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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Doctrines

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DOCTRINES.—On the subject of doctrines in connexion with the Gospels but little light is shed by etymology.

Two words occur which have been translated ‘doctrine’—διδασκαλια and διδαχή. The former, which is by its form properly an adjective and denotes ‘of or belonging to a teacher’ (διδασκαλος), is used of the subject-matter of his teaching, as the analogous word, which is found in the NT only in the neuter form εὐαγγελιον, ‘that which pertains to an εὐαγγελος,’ is used in the sense of ‘the good news,’ ‘the gospel.’ The adjectival form διδασκάλιον, which in plur. in classical Greek means a teacher’s pay, as εὐαγγελιον means the reward given to a messenger of good news, does not occur in the NT. The word διδασκαλία, as meaning that which pertains to a διδάσκαλος, has in the NT special reference to the authority of the teacher. It is never used of our Lord’s teaching, and only seldom of that of the Apostles. Further, it occurs in the Gospels only in those passages (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7) in which Jesus accuses the scribes of ‘teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,’ and quotes against them the Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 29:13.

Διδαχή, the common word for the act of teaching or that which is taught, occurs more frequently, It is used with reference to the teaching of Jesus in a general sense, as where the people contrast His methods with those of the scribes (Matthew 7:28, Mark 1:22), and again of His preaching, as in connexion with the parable of the Sower, where St Mark says (Mark 4:2), ‘And he taught them many things in parables, and said unto them in his doctrine.’ Here διδαχῇ, ‘doctrine,’ exactly corresponds to ἑδιδασκεν, ‘he taught,’ and the phrase evidently means ‘in the course of his teaching,’ or ‘in the course of his remarks.’

In the same general sense the word occurs again in John 18:19, according to which the high priest examined Jesus concerning His disciples and ‘his doctrine.’ With reference to the subject-matter of His teaching it occurs in the answer of Jesus to the question of the Pharisees (John 7:15; John 7:17), ‘How knoweth this man letters (γραμματα), having never learned?’ The question refers to learning as it was understood by the scribes, that is, as theological science, those methods of Biblical interpretation in virtue of which they themselves were called scribes (γραμματεὶς), i.e. professional theologians. The answer of Jesus is, ‘My doctrine’ (ἡ ἑμὴ διδαχἠ) is not mine, but his that sent me’; in connexion with which Alford observes, ‘Here only does our Lord call His teaching διδαχἡ, as being now among the διδἁσκαλοι, the Rabbis, in the temple.’ Elsewhere it is applied to Christ’s teaching by the Evangelists themselves, in whose case it is sufficiently explained by the general use of the word with reference to teaching of any kind, and by the fact that Jesus was regarded and addressed as Rabbi or Teacher, and accepted the title, It is, however, important to note that, except where it is used in its most general sense, the word ‘teaching’ (διδαχή) occurs in connexion with the marked contrast which all observed between the authoritative teaching of Jesus and the instructions of the scribes, who slavishly adhered to such doctrines and methods as were sanctioned only by Rabbinical tradition, and laid emphasis upon trivial questions to the neglect of the weightier matters of the Law (Matthew 15:9 || Mark 7:7).

As regards the doctrines which Jesus taught in His own unique and authoritative way, it must be carefully borne in mind that He did not formulate them in the manner of a systematic theologian. They cannot therefore be rightly described as ‘doctrine’ in the technical sense of the word, and still less as ‘dogma,’ as that was understood by theologians of a later period; but rather as ‘apophthegms,’ to use the expression by which the LXX Septuagint rendered the words of Deuteronomy 32:2, where Moses says of his teaching, ‘My doctrine shall drop as the rain.’ There the Gr. word ἀπόφθεγμα, ‘a sententious saying,’ is made to represent the Heb. לֶקָח ‘that which is received.’ This word ‘apophthegm,’ indeed, corresponds very nearly to the expression τὰ λόγια, the sayings’ or ‘utterances ‘of which Papias speaks as forming the kernel of the Gospels, and which, according to that writer, were taken down by St. Mark as the amanuensis of St. Peter. Such a term, moreover, would aptly apply to the style of Christ’s doctrine, which, as Beyschlag remarks (NT Theol. i. 31), ‘is conditioned not merely by a necessity of teaching, but rather springs chiefly from the nature of the things to be communicated. These are just the eternal truths, the heavenly things in earthly speech, which can be brought home to the popular understanding only by pictorial forms. It is therefore the mother speech or religion which Jesus uses.’ As has been well observed, Christ’s teaching has to do with His own unique personality, with a Person much more than with doctrine properly so called. Again to quote the words of Beyschlag (op. cit. i. 29), ‘His teaching is that in His appearance and active life which is necessary to make that life intelligible to us, and without which the Apostolic teaching about Him would be only a sum of dogmatic utterances which we could not comprehend and whose truth we could not prove,—a result not a little awkward for that view which contrasts “the teaching of Jesus” as Christianity proper with the Apostolic “teaching about Christ” Taking due account of these considerations, we may yet gather from the sources at our disposal, the simple narratives of the Synoptic Gospels and the more elaborate narratives and discourses of the Gospel of John, sufficient materials to enable us to piece together a scheme of the doctrine of Jesus as He taught it and as it was understood by His immediate followers.

