Sound Doctrine

There will be many hardships on the journey from Pentecost to the second coming of Christ for the children of God. “In fact, everyone who wants to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim. 3:12,13). God’s word is the only authoritative truth that can set us free, serve as the basis for our sanctification, and protect us from being deceived.

Using himself as an example, Paul urges every believer to have personal knowledge of “the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. All Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3: 16,17). “God breathed” means inspired by God. The written word of God was given through men superintended by the Holy Spirit so that their writings were without error. “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:20,21).

God’s word is first profitable for teaching (didache). The emphasis of “didache” is on the content and authority of what is taught rather than the act of teaching. Didache has been translated as doctrine. Having “sound doctrine” relates primarily to ethical instruction (see 1 Tim. 1:9-22), and it is a requirement for those who wish to mature in Christ. “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as he has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9).

When correctly taught and appropriated, the word of God will rebuke, correct, train us to live righteously, and thoroughly equip us for every good work. Sin will keep us from God’s word, but God’s word will keep us from sinning. His Word will rebuke us when we are wrong and correct us so we don’t do it again, with the purpose of living righteously. God never intended His Word to be intellectually discussed without appropriation, nor does He consider our walk with Him to be an intellectual exercise.

Sound doctrine and righteous living is a prerequisite for every good work. The word of God emphasizes being before doing, character before career, and maturity before ministry. We can’t be the person God created us to be unless His word penetrates our hearts and transforms our lives. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:9,10).

Dr. Neil

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