Theology – Biblical Doctrines – Sola Scriptura
Table of Contents
Sola Scriptura meaning scripture alone in Latin is the phrase used to describe the Christian doctrine of using the Bible as the only divinely authoritative source. This is the theological doctrine that states that the Bible, namely the Old and New Testaments, is the sole and ultimate authority for the word of God and truth, and subsequently, the Christian faith and practice. It asserts that the Bible is true, authoritative and complete.
Scripture is True – Sola Scriptura
The doctrine of the infallibility of God’s word means that God’s word is true and cannot fail. As it was given by God is was without fault, and absolutely true and reliable.
The Bible is the only sure standard of truth we have in this world, because it is from God. In fact we know that Jesus is the truth (John 14.6), and Jesus is the word of God (John 1.14). The word of God is truth.
Philosophically, we can even infer from the texts that not only is the Bible true, but the very nature and definition of truth itself is God’s word; that God’s word is truth itself. For nothing would exist apart from God’s word, whatever God speaks is true and the very essence of the idea, definition and existence of truth itself is from God.
Matthew 4:4 (ESV): “But he answered, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Scripture is the Ultimate Authority
Sola Scriptura asserts that the Bible is the highest and final authority in all matters of faith and doctrine. It is the sole source of divine revelation and guidance directly from God to His people.
Second Timothy teaches that all scripture is God breathed and is profitable or able to be used for EVERY good work! It is complete and able to teach you everything concerning teachings, testing, corrections, and in righteousness. Everything you need to know about what God wants you to know about is in the scriptures.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV): “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
All scripture is inspired by God, came from His will and God’s own interpretation from the Holy Spirit. It was recorded exactly how God desired it to be recorded.
2 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV): “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Psalm 119:105 (ESV): “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Scripture is Complete or Sufficient
The doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture tells us that the Bible is sufficient for all things concerning everything good that God wants us to do or learn. All spiritual truth will line up with the Bible.
Only the Bible is sufficient for absolute truth, there is nothing outside of scripture that is to be accepted above or equal to scripture. For there is no other institution or information in the universe that is as reliable as God’s word.
Science, history, traditions, and spiritual experiences are great tools to help confirm our faith, for edification and should be used by believers. However, these tools are also be used in attempt to combat the faith, and is unreliable due to spiritual deceit (the Devil) and bad interpretations and lies from other men. For this reason the Bible warns believers not to go beyond the scriptures when discerning what is true.
1 Corin 4.6 – Do not go beyond what is written
In fact believers are to take heed against arguments or philosophies that sound plausible however are unconformable apart from scripture, to guard against begin deceived. This stands true with anything that people may try to combine with scripture, which is unadulterated and pure (1 Peter 2.2)
Colossians 4. 4 – I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. … 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
Nothing is to be added to or removed from the Bible it is complete.
Deuteronomy 4:2 (ESV): “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.”
Revelation 22:18-19 (ESV): “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
Scripture is Alive
The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.– Hebrews 4.12
History of Sola Scriptura
Where is Sola Scriptura in the Bible. Even though the name ‘Sola Scriptura’ does not appear in the New Testament you can see the doctrinal belief in the concepts existed based on the writings of the Apostles.
When the reformation of the Protestant Church away from the Catholic Church occurred in the 1600, this was one of the primary doctrines established to reinstate the Church to its original beliefs. Martin Luther came to an understand of this doctrine and began sharing it during his debate with the Catholic Church in 1517.
“Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me! Amen!” – Martin Luther
The early Catholic Church had instituted the doctrine of ‘Prima Scriptura,’ meaning that scripture is the primary source of divine authority, along with other institutions such as the sacred traditions of the Church. This contrasts Sola Scriptura in the believe that, even though scripture is a primary source of authority, there are other things they believe God gave to humanity that has His divine authority, such as the office of the Pope. That those other institutions that have divine authority are able to speak for God.
The idea of a sacred tradition was never elevated in the New Testament to be equal to the teachings of God’s word. In fact Jesus warned the Pharisees of His day that their traditions nullified the effects of God’s word (Mark 7.6-13). The Bible confirms that the Bible also is God’s divine word for all humanity.
It should also be understood that various protestant denominations have risen up that believe in or a type of Prima Scriptura. Therefore it is not only the Catholic Church that accepts that belief.