This is a guest post by Bobbie Jamieson, author of Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God.
1. Sound doctrine re-tells the single story that sweeps through all of Scripture.
From creation, through our fall into sin, to Jesus’s saving work on the cross and the eventual restoration of God’s rule over all creation, the Bible tells a single epic narrative that spans Genesis to revelation. Sound doctrine traces the contours of this story and repeats it in simple, memorable forms.
2. Sound doctrine summarizes and synthesizes the Bible’s teaching as a coherent whole.
For all its diversity, Scripture fits together as a marvelous unity because it consists of God’s own words, revealing God’s own thoughts and acts. Sound doctrine brings together all of Scripture’s teaching on every subject the Bible addresses.
3. Sound doctrine is a guide and guard for reading and teaching the Bible.
The goal of reading and teaching Scripture is to love God, and the way to love God is to know God. Sound doctrine tells us what God is like so that we may love him more. And sound doctrine is an important guard for interpreting Scripture. It helps ensure that we confess and delight in all that Scripture teaches, rather than setting one passage against another or drawing conclusions from one passage that contradict another.
4. Sound doctrine is God’s roadmap for the Christian life and the life of the church.
We listen to the teaching of God’s Word for the purpose of living it out. Sound doctrine isn’t an information archive that serves only to present facts. Rather, it’s a road map for our pilgrimage from this world to the world to come.
5. Sound doctrine nourishes holiness.
Every biblical doctrine, embraced by the mind and applied to the heart, conforms us to the character of Christ. Sound doctrine drives us to devote ourselves more completely to God in our thoughts, desires, attitudes, words, and actions—which is what the Bible calls “holiness.” As Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
6. Sound doctrine is the ground and pattern of love.
The apostle John once told a church that he loved them “in the truth,” and that all those who know the truth love them too, “because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever” (2 John 1–2). Truth is the basis of the special bond of love that ties Christians’ hearts together. And truth is the pattern of our love: we are to love one another in deed and truth, since that is how Jesus loved us (1 John 3:16–18).
7. Sound doctrine is the foundation of unity in the church.
When the Corinthian church was torn by divisions over favored leaders, Paul shot back, “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul” (1 Cor. 1:13). The unity of the church is grounded in the unity of the faith.
8. Sound doctrine is fuel for the fire of worship.
Over and over again the Bible not only tells us to worship; it tells us why to worship (Psalm 95:1–7). Sound doctrine reminds us that God has rescued us from our sin, reconciled us to himself, and pledged himself to provide for all of our needs, now and forever. All of these are reasons to praise him, adore him, make a joyful noise to him, and bow down before him in submission and obedience.
9. Sound doctrine equips and emboldens evangelism.
The better you know the gospel, the better you’ll share the gospel. And the better you remember that God is the one who gives life to the dead and sight to the blind (Eph. 2:1–10, 2 Cor. 4:3–6), the more you’ll boldly preach the gospel, pray for conversions, and trust God to save sinners.
10. Sound doctrine fills up our joy.
Referring to all the teaching he gave his disciples on his last night with them—including some of the Bible’s richest teaching on the Trinity—Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:11). Because it unfolds the riches of God’s grace to us, sound doctrine brings light and hope and joy. It fills our hearts with satisfaction in Christ because of what he has done for us.
This post was provided by our partners at Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, www.crossway.org, and the author.
Bobby is assistant editor for 9Marks, a member of Third Avenue Baptist Church, and the author of Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God.