Sola Scriptura

2 Timothy 3:16-17: 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. [1]

            Sola Scriptura, Latin for scripture alone, become the foundation of the Reformation through the 1500’s. The reformers stood upon the Bible alone as their sole authority for their preaching. Men such as John Calvin, Martin Luther, or John Knox to name a few, did not look to man, or church traditions, but to the Word of God for their direction. As time progressed men continued to preach the word of God, but divisions broke off and started to pull away from sola scriptura. These churches have started to praise man more than Jesus, moving away from what the Bible teaches. Even traditional Roman Catholics has a history of not looking at the Bible as being sufficient. They tend to add man’s traditions, or they apply their own interpretations to the Word. The State of Theology report tackled this same issue, asking a range of groups of people, put forth this question; The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true. This question pins the Bible along side other ancient writings, asking if it is a myth or true. The question aimed at a specific age group, 18-34, was asked over 4 years and in that period of time, we see a swing of opinion towards more believing the bible is just a myth.

            For almost 2000 years, the Bible and the church has been under persecution, or scrutiny and has yet persevered. The church has stood against countless false teachers, world powers that try to ban the Bible, and empires that have tried to eradicate the Christian population. Through all of this, Christians continue to flourish, and God continues to move throughout the world. As we come to a more progressive time period today than any other point in history, the Bible is still under fire. Many young millennials has shifted their beliefs to where 53% believe that the Bible is basically a book of myths. It could potentially have some truths, but overall, they claim it is a book of fairy tales. This type of behavior is heavily influenced by the prosperity gospel and word-of-faith movement, and now the charismatic movement. Each of these new forms of “Christianity” have spear headed “new revelations” from God. These preachers stand at the pulpit and tell their congregations that God has nothing but blessings in store for you, or how He wants us to be healthy, wealthy and happy. While these aren’t bad in of themselves, they are peddled as the new Christianity. Instead of using text to guide their sermons as in traditional expository preaching, they use their message and find a verse that suits that message. Delivering these empty promises week in and week out can lead many to be disappointed, and unenthusiastic towards Christianity. The preachers rarely using the bible shows the congregation that it is in fact not really a vital tool for their ministry. Reading the bible daily isn’t encouraged, nor spoken of in these churches; to the extent that having a biblical understanding isn’t in the discussion. The truth is, if more people would read their bibles, these churches wouldn’t be able to exist. Paul is writing to Timothy, when he makes this statement, in his second letter, that all scripture is breathed out by God, and profitable for teachings, for reproof, for correction and training in righteousness.

            The issue we encounter is there no urgency from churches to drive their congregations to the bible. This is the same behavior that the Roman Catholics held on their people. While the circumstances were a little different, and only the church had access to the Holy Scripture, the underlying principles remain the same. Modern churches do not encourage their people to read and study, because they will evidently be exposed as wolves. As Paul makes the claim about the importance of scripture, he isn’t just making a bogus accusation, but drawing upon his deep knowledge of the Old Testament and Christ. A few factors to help establish scripture as being the rock to Christianity as the sole provider of truth are found within scripture itself. We use the Bible to prove itself, not disprove it. Proverbs 30:5-6, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” This proverb establishes that God’s word is infallible. Every word is of the Bible, written by man, inspired by God, containing no error. Revelation 22:18-19, God gives us a warning, “ For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” This set of verses strongly oppose the modern church, where people hold to a personal revelation from God, or claim that God speaks to them on a regular basis. We know by scripture, that the bible is complete, it does not need any additional chapters or verses written. All we need is God’s word because it is the complete book. Psalm 119:89, “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.” God establishes His authority as being the highest of all. The words written in the Bible, the word of God, hold ultimate authority over all, not only His chosen, but all of creation. There is no higher authority given onto man than God’s word. Isaiah 55:11 it says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” The word of God will accomplish what it promises. If God makes a declaration, it will be complete, while we wait, He is actively moving and completing His promises. His word is our guide to completing His will in our lives. Bringing us back from the dead and into a new relationship with Jesus Christ. Scripture proves that it is indeed sufficient for all things as Paul declares in 2 Timothy. As noted, Paul doesn’t just make this claim without having proof that the Bible is in fact the infallible unchanging word of God.

            With so many churches today pulling away from the Bible, it is easy to see how many millennial’s do not see the Bible as the authoritative word of God. Churches have pushed past expository verse by verse preaching to now only using the Bible as a crutch, or in most cases a footstool. They do not understand the repercussions of the dangerous teaching they give. Pastors are charged with preaching the Word of God, no matter the season, we must adhere to Sola Scriptura and continue to preach God’s perfect word, without fear of what the world wants to hear.

Written by Alex Zenk, @reformed_lifestyle

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Ti 3:16–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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