Sola Scriptura

5 Solas: Sola Scriptura…Scripture Alone 

The Five Solas:

Sola Scriptura: Scripture Alone

Sola Gratia: Grace Alone

Sola Fide: Faith Alone

Solus Christus: Christ Alone

Sola Deo Gloria: Glory to God Alone

Key Passage

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 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.



Scripture as God’s Word Matters

We don’t have time to do a complete rundown of the Scripture’s use of the phrase “Word of God”.

  • In the Bible that phrase or similar appears 5,737 times.
  • This is how the authors of Scripture refer to God speaking.
  • God communicates…he speaks.
  • God told certain prophets / kings to write down his words.
  • Jesus comes referring to himself as the “logos” the “word” of God that is eternal.
  • What God speaks regarding himself, his truth, his law, Jesus comes epitