First Principles

The writer of Hebrews wrote to his first-century Christian brethren, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food,” (Hebrews 5:12). In the context of the verse, we learn that the writer (whom I believe is Paul) had to return to teaching Old Testament topics in order to help the brethren understand the role of Christ as our Supreme High Priest (4:14-15). We can also infer that they had been Christians for some time now and should have already understood that doctrine so well that they were teaching it to others. Sadly, they had not quite progressed to that level. Instead, they were still like newborns needing “milk,” or what he calls, “the first principles of the oracles of God.” Perhaps, another way of saying it is, they needed to return to the Basics of God’s Wordin order to grow.

The application to us is straightforward, we each have a responsibility to grow in our Christian faith. We first need to acknowledge that the only way we’re going to grow and reach spiritual maturity is by studying the word of God and then putting it into practice. There is simply no other way (cf. Hosea 4:6). Sounds easy enough, but what exactly are those “first principles” we are supposed to learn? Well, while the Bible is our handbook for Christian living, containing “all things that pertain to life and godliness,”(2 Peter 1:3), it still doesn’t just enumerate each principle we should learn. We have to search and study to find them! A mature Christian can usually identify them quite easily. Sometimes, a newer Christian might need a little extra help to guide them in identifying those elementary principles.

With that in mind, I’d like to begin a new series of bulletin articles. Let’s see what we can do to identify those First Principles of the Oracles of God. I pray this series will be beneficial and encouraging to all Christians, but I especially hope it will reach those who are new to the faith. I believe the first “forty days” of a Christian’s life are absolutely critical since they are a new “babe” in Christ, a new creature. Babies are not left to fend for themselves. We must nurture and care for them until they can survive on their own. I pray this series will be used as a study tool to help the Bible student scrutinize and learn God’s precepts. Below are some of the first principles that every Christian should know. (The article series will be following these topics)

Principle 1: God has Given Us Certain Responsibilities

  • After baptism, then what?
  • The Characteristics of a Mature Christian.
  • A Christian must bear fruit.
  • A Christian must add to their faith.
  • A Christian must learn how to function within the body.

Principle 2: The Bible is Infallible

  • Where should we place authority?
  • How did we get the Bible?
  • “Rightly Dividing the Scriptures”
  • “The Sum of Thy Word is Truth”
  • How to study the Bible.

Principle 3: There is Only ONE True Church

  • Where did the church begin and who was its founder?
  • Why are there so many churches?
  • The Kingdom exists today!
  • The importance of Biblical names.

Principle 4: Christ is the Head of the Church

  • The divine organization of the church.
  • The Membership.
  • The mission and work of the church.

Principle 5: God Gave Commandments about Worship

  • The true worship of the church.
  • The Lord’s Supper.
  • Prayer.
  • May we have Musical Instruments in Worship?
  • Preaching the Word.
  • Tithing is not for the Christian?
  • Is attendance all that important?

Principle 6: God is Sovereign

  • The Trinity.
  • The scheme of redemption.
  • Principle 7: There are Dangers in False Doctrines
  • Can one fall from grace?
  • Have miracles ceased?