This article develops an account of doctrine that seeks to reconceive the nature of doctrinal reference within the context of human transformation. It sets out from Augustine's advice to the preacher of the doctrine of predestination, discovering three layers of doctrinal interpretation, rooted in and geared towards transformation. Augustine's advice is applied generally to suggest that the role of doctrine is to ward off general classification in respect of God, making way for redemptive encounter with God. These insights generate a new perspective on the question of doctrinal reference that rules out both straightforward reference to God and straightforward denial of such reference. The article concludes by suggesting that one way through the resultant linguistic minefield would be to speak of ‘hyper-reference’ to God, with the intention of evoking the ‘more than’ of God.