and constantly trying to keep the individual laws simply brings failure, frustration and despair Rom 7:15-24
3. TryIng to constantly keep these laws does not release faith, which only comes out of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is faith that pleases God Eph 2:8/ Rom 6:14
4. Jesus died to take the punishment for failure to keep the Law and to release us to live by faith to receive all of God's blessings Gal 3: 10-14
5. The Law IS fulfilled by us as we walk by the Spirit. i.e.. as we are being led daily by the prompting and guiding of the Spirit Rom 8:4
6. When our hearts are full of love OF God and the love FOR God, we will (as we respond to the prompting by the Holy Spirit) naturally obey the moral law Jer 31:33,34
7. When our love grows cold and in our attitudes and actions disregard God, the moral law will still be there, standing before us as a signpost back!
8. Specific detailed application of the Ten Commandments will come as we seek God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in faith to do what he reveals for us personally (e.g. HOW to honour your parents)
9. That response to the Spirit of Christ will always take us further than the outward obedience; it will also deal with our hearts so that the outward is an expression of what is there in our hearts. (see the Sermon on the Mount in Mt 5 -7).