It appears most convenient to start, as has been suggested by Weiss, with the doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God.

The former of these expressions is peculiar to the Gospel of Matthew. The latter is more usual in the NT. Beyschlag suggests that the former was that which was most favoured by our Lord Himself (op. cit. i. 42). However that may be, it has for us the special interest that, as Alford points out, it is common among Rabbinical writers, a fact which seems to indicate that it was admirably adapted to illustrate the connexion between the current expectations of the Jews and the message addressed to them first by John the Baptist and then by Jesus, to the effect that the promise whose fulfilment they expected was already in course of being fulfilled. It is the natural link between the two dispensations. On the other hand, the peculiarly OT stamp which, though only by association, it bore, suggestive of Jewish theocratic ideas, would sufficiently account for the fact that in the other Gospels, specially designed to meet the wants of the Gentiles, to whom those ideas were strange and unfamiliar, it gave place to the alternative expression, ‘Kingdom of God. Practically, however, the two expressions mean the same thing. The earlier form may possibly, as has been suggested, have been by association so closely connected with the national hope of the Jews, and with that selfish exclusiveness which led them to regard themselves as in a peculiar sense the elect people of God, as to seem to countenance the old narrow views of Messiah’s kingdom, to the prejudice of the more spiritual and catholic teaching of Jesus Himself, which impressed itself the more strongly upon His followers the more successfully they sought to win the Gentiles to the faith of Christ. At the same time, they express at most only different aspects of the same truth—Kingdom of Heaven, as the phrase occurs in the Gospels, denoting a condition of things in which God’s will is done on earth as it is done in heaven, while Kingdom of God refers more directly and specially to God as the Sovereign of that regenerated society which the expression is used to describe. See Kingdom of God.

This conception is the central point in Christ’s teaching, by reference to which its most characteristic features may be most conveniently gathered into a connected system—as its relation to the OT, its revelation of the nature and will of God, its teaching as to the nature and person of Jesus Himself, its doctrine of man, and of God’s scheme for man’s salvation. This central theme attracts our notice in the beginning of the Gospels. It is the subject of the preaching of the Baptist and also of Jesus, whose message is briefly summed up in the words, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel’ (Mark 1:15). The Sermon on the Mount itself starts with the idea of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the same thought is the subject of two successive petitions in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:10 || Luke 6:20, Matthew 6:20; Matthew 6:10 || Luke 11:2). The fundamental teachings of Jesus naturally group themselves round this central theme.

1. The Kingdom being the true Israel of God, the first point of doctrine that suggests itself concerns the King, the Supreme Ruler of the regenerated people. We have thus, as the words ‘Kingdom of God’ indicate, to deal first with Jesus’ doctrine of God the Father. This, it is to be carefully noted, is not a new theology. The God whom Christ reveals is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Mark 12:26). That ‘God is Spirit,’ and can be worshipped only ‘in spirit and in truth,’ was not first taught to the woman of Samaria (John 4:23). That principle lies at the root of the teaching of the Law and the Prophets. Jesus accepted this fundamental doctrine, while at the same time He cleared it from those later speculations which tended to make of it a mere abstraction, or to accentuate the idea of the remoteness and incommunicableness of the Supreme Being. This He did by describing God, just as the Prophets and the Law had done, as infinitely holy, righteous, and loving. As Sovereign of the kingdom of righteousness and love, God makes holiness and love the essential laws of His kingdom, and commands His subjects to be as Himself. In particular, Jesus laid emphasis upon the Fatherhood of God, and taught His disciples to trust implicitly in the Father’s care (Matthew 6:25-34 || Luke 12:22-31), and to believe that that care extended to the very details of their daily life; while He exhorted them not only to rely upon and claim His compassion and His forgiving love, but to imitate Him in respect of these attributes, that they might ‘be the children of their’ ‘Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust’ (Matthew 5:45; cf. v. Matthew 5:48, Luke 6:35-38).

