written by: Warren Wiersbe
(taken from Living a Holy Life, pg. 6-8)
One body of truth had been given. He called it “the faith.” “Having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck” (v. 19). It wasn’t a faith or some faith but the faith. He wasn’t talking about the act of believing. He was talking about the content of what we believe.
There is one basic truth in the Word of God, one basic body of doctrine – the faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Different churches and denominations may disagree on minor matters. But when it comes to the basics of the faith of the Christian life, there is one body of truth, and we must know it. It’s really appalling how many Christians do not really know Bible doctrine.
Second, we must practice the truth. In I Timothy 4:16 we read: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them [both], for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” Paul was talking to the preacher, Timothy, here. He was saying, “Be sure that you are practicing what you preach” (see vv. 11,12). It’s not enough to know the doctrine. Those of us who teach the Word of God and those of us who receive the Word of God must practice the doctrine. We should be an example to the believers.
Paul cautioned in I Timothy 1:4,5: “Nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” The purpose of Bible study is that we might grow – godly edification. This means we exhibit love to others. It’s amazing how many people claim they love the Word of God, but they hate the brethren. This love must come from a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith.
Doctrine leads to duty. This is beautifully pictured in Ephesians. In chapters l-3 Paul gave us doctrine – what God has done for us. In chapters 4-6 he gave us duty – what we should do in return. Since the Lord has forgiven us, we should forgive others. Since the Lord loved the Church and gave Himself for the Church, husbands should love their wives. For every doctrine, there is duty. The trouble is that we enjoy finding the doctrines and discussing them, but we don’t always like to practice the duties that they present.
Why should we practice the Word of God? Because this makes the Word of God beautiful to those who are outside the Church. When Christians – especially those in leadership – don’t practice what they preach, it gives outsiders an opportunity to blaspheme (I Tim. 6:1). That is the negative. The positive is found in Titus 2:10 where Paul was again talking to servants: “Not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” That word “adorn” means to beautify. In our Christian obedience, as we practice the Word of God, we should, first, make the Bible so beautiful in our lives that unbelievers will notice and will want the Word of God themselves. Second, we should so live that they may not blaspheme the Word of God.
If the Word of God is going to sanctify our lives, we must know it, we must practice it, and we must guard it (I Tim. 6:14,20). We must keep it and watch over it. The faith of our Lord Jesus Christ is under attack by false teachers and demons. We are involved in warfare, and we must hold fast to the truth. “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me….That good thing which was committed to you, keep [guard, protect] by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us” (II Tim. 1:13,14). Doctrines of demons are abroad today. We must guard the truth of the Word of God. You can’t guard it, though, if you don’t practice it. And you can’t practice it if you don’t know it.
Some will depart from the faith (I Tim. 4:1). Some will deny the faith (5:8). Some will stray from the faith (6:21). Others will make shipwreck of their faith (1:19). These things can happen so easily if we don’t guard the faith.
We must guard the faith, and finally, we must share the faith. We must share the Word of God with others (II Tim. 2:2). This is a big responsibility – sharing the faith of the Word of God by our example, by our teaching and by our exhortation.
When I look at the four obligations I have to Bible doctrine as one of God’s children, it overwhelms me. I am a student of the Word of God; I must know Bible doctrine. I am a servant of God; I must practice Bible doctrine. I am a soldier in God’s army; I must guard Bible doctrine. And I am a steward; the Word has been committed to me, and I must share it with others. I must share it by my example and, certainly, by my teaching that is backed up by example. If you want to have a sanctified Christian life that is set apart for the service of God, then you must spend time daily in the Word of God studying Bible doctrine.
© 2005 Warren W. Wiersbe
© 1989 by The Good News Broadcasting Association, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).