42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
The first area where the early church gave continued adherence was the doctrine of the apostles. Further, they gave strict attention to fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers.
in the apostles’ doctrine [teaching]
The word “doctrine” means teaching. “Doctrine” consists of propositions or principles extracted from the Word of God. Apostolic teaching ultimately became the New Testament, the deposit of their teaching.
Jesus singled out the apostles for a reason; He would use them to write Scripture and launch the new economy of the church. Our Lord gave the apostles the special privilege of performing “signs, wonders, and miracles” (2 Co 12:12). He appointed them specifically to establish the church, which replaced the nation Israel as the operating dispensation. The church in the book of Acts carefully followed their teaching because of this bestowment of authority. The care in choosing a replacement apostle for Judas was for this very reason (Acts 1:15-26). Learning doctrine is the first priority of a local church.
A solid teacher is necessary for teaching doctrine properly. That is why the Bible categorizes the gift of a pastor as pastor/teacher (Eph 4:11).
The constituted authority of the church is God’s Word.
The church and each Christian should live by the constituted authority of the Bible. God’s revelation is a supernatural intervention into creation. It is information that we cannot obtain by science or experience but truth received directly from God. Ultimate authority for the church does not rest in men but in what God has said. That is why the church needs the exposition of Scripture and not policing by the church.
Jesus spent a vast amount of time teaching His disciples. The early church did the same. Paul challenged Timothy and Titus with one keyword in the pastoral books of the New Testament: “doctrine” or “teaching” (both coming from the same Greek term). The central role of the pastor is to teach doctrine. The reason for this is doctrine is how we form principles for life. We cannot apply what we do not know. We find the “apostles’ doctrine” in the New Testament (2 Ti 1:13-14). The canon of the New Testament puts a circumference around what we believe.