"Doctrine is the term generally given to the body of teachings that result from... [weaving] together the various strands of the biblical witness, integrating them into a coherent systematic account of the Christian vision of reality." ^[1]^

The term doctrine refers to that which is taught. The Greek word in the New Testament is didaskalia, and it is variously translated as teaching, instruction, or doctrine. Christians use it to describe the basic theology which is understood to be the teaching of the Bible. In this sense it represents the content of the Christian faith.


Doctrine is important. Scripture stresses the importance of sound doctrine. In the pastoral epistles there are 28 specific references to the importance of doctrine or the content of our teaching. For example,

  • "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching [i.e. doctrine]" (1 Tim. 4:13).
  • "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; ?reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound? teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions," (2 Tim. 4:2-3).
  • "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 Tim. 4:16).
  • "He 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).


  • Kevin Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology (WJK, 2005)
  • George Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age (WJK, 1984)
  • Alister McGrath, The Genesis of Doctrine: A Study in the Foundation of Doctrinal Criticism (Eerdmans, 1997)
  • Richard Bauckham and Benjamin Drewery, eds. Scripture, Tradition and Reason: A Study in the Criteria of Christian Doctrine (T&T Clark, 1988)


  1. ? Alister McGrath, "Doctrine", in Kevin Vanhoozer, Gen. ed., Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible (Baker Academic, 2005), p. 177

See also