Two types of doctrine are found in Scripture that are revealed through two Greek words used for different types of teaching; doctrine that is to be learned and practiced and doctrine that is to be learned, but NOT practiced.
“All Scripture is God breathed and profitable towards teaching, towards conviction, towards correction, towards child training in the righteousness” , 2 Timothy 3:16.
“Teaching” refers to information to be learned but not practiced. Conviction, correction and child training in the righteousness relates to doctrine that is to be learned and practiced.
“And having various gracious gifts according to the grace, the one given to you, whether prophecy, according as the portion of the faith, whether the one serving, in serving or the one teaching, in teaching…” Romans 12:6, 7.
“… and He gave the Apostles, and the prophets, and the evangelists, and the pastors even teachers…” Ephesians 4:11.
The “Pastor” and the “Teacher” in the Ephesians passage are the same person. It is the primary responsibility of the Pastor as the shepherd to teach doctrine that is to be learned and practiced; however, he is also to properly handle Old Testament information by teaching it as information that is to be learned, but not practiced. In addition to the Pastor properly handling the Old Testament information, God has proved others with the Spiritual gift of teaching who properly teach the value of the Old Testament information without abusing it by seeking to make it doctrine to live by in this day and age (Romans 12:6,7). This is not restricting doctrine to be learned and practiced to only a Pastor being able to teach it, but the Pastor is the primary method by which this type of doctrine is administered to the assembly he is guiding. We all should be able to teach the basics of the Gospel of The Christ, which is the doctrine that saints are to live by today. It is important to understand that Scripture gives us two types of information. All Scripture is for our benefit, but not all Scripture is for our use. The purpose of the Old Testament is for teaching information that is to be learned, but not practiced. Learning what God has done in the past brings hope to us now, as we can see He keeps His Word. It also shows us what not to do.
For as much as was written beforehand unto us it was written for teaching that is to be learned, but not practiced, in order that through the patience and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4.
Now all these things came together as an example, and they were written for our admonition unto whom the end of the ages has come, 1 Corinthians 10:11.
Some translations use the word “instruction” rather than “admonition”, which can cause confusion. The Greek word has the meaning of instructions that are for the purpose of admonition and therefore our understanding would be served better by not using “instruction” since it leaves out part of the meaning of the original word. Even though the translators of the NAS used “instruction” twice for this Greek word, we can see from Titus 3:10 that they understood it meant “to admonish” (also used in Ephesians 6:4).
The Old Testament is not to be ignored, only taught correctly. It is never to be taught in a way as if it is how we as members of the Church are to live before God or man. Intuitively knowing this, that a quality of law was not made for the righteous, but for the lawless and rebellious, ungodly and sinners, unholy and profane, murders of fathers and murders of mothers, man slayers, fornicators, male homosexuals, kidnappers (for slavery), liars, perjurers, and if any other opposing the healthy teaching of doctrine that is to be learned, but not practiced, according to the glorious Gospel of the happy God, who entrusted it to me, 1 Timothy 1:8-11.
Improper use of Information that is to be Learned but not Practiced.
A lot of heresy comes out of improperly applying doctrine that is to be learned but not practiced. When a pastor or a teacher comes along who is taking the Old Testament and training people to live by it, this is not God’s word, but an abuse of information which then become the doctrines of men.
All of you have died with Christ, from the elementary principles of the world system, why as ones living in a quality of the world system, are you caused to be obligated to decrees; Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, which are things for the purpose of destruction with the using, according to the commandments and teachings of men, Colossians 2:22.
This type of teaching is the doctrine of demons, which was explicitly spoken of by the Spirit that would come in the latter times to those who depart the faith and give head to seducing spirits and the teachings of demons, in hypocrisy and lying. (1 Timothy 4:1). The doctrine of demons is not talking about devil worshiping or witchcraft, but of taking the Old Testament information and miss applying it as information that is to be lived by today.
Why would demons want the Church to miss apply the Old Testament? It effectively thwarts the affects the Church has on the world and makes it impossible for saints to live a victorious Christian life.
