Sound Doctrine for Peculiar People
The concept of "sound doctrine" is a popular discussion topic within the Lord's church. We frequently discuss the importance of churches adhering to "sound doctrine." This is a good thing. Many places of worship do not take sound doctrine nearly as seriously as they should.
In Titus 2:1, the apostle Paul instructs Titus to "speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine." "Sound" essentially means "right," and "doctrine" refers to "teaching." So, sound doctrine means teaching the right things – a rather straightforward idea. But what exactly are these "right things" Paul is concerned with?
In Titus 1:5, we learn that Paul left Titus in Crete to "set in order the things that are lacking." The rest of the chapter goes on to address the qualifications of elders and some issues the elders would be dealing with in Crete. When we reach Titus 2, we notice something intriguing: there's no mention of instructions on how to worship, handle finances, or even the "steps of salvation."
The sound doctrine Paul is concerned with in Titus 2 is all about living a godly life. Christians are to conduct ourselves and interact with each other in certain ways. He mentions things like self-control, love, and good deeds, and other broad aspects of Christian life.
When we talk about a "sound congregation," we often focus on whether they sing a capella, manage their finances responsibly, and preach the gospel plan of salvation. While these benchmarks are critical, they offer a somewhat simplistic view of sound doctrine. In truth, sound doctrine encompasses a broader understanding of faithfulness. While singing a capella, managing finances responsibly, and teaching the gospel plan of salvation are important, these aspects are pieces of the puzzle, not the whole picture. Paul's instructions to Titus in the book of Titus reveal a more comprehensive perspective on sound doctrine.
How we worship and handle church finances are important, but sound doctrine transcends these individual components. When we hyper-focus on specific, limited aspects of faith, we might just fall short of the sound doctrine God calls us to embrace.
Titus 2 closes with a reflection on the mission of Jesus Christ. Titus 2:14 describes believers as "people for (God’s) own possession, eager for good deeds.” The King James Version calls us “peculiar” people. We are made peculiar, not just by what we do together on Sundays, but what we do in His name every day. As God’s own people, let us commit ourselves to a life consistent with sound doctrine.