In the next couple of posts I'll be sharing some thoughts on a book that I've been reading: SOLA SCRIPTURA, by various evangelical pastors and theologians. The posts will be short, but packed with powerful thoughts on the sufficiency and clarity of the word of God.
Sola Scriptura was one of five Sola's that came out of the protestant reformation in 1517, it was spearheaded by Martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk, who posted 95 theses on a church door in the university town of Wittenberg.
Sola Scriptura is Latin and means " scripture alone." The significance of this position held by the reformers was to show that only the Scripture was necessary for salvation and holy living. By the time of the reformation the Roman Catholic Church held that Tradition and the Magisterium (teaching authority of the church) were as equally authoritative as the Scripture.
The reformation was born out of desire to bring the Church back to the sole authority of the Scriptures. Robert Godfrey frames the differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants Catholics like this, "Roman Catholics believe we Protestants departed from the church in the sixteenth century. Protestant Catholics believe Romans Catholics departed from Christ's church even earlier."
Godfrey gives further thoughts on the difference between Roman Catholics and Protestant Catholics when he notes:
As Protestants, we maintain that Scripture alone is our authority. Roman Catholics maintain that tradition and the teaching authority of the church must be added to Scripture.
This background information is needed to understand what brought about the Sola Sriptura of the Reformation.
Here is our thought for the day, as Godfrey notes:
"The Protestant position...is that all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible with enough clarity that the ordinary believer can find them there and understand."
Here is an example of the clarity and the sufficiency of the Bible, Deuteronomy 31:9 states: "Moses wrote down this law..." and later in Deuteronomy (31: 9,12) Moses instructed the people to listen and learn to fear the LORD as the written law was read to them, and again in Deuteronomy (32:46-47) the words that the people listened to were described as words of life.
Look at this passage like this:
1. The Word was written down (this is the recorded Word of God).
2. The people could and must listen and learn from the written word.
3. This written Word was life.