One of the most predominate teachings today of this type of incorrect teaching is that the Sermon on the Mount is for the Church’s practice. Matthew chapters five through seven, and all other passages that record this sermon or those who are similarly to it, are clearly directed at the Jews. There was no revelation given at this time of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Jesus was coming to the Jewish nation as their Messiah, not to the Gentiles. (Matthew 15: 24). Primarily the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are recording information that happened during the Old Testament, under the Mosaic Law. As the Jews reject Christ the records of His activity here on earth begin to show the preparation for His death and the resulting dispensation to come. John chapter 15 through 17 are clearly New Testament. Even though Christ had not yet died and was raised, it was on the night of His betrayal that He shared what was going to happen to Him and what God was going to do as a result of man’s actions. Anyone trying to apply the Sermon on the Mount for today has to severely allegorize that passage. Allegorization takes God’s Word and modifies it so that the teacher can impute his own opinion into its meaning, thereby making what he is teaching heresy.
There is actually a lot more that can be said about the Sermon on the Mount that can easily reveal that it simply cannot be for Christians, like that “blessed” actually means “happy”; the so called “Lord’s Payer” was for His disciples who followed Him as the Messiah, but that is not our focus today. When this passages of Scripture is put into its proper context it is for the Millennial Kingdom saints, not the Church saints.
Along with this false teaching there are also many others, such as a Christian is to tithe to the Church, even though New Testament Scripture clearly states that those of the Church are to give of their excess – only after taking care of their basic needs – and then of that they should only give what they willingly determine to give, never out of grief, or necessity. Yet, so many false teachers come and say in order to be blessed by God you have to give the Church ten percent of your wages, which is taking Old Testament information and miss-applying it to New Testament saints. The Jews were promised health, wealth, and happiness by keeping the law, which included tithing, the Church has not such promise. Let each one according as he has chosen for himself with the heart, not out from grief, nor out from necessity. For God loves a hilarious giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7. The investment in the Church should be from the heart (2 Corinthians 9:6), not to gain favor with God, which cannot be done by giving; not out of grief – because of a sad story, or pressure to be part of the ministry; not because you need something. God does not promise the Church that if the members give ten percent of their wages He will return ten, one hundred, or one thousand percent. We are to be content with what God gives us, 1 Timothy 6:6; Philippines 4:11 – 13.
There is value to the Old Testament in its wisdom and what it reveals about God and man. But when it is misapplied by taking instructions that God gave another household and trying to apply them to the household of grace it becomes heresy because God did not have this information recorded for us to live by, but for us to learn about Him, about our own nature, about what we should not do, to encourage us to live according to the standard we as the household of grace have been given; not by any quality of law, but by grace – God’s attitude by which He gives a benefit without consideration of merit.
Doctrine that is to be Learned and Practiced
This type of doctrine is not restricted to the Church. It is used for all dispensations and is the instructions from God on how those of that household are to live. In Matthew chapters five through seven, Jesus was giving the Jews doctrine that they were expected to live by under His rule as the Messiah, Matthew 7:28. Even though there has been a short lapse in time, since the Jews opted to reject Jesus and kill Him, when the Millennial Kingdom comes these will be some of the rules that those in that Kingdom will live by in that dispensation. Although it is difficult to discern in our modern translations, Matthew 7:28 shows that Jesus was directly instructing the Jews on how they would be expected to live under His reign; He was not just teaching, but giving doctrine to live by. This is not the Mosaic Law, or a modification of the Mosaic Law. Jesus was very clear that He did not come to change the Law, but to complete it.
Do not think that I have come to destroy the law and the prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fill up where it is lacking. For truly I say to you, up to the point of the passing away of the heaven and the earth, in no way will one iota or one stroke pass away from the law up to the point of all of it coming to be, Matthew 5:17, 18.
The Law and the prophets will remain until all of it has come to be. Once that which the prophets have prophesied is complete, at that point, the Mosaic Law and the Prophesies will no longer be in effect for they will be completed. Some may wish to argue this point, but the original language uses an adverb that clearly states “up to the point of but not beyond”. In Matthew 5:18 it is used twice. To the point in which the third heaven passes away and the earth passes away. Scripture is not stating that the Mosaic law will be in effect unit then, but only that the third heaven and the earth will not pass away before the prophecies are brought into existence, Revelation 21:1 (New Heaven and new earth), and to the point of completion. Not one part of the law, even an iota or a stoke, which means no portion of the law will be modified either, will pass away “up to the point” of it being completed. Christ completed the Mosaic law and therefore in Christ we are not under the law, but under grace.
Wherefore, my brethren, also you have been caused to die to the Law through the body of the Christ, resulting in you to become unto a different one, to the one raised out from the dead in order that you should bear fruit to God, Romans 7:4.
For an end of law is Christ resulting in righteousness to all the ones believing, Romans 10:4.
