Through the doctrines of the Bible, we have clearer views of our Savior.
by Cody Francis
It was not easy making our way to the Congolese village of Kimolo. The morning river crossing was long behind us by the time the hot afternoon sun gave way to a tropical thunderstorm. We then slogged through the dark jungle in a drizzle. By the time we finally arrived at Kimolo, we were wet, hungry, and tired after an all-day march. But no one was expecting us—we had arrived before our advance messenger!
The next morning, the chiefs called the village together under the central tree. We shared why we had come—to bring the good news of Jesus’ soon return, and that we must prepare to meet Him with joy. Afterward, a man who actually owned a Bible read John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” He stated that we did not need to concern ourselves with things like obedience and preparing for Jesus’ coming. All we really needed was to know Jesus. While he was correct to state that all we really needed was to know Jesus, there were some dangerous undertones in his thoughts, as well.
In Jesus’ great prayer to His Father, He stated the basis of eternal life: “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” The great pursuit of our life should be to know Him, and to know Him more. We come to the cross of Jesus, and see Him dying for us. We see Him being “wounded for our transgressions,” and “bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5), and our heart breaks in love for what He has done for us. As we behold His love, we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. We surrender our past, our pride, our sins, our future—our everything to Him.
When we receive Him as our Savior, He makes us a “new creature.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. We are “born again” (John 3:3, 5), and we begin to know Him. But just as a newborn has little ability to acquire knowledge, so our knowledge of Him is only rudimentary. Jesus calls us to know Him more, and bids us, “Follow Me.” Matthew 4:19; 8:22; 9:9.
We follow Him so that we can learn of Him. Matthew 11:29. This knowing, following walk is a daily experience. Luke 9:23. Why? Only truly knowing Him, not just knowing about Him, gives us the gift of eternal life. “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? …I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God.” Mark 1:23, 24. Even the demons recognize Jesus, but they do not truly know Him. With this deepening, increasing knowing of Him, Jesus says, “This is life eternal.”
KNOWING JESUS THROUGH HIS WORD
How do we know Him? “From a child thou hast known the Holy Sscriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15. Only through God’s Word can we know His life, death, and resurrection. Only through the Scriptures can we be assured that He is indeed the prophesied Messiah. To know Jesus, we must know the Bible. This leads us to the danger of the sentiments of our Congolese friend. Knowing Jesus must be the essence of true faith, but we know Him through the teachings, or doctrines, of the Bible.
Doctrine comes from a Greek word meaning “teaching or instruction.” Jesus did not ignore doctrine; His doctrine amazed His hearers. “And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22. Jesus warned against false doctrine and “bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:12. Then, Jesus promised, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.” John 7:16, 17. We certainly do not find Jesus passing doctrine by as unessential. He warned of false doctrine, promoted true doctrine, and promised that we can find this true doctrine.
FINDING JESUS IN THE DOCTRINES
What many do not realize is that by protesting against doctrine, they are really casting reproach upon Christ Himself. Jesus is the great magnetic force of scripture around which every doctrine and verse of the Bible revolves. Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39. Every biblical doctrine is an invitation to behold another angle of our Savior’s love, grace, and glory.
As we study the biblical teaching of Creation, Jesus is seen as our loving Creator. Colossians 1:16. As we understand that the Bible is the inspired, written Word of God, we also see our Savior as the living “Word” of God. John 1:14. The plan of salvation reveals Jesus shining forth as the “Savior of the world.” John 4:42. Comparing the amazing prophecies of the Old Testament focuses our understanding on Jesus the “Messiah the Prince.” Daniel 9:25. Andrew said of Jesus, “We have found Messias” (John 1:42), and it was through Old Testament doctrine that he knew this.
In Daniel and Revelation, Jesus is the “Alpha and Omega,” the “First and the Last” (Revelation 1:8, 17), the One who sees the end from the beginning, and lovingly communicates with His children. When we study into the sanctuary, Jesus is our “Lamb of God,” our “great High Priest,” and the “one Mediator.” John 1:29, Hebrews 4:14; 1 Timothy 2:5.
As God’s great Ten-Commandments are proclaimed from Sinai and throughout scripture, Jesus becomes in a very real sense our “Lawgiver.” Isaiah 33:22. Looking at God’s special day of rest reveals Jesus as the “Lord also of the sabbath.” Mark 2:28. When we recognize that Jesus asks us to be stewards of our health, we are getting to know Jesus more as the “great Shepherd of the sheep,” (Hebrews 13:20) guiding His sheep into the best of health.
In the subject of death, Jesus declares that He is the “Resurrection, and the Life.” John 11:25. When we look at the great promise that Jesus will come again in power and glory, Jesus virtually jumps out of every verse as our coming “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” Revelation 19:16. Jesus is the “all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11) of every doctrine or teaching of the Bible. Every time we dig into the teachings of the Bible, we get to know our Savior more!
While the essence of all true religion is to know Jesus Christ, studying the teachings of the Bible leads us to a greater knowledge of our Savior. So, our African friend had it right and wrong all at once. Knowing Jesus gives eternal life, but to know Jesus we must know and obey His teachings. “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:4. It is not what you know, it is who you know. However, what we know teaches us how to know the only One worth knowing. May we know Him more!