Apostle's Doctrine
or "What is Witnessing?"

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." -  Acts 2:42 (NKJV)

I heard a wonderful sermon, using this scripture in support of fellowship. I strongly agree about the importance of fellowship.

However, in this wonderful sermon the pastor defined 'Apostle's doctrine' as Bible teaching and preaching. Since I believe we want to do whatever the Apostles were doing, let's see what they really did.

Note that whatever this 'doctrine' is, it is attributed to the Apostles. Not to God, nor to Jesus, nor to the writers of the Old Testament nor to Rabbis of the time.

What did the Apostles have that the others' didn't?

  • They did not have seminary degrees or great religious training, though Paul did have some of the best rabbinical training available. He had not yet joined their ranks.
  • They didn't even have direct access to the hand-written scriptures available in their day! Only Rabbi's and the Scribes had that access, and to our knowledge none of the Apostles were Rabbis or even Rabbinical Scholars.
  • They did not spend 3 years with Jesus studying scripture and theology as their main activity, so they were not even 'informally educated' nor even 'self-taught'.

So what did they have? What was the 'Apostle's Doctrine'?

  • They had a 3 year long personal relationship with Jesus, daily watching Him live His life and watching Him heal the sick and crippled, raise the dead, cast out demons, hearing Him answer challenges.
  • They had watched Him be personally involved in people's lives, day after day after day for about 3 years.
  • They also sat as He taught, yet the recorded teachings often explained what had either already happened or was about to happen.
  • They truly had an intimate relationship with Jesus.
  • They knew His likes and dislikes.
  • They had walked with Jesus, in much the same way that Enoch walked with God.
  • They had heard Him. They knew His voice.
  • They knew His passions, His priorities, His Heart.
  • They had seen Him angry, in tears, interacting with people who praised Him and with those who hated Him.
  • They knew His nature, as no group in history had ever known God before.
  • They not only heard his voice, they recognized it, they understood it and they responded!
  • In short, they had watched Jesus do one thing: Glorify God's name.

They talked about this Jesus whom they knew.

As they "witnessed" about what they saw and knew, it became known as 'the Apostle's Doctrine'. It was not "head-knowledge" of God as a historical figure. It was not preaching scripture at people. It was not condemning people to hell-fire and damnation. It was not talking about Jesus without having experienced Him personally.

Just as Jonah didn't need a formal education to go to Nineveh, neither did the Apostles! What Jonah did need, was yet another experience of God's voice and responding to it in the proper way!

So, what do you know about Jesus out of your relationship with Him? What have you witnessed that you can now tell others?