A Simple View of Sola Scriptura // The Solas – Part 2

This article is the second of a series on the “Solas” of the Protestant Reformation. They will post each Thursday here on The Post.

How important is the Bible? How important is it to you and, in general, all humanity? It depends on your view of it. As you can imagine, personal opinions abound when it comes to the value of the Bible, within the Church and outside of it.

People can get emotional in their opinions both for and against the Bible. But I have found the Bible does not need anyone to defend it. The Scriptures speak for themselves.

When I say the Bible does not need anyone to defend it, I have two things in mind—

First, the Bible has stood the test of time. It is the most well-read, sold, and translated book in the world. Although many may reject the Bible as authoritative, by and large, it is well-respected and loved throughout the world.

Second, the Bible speaks for itself within its own pages, along with the testimonies of those who know its value.

The word Bible comes from the Greek word for book or papyrus since the original written form of the Scriptures was on papyrus scrolls. We get the Scriptures from the Latin for writings.

Sola Scriptura

The Latin phrase Sola Scriptura means (by) Scripture alone. It is the beginning point and bedrock of why the Protestant Reformation developed.

As mentioned in Part 1, the Protestant Reformation started as a movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church and return to a biblical foundation for the Christian faith.

The heart of this first Sola is summarized as …

  • The Scriptures are the only and final authority in matters of faith, life and conduct, and Church practice
  • The teachings and traditions of the Church and its leadership must be measured by what is written in the Scriptures
  • The Bible is the sole reliable source of divine revelation above all other forms of human inspiration or direction

The Word of God

The Word of God as found in the Bible has a testimony all its own. It declares the writings in this collection of sixty-six books are God’s personal revelation of Himself and truth to humanity.

Here are a few of its declarations—

  • Jesus instructed His closest followers after His resurrection from the Old Testament Law, the Prophets, and Psalms (Luke 24:25-26; 44-45)
  • The Law exhorts us to be sustained by God’s Word (Deuteronomy 8:3) and speaks of Jesus (the human Word of God) coming (Deut 18:15, 18)
  • The Messianic prophet Isaiah declares the Word of God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8) and prophesied the coming of Jesus the Messiah (Isa 44:6-8; 45:21-23)
  • The Psalms declare that God’s Word is a sure foundation and a light that guides us (Pss 119:89, 105) and testifies of the Son of God coming to earth (Ps 40:7)
  • Peter, one of the three apostles closest to Jesus, reminds us that the writers of the Scriptures were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21)
  • The apostle Paul told his protegé Timothy that the Scriptures were God-breathed and the foundation for faith and training believers (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV)

Some final thoughts

This is a brief summary of Sola Scriptura. Whole books are written on the authority and origin of the Scriptures categorized as Bibliology—the study of the Bible. A few books are listed below if you want a further look into this topic.

Because of Sola Scriptura, I prefer biblical theology over systematic theology. Biblical theology gives us a unifying narrative of the Scriptures. It is also what I see within the Bible when Jesus quotes and explains Old Testament Scriptures, and later as the Apostles Peter and Paul do.

The Bible is an essential foundation of the Christian faith. It has been this personally in my life from the beginning of my search for and decision to follow Jesus. How has the Bible impacted your life and faith?

Books on Bibliology

Books on Biblical Theology

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