(Psalm 119:18; Psalm 138:2; II Tim. 3:14-17)
This sola is the foundation of all the other solas, for from it can all the other solas be excavated.. Literally it means ‘Scripture Alone’, but is more often stated as “By the Scripture only”. It is not to be taken as, “me and my bible alone” as some have taken to a practice of living outside of the community of the church. But these have erred from the truth. Neither is it to be taken as, the scripture is all that there is to our faith. But rather Sola Scriptura means that the scriptures are the ultimate authority which we consult on matters pertaining to true life in God. The scriptures are the Word of God pertaining to this New Life in Christ. All Christian scripture is to be applied as a unit, not to be divided. The entirety of the cannon is the whole picture, take a piece away and we have distorted the truth. And if we have distorted the truth, it is no more truth, but it is altogether false.
The scriptures can be described as the Supreme Court of the Kingdom of God, where God Almighty is the only Judge. There are lower sources of information to be certain, but these are subject to the judgment of God and His scriptures. Many authors have undertaken the task of applying the scriptures in a way more easily understood, and while these are great resources we must always defer to the scriptures as a filter and for proof of sound doctrine. Just as in America, we see the courts in every city, but these courts can be appealed. If you don’t like the decision reached by the judge in a state court you can appeal their decision to a higher court. But once you reach the Supreme Court, whatever decision they reach will be final. You cannot appeal the ruling of the Supreme Court. The scriptures are the same, and must be respected as such.
Interpretation of the scripture is of the utmost importance, and it is interpretation that has led the Body of Christ to the place it is on as of now. Many denominations and sects, cults and heresies of all sorts rule over the mind of many believers due to false interpretation. I will not attempt to ascribe a set of rules to the interpretation of the scripture as such things are outside of my reach, and must be reserved for the Holy Spirit to guide as He chooses. But I will apply a scriptural base for understanding and studying the scriptures.
- 1. The Scriptures can and must Judge themselves. (1 Cor. 2:13)
- 2. Understanding of the Scriptures is limited to those who are spiritually minded. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
- 3. No one can decide what scripture means by their self. They must be in agreement with the body and communal mind of Christ. (2 Peter 1:20, 1 Corinthians 2:16)
To be sure there are more scriptural proofs, but as I stated I will only be applying a scriptural base to this topic. Build on it as the Spirit leads you.
The catholic aversion to the entirety of the 5 solas is understandable, but erroneous nevertheless. In the case of Sola Scriptura they have interrupted the Creator’s design with tradition. They assert that tradition has a place next to the scriptures. They further assert that without tradition scripture cannot be properly interpreted. I make this one concession that some tradition does indeed have a place at times, but never next to the scriptures. If ever any tradition has a place in the body it is behind the scriptures and the Holy Spirits scriptural leadership. Even God has chosen to honor His word by never operating outside of its confines, as broad and wide as those confines may be.
The protestant world has an unspoken dislike for Sola Scriptura, as many of us are consuming every doctrine that we can stomach. We have no desire for pure doctrine that resists the pull of the flesh and cares not whether people are fond of it or not. We must be sure to examine the scriptures and utilize them as a guide for our lives. We should be challenged by the things we read, instead of challenging the very Word of God.