Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats…
I. THERE IS A REVELATION OF TRUTH GIVEN TO THE CHURCH IN THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH IS ITS ONLY DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION AND RULE OF FAITH.
II. THIS DOCTRINE IS COGNATE, AND EVERY WAY SUITED TO THE PROMOTION OF THE GRACE OF GOD IN BELIEVERS, AND THE ATTAINMENT OF THEIR OWN SALVATION.
III. DOCTRINES UNSUITED TO THIS FIRST REVELATION BY CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES, AS RECORDED IN THE SCRIPTURE, ALIEN AND FOREIGN FROM THEM, DID SOON SPRING UP UNTO THE TROUBLE OF THE CHURCH; they had done so in those days, and continued to do so in all ensuing ages.
IV. USUALLY SUCH DOCTRINES ARE AS EMPTY OF TRUTH AND SUBSTANCE, USELESS AND FOREIGN TO THE NATURE AND GENIUS OF EVANGELICAL GRACE AND TRUTH, ARE IMPOSED BY THEIR AUTHORS AND ABETTORS, WITH A GREAT NOISE AND VEHEMENCE ON THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED IN THE TRUTH.
V. WHERE SUCH DOCTRINES ARE ENTERTAINED, THEY MAKE MEN DOUBLE-MINDED, UNSTABLE, TURNING THEM FROM THE TRUTH, AND DRAWING THEM AT LENGTH INTO PERDITION.
VI. THE RUIN OF THE CHURCH IN AFTER AGES AROSE FROM THE NEGLECT OF THIS APOSTOLICAL CAUTION, IN GIVING HEED UNTO VARIOUS AND STRANGE DOCTRINES, which at length overthrew and excluded the fundamental doctrines of the gospel.
VII. HEREIN LIES THE SAFETY OF ALL BELIEVERS, AND OF ALL CHURCHES; NAMELY, TO KEEP THEMSELVES PRECISELY UNTO THE FIRST COMPLETE REVELATION OF DIVINE TRUTH IN THE WORD OF GOD. Let men pretend what they will, and bluster as they please, in an adherence to this principle we are safe; and if we depart from it, we shall be hurried and carried about through innumerable uncertainties unto rain.
VIII. That those who decline in anything from grace, as the only means to establish their hearts in peace with God, SHALL LABOUR AND EXERCISE THEMSELVES IN OTHER THINGS AND WAYS TO THE SAME END, WHEREBY THEY SHALL RECEIVE NO ADVANTAGE.
(John Owen, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.