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Scripture Reading: 2 John 4-9

2 John 9 and the "Doctrine of Christ"

(Part 1)


1.  A disciple is a "learner" or "pupil", trained by his master's "doctrine" (didache, "teaching, that which is taught" Thayer), Lk. 6:40.

2.  The New Testament of Christ is the teaching of Christ.

  a.  If we dare to reject Christ, His words will judge us, Jno. 12:48.

  b.  If we "abide in the doctrine of Christ" we enjoy fellowship with Him now and eternally, Jno. 14:21, 23-24; 2 Jno. 9.

3.  The teachings of Christ contain the authority of Christ, Matt. 28:18-20; Col. 3:17.

4.  Brings us to 2 John 9 and the "doctrine of Christ".


  A.  At Least Three Views of the "Doctrine of Christ" are Presently being Taught among Brethren.

    1. The teaching done by Christ and His apostles that is fundamental and clear.
      a.  This view can be summarily eliminated due to its subjective plea for "clarity" as the basis for determining the doctrine of Christ. In the absence of any scriptural pattern for such a definition this view must be rejected.

      b.  This is the "core gospel" plea of the new hermeneutics that rejects Bible patterns as our means of establishing and applying Bible authority.
    2.  The teaching about Christ (His divine nature).

      a.  Limits to the specific application being made by John in vs. 7.

      b.  Fails to observe that v. 9 is the general principle from which spec. application is made in v. 7.

      c.  The unity in diversity approach, allowing for ongoing fellowship among brethren in spite of different moral and doctrinal conclusions and practices.
    3.  The entire body of gospel teaching, the NT of Jesus Christ,
Jno. 8:31-32; 2 Jno. 9.
    4.  The Bible gives abundant evidence that "the doctrine of Christ" is the teaching given by Christ and His apostles (
Jno. 13:20).

  B.  The "Doctrine of Christ" in 2 John 9 is the Entire Body of Christ's Teaching, Taught Personally and through His Apostles.
    1.  Abide: "in reference to state or condition…to remain as one, not to become another or different." (Thayer, 399)
    2.  In: "a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state)." (Ibid., 209-212)
    3.  Doctrine: "teaching…that which is taught…doctrine, teaching, concerning something." (Ibid., 144)
    4.  Of: Conveys possession (genitive case).
    5.  Christ: Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
Matt. 16:16.
      a.  By Him God has spoken to us in these last days,
Heb. 1:1-2.
      b.  By Holy Spirit inspired apostles and prophets we have Christ's teachings communicated to us, 
Jno. 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:10-13; 1 Cor. 14:37.
    6.  The doctrine of Christ is His gospel, the New Testament.

  C.  NT Usage of the "Doctrine of" Shows its Meaning in 2 John 9.
    1.  The doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees (
Matt. 16:6, 12): Teaching of these sects, not teaching about those sects.
    2.  The apostles' doctrine (
Acts 2:42): The teaching that the apostles made know (the gospel, Mk. 16:15; Matt. 28:20), not teaching about the apostles.
    3.  The doctrines of men (
Col. 2:22; Matt. 15:9; Mk. 7:7): These are the teachings of men, not teachings about man.
    4.  The doctrines of demons (
1 Tim. 4:1): Does that mean men would fall away due to giving heed to teachings about demons, or due to giving heed to doctrines taught by demons? 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 1 Jno. 4:1
    5.  The doctrine of Balaam (
Rev. 2:14): What he taught: "who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel…"; it was not teaching about Balaam.
    6.  The doctrine of the Nicolaitans (
Rev. 2:15): Teaching they were doing, not teaching about them.
    7.  The doctrine of Christ in
2 John 9: General reference to the doctrine that comes from Christ. While it contains teaching about His divine nature, it is not limited to it.

  D.  In the NT, the Doctrine of Christ Denotes "His Teaching" (not the teaching about Him). 
    1.  The people were astonished at His doctrine (didache),
Matt. 7:28-29.
      a.  "And they were astonished at His teaching (didache), for His word was with authority",
Lk. 4:32. It was His word and its authority which astonished them. 
      b.  "…all the people were astonished at His teaching (didache)",
Mk. 11:18.
    2.  It was what Jesus taught which astonished the people, and that included much, much more than teaching about who He was -- it encompasses all that He taught.

  E.  The Context of 2 John Supports this Meaning of the "Doctrine of Christ."
    1.  The doctrine of Christ is "the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever",
2 Jno. 1-2. We must choose to abide in the doctrine of Christ which will be with us forever.

      a.  Do we only abide in teaching about the nature of Christ (who He was, etc.)? 

      b.  We must abide in all the word of Christ to truly be His disciple, Jno. 8:31.
    2.  The doctrine of Christ is the truth in which we are to be "walking",
2 Jno. 4.
    3.  The doctrine of Christ is the "commandment" we have received from the Father,
2 Jno. 5; cf. John 12:48-50.
    4.  Doctrine of Christ contains the "commandments" in which we are to walk (love),
2 Jno. 6; Jno. 13:34-35.

  F.  When the Christian Abides (remains) in the "Doctrine of Christ" He Abides in:
    1.  The word of Christ,
Jno. 8:31-32.
    2.  Jesus,
1 Jno. 2:5-6, 3; Jno. 15:4.
    3.  Christ's love, by keeping His commandments,
Jno. 15:9-10.
    4.  The light,
1 Jno. 2:10.
    5.  The Son, by letting the gospel abide in him,
1 Jno. 2:24, 28.
    6.  Christ, by keeping His commandments,
1 Jno. 3:24.
    7.  The truth,
2 Jno. 1-2.
    8.  His commandments,
2 Jno. 6.

  G.  The Gospel that the Apostles Preached is the "Doctrine of Christ."
    1.  All truth (the doctrine of Christ) was revealed to the apostles of Christ,
Jno. 16:12-13; 17:17.
    2.  The apostles were inspired to preach the doctrine of Christ,
1 Cor. 2:10-13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
    3.  The apostolic teaching is the doctrine of Christ,
1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Ths. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:13.


1.  We conclude on the basis of both context and NT usage that the "doctrine of Christ" is the full body of His teaching; the New Testament that contains His authoritative will for mankind.

2.  We must abide in Christ's teaching to be in fellowship with God, and we must not be in fellowship with those who go beyond His doctrine.

3.  Part 2 will pick up here to further discuss the text and its application.