by Pastor Bob Bolender, Jr., Austin Bible Church
October 2004 through April 2006 https://austinbiblechurch.com/doc.../basic-doctrinal-studies. This will include the entire "Introduction" Introduction
This Basics series will encompass 10 primary and foundational areas of Bible study. Every believer needs to learn these areas of Doctrine. • Babes in Christ need to be grounded in them as soon as possible following salvation.
Adolescent believers need to review these categories and maintain humility in their growth.
Mature believers need to review these categories and be prepared to teach them to others.
Areas of Study.
The Doctrine of the Bible.
A study on inspiration, revelation, inerrancy, canonicity, and basic hermeneutical principles.
Prior to salvation, the unbeliever had any number of influences molding and fashioning them to the image of the world (Eph. 2:1-3). After salvation, though, the new believer is in need of being grounded in the Word of God, beginning the edification process of being transformed by the renewing of their mind (Rom. 12:2). The newborn babe must take in the pure milk of the Word (1 Pet. 2:2)st.
The believer is a new creation, “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10). That believer now needs to be equipped for these works. That equipping comes through the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17) and, as they are communicated in a local church (Eph. 4:11-13). The new believer must come to understand that God’s Word is 100% trustworthy and accurate (Ps. 12:6; Prov. 30:5). It is His Word, not the works of men (Lk. 1:70; Acts 1:16; 3:18,21; 4:25; 2 Pet. 1:20-21 cf. 2 Tim. 3:16)ndnd. God, Himself has magnified it according to His own name (Ps. 138:2). It is therefore worthy of our devotion, and the means by which we can worship Him. Believers should strive to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15)nd, embracing the Whole Purpose of God (Acts 20:27), and build their understanding of Him order on order, line online, a little here and a little there (Isa. 28:13).
The Doctrine of God. A study of His revelation, His essence, and His being in Trinity. If God had wanted to remain unknown, then mankind would certainly never have come to know Him. He easily could have included Himself among the things which “eye has not seen and hear has not heart, and which have not entered the heart of man” (1 Cor. 2:9)st. However, God is both nearby and knowable (Acts 17:23,27). God has provided an undeniable witness to Himself in natural revelation (Rom. 1:18-20). Creation testifies to His glory (Ps. 19:1-6), and the element of creation made in His own image and likeness (Gen. 1:26,27) is left without excuse (Rom. 1:20).
The new believer already knows that there is a God and that His Son Jesus Christ died on the cross for his salvation. What the new believer does not know is how much more about God there is to know. God wants us to grow into adult sons and daughters with the capacity for mature fellowship (1 Jn. 1:3)st. Beyond the witness of natural revelation comes the particular testimony of special revelation. In God’s Word, we are provided with the depths of God Himself (1 Cor. 2:9-16)st.
It is through Biblical revelation that we can come to find out the glories of God’s Sovereignty, Righteousness, Justice, Love, Eternal Life, Immutability, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Veracity. It is through His revelation of Himself that we come to know Him, and yet we realize that our finite beings will always struggle to comprehend the infinite (Job 11:7; Rom. 11:33).
The Doctrine of Man. A study of his essence, lost estate, and eternal purpose. Has there ever been a more misunderstood creature? False religions promote false gods to be sure, but they also promote a false view of man. It is this aspect of their lies that can be just as deceptive and evil. The Word of God portrays an accurate view of mankind that must be understood by the new believer.
The new believer has a frame of reference to understand that he once was lost, but is found, twas blind, but now he sees. He does not totally understand how lost he truly was or how blind. A Biblical study on anthropology will help him to understand his body, soul, and spirit.
Basic Doctrinal Studies will outline the tripart nature of redeemed man, as body, soul, and (human) spirit (1 Thess. 5:23)st. Basics will also teach the bipart nature of undredeemed man, being spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1-5). Basics will also cover the current condition of our mortal bodies as dead and dying, even while the human spirit has been made alive (Rom. 8:10-11).
The Doctrine of Salvation. A study of the barrier between the holy God and fallen man, and the work of God to remove that barrier. Includes Evangelism and Ambassadorship. The brand new believer knows that he is saved, but does not have any doctrinal framework to understand all that God did on his behalf in order to save him. He has an experience of salvation, which was easy enough for him to receive, but he now needs doctrinal information to understand the glories of what he has experienced. The new believer needs to know fully what is meant by “it is finished.” The new believer needs to know fully the duration of eternal life. The new believer needs to know fully the security of his salvation, and that there is nothing he can do, or indeed even that God could do to reverse the Justification he has been given.
The Doctrine of the Christian Walk. A study of the cross and three circles for the believer’s daily life. Includes Positional Truth, Filling of the Holy Spirit, Priesthood function of Prayer.
The born-again believer is placed “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), and nothing can separate him from this (Rom. 8:38,39). This is the top circle in the cross and three circles diagram. In the Basic study of Soteriology, this has been made clear, but now the believer needs to be grounded in the principles of the Christian Walk. Salvation is not the end of God’s plan for us, but rather the beginning of our walk for His good pleasure and the eternal glory of Jesus Christ. Believers have the operational volitional choice of being in fellowship or out of fellowship. This is an absolute state, of either/or and not both. The Apostle Paul referred to this as the operational volitional choice of walking by and being led by the Holy Spirit or carrying out the desire of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). The Apostle John referred to this as the operational volitional choice of walking in the light versus walking in darkness (1 Jn. 1:6,7)st. This is the bottom circle in the cross and three circles diagram.
