Sola Scriptura, whether many Christians know it or not, is one of the defining doctrines of the Protestant Reformation. We can pick up a Bible virtually anywhere, from a Hotel, a waiting room, or most family’s coffee tables but we so often neglect the importance of what is written in it. We can, as Christians, trust that the Bible is the revealed will of God as given to man and is for our good.
Why should we trust the role of Sacred Writ above the traditions of man? Are there reasons we should solely look to the Written Word for the rule of faith and the knowledge of God? The fact that the Scriptures alone are our guide, and not the oral traditions of certain churches, is testament to the fact that Christ established His Word and has preserved it. The Reformers brought believers face to face with the need for a return to the basics of the Christian life and for a standard to guide us: Sola Scriptura.
The Return to Sola Scriptura
The belief in Sola Scriptura was not new in Church History. Even though the Apostles initially taught orally with the close of the Apostolic Age there was a discernable close of special revelation and the need to codify these oral traditions into the written Scriptures. Iranaeus, Tertullian, Origen and other Apostolic Fathers labored diligently to preserve the Sacred Scriptures as they had been handed down from the start of Church History. They, as do we, felt that Scripture is most assuredly materially sufficient, and by their very nature the ultimate and inspired authority of the Church.
Before I continue I want to state what Sola Scriptura is and what it is not. It is very much the belief that Scripture is the source and rule of Christian faith as it judges all things including the Councils, Confessions, The Fathers, modern theologians, and us personally. However, it is not the belief that wisdom cannot be found in these councils, Fathers, and modern day ministers as they too ( to varying degrees ) are capable of leading us to Christ and undergirding our knowledge of the faith.
The esteemed A.A. Hodge states that what is meant in saying the scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith and practice is this: What God teaches or commands is of sovereign authority….the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the only organs through which, during the current dispensation, God conveys to us a knowledge of His will about what we are to believe concerning Himself, and what duties He requires of us.
He continues: What is necessary for to constitute a sole and infallible rule of faith?
- Plenary Inspiration
What arguments do the Scriptures afford themselves?
The speak in the name of God and command faith and obedience.
If we, as believers, offer to ourselves and others a diet of anything other than what God has providentially provided us we are going to famish as saints and lack power in evangelism. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God and the saints are to dine on not only the milk of the Word but the meat of the Word. These Scriptures, while not Deity Himself, are the words that He has chosen to reveal to us for our edification, comfort, and sanctification. We cannot live without the word of God and it truly should be the rule of faith in the life of every believer.
Do you believe that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is good for the Church and individuals Christians?
God Bless and Keep the Faith
Luther Wesley ( LivingNGrace )