Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breasts.

Isaiah 28:9

God wants us to grow up.

Accepting salvation begins the “Christian” experience. Some churches, however, teach “milk” (if they actually teach anything), but never espouse Christian knowledge and values. As a result, many believers never get off the launchpad.

In our text, we see God expects believers to follow a maturing process that mirrors the progress of human beings.

No one stays a baby forever. A baby can survive on milk, but – to develop properly – growth soon demands a different diet.

The same goes for believers. We start as babes which should soon grow into mature members of the Body of Christ.


No baby has written an autobiography. Why? They don’t know how to write. If they knew how to write, they most likely would not value writing and recording the details of their lives.

You should never expect a baby to do mature things.

How do babes in Christ develop into functional Christ followers? They need doctrine to move beyon “milk.”

What is doctrine?

Doctrine – Dictionary Definition

That which is taught or laid down as true concerning a particular subject or department
of knowledge…

A body or system of principles or tenets ; a doctrinal or theoretical system; a theory; a science, or department of knowledge…

Learning, erudition, knowledge…


The Oxford English Dictionary, 1933

Based on that definition, Bible doctrine is a systematic teaching of principles that leads to discipline in a particular aspect of life.

The Bible teaches right and wrong, as well as good and bad. Scripture also shows us how to live before God and man. We learn about God. We learn what God expects of us and what happens when we fail to meet His expectations. These things and more comprise Bible doctrine.

Doctrine – Bible definition

1 First Mention – Teaching, Insight, Persuasion (H3948)

We first see the word “doctrine” in Deuteronomy 32:2:

My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

Deuteronomy 32:2

Here, in Moses’ song, the underlying word for “doctrine” speaks of:

Learning, teaching, insight.
Instruction (obj).
Teaching (thing taught).

Outline of Biblical Usage

Matthew Henry tells us how to view Deuteronomy 32:2, considering Moses’ song:

The subject of this song is doctrine; he had given them a song of praise and thanksgiving (Ex. 15), but this is a song of instruction, for in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, we are not only to give glory to God, but to teach and admonish one another, Col. 3:16. Hence many of David’s psalms are entitled Maschil-to give instruction.

Matthew Henry Commentary on Deuteronomy 32:2

Moses’ teaching through song helps people learn about God, gives an insight into the relationship between God and His people. His doctrine also aims to persuade the people to live faithfully with God.

(For more about Moses’ song, read Deuteronomy Chapter 32.)

2 Understanding and Spreading God’s Word (H8052)

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breasts.

Isaiah 28:9

Here, the word “doctrine” comes from a different underlying word. This word refers to a message from God. Prophet Isaiah asks about who will understand the message of God. Also inferred is who will widely disseminate the news God has sent.

As previously noted, only the mature believer will understand God’s message and share it with their surrounding world.

3 Correction (H4148)

They are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock [is] a doctrine of vanities.

Jeremiah 10:8

Underlying the word “doctrine” in Jeremiah Chapter 10 is the idea of correction, rebuke and discipline. Here, “the stock” brings correction. In other scripture references, the doctrine comes from God.

The foolish need doctrine. Children need doctrine. Men and women need doctrine. Without the correction, we would all go astray.

4 Jesus’ Doctrine (G1322)

It came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

Matthew 7:28

I believe that Jesus’ doctrine would also amaze many “Christians” if they ever heard Jesus’ doctrine.

“Jesus spoke on the basis of instruction” (TDNT II:163). Kittel, in fact, says Jesus’ doctrine has “shattering and radical effects upon His hearers.”

The New Testament uses the same underlying rendered as “doctrine” 29 times. Here’s more on the sense of the word:

  1. teaching
    1. that which is taught
    2. doctrine, teaching, concerning something
  2. the act of teaching, instruction
    1. in religious assemblies of the Christians, to speak in the way of teaching, in distinction from other modes of speaking in public
Outline of Biblical Usage
5 That Which is Taught (G1319)

That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Ephesians 4:14

Here’s some clarification of the above text from TDNT:

Paul is warning them against being swayed by each variable wind which comes with the claim of being doctrine and of bringing the will of God as such.

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, II:160

Various teachings and precepts blew into the Church, enticing some to turn away from sound doctrine. Such attempts to bring alien doctrines into the church come from intentionally deceptive people.

6 Other Doctrine (G2085)

In 1 Timothy 1:3, doctrine refers to “other teachings,” acknowledging that doctrine can come from illegitimate sources

Don’t make the mistake of believing in the equality of numerous doctrines. Apostle Paul warns against “other doctrine.” Other doctrines exist in quantity, but they are not the same quality.

7 Divine Plan (G3056)

[Heb 6:1 KJV] 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Hebrews 6:1

Finally, we come to Hebrews 6:1, where Logos underlies the word “doctrine.”

A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus first used the term Logos around 600 B.C. to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe. Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (2nd ed): Heraclitus, 1999.

Outline of Biblical Usage


Believers need to incorporate every dimension of doctrine in their lives and local assemblies. Without doctrine, Christians will never mature and fulfill the destiny God has for them.

Next steps: Read more about the doctrine of God.

How to Look up Bible Verses