What is sound doctrine? |

When I was young, I only thought about my future. With whom I will marry? What career will I pursue? Where will I live? Now that I am the father of four children, all I think about is their future.

Approaching the last days of his ministry, the apostle Paul began to think about the future well-being of Timothy, his “beloved son” in the faith (2 Timothy 1:2). He wrote to her about the most important things for life and ministry. Paul not only entrusted his young charge with the glorious gospel of God (vv.8-10) and the divinely inspired Scriptures (3:16-17), but also instructed him on the importance of sound doctrine: “ Hold fast the standard of sound words that you have heard from me, in faith and love in Christ Jesus. Keep, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure that has been entrusted to you” (1:13-14). According to Paul, doctrine is one of the most important things for the well-being of Christians and the Church. Sound, or “sound” doctrine provides a pattern that, if followed, promotes healthy faith and love. Sound doctrine is a valuable heritage that should be valued in this generation, and faithfully passed on to the next (2:2).

What is the doctrine? In its most basic sense, doctrine is any kind of teaching. The Bible, for example, speaks of the teachings of men (Mark 7:7-8), the teachings of demons (1 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 2:24), and the teachings of God (John 6:45; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 2:27). In this case, we are interested in divine teaching, the teaching of God. Here’s a definition: Doctrine is teaching from God and about God that leads us to the glory of God. This definition provides a useful anatomy of sound doctrine, identifying the source of the doctrine, its object, and its primary purpose. We will consider these elements of sound doctrine.

The source of sound doctrine

The triune God is the ultimate “doctor” or teacher when it comes to Christian doctrine. The God who knows and loves himself in the perfect communion of the Trinity has wanted, by grace, to make himself known to us and to be loved by us (Matthew 11:25-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12). . This doctrine, taught by the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, informs our faith and guides our love.

Although the triune God is the final source of doctrine, he has chosen to minister doctrine to us through his prophets and apostles in the Holy Scriptures. Until the day God speaks to us face to face in his eternal kingdom, Holy Scripture is the source and standard of sound doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16; see Mark 7:7-8). The doctrine is drawn from Holy Scripture as from a source. Holy Scripture is the one that measures doctrine as a rule. On the other hand, doctrine takes us back to Scripture equipping us to be better readers. In fact, those “ignorant” of sound doctrine are more likely to twist the Scriptures “to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).

The object of sound doctrine

Christian doctrine has a double object. The main object of the doctrine is God; the secondary object is everything that is related to God. Doctrine teaches us to see God as the One from whom and through whom and for whom all things exist, and doctrine directs our lives toward the glory of this God (Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6).

When we examine the double object of doctrine as presented to us in Holy Scripture, a definite pattern emerges (Romans 6:17; 2 Timothy 1:13). The pattern of sound doctrine is (1) Trinitarian (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:4-6; Titus 3:4-7), (2) affirms creation (1 Timothy 2:13-15; 4: 1-4), (3) is gospel-centered (1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:11-14), and (4) is Church-oriented (1 Timothy 3:14-15). The Bible’s distinctive doctrinal pattern has left its mark on some of the most widely accepted summaries of Christian teaching, such as the Apostles’ Creed and the Heidelberg Catechism, and has informed the shape of historic Christian worship.

The end of sound doctrine

The doctrine favors a series of ends. Sound doctrine frees us from the trap of false teaching (2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 1:9-11), which otherwise threatens to stunt spiritual development (Ephesians 4:14), and to foster ecclesiastical discord (Romans 16:17). The doctrine serves the saving work of God both within (1 Timothy 4:16) and outside the Church (Matthew 5:13-16; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:1-6). Above all else, the doctrine promotes the glory of God. The doctrine shines like one of the glorious rays of God’s gospel (1 Timothy 1:10-11), and by directing our faith and love toward God in Christ, it enables us to walk in His presence and give Him the glory He deserves (1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 3:18).

God loves us; and in his goodness he has given us the good gift of doctrine (Psalm 119: 68) so that we may learn of him and the gospel of him, and that we may please him in our walk. Doctrine is the teaching of our heavenly Father, revealed in Jesus Christ, and transmitted to us by the Holy Spirit in the Holy Scriptures, and must be received, confessed, and followed in the church, to the glory of God’s name.

Originally posted on . Translated by Daniel J. Lobo Image: .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.