Last week, we introduced the subject of the five solas from the protestant reformation. Sola (if you remember) is the Latin word for alone. We will now take the time to look closely at each one over the next few weeks. The first is Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone. This “alone” statement is the unwavering belief that the Bible is the final authority in matters of faith and practice.
Sola Scriptura is rooted clearly in several Bible passages affirming the authority of God’s Word. One such passage is 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which states; “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In simple terms, the Bible tells us what is wrong, what is right, how to get right, and how to stay right. We can also see this in 2 Peter 1:20-21, John 10:35, and Galatians 1:8-9. Jesus said; “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Mathew 4:4) Hey, I figure if the Word of God was good enough for Jesus, then it is good enough for us, right?
The historical context of Sola Scriptura came during the Protestant Reformers’ response to the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church, which held that the Church Leaders, such as the Pope, and Church tradition had equal or greater authority than the Bible. The reformers pushed back on this idea. They held that the Bible, as the word of God, should be the ultimate authority and that the teachings of the Church must be based on Scripture alone. We would agree. They also saw the importance of correct interpretation. While the reformers believed in the authority of Scripture, they also recognized the need for proper interpretation. They emphasized the importance of understanding Scripture in its historical and cultural context. Reformers also encouraged personal study and application of the Bible. We should do the same.