We identify a Key Doctrine in every session of Explore the Bible Adults. Each featured Key Doctrine is set off in some way so they are noticed and not ignored. They include a doctrinal category, a statement, and a couple of Bible passages. The category points to a broad idea usually addressed in a doctrinal document. The categories could be God, the Scriptures, salvation, last things, and variety of other topics. The statement presents a truth related to the identified category. This statement connects to the lesson in some way. The verses listed at the end of the Key Doctrine give a biblical basis for the statement.
One of the frequent questions asked is the source of these categories and statements. Lifeway is an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention which has a distinct doctrinal statement. That doctrinal statement is known as The Baptist Faith and Message, 2000. This current statement was revised and adopted by the annual meeting of Southern Baptist that was held in the summer of 2000, thus the date designation. This document is the source of the Key Doctrine categories, statements, and passages. We realize that each individual statement is dependent on the other statements in a category but that does not negate the truth of a specific statement. Most sentences can stand alone, which is what one finds in the Key Doctrine features in Explore the Bible.
The Key Doctrine serves as a tool for teaching doctrine in a non-threatening way. We include suggestions in the group plans for using the Key Doctrine for this very reason. Those suggestions give the teacher an opportunity to explain a critical doctrine and show how that truth is illustrated or affirmed in the passage being studied. Connections between other passages also point to the unity of Scripture and help the group come to see how doctrinal statements serve as useful tools when trying to understand the whole of Scripture.
To help people better understand the ideas included in this doctrinal statement, a study guide was developed that walks an individual or group through each section, statement by statement. This study guide entitled The Baptist Faith and Message would be a great tool for personal reference. It could also be used by a group of teachers as a part of their personal development and training.