A great point from Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet’s Jesus Manifesto, (edited down a bit)
“In Acts 2:42, we read about something called ‘the apostles’ doctrine.’..what exactly was it?
Before we answer that question, let’s reframe it. Here’s the scene. The Twelve have just baptized three thousand new converts. Tomorrow, they will begin teaching these new converts. What will they teach them?
Look across the landscape of contemporary Christianity and ask yourself what many of today’s preachers would teach them. Here are some certain answers. They would teach them about…
- how to live a good life
- church multiplication strategies
- the mark of the beast and end-times prophesy
- the visions and dreams in Daniel and Ezekiel
- signs, wonders, and miracles
- how to build a movement
- leadership principles
- social justice
- spiritual warfare
- wealth and health
- systematic theology
Now compare this list with what the apostles actually taught the early believers.
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5:42)
Add to that what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 – “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
This is not to say other doctrines aren’t important. But some people, myself included, can easily get distracted and let things other than the “main thing” become the “main thing.” Our faith hinges on simple truths and not complex theologies.
Here is another verse to consider…
“The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.”
– Psalm 19:7
There are certainly complex things in scripture that take a lot of study to understand (which I personally really enjoy!). But in all of that study it would be a shame if we let our time meditating on those things overshadow our time thinking about and trying to live like Jesus Christ.