Is there really a need for sound doctrine in the believer’s life? I mean is it important to establish clearly whether the Bible makes correct teaching, sound doctrine, ...necessary for the progress of the Christian life.” In exploring this we will center around two questions “how does the New Testament present the doctrine of doctrine; and what is the relation between doctrine and life?
There is a paradox of 21st century American life with the plethora of Biblical texts, commentaries, and sermons. We have at our disposal “millions of books, including vast collections of reformational texts of theology, Bible exegesis, commentary, and sermons.” And yet we, for the most part, cannot “…give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15). It seems that someone’s intention is paramount and has supremacy over a proper presentation of the Scriptures. It is heard throughout the land “they have a good heart” which is usually preceded by some asinine statement or action which cannot be defended by Scripture. Yet most of the people attending our churches seem to function as if somehow sincerity will do instead of truth.
However, the heresy that somehow there is a disconnect between the head and the “heart” of a Christian is to neglect the clear teaching of the Scriptures. Yet this does not seem to matter to the Christian who has “experienced” something. And yet the LORD says, “Come now, and let us reason together…” (Isa 1:18) which is clearly an act of the mind and will.
In addressing the “Doctrine of Doctrine” found in the N.T., we first view it from a negative perspective as the scriptures repeatedly warns the reader of the damage done because of false doctrine. It is because of this damage that elders are instructed to, be active in opposition to these things and ever vigilant against them. It is in defense of sound doctrine that the believer should use the examples found in the N.T. approach in battling false doctrine. 1 – Apologetics is an essential part of the Gospel, 2 –Apologetics is therefore not an optional extra, but an integral part of the apostolic mandate, and 3 – Apologetics is for unbelievers a defense of the truth, and for believers a confirming of the apostolic message.
From a positive perspective, the believer is exhorted to learn or educate oneself that they may educate others. It is the profitability of sound doctrine which gives rise to its necessity; as Paul states in 2 Tim 3:16 that all of the Scriptures are given by God and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness. Its result if properly applied is found in verse 17, he will be a man of God, complete, and thoroughly equipped for every good work. No more comprehensive statement could be made of the perfect sufficiency of Scripture.
The necessity of sound doctrine is exemplified in that only through it can the believer know the will of God in any given circumstance. Since God’s word is His revelation of His will to man, if one is to walk in accordance to His will he must first understand and properly apply its precepts. It is axiomatic, since in these last days He has “spoken to us by His Son (The Word)” (Heb 1:2) and the Word is contained, at least as much as His revelation to us, in the pages of the Holy Bible, the only way to be in His will is to dwell in sound doctrine. And it is here in the life of the believer that sound doctrine is to be manifested.