What is the purpose of Doctrine?

The following is a short assignment for one of my theology classes in which I was to read all of 1 Timothy and briefly describe the nature and purpose of doctrine and theology.

“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”
– Titus 2:1 –

Solid doctrine is not a myth or endless genealogies, and it doesn’t promote speculations or vain discussions (1:4,6; 4:7). Rather it is Truth (revealed, not obscured), that brings certainty, confidence, and faith; it is in accordance with the gospel (1:11). Sound doctrine comes only from God’s revelation in Scripture, not from man’s obsessions and curiosities.

Sound doctrine also inspires a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith that are evidenced by love (1:5). Therefore it is beneficial and spurs to action; it is life – transforming, not stuffy, boring, or stale.

Solid doctrine is to be taught and commanded; it is the fuel for public reading, teaching, and exhortation (4:11,13). Therefore it is meant for the public ministry and leadership of the Church, not just debates in coffee houses and seminary classroom discussions.

Sound doctrine is in accordance with the words of Christ and does not puff up – it breeds humility as it conforms our lives to the gospel. It also does not promote controversy and quarrels – it silences the cravings for more/extra teaching, and it nourishes and sates the appetite with the gospel rather than tickling the ears with unfulfilling false teaching. It doesn’t produce envy – it brings humility and focuses the glory on God, not me. It should not breed dissension, but rather should unite Christ-followers around the gospel. With sound doctrine, there is no reason or opportunity for slander, evil suspicions, or friction in relationships – it produces love, humility, trust, unity, love, peace, and harmony (6:3-5).

Sound doctrine can be stained (or eclipsed by sin, clouding the world’s perception of the gospel), so it must be guarded and pursued to avoid swerving from the faith (6:14,20).

So my questions are thus:

– What is your reaction to doctrine? Is it boring? Is it something that fuels your ego and eclipses the gospel in your life?

– Does your love of sound doctrine flow from a deep, abiding love for Christ and the gospel resulting in a life of love and God’s greater glory, or is it a vehicle through which you steal glory from God and a crutch that you use to neglect your walk with Christ?

– Do doctrine and theology transform your life and help further your walk with Christ, or are they a source of friction (both with Christians and non-Christians), providing a stumbling block to the gospel?

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