2. But the Kingdom of God, as Jesus proclaims it, resembles the Old Testament theocracy in this, that the Supreme Sovereign reveals His will and rules His kingdom by One whom He has sent and to whom He has delegated His authority. This, the hope of Israel, is an ideal which is already realizing itself. The prophecy of the Messiah is fulfilled in the person and work of Him whom God has sent. This is therefore the keynote of the gospel, that the Christ is come ‘to fulfil all righteousness’ (Matthew 3:15), to give effect to every part of the constitution of the Kingdom. Thus Jesus appears as the Divine legislator. In this capacity He not only, as in His parables, explains and illustrates the principles of His government, but, as in the Sermon on the Mount, appears as the authoritative expositor of the Law of God. He announces that He is come not to destroy but to fulfil the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17), and in this connexion shows that the Law is not satisfied with the literal and formal obedience of the Pharisees, but extends to thought and motive; He warns His disciples that, except their righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, they cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:18-20); and in other passages He says that in the Day of Judgment men shall be judged so strictly that they shall give account of every idle word, and even of any neglect on their part of the law of kindness and compassion towards their neighbours (Matthew 12:36; Matthew 25:45).

This aspect of Christ’s teaching, which is specially prominent in the Synoptic Gospels, has been represented by some as constituting the essence of His doctrine. But apart from the thought that, according to this view, the ethical teaching of Jesus would mean the enactment of a new code of religion and morality infinitely more difficult than the old which He professed to explain, it is abundantly clear from the Synoptists themselves, no less than from the testimony of St. John, that Jesus lays far more stress upon the subject of His own Person than upon any ethical doctrine or set of doctrines. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as distinctly as in that of John, Jesus lays down as the first condition of membership of the Kingdom the duty of accepting His testimony concerning Himself, and of following Him. As we read in the Fourth Gospel that ‘to as many as received him’ Jesus ‘gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1:12), so, according to the testimony of all four, the Kingdom of God is come in the person of the Messiah (Matthew 12:28 || Luke 11:20). The Person of Christ is the centre of the gospel.

A remarkable feature, indeed, of the Gospels is the fact that the essential Divinity of Christ, and even the express doctrine of His Messiahship, appear to have been made in His public teaching the subject of gradual development rather than of direct and explicit teaching. Jesus suffered not the confession of His Messiahship by the demons whom He cast out of those who were possessed. And although, when He received the first disciples, John and Andrew, Peter, Nathanael and Philip, He accepted their confession that in Him they had found the Messiah (John 1:41-51), it was in but few cases that He declared Himself in so many words to be the Christ of God; as, for example, in that of His conversation with the woman of Samaria (John 4:26); again when He declared to His townsmen in Nazareth that Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah as the great preacher and healer was fulfilled in Himself (Luke 4:21); and again when He answered the doubting question of the Baptist, ‘Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?’, by pointing to the testimony of His teaching and of His works of mercy (Matthew 11:2-6 || Luke 7:19-23). For the rest, Jesus allowed the thought of His Divine claims to grow in the minds of His disciples, and it was not until within a few months of His death that Peter in their name confessed His Messiahship, when Jesus, in welcoming their faith, expressly declared that it had come to them by revelation from God. Nevertheless, throughout His ministry the personal element was the most prominent feature of His teaching. From first to last He asked of those to whom He spoke, not faith in doctrines so much as trust in Himself as the Sent of God who alone could reveal the Father’s will.

And, notwithstanding the fact that He left the full recognition of His claims to develop gradually in the minds of His disciples, His testimony concerning Himself contained implicitly all the elements of a complete revelation of His Divine claims. Thus He familiarized His disciples with the use of names and titles, as ‘Son of Man,’ ‘He who should come,’ ‘Son of God,’ ‘the Sent of God,’ ‘the Holy One of God,’ ‘the Christ,’ which, they gradually came to recognize as indicative of those claims. (See also Names and Titles of Christ).

