What priority do the authors of the New Testament give to sound doctrine?
The authors of the New Testament constantly argue that sound doctrine is of first importance.
- In the pastoral epistles, Paul repeatedly tells pastors to teach and church members to heed sound doctrine:
- “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:4).
- “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16)
- “Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing” (1 Tim. 6:2b-4a).
- “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
- “[An elder] must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).
- “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).
- The New Testament authors insist that sound doctrine is essential for sound living (John 17:17; 1 Timothy 1:5; Titus 2:1-10; 2 John 1:1-6).
- In fact, Paul structures his epistles to demonstrate that sound doctrine is essential for sound living. He begins with doctrine, and then applies that doctrine to life. Consider the relationship between Romans 1-11 and 12-16; Galatians 1-4 and 5-6; Ephesians 1-3 and 4-6; and Colossians 1-2 and 3-4.
- Ultimately, sound doctrine is utterly crucial because the gospel is doctrine. In order to believe, preserve, and live in light of the gospel we must constantly proclaim and defend sound doctrine.
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