What days these are! Surely every thinking person would recognize them as ‘perilous times’. Among their many dangers, Paul said they would be perilous to faith. The apostle prescribes as the antidote being ‘nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine’.
I recommend (with some reservations) L. S. Chafer’s Major Bible Themes for its helpful layout – 52 chapters, each with questions. And I like Herbert Lockyer’s All the Doctrines of the Bible for its many scripture references – the best way to study doctrine is to read (in context) everything the Bible has to say about it. But my favourite volume is Precious Seed’s Treasury of Bible Doctrine.
The 428-page book, edited by John Heading and Cyril Hocking, was originally published in 1977. Thankfully, doctrine – ‘the truth once delivered’ – doesn’t go out of date and most of the 96 chapters are contemporary in style. One benefit for busy students: every chapter (averaging 4-5 pages) is independent. No need to plough through the whole volume at once.
The authors – a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of UK assembly Bible scholars – give succinct descriptions of subjects covering all the doctrines except the church (treated in a companion volume, Church Doctrine and Practice. Styles vary. Some chapters are in outline form. Others are more extensive. My favourites include ‘Pauls Seven Men’ by R. K. Jeffrey and E. W. Humphries’ ‘Seven-fold Salvation’. This is what one writer calls ‘egg ministry’. It doesn’t tell you everything; just enough so you can hatch it on your own.
There is a devotional dimension to this volume rarely found in theology books. With detailed indicies this handy volume will do you much good. If I were heading off for Bible teaching and was unsure of the topics I might be covering, the second book I would pack – after The Book – would be my well-worn copy of Treasury of Bible Doctrine.
Written by J. Boyd Nicholson