A Close Look at “Sola Scriptura” (Part1)
August 21, 2005 | Speaker: Bro Jurem Ramos
We are looking at some of the most important lessons God has taught us for nine years as the SDG church. This is part of our efforts to show our thanksgiving and praise to God for our 9th anniversary as the SDG church. Last week I gave an introduction to the 5 “solas” of the 16th century religious movement in Europe called the Reformation.
- sola Scriptura
- sola gratia
- solus Christus
- sola fide
- soli Deo gloria
- What is sola scriptura?
- Is sola scriptura biblical?
A. What is sola scriptura?
- R.C. Sproul, The term sola Scriptura simply means “by Scripture alone.” This slogan declared the idea that only the Bible has the authority to bind the consciences of believers. Protestants did recognize other forms of authority, such as church offices, civil magistrates, and church creeds and confessions but they saw these authorities as being derived from and subordinate to the authority of God. None of these lesser authorities was deemed absolute, because all of them were capable of error. God alone is infallible. Fallible authorities cannot bind the conscience absolutely; that right is reserved to God and His Word alone. (Grace Unknown, p. 42)
- Wayne Grudem states, "The authority of Scripture means that all the words of Scripture are God's words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God" (Systematic Theology, 73).
- Scripture is fundamentally necessary (Ps 19:7; 2 Tim 3:15)
- Scripture is absolute authority
- Scripture is sufficient (2 Tim 3:16,17)
- Scripture is clear and comprehensible (the theological term is perspicuous)
B. Is sola scriptura Scriptural?Someone said, “It is clear that sola scriptura is a biblical doctrine even if there is no one single text that expressly states, “Scripture is the only authority for faith and practice.” The word trinity is not found in Scripture, yet the doctrine is taught plainly throughout its pages. The same is true with regard to the teaching of sola scriptura. It is as apparent as the teaching of the Trinity. Let me just focus on two aspects.
- Scripture is ultimate authority (Isa 8:20)
- Scripture is sufficient (2 Tim 3:16,17)
- First, is the truth that Scripture is ultimate authority biblical?
a. This doctrine is clearly demonstrated in the OT
- Josh 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
- Dt 17:18-20 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left….
- 1Ki 2:2,3 I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man, 3 and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go,
- Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
- Neh 10:29 all these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.
b. This doctrine is demonstrated in the Bereans
- Ac 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
c. This doctrine is demonstrated by Paul. He argues and appeals from Scripture
- Ac 17:2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
- Ro 4:3 What does the Scripture say
- Ro 10:11 As the Scripture says…
- Ro 11:2 Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah
- Gal 3:8, The Scriptures foresaw…
- Gal 3:16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say …
- Gal 3:22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin…
- Gal 4:30 But what does Scripture say…
- 1Ti 5:17,18 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work if preaching and teaching for the Scripture says, “do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “the worker deserves his wages.”
- 2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
d. Paul himself is conscious that what he writes is God-inspired and he expects the churches to obey what he wrote.
- 1Co 14:37 If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command.
- 1Th 4:8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. (cf. 1Th 5:27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.)
- 2Th 3:14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed.
- Col 4:16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
e. This doctrine is demonstrated by other Scripture writers.
- Jas 4:5,6 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
- 1Pe 2:6 For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."