Why teaching sound doctrine is not enough

“All Scripture is inspired of God and profitable…” (2 Timothy 3:16).

In previous articles for this website, we have stressed the importance of pastors and teachers feeding their people a steady diet of healthy doctrinal teachings.  IScripture calls it “sound doctrine.”

This cannot be overemphasized. The Apostle Paul said, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another….” (Colossians 3:16).

Paul speaks of being “constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following” (I Timothy 4:6).

Teaching sound doctrine is a big deal for all believers.

Clearly, that refers to teaching the Bible with a thorough understanding of what that means, where each doctrine fits, how to live its teachings, and so forth.

But there is one huge thing more, without which simply teaching sound doctrine is not enough.

We need to teach our people the WHY of knowing and possessing a proper understanding of Scripture. 

If they study doctrine and even if they learn sound biblical teachings, but without understanding the “why,” they will not be prepared when faced with the very situations for which Scripture intends to prepare them.

Let’s say, for instance…

1) Someone is teaching heresy. Suddenly–and almost always without advance warning–you are on the spot as to what you believe and why you do not believe what they are saying.

Are you ready? If you are not, it’s panic time.

2) Someone comes to you with a major spiritual crisis.  It’s not simply your wisdom they are seeking, but they are crying out to know what God’s word says on this matter.

Are you prepared for this?  If you are not, you can still offer them a listening ear and a compassionate heart.  But those are not enough. They need the words of life.

3) You find yourself in a tempting situation when you are torn in two directions. One way will mean that you engage in some questionable activities but which might make the future much more easier for you, you think. The other choice seems right in a sort of dull and difficult way. With anyone else, you could tell them what to do in a heartbeat. What should you do?

Are you prepared for this?

The time to prepare for the future and all that it holds is when nothing is coming at you, no one is clamoring for an answer, and temptation has left you alone, at least for the moment.

That’s why we absolutely must learn biblical doctrine: to be able to handle those unexpected crises that drop down upon us without warning, leaving no time to “let me run get my Bible.”

I’m thinking of a violent gunman who took a woman and her small child hostage in her own apartment in northern Georgia a few years back.  Even though this young mother had a troubled past, she had given her heart to the Lord Jesus and was deeply involved in her church’s discipleship ministries. She knew her Bible.  Gradually, over a day or two, she was able to share God’s Word with the man, to reason with him with God’s truth, and to bring him to the point of surrendering with no further violence.  That young woman became a media star overnight.  Some readers will remember this, and perhaps can refresh my memory as to who she was and some of the details. Suffice it to say for our purposes here that a) one never knows when such a critical event may occur and b) we must be ready.

As Paul said to Timothy, “Be ready in season, and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2).

The knowledge the Holy Spirit gives us is not as an end in itself, but to make us strong in the Lord for HIs purposes.  And He alone knows what “plans He has for us” (a reference to Jeremiah 29:11).



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