10 Characteristics of Sound Doctrine

Yesterday I encouraged you all to wear flannel in an effort to stick with sound theology, or something like that.

Anyway, what’s probably weird to some is that I would encourage people to stick with “sound theology” while there are those who don’t think I have “sound theology.”

What do we mean by the term “sound theology?” Problems arise when we use theological words that are not biblical words. When people talk about sound theology, I imagine what they mean is, “Theology that I agree with.”

There are many divisions in theology and not every one can be right. Am I suggesting that everyone’s theology must be in agreement with mine to be sound? Am I suggesting that I have never changed views on a theology?

“Theology” is a word that means “the systematic study of the existence and nature of the divine and its relationship to and influence upon other beings.” Theology is a general term referring to what you believe about God and how the impacts humanity.

A more precise term would be “doctrine,” which refers to the various pieces of a person’s theology. “Sound doctrine” is a biblical phrase. So, if I had to do it over again, I would have used “sound doctrine” yesterday rather than “sound theology.” But alas, yesterday is gone, and, according to my theology, it aint comin back.

“Sound” is a biblical word that means “healthy” or “uncorrupted.” “Doctrine” simply means “teaching.” The stuff we are taught, and the stuff we teach others, should be healthy. Again though, what do we mean by that? That everyone agrees with me or my Guy? Here are ten characteristics of sound doctrine:

1) It is centered on God’s Word. It is not a man-made philosophy that can be proved by a text here and there, but rather a conclusion based on the reading of the Word.

2) It has something to do with Christ. All doctrine, since it’s based on the Word, and Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, must be consistent with the person of Christ. Sound doctrine is Christ-centered.

3) It is clearly not sin. Any doctrine that messes with the sinful nature of sin, is not sound. Sound doctrine will be clearly separate from sin.

4) It requires some work. Sound doctrine requires study, diligence and the efforts of a workman to be approved.

5) It isn’t always what you want to hear. Sound doctrine will offend you at some point, it will be foreign to your human desires. Sound doctrine is not scratching an itching ear, it will more than likely smack you upside the head rather than tickle your ear. Sound doctrine is hearing God, not hearing others soothe you about their opinions of God.

6) It is not novel. Yes, there have been advancements in theological understanding, any study of Church History will show you this. Sound doctrine, since it’s rooted in Scripture, will have it’s roots going way back all the way to Scripture. It is not centered in a person, but rather in the eternal Word of God.

7) It leads to good behavior. Although good behavior is not the means, it is the end of sound doctrine. If your doctrine leads you to a sinful, unholy life, then your doctrine is wrong, end of discussion. You will know them by their fruits.

8) It is consistent with the Gospel and the Law. Sound doctrine will fit hand in glove with the Gospel and will never, ever go against the law of God. The Law and the Gospel are two revelations of the same thing–the righteousness of God. They will both lead you to Christ and in Him is sound doctrine.

9) It is contrary to materialism. Sound doctrine does not come from people who want to make money off you. Nor does it come from people who want you to be rich so they can make more money off you. Sound doctrine comes from people who want you to go to heaven.

10) It is probably what I’m telling you. But don’t take my word for it, look it up!

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4 thoughts on “10 Characteristics of Sound Doctrine”

  1. Jeff, is this YOUR list or did you get it from a Systematic Theology? It is a good list, all the way down to number nine, but I wanted to know the source.

    Darrell boomer

  2. Maybe the list came from Jeff’s own consideration of scripture and not relying on something he found taught by someone else.
    I’d suggest another characterisitc of sound doctrine (probably related to points 1 and 4 above): it is not established in our own lives via a “Systematic Theology” taught to us by someone else, but through genuine personal interaction with God and His Word. As good as some teaching may be, everything needs to be tested by His Word, trusting the Holy Spirit’s teaching more than man’s.

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