3. With regard to the Kingdom itself, Jesus spoke of it now as a present thing, again as that which should be realized in the future. So He said at one time, ‘Theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:10), and again, ‘Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you’ (Luke 17:21). Again He spoke of the Kingdom as future, and that in connexion with the final coming, the Parousia, of the Son of Man; so in the parables of the Great Supper (Luke 14:15; Luke 14:24), of the Marriage Feast (Matthew 22:1-14), of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). In this there was no real contradiction, for the central conception of the Kingdom is that of a gradual development, the future growing out of the present. We recognize this in several conspicuous parables, and no less in the practical means which Jesus adopted of founding and developing His Church, notably in His choice and training of the Twelve as the nucleus of that society of which the Kingdom should consist. Of the former, the most important in this connexion are the parables of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-23 || Mark 4:1-20 || Luke 8:5-15), of the Seed growing secretly (Mark 4:26-29), of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven (Matthew 13:31-33 || Mark 4:30-32). In these the obvious thought is that the Kingdom is already here, but only in germ, a secret, but a present and a growing thing, the complete realization of which only the day of the Lord shall declare. The Kingdom is thus not such as the common acceptation of the Messianic hope had led Israel to expect, a thought of which even the disciples found it hard to disabuse their minds—an external condition of society into which they should one day be ushered as a matter of favouritism or of covenant right, and in which there were places of pre-eminence which could be the objects of earthly ambition, or a condition of temporal benefit which could be enjoyed in the future irrespective of spiritual fitness. Instead of this it is a spiritual blessing, the gift of God to receptive souls, for the individual and for the community of believers a condition of heart and life gradually developed in them by the power of Divine love. So closely is future blessedness, the inheriting of the Kingdom, dependent upon present faith and patient persevering effort, that our Lord is careful to warn His disciples that while ‘it is’ their ‘Father’s good pleasure to give’ them ‘the kingdom’ (Luke 12:32), it is possible for the most highly favoured to come short of it, and ‘there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last’ (Luke 13:30; cf. Matthew 19:30; Matthew 20:16 || Mark 10:31, Matthew 21:31-32).

4. In this Kingdom the conditions of membership are manifestly of the first importance. These are (a) Repentance, and (b) Faith in God and in Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

Repentance (μετάνοια) means a complete and radical change of heart and life, a change so thoroughgoing that it can best be characterized by the word ‘conversion,’ a turning round. ‘Except ye be converted (στραφῆτε, ‘turn’), and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 18:3), is the teaching of Jesus according to the Synoptics, to which His words to Nicodemus in the Fourth Gospel almost exactly correspond: ‘Except a man be born again (or ‘from above,’ ἄνωθεν), he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3). Such a complete change as these words imply—‘change of mind’ (μετάνοια), ‘convert,’ ‘turn round’ (ἐπιστρέφειν, Matthew 13:15), ‘new birth’ or ‘birth from above’ (γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν, John 3:3), is necessary for all, as Jesus shows by addressing His teaching on this theme not only to Pharisees like Nicodemus, but to His own disciples—notably in the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35), in which, in answer to a question of Peter, He likens the condition of all recipients of the Divine forgiveness to that of a man who owes a debt of ten thousand talents, clearly meaning by that the infinitude of man’s obligation to God. So universal and so heinous is sin according to the teaching of Jesus. Sin springs from the heart (Matthew 15:18-20 || Mark 7:20-23), from its natural alienation from God, from the infirmity of the flesh (Matthew 26:41 || Mark 14:38). Man is, moreover, tempted to sin by Satan as the author of evil; though Jesus does not teach any special doctrine of sin, or explain how evil first came into existence, but deals only with sin itself as an awful and universal fact. Then, as all are tainted with the universal disease, and as the righteousness which God demands must extend to the whole nature, not merely to word and action but to the heart and motives, it follows that man is lost, unable to save himself, and therefore Jesus describes His mission as that of seeking and saving the lost (Matthew 18:11, cf. Luke 19:10). All are thus dependent upon the sovereign pardoning grace of God, and so Jesus says, ‘No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him’ (John 6:44). But that this grace is not restricted in its operation by any hard and fast decree of election, Jesus teaches by the manner in which He describes His mission, which is that of seeking the lost ‘till he find’ them (Luke 15:4), and by the universal call which He addresses to the weary and heavy-laden (Matthew 11:28).

