Like most things, there are extremes when it comes to our focus. We need harmony between “doctrine” and “practice”.
Defining the terms, doctrine and practice
- Doctrine can be defined as what we ought to know.
- Practice is what we ought to do.
- Examples of doctrine: Belief in the divine trinity, the finished work of Christ, the resurrection, etc.
- Examples of practice: Going to church, doing good unto all men, visiting the widows, etc.
Where the extremes lead
- Too little practice leads to complacency (Christianity becomes mere water-cooler talk).
- Too little doctrine leads to wrongdoing (Christianity becomes relative).
- You cannot have “too much” of either.
The Bible teaches harmony
- The book of Galatians: Chapters one and two are Paul’s defense of his apostolic authority. Chapters three and four are Paul’s defense of the gospel itself. Chapters five and six are Paul’s practical application of the gospel.
- Galatians 5:1 (the transition) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
- The book of Ephesians: The first three chapters teach some of the most fundamental doctrines such as election, predestination, justification, the nature of man, and the new birth. The last three chapters are all practical instructions.
- Ephesians 4:1 (the transition): “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called”
- The book of Romans: The first 11 chapters are doctrine. The last five are practice.
- Romans 12:1 (the transition): “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
- Doctrine and practice are inseparable.
- We must have a strong foundation and also continue to build: Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation…”
- We discover more and more about God’s grace and learn how to extend that grace in our lives: Philippians 2:12-13 “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”