# SOLA SCRIPTURA AND REFORMERS# 1. THE DEFINITION OF “SOLA…
# SOLA SCRIPTURA AND REFORMERS#
1. THE DEFINITION OF “SOLA SCRIPTURA”
Turn to 2 Timothy 3:14-17
This favourite passage of the reformers is critical to an understanding of what they believed and why it was so important to them.
Sola Scriptura means that the revealed word of God ,the scripture alone,is instructive for the faith and practice of the Christian.This means that the Scripture is complete, authoritative and true.
This doctrine stands in Stark contrast to the centuries of Roman Catholic traditions which were considered Superior to the scriptures.
Traditions can be wonderful things but they can also be deadly when they usurp the authority of the Scriptures.
Sola Scriptura does not nullify the concept of church traditions.Rather, it gives a solid foundation on which to base our church traditions.
There are non-biblical church traditions and there are anti-biblical church traditions.Non-biblical church traditions are without morality unless they are made to be pre-requisites for grace,faith and salvation.Anti-biblical church traditions stands in opposition to the revealed word of God and must be eradicated from the church because they attack the core doctrines of the gospel.
•Communion and lunch must be on the 1st Sunday of every month.
•A preacher must always wear a tie when in the pulpit.
•Confession of sin to a priest.
•The necessity of infant baptism for regeneration and removal of original sin.
Sola Scriptura is the foundation stone upon which all of the gospel truth stands.A failure to believe that the Bible is God-breathed and profitable for teaching,reproof,correction and for training in righteousness will bring about grave error and Rob us of the truth that God revealed for His people.
2. THE IMPLICATIONS OF “SOLA SCRIPTURA”
In this point, we will discuss the “nuts and bolts” of Sola scriptura.In other words, we will explain what the Reformers implied when they raised the banner of Sola Scriptura.
1. The Scripture Is Divine
Paul said, “All Scripture is breathed out by God”(2Tim 3:16).
The Reformers believed in the verbal plenary inspiration of the Scriptures.By this they meant that the Bible in its original autograph(manuscripts) was the precise words of God and recorded by those He selected to be His scribes.
2. The Scripture Is Complete
The word “plenary” means “full” or “absolute” and in context of the scriptures refers to the whole Bible as being inspired not simply portions of it.
3. The Scripture Is Authoritative
It was perhaps this third point which spearheaded the Reformation and widened the chasm between the Roman Catholic Church and the Reformers.
Church traditions,Papal declarations,and Catholic literature were all held in higher esteem and authority than the Scripture.
One can recall the time when Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You leave the commandments of God and hold to the tradition of men….thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down….”(Mark 7:8,13).
For Martin Luther and others they believed that the Scripture was the complete and final court of appeal for all matters of faith and practice.
When Luther was commanded to recant he replied by saying: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the scriptures or by clear reason( for I don’t trust in Pope or Councils alone,since it is well known that they are often erred and contradicted themselves),I am bound by the scriptures I have quoted.My conscience is captive to the word of God.I cannot and i will not retract anything,since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience.May God help me.Amen”
4. The Scripture Is Perspicuous
By “Perspicuous” we mean that the essential teachings of the gospel are plain to see.They are not mystical or hard to comprehend.Since God is not a God of confusion (1Cor 14:33),Sola Scriptura teaches that the message of salvation which is the primary theme of God’s word,is not only for the elite or the academics.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”(2Tim.3:15).
The Roman Catholic Church historically forbade the laity from owning and reading the Bible.Only the church leaders were permitted to divulge and interpret the scriptures.This led to a plethora of erroneous teachings and formed the reason why Tyndale, Wycliffe,Luther and others were so concerned about translating the Bible into the coming language of the people.
QUOTE BY WILLIAM TYNDALE:
“I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue.”
“I defy the pope and all his laws.If God spare my life,were many years I will cause a boy who drives the plough to know more of the scriptures than you do.”
Before we move on,it is important to note that the Reformers also asserted that Scripture’s most effective means of interpretation is the Scriptures themselves.This was called the “analogy of faith principle” which simply meant that when one had difficulty understanding an unclear text of Scripture,they would turn to other biblical texts for the answers.
5. The Scripture Is Christ-Centered
The Reformers lived in a time when the Bible was only available to the religious elite and the majority of the teaching provided by the priests and monks was church-centered, tradition-driven,Pope-inspired messages.
The Reformation was largely about a return to the authority of the scriptures,but it also included a renewed understanding of the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle John proves that Christ is the central theme of the scriptures in John 5:39 where Jesus says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”
3. THE APPLICATION OF SOLA SCRIPTURA TODAY
In this final point we are simply asking ,what relevance or importance does “Sola Scriptura” have for us today 502 years after the Reformation?
• The Exceeding Value Of The Scriptures
The floor of history is stained red with the blood of countless men and women who believed in Sola scriptura,and died in an effort to bring the word of God to the people.
✓ Consider How The Psalmist Described The Scriptures:
°Psalm 119:24 Your testimonies are my delight ; they are my counselors.
°Psalm 119:47 For I find my delight in your commandments,which I love.
°Psalm 119:72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
°Psalm 119:97 Oh how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day.
°Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste,sweeter than honey to my mouth!
If nothing else is achieved in this message,the point of the above note is to increase a renewed love and appreciation for the word of God.
SHORT HISTORY OF THE SCRIPTUREA:
The translation of the Scriptures into English began largely with John Wycliffe in the 14th century.Next came William Tyndale whose Herculean efforts amidst great tribulation,still make up nearly 90% of the King James Bible.Tyndale’s work was the first rendering into English directly from the Hebrew,Greek and Aramaic.Tyndale experienced all manner of trial and tribulation and finally was betrayed by a “friend” which led to his martyrdom on October 6,1536.He was strangled and then burned at the stake.His last words were, “Lord,open the King of England’s eyes.” This prayer was answered three years later when Henry 8th published the “Great Bible” in 1539.
Martin Luther, Miles Coverdale,John Rogers,and many other names played an important role in bringing the scriptures to the populace in their native tongues.All of these abandoned the notion that the Bible was simply for the religious leaders,and many of them paid dearly for this decision,often with their lives.
May God gives us an appreciation for men and women of yesterday who sacrificed all to bring us God’s word.