While we may for convenience’ sake distinguish between Repentance and Faith, Jesus so presents them as to represent Faith as the source of Repentance, the one involving the other and leading to it. Thus, to take one illustration, the repentance which in His conversation with Nicodemus He describes as a new birth, is spoken of in the same discourse as the result of an act of faith in Himself, which He likens to the simple look directed by the dying Israelites to the Brazen Serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness (John 3:14). As Weiss has well put it (Bib. Theol. Of the NT, i. 97)—

‘The new revelation of God which is brought in the message concerning the Kingdom of God spontaneously works the repentance which Jesus demands. God does not demand that man should meet Him; He Himself meets man with graciousness, and thereby does the utmost that lies in His power to make man capable of the repentance in which He has His greatest joy (Luke 15:4-10). He does not make His revelation of salvation dependent upon the conversion of the people, as in the preaching of the prophets; He will work this conversion by the revelation of His grace.’

Thus, in the Gospel of John, Jesus makes faith in Himself the condition of salvation: ‘He that believeth hath everlasting life’ (John 6:48); and in line with such declarations is that doctrine, characteristic of the Johannine discourses, which seems to represent faith as knowledge, the acceptance of the testimony of the Son of God (John 3:18 f.). All that this means is that to accept Christ’s testimony, and to accept Christ Himself as the revelation of the Divine grace, is to become a child of God and a member of the Kingdom of God.

Again, Jesus demands not only faith and repentance, but insists as strongly as John the Baptist or the prophets of the OT upon the importance of living proofs of faith, and of fruits meet for repentance (Matthew 3:8-10 || Luke 3:8 ff., Matthew 7:21-27 || Luke 6:43 ff.). Christ’s disciples must prove their conversion and their right to the privileges of the Kingdom of God by their ‘moral imitation of their Heavenly Father’; sonship must show itself by the family likeness. But as that ideal is far beyond the possibility of present attainment, the Christian life is described as a steep and narrow path, to press along which requires constant effort and unremitting watchfulness and prayer (Matthew 7:13-21 || Luke 13:24; Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:24-27 || Luke 6:47-49).

5. With regard to the significance of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus as the ultimate conditions of the establishment of the Kingdom of God, our Lord treated that doctrine as He did His Messianic claims in respect of His Divine nature. It is represented in the Gospels as the subject of gradual development, as a truth not at the beginning clearly made known even to the most favoured disciples, but taught first by suggestions and figures more or less veiled, then by warnings and predictions, which became clearer as the end drew near, to the effect that Jesus must die. Still it is present from the first, though only in germ, and though it is noted as that part of their Master’s teaching which the disciples were most slow to apprehend. Thus it is represented as having been suggested so early as in the time of the Baptist, whose words, ‘Behold the Lamb of God,’ first led John and Andrew to follow Jesus (John 1:29; John 1:35-37). At a later period Jesus declared in express terms that ‘the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many’ (λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν), where the death of Jesus as a sacrifice of substitution appears to be distinctly spoken of (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45). The doctrine that salvation can come only through the voluntary sufferings and death of Jesus is so clearly taught by our Lord’s later utterances as recorded in all the Gospels, and particularly in the Fourth, as, for example, in the discourse on the Bread of Life (‘the bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,’ John 6:51), in the discourse on the Good Shepherd (‘the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep,’ John 10:11; John 10:15, cf. John 10:17-18), etc., that it is hardly necessary to enumerate them. One of the strongest proofs that the disciples understood Jesus to lay special emphasis upon the necessity of His death as an atoning sacrifice, lies in the fact that so large a portion of the Gospels is devoted to the narrative of the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus; while the full account which all the Synoptists give of the institution of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 14:22-25 || Luke 22:17; Luke 22:20), and particularly the significant words of Jesus recorded by St. Matthew (Matthew 26:28), ‘This is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,’ show that by appointing this ordinance by which to ‘show forth his death,’ as St. Paul expresses it (1 Corinthians 11:26), Jesus singled out this part of His work as constituting the central truth of His manifestation to men, and summing up and applying the whole.

