Does the Bible say or imply that some of its doctrines (teachings) are major and that some are minor?  That some are important while others are not?

From my study, I do not see the Bible either saying or implying that some of its teachings (doctrines) are major while others of it are minor. Some important while others not important.

Second Timothy 3:16-17 says that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” All Scripture is major.

Romans 16:17 would also indicate that “the teaching” (the doctrine which Paul taught these Roman Christians) is so important, that these Christians were to turn away from anyone who tried to cause dissensions and hindrances (obstacles) contrary to it. The “teaching” here is at least the whole book of Romans, which includes almost every doctrine in the Bible.

Being a good servant of Jesus Christ involved pointing out wrong/false teaching (doctrine) regarding marriage and abstaining from certain foods. A good servant of Jesus could do this be­cause of being nourished on sound (healthy/good) doctrine and the words of the faith (true teaching in these areas). Would you have considered what a Christian could eat a major or minor doctrine? It’s considered major in 1 Tim. 4:1-6. It’s major because pointing out the truth in this area is the criteria for what makes one a good servant of Jesus Christ. So we can see that what many people might consider a minor doctrine (i.e., what you can eat) is really a major doctrine. Major in the sense that all Bible doctrine is major. None of the teachings of Scripture are minor, as we’ve now seen from 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rom. 16:17; 1 Tim. 4:1-6.

In 1 Timothy 1:3-11, Paul thought that instructing certain people not to teach strange doctrines, myths, and endless genealogies was so important that he left Timothy at Ephesus. Sound (good or healthy) teaching (doctrine), which was according to the glorious gospel of God, could deal with issues regarding the purpose of the Law and mankind’s behavior/conduct. So, we see that doctrine (all biblical teaching) is major or important for dealing with truth versus error of any kind.

In 1 Timothy 4:13, 16, Paul stresses the attention (importance) that is to be given to teaching (doctrine in general). Paul doesn’t mention one teaching over another (as more important) but doctrine as a whole.

In 1 Timothy 6:1-6, Paul stresses the importance of the slave’s relationship to his master as a doctrine that if not followed properly could cause people to speak against the name of God. So is that major? Paul also shows the significance and consequences of not agreeing with sound words and the doctrine conforming to godliness. Again, we see that all Bible doctrine is signi­ficant. No Bible teaching is minor.

In 2 Timothy 4:1-4, Paul charges Timothy to preach the word. He’s to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with instruction, because the time would come when people wouldn’t endure sound doctrine. Paul does not say that some of “the word” is major while other of it is minor. Or that Timothy should only ex­hort in major doctrinal issues and not worry about the minor doctrinal issues. That’s because there was no such distinction of doctrines. All was major.

In Titus 1:5-11, as in the above passage, no distinction is made between major and minor doc­trine. All sound doctrine was so important that Paul left Titus in Crete so that Titus could appoint elders there, who in turn could exhort the church there in sound doctrine and refute those who contradicted sound doctrine.

In Titus 2:1-8, Paul tells Titus to speak the things that are fitting for (consistent with) sound doctrine. And that young men are to have purity in doctrine (Titus 2:7). Nowhere is this doc­trine divided into major and minor issues.

In conclusion, we see that the Bible doesn’t teach that some doctrines are major while others are minor. All doctrine is important and, therefore, major.

The question to ask regarding any issue of dispute is:  “Does the Bible comment on the issue, and if so, is its comment clear?”

If the Bible doesn’t deal with the topic or issue in a clear manner, then the issue isn’t a biblical doctrine and shouldn’t be treated as such. What may be clear to one person may not be clear to another person. At that point, common sense, honesty, and your conscience before God will have to dictate to you whether you consider an issue a Bible doctrine or not.

 

Let us know what you think.