“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine…” (Titus 2:1).
Doctrine is probably not a word you’ve used in the last several weeks, and it is not likely a word you intended on using anytime soon. However, doctrine is more familiar to you that you might realize.
The word “doctrine” means “teaching,” or “principles,” or maybe even “creed.” Your doctrine is the stuff you have learned and now believe as true and useful for life. Your doctrines might include mathematic rules, guidelines for logical reasoning, and truisms that keep you on the right track. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an example of a doctrinal truism. We know that apples aren’t magic, but eating an appropriate amount of fruits and vegetables will help us be healthier.
Christian doctrines are summary statements of what the Bible teaches. Christian doctrine, when it is sound, is faithful to the Bible and useful for Christian living. While many people might see the study of doctrine as a dry exercise reserved for some intellectual bookworms, it is actually the life-blood of a healthy local church.
Pastors are to teach sound doctrine, every Christian is to learn sound doctrine, and every Christian is responsible to pass sound doctrine on to those who are coming after them. In so doing, Christians will live faithfully to the glory of God.