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Sound Doctrine

 

Do you operate by preference or by principle? Do you have standards by which you conduct your life? Do you know what you believe and why? Can you defend your faith by using Scripture?

Failure to be prepared can make you less effective at decision making, evangelism, and may even open the door to spiritual deception. Sound doctrine—a specific set of biblical beliefs—is crucial in seven foundational areas.

1. God

Theology is the study of God and His relationship to the universe. He is the eternal One who is self-existent (Ex. 3:14). He is omnipresent (everywhere at once), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and immutable (unchanging). He is sovereign (in control). God is righteous, holy, just, good, loving, and full of grace and mercy.

He exists in three separate, equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although the word Trinity is not found in the Bible, the following verses reveal the three-part nature of God. Explain how each passage expresses this idea:

2. The Bible

Bibliology is the study of the inspiration of Scripture. Some people choose to accept only portions of the Bible as God’s Word.

  • How much of Scripture is inspired by the Lord (2 Tim. 3:16)?
  • Others believe that the ideas are inspired, but not the actual words. How does Paul refute this in 1 Corinthians 2:13?

All the words of the Old and New Testament autographs (original manuscripts) are inspired by God and free from error of any kind.

3. Angels

Angelology is the study of celestial beings (also known as the “heavenly host”). They were created by God for His glorification through worship and service (Neh. 9:6).

Satan was cast out of heaven because he sought to be like God (Isa. 14:12-15). Because the Devil has a host of other fallen angels at his command, there is constant warfare in the heavenlies between the angels of Jehovah and those of Satan.

4. Humans

Anthropology is the study of humanity, the highest form of creation.

  • What is one significant way we differ from other mammals (Gen. 1:27)?

Humans were created perfect but chose to disobey God through an act of free will.

  • Why do all people need Christ to save them from sin (Rom. 3:10, 23)?
  • Read Romans 6:23. What are the wages (consequences) of our wrongdoing? How can this problem be solved?

5. Jesus

Christology is the study of the person and work of Jesus. He is 100 percent God and 100 percent human, not merely a “good teacher.” Complete the sentences below.

A common belief these days is that all religions lead to God. But Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). As the sinless God-man, He was the Lamb of God who offered His blood to pay our penalty and remove our guilt (1 Peter 2:24).

  • Aside from forgiveness, what did Christ’s death make possible (Rom. 5:10)?
  • Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, but not everyone will be saved. What is our role in the process (Eph. 2:8-9)?

6. The Church

Ecclesiology is the study of the church—a spiritual organism made up of born-again believers across the globe.

  • What nations and tribes will be represented in heaven (Rev. 5:9)?

In addition to the church universal, there is also the local church. It is not made of brick and mortar but of flesh and blood. The local body of believers assembles for worship, edification, evangelism, and participation in the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

7. End Times

Bible-believing Christians hold differing views on eschatology, or the study of things to come. Disagreements arise about the nature and timing of the millennium. Another common debate is whether the rapture will occur before, during, or after the tribulation. Dr. Stanley personally believes that Jesus will return prior to the millennium (Rev. 20:4-6) and that those who trust Christ before the tribulation will be spared from it (1 Thess. 4:15-18; Rev. 3:10-11).

Look up each passage and summarize what it teaches about the end times. For passages with several prophesies, focus on the ones that seem most significant:

Closing: What are the benefits of knowing sound doctrine? Greater protection against spiritual deception, guidelines for the decisions you must make, more effective evangelism, and an increased ability to defend your faith are just a few. The Bible provides a firm foundation for the fruitful Christian life.

Prayer: Father, thank You for revealing truth through Scripture. Enable me to learn and apply more spiritual truth as I study Your Word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Adapted from “Charles Stanley’s Handbook for Christian Living” (1996).

(Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)