Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sound Doctrine

2 Timothy 1:13 “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

 We here in Southern California have a radio program on the local Christian station titled “Sound Doctrine”. When Paul wrote to his two young disciples, Timothy and Titus, he stressed again and again the vital importance of maintaining sound doctrine in their churches. What is “doctrine”? Sounds like another good biblical word study for us. The old reliable Webster’s dictionary of 1828 defines it a couple ways: In a general sense, whatever is taught. Hence, a principle or position in any science; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master. Teachings. Specifically for the Bible, the doctrines the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles; Instruction and confirmation in the truths of the gospel. But, the doctrines of Plato are the principles which he taught. Hence a doctrine may be true or false; it may be a mere tenet or opinion.

1 Timothy 6:3-4 “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.”

Titus 1:7-9 “For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

One commentary I read says that if the great apostle was so concerned that his pastoral disciples guard the doctrinal integrity of their first-century churches, he would surely be even more exercised today. These are times when false doctrines are rampant, and when sound (that is “healthy” or “wholesome”) doctrines are often the object of compromise and distortion, or (even more commonly) simply ignored, even in some evangelical churches. Paul’s command was to hold fast and follow the form and pattern of sound words. Not only the so-called “spirit” of the words in Scripture, but the words themselves. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” - John 17:17.

 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

Such strict guarding of doctrine is vital for the spiritual health of the churches. Furthermore, such doctrinal integrity does not lead to cold orthodoxy, as some would allege, but is centered in the “faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” It is “the doctrine which is according to godliness.” It is doctrine which is not only sound in the faith, but also “in love, in patience”.

 Titus 2:1 “ But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”

After all, it is the doctrine of Christ Himself, who is not only “the truth,” but also “the way” and “the life”. Thus says the Lord.

In Christ, Brian

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