Many teachers and parents want to know this because they are looking for a Bible curriculum that aligns with their church or family doctrine. It is important to find a curriculum that you trust and that will not surprise you with unexpected teachings. Our customers often tell us how much they appreciate the way Grapevine handles doctrine.
Before we go further, let us define doctrine.
When discussing doctrine within the context of Bible curriculum, it means:
The perspective taken by the author, which will determine how the scripture is taught.
In essence, what does the author want to teach your students about a topic or section of scripture? What lesson is being emphasized?
We find, with our customers, that parents and teachers prefer to teach their own doctrine and explain passages from their own perspective. They don’t want to be told how to believe, but rather, they want a curriculum that allows them the freedom to teach their doctrine.
At Grapevine, we understand that within the Christian body, we have some differences of doctrines. Instead of trying to limit teachers to our personal beliefs, we want to allow you, the parent or teacher, to be able to explain your view of the passages we study.
For example: baptism. Within Christianity, beliefs range from infant baptism to believer’s baptism. Both perspectives defend their views using different biblical passages. Instead of wading into this debate, we encourage you to explain how you define baptism and when one is to be baptized.
Our stance on doctrine is unique among Bible curriculums because we trust the Holy Spirit to lead those who teach our studies.
Doctrine, in the early Church, was formally established with creeds, such as the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. These creeds expressed the basic doctrine of the Church.
Today, we use Statements of Faith to express basic doctrines. We still use creeds in some branches of Christianity, but more often, you will look at a Statement of Faith to determine what doctrine a particular church, organization, or curriculum holds. These statements will contain the non-negotiable points to their beliefs, regarding matters such as:
As a parent or teacher, you will want to familiarize yourself with a curriculum’s perspective on these basic doctrines before you commit. You can read the Grapevine Statement of Faith here. In addition to our Statement of Faith, we also have a Teacher-Directed Doctrinal approach.
Have you ever started teaching a lesson only to find that the doctrine taught is not something you agree with and then you have to quickly reword or restate a belief? We understand! That is why, from the beginning, Grapevine has taken the stance that parents and teachers are best suited to teach biblical doctrine to their students. We call this teacher-directed doctrine.
As authors, we at Grapevine strive to write in such a way as to provide launching points for parents and teachers to discuss their doctrine. When we do pose questions about a controversial passage which we know believers will debate, you will see the comment, “Answers will vary.” We respect the right of parents and teachers to decide what they will explain and discuss with their children or class. For nearly twenty years we have been thanked by many teachers for this approach.
If we don’t teach doctrine, what do we teach? Grapevine’s own Statement of Faith includes tenets we consider basic and universal, like ‘God is the Creator.’
As we study each passage of scripture, we attempt to keep to the facts. We use the plain or obvious meaning of the passage and encourage teachers to elaborate from there.
We understand that even some of the things we call facts can be viewed differently. One example would be the numbering of the Ten Commandments. Jews, Catholics, and Protestants all number them slightly differently. We have chosen to use the Protestant numbering because that is where most of our customers align.
Sticking to the facts allows our curriculum to be used by a wide range of teachers. We have parents who are brand new to the faith and who are just learning the Bible for themselves who read the teacher notes to their children. We also have mature believers using our curriculum who have the ability to go as shallow or deep as their students want to go. Regardless of where you are in your faith walk as a teacher, you can use Grapevine.
If you are a new believer or have never really thought about your own personal doctrine, you may be confused. We understand! Most of us have never had to actually write down our beliefs, so we want to make it easy for you to write your own Statement of Faith.
Read the points listed below and write out what you believe about each point, supporting it with at least one Bible verse.
For example, you might say,
We believe God is Creator (Genesis 1:1, Revelation 4:11)
Writing a Statement of Faith for yourself or your family will take some time and discussion with others. We recommend keeping it simple as you compose belief statements about the following:
o Who will be judged?
o How will they be judged?
o Describe heaven and who will go there
o Describe hell and who will go there
Once you have completed your own statement, then, and only then, read other statements of faith. Read the one from your local church, your denomination, and the organizations you support. We also recommend reading the Apostles’ Creed.
Then re-read your statement and see if you want to make any adjustments.
God has given your children or students into your care. It is an important job to teach them the Bible, and because you are looking into doctrine, you take your role seriously. Teaching doctrine doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. We are promised that if we lack wisdom, we should ask for it:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 (NKJV)
What great promises! Our prayer is that God will lead all those who teach Grapevine Bible studies to have wisdom and words to express the Bible clearly and accurately to their students. We pray students will hear and respond to the lessons they are taught and be equipped to one day become teachers themselves.
Have you completed your Statement of Faith? Do you have any questions?
We created a My Statement Of Faith Worksheet to help you write your own statement. Click Here to download the worksheet.