For the period in which we live in, freedom from the sin nature is learned by obeying proper doctrine. And thanks is to God because all of you were slaves to the sin nature, but all of you obeyed out from the heart unto that form of doctrine which was handed over to you, being made free from the sin nature, you have become slaves of the righteousness, Romans 6:17, 18. The truth that sets us free from slavery to the sin nature is part of the doctrine we as Christians are to live by. We have died with Christ and have been risen to walk in newness of life. In Christ the sin nature has been rendered ineffective, Romans 6:6. Scripture is not stating that we will have no issue with the sin nature, only that we can now overcome it through who we are in Christ. Reckon this to be true and yield your members to righteousness rather than unrighteousness, Romans 6: 11 – 13. We also learn that when we govern our lives according to the Spirit we will never bring to completion the desires of the flesh, even though we may struggle with them (Galatians 5:16).
We are to mark those who cause division and scandalize against the doctrine which we have learned and turn from them, Romans 16:17. These are teachers who come and miss apply information from the Old Testament, trying to make it applicable today or other saints who cause division by following men rather than God, e.g. 1 Corinthians 3:1-6 (I am of Paul, I am of Apollos).
There is a lot of controversy over whether or not speaking in tongues is an active gift today. Many groups who claim that speaking in tongues is the only way one can know if they are saved or not. Others claim it is how they speak to God and is a special spiritual language. However, Scripture not only does not support either of these concepts, it directly speaks against them. In 1 Corinthians 14:6 Paul address how one speaking in another language will not profit anyone, but only when by revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or doctrine (to be learned and practiced) in a language that is understood by the recipient. If you do not understand what is being said then you cannot use it. In the early Church when they did not have the completed canon of Scripture God used Spiritual gifts to provide the churches the information they needed, whether it was a psalm, doctrine to be learned and practiced, a revelation, or even one speaking the wonders of God in a languages they do not know, so long as there is one to interpret for all these things are to be done for the edification of the Church, not an individual. Since we now have the full revelation the revelatory Spiritual gifts are no longer active (Prophecy, Speaking in another language, healing, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, etc.), 1 Corinthians 13:9, 10 (The complete thing is referring to the completion of Scripture – 1 Corinthians 2:1). Since we now have the full revelation we do not need the revelatory Spiritual gifts and are to speak clearly so that all can understand.
We are to teach doctrine to be learned and practiced at anytime possible, for there will come a time, and already is, where the church will not endure healthy teaching, which is to be learned but not practiced, accumulating teachers after their own desires, turning their ears from the truth to fables. 2 Timothy 4:2-4. One of the requirements of a Pastor (Bishop) is that he holds fast to the doctrine, which is to be learned and practiced along with being able to teach healthy information that is not to be practiced, but needs to be learned, Titus 1:9. Christ is the same today as He was yesterday. The truth still remains what it was two thousand plus years ago. Do not be carried away by strange and various doctrines for it is a good thing for the heart to be establish by grace, Hebrews 13:9. Do not be fooled, just because someone is a good speaker, or a nice person, If anyone goes beyond the doctrine of The Christ, that new creation whereby Christ is the head and the church is the body, 2 Corinthians 5:17, this one does not have God, but the ones setting down and feeling at ease with who they are in Christ, they have both the Father and the Son, 2 John 1:9. Those who change the Gospel of The Christ are the type of persons we are not to associate with or even greet, 2 John 1:10, for the teaching they bring is false. False teachers don’t always look evil or act inappropriate. They may be the nicest most caring people you have ever known, but that does not make it ok to teach the Old Testament as doctrine rather than handling it correctly according to what its true purpose is, which is to teach us what not to do and give us hope in God alone.
The grace from God, His attitude whereby He gives a benefit without consideration of merit, has manifested salvation to all men, child training us in order that we should deny ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this now age, Titus 2:12. The Church is to use the Old Testament for admonish and it will being hope, but not for practice. We are under a new covenant, build upon better promises, Hebrews 8:6. A covenant made by the blood of Christ under a new High Priest, by which fact shows that we are not under the Mosaic Law for since the priesthood has changes it is necessary that the law changes, Hebrews 7:12.
Use it for admonition, do not abuse it for practice!
Defining “Doctrine” and “Teaching”
By examining the use of the Greek words behind “doctrine” and “teaching” in the light of Scripture and the normal use of these terms in every day literature we discover the differences in their meanings. “Doctrine” was used for information that the teacher expected the listen to obey and perform, where “teaching” was used of general information, which was not intended for practice.