Sound Faith

by Robbie Nichols

When Paul writes to Timothy and Titus, he exhorts them multiple times to keep their teaching sound, their doctrine sound and to really work to keep the Christians they preached to sound in faith. We see this last phrase twice in the book of Titus (1:13, 2:2). I have heard a lot about sound doctrine and sound teaching, but what about sound faith? What does it mean to have sound faith? Can faith even be sound? How can we know?

What does it mean, then, for something to be sound? According to Thayer and Smith, the greek word here means to be sound, to be well, to be in good health. When we read about something that is sound, it is also possible to have the same thing in an unhealthy way. Otherwise it would be pointless to think about the soundness of the thing. So, if sound faith is believing and practicing sound doctrine and teachings (Romans 10:17), unhealthy faith is believing and practicing unhealthy doctrine and teachings. In Titus 1:13, the unhealthy faith Titus contends with comes from believing Jewish myths or commands from men that have strayed from the truth. James also writes about faith that cannot save in James 2:14 when he writes about faith without works. We see, then, that not all faith is good for you and able to save.

If faith is just a feeling or a supernatural and unexplainable belief and “everything goes” as long as one only believes (even without any founded evidence), then even the concept of sound faith is, to me, mind boggling. In truth, there is only one healthy faith (Ephesians 4:5) and any “personal faith” or deviation from this one true faith is unhealthy and unsound. Having faith is not enough. You need to have the one faith. Attaining this is considerably more difficult than finding a faith you like. This is a big distinction to make. When I talk about anyone's “own faith”, I don't talk about something that is unique, but how they have (or don't have) part in this one faith. This view is consistent with the faith we read about through Hebrews 11, but we don't find the idea of people having unique faith and being saved by it in the bible.

How can you know wether or not you have the one saving, sound faith? Ultimately, the answer to this question falls back to the doctrine and teachings you believe and practice. Where do they come from? Man? The bible? A man telling you they come from the bible? The only way to know for sure is to understand for yourself, reasoning from the scriptures in order to know that God is the source. The word of God is the only authority we can consult to check faith to see if it is true saving faith. Any loony can write an article about faith, but to know if it is right one has to search the scriptures to test it. Just agreeing with it because it sounds nice and I like it is not a healthy way to think.