A believer in Christ, functioning in the power of the Holy Spirit, can then engage in his Priesthood function before God the Father in the Holy of Holies. This is the third (right) circle in the cross and three circles diagram. When a Church Age Believer steps into his priesthood and actively functions before the Father, the Father’s fulness becomes his own (Jn. 16:23-28; Heb. 4:16; 10:19-25).
The Doctrine of the Will of God. A study on how believers may know and obey the will of God for their life.
Just as God in His Being is nearby and knowable, so too is His will for the believer. The new believer needs to understand the Will of God for his life. Not understanding the will of the Lord is foolish (Eph. 5:17).
The third circle priesthood function of Prayer must be offered according to His will (1 Jn. 5:14)st. Our walk of sanctification (bottom circle) must be according to His will (1 Thess. 4:3)st. Our rejoicing, prayer, and thanksgiving (in Christ, top circle) must be according to His will (1 Thess. 5:16-18)st.
The Doctrine of Struggle. A study of the believer’s daily struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Basic Doctrinal Studies must include teaching on spiritual conflict. The very sound of ἀγωνίζομαι agonizomai Strongs #75 says “agonize, oh my!” Believers in Christ will encounter tribulation and various multiplied trials, but ours is a struggle with a guaranteed victory (Jn. 16:33).
It is a good fight that we must fight (1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7)stnd. This is the race (ἀγών agon Strongs #73) set before us at the moment of our salvation (Heb. 12:1).
The struggle will be manifest on three simultaneous fronts: the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are in the world, but no longer of the world (Jn. 17:6,11,14,16). We are not to submit to the flesh (Rom. 6:19). We must resist the devil (1 Pet. 5:9)st, put on our armor and stand firm (Eph. 6:12-17).
The Doctrine of the Plan of God. A study on God the Father’s grace eternal plan of the ages for the maximum glorification of Jesus Christ. Includes the nature and description of Dispensations.
God the Father is the author of the Plan. God works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11). Everything He has planned, and everything He does is perfect in His eternal wisdom. God’s eternal purpose is the maximum glorification of Jesus Christ (Jn. 5:23; Phil. 2:10,11; Col. 1:18,19).
Pastor Bob’s expanded title for the Plan of God: God the Father’s grace eternal dispensational plan of the ages for the maximum glorification, pleasure, and blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Plan of God is presently underway and fulfilling the Father’s purpose. Believers in the Church are God’s fellow workers (1 Cor. 3:9)st, and must therefore be adjusted to the Father’s plan. God’s purpose is for all things to work together for Good (Rom. 8:28). God has unfolded His plan to and through a variety of vested stewards. This progressive unfolding began with the angels, then progressed to the creation of man in Adam, then the race and nation of Israel, and presently the unfolding of the Plan of God is revealed through the Church. Understanding the basic outline of this dispensational progression is an important part of Boulology.
The Doctrine of the Church. A study on the Universal Church and the purpose and function of the local church.
In the study of God’s plan, several distinct stewardships were detailed. The present stewardship of the Church needs to be accurately taught in order for believers today to function appropriately. The Basic Doctrinal Study of Ecclesiology teaches the new believer the difference between a local church and The Church. The Church is the Body (Col. 1:18,24; Eph. 1:22-23) and Bride (Jn. 3:29; Eph. 5:25-33; Rev. 19:7-8) of Jesus Christ. Every born-again believer from Pentecost to Rapture is a Member of that Body (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 5:30)st.
A local church is a small portion of The Church. Specifically, a local church is a particular flock entrusted to a gifted shepherd. Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd, and He oversees the flock of the entire Church, but He has designated and delegated under-shepherds (pastors) to shepherd the flock of God “among them” (1 Pet. 5:1-4)st. A local church is a family/body in a given geographical location assembled together for the corporate functions of the body and bride (Rev. 2&3). A local church is not a building, but a living body of believers in Jesus Christ. Any assembly of believers under the shepherding oversight of a Pastor-Teacher is a local church. A local church may be without a Pastor for brief periods of time, but they cannot stay that way for very long! Sheep without a shepherd become scattered and devoured. A true local. the church must have at least one man with the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher. That one man exercising that one gift cannot fully edify the body of Christ. All believers exercising every gift supplies the maximum edification for each Member and provides the maximum glory for the Head of the Body—Jesus Christ.
The Doctrine of Spiritual Gifts. A study on the grace provision for the spiritual gifts of believers in the Dispensation of the Church.
Technically, Charismatology is a subdivision of both Ecclesiology and Pneumatology (Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, a primary division of Theology). Spiritual gifts (pneumatika) were given here and there prior to the Dispensation of the Church. Various prophets were gifted and sent to Israel and even an occasional gentile nation. Craftsmen were gifted for the construction of the Tabernacle and the Temple. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be a feature of the coming Millennium, and that coming aspect of pneumatika is rightly considered under Eschatology (Doctrine of Last Things). Our present stewardship of the Church features grace/spiritual gifts (χάρισματα charismata Strongs #5486 & πνευματικά pneumatika Strongs #4152) given on a universal basis. Every believer today has at least one spiritual gift (1 Pet. 4:10)st.
The new believer needs to understand that the impartation of Divine power is not given for the pursuit of miraculous events or the participation in ecstatic experience. Spiritual gifts are provided for grace service to Members of the Body of Christ (1 Pet. 4:10)st. A believer who has grasped these 10 categories of Basics, culminating with teaching on Spiritual Gifts, is equipped to step into active service in and for the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Father’s purpose for saving him in the first place (Eph. 2:10).