The Apostolic Doctrine & Mindset
By Jim Durkin
Most people who read the Bible don’t understand it and cannot arrive at the truth in the same way that an apostle can. Every person can understand the truth but may not be able to discover the truth on their own.
Many believers may operate in ‘verse’ consciousness when reading the Bible, meaning that they may stop reading at the end of a verse without fully grasping the essence of what they are reading. The original Bible was not written in this way, and chapters and verses were put in for ease of reference. The apostolic mind sees the Bible in a way that is hidden to most people. This is a gift from God and is usually in the context of the entire Bible. It’s usually a broad perspective and especially important when there is disagreement on the Word.
All apostles do not have the same understanding of the Word, as it depends on their development. In Acts, Paul, Barnabas and Peter are together and are in the house of a gentile, eating non-kosher food. They heard that some visitors are expected, and Peter and Barnabas pretend to have just arrived because they did not want James to criticize them for eating non-kosher food. However, Paul rebukes them for their actions because he had a broader perspective and ability to adapt to any situation.
Reasoning in moral issues stems from mainly two areas, belief, usually based on upbringing and pressure of circumstance. In order to understand God’s mentality towards certain things, it is necessary to use the Bible for clarification, not from a verse perspective but a complete Biblical perspective. When we read verses, our mind processes them according to our logic based on our reasoning. When we know this danger, we will be protected from looking for emotional and semi-logical support for our positions. Repetition is another dangerous avenue for false opinions, as the more a person says something, the more he must say it. The more he believes it to be right, the more he can hear no argument to the contrary. He is then never free of the pressure to conform to the pressure.
The impartation of the Apostolic gifting results in the deep study of the Word of God. This leads Apostles to develop truth based on written revelation, which eventually becomes truth to the church. These visions must be supported and tested by Scripture, or else the church is left exposed. We are to be wary of emotionally charged atmospheres, compelling us to believe something in the moment, without any Scriptural referencing or testing.
Unity is created when the church can submit to the Apostles’ doctrine. It must be submitted to those to whom that mantle is given. Apostles may not always agree because they do not have a clear understanding of everything, e.g., when Peter preached the gospel to the gentiles and explained his reasoning for doing so to the other Apostles. The only way we can know what is right is to follow the Apostle that God has placed in our church.
The message is purpose, vision and everything that transforms a person into the image of Jesus. Let us hold steady to the Apostolic doctrine, learn it, be thankful for it and walk in it, and trust in the revelation that God gives to His Apostles.