Again, like the Apostles in the Acts and the Epistles, all four Evangelists represent the Resurrection as the necessary seal of Christ’s atoning work, confirming His victory over death and him that had the power of death, and as a testimony to the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. So Jesus, in foretelling His death, conjoined with the prediction the assurance that He should rise again the third day. The Resurrection is the necessary complement of the Atoning Death.

6. Closely connected with these fundamental teachings of the Kingdom of God and the conditions of its realization are those which relate (a) to the growth and maintenance of the Kingdom after Christ’s Ascension, and (b) to the final consummation and the judgment of the world.

(a) According to all the Gospels, the specialty of Christ’s mission, as that was revealed to John the Baptist, was that He should baptize with the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:11 || Mark 1:8 | Luke 3:16; cf. John 1:33). All relate the descent of the Holy Spirit at the Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17 || Mark 1:9-11 || Luke 3:21-22). John the Baptist testifies (John 1:31; John 1:34) that He upon whom the Spirit descended and abode is He who baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. Jesus attributed His power to cast out demons to the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:28). That the Spirit thus spoken of is a Person, and as such to be distinguished from Christ, is to be inferred from the solemn warning which Jesus addressed to those who attributed His miracles of exorcism to Satanic agency, when He said that blasphemy against the Son of Man should be forgiven, but that to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost was an unpardonable sin (Matthew 12:31-32 || Mark 3:28 f. || Luke 12:10). Jesus taught, however, that the prediction of John was to be fulfilled only after the Son of Man was glorified. Thus we read, with reference to the promise that the Spirit should be in believers a perennial fountain of grace, ‘This spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified’ (John 7:37-39). And Jesus Himself says (John 16:7) to the disciples, ‘It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.’ The office of the Spirit is to abide with the disciples as the source of grace (John 7:39), to bring to their remembrance the teaching of Jesus (John 14:26, John 15:26) and guide them into all truth (John 16:13), to give them power to discharge their spiritual functions (John 20:22-23) as leaders and teachers of the Church, and, as the Spirit of wisdom and utterance, to inspire them to testify faithfully and courageously for Christ in presence of their persecutors (Matthew 10:20 || Mark 13:11 | Luke 12:11, Luke 12:12). Further, His function is to ‘reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment’ (John 16:8-11). With Christ’s teaching concerning the Spirit His revelation of God was complete, and accordingly, in one of His last discourses after the Resurrection, He commanded His Apostles to ‘make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’ (Matthew 28:19).

(b) Our Lord’s teaching concerning the final consummation of the Kingdom of God may be briefly summarized. The disciples were instructed to live in constant expectation of His Second Coming (Matthew 24:42-51 || Mark 13:33-37 || Luke 12:35-46; cf. Matthew 25:13). That might occur at any time. His coming should, according to the prophecies of the OT, he heralded by certain signs in the world, by tumult and distress among the nations, and by portents in nature, earthquakes, storms, and the like (Matthew 24:29 ff. || Mark 13:24 ff. || Luke 21:25 ff.). Nevertheless He should come as a thief in the night, and surprise the worldly and the careless in the midst of their business or their pleasure (Matthew 24:43 ff. || Luke 17:27). Then also Christ should by His angels ‘gather together his elect from the four winds’ (Matthew 24:31) for the purpose of taking them to Himself and saving them from destruction (Luke 17:34-35). In connexion with this, Jesus spoke also of a time of sifting, at which all unworthy members should he cast out (Matthew 13:30; Matthew 13:41; Matthew 13:48 f., Matthew 22:11-13, Matthew 23:10-12, Luke 13:25). Finally, after the Kingdom had been thus purified should come the ultimate consummation. Jesus should appear as the Judge of all nations (Matthew 25:31-46), coming in the clouds (Matthew 26:64 || Mark 14:62 || Luke 22:69) to reward the righteous with eternal bliss in heaven and to sentence the wicked to eternal perdition (Matthew 25:34-46). See also Leading Ideas.

Literature.—Cremer, Bib.-Theol. Lex. s.vv. διδασκαλία διδαχή Comm. of Alford and Meyer; Beyschlag, NT Theol. (2nd English ed.) i. 28–156, ii. 267–472: Schmid, Biblical Theology of the NT, 63–90; Weiss, Biblical Theology of the NT, 63–90.

Hugh H. Currie.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Doctrines'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/d/doctrines.html. 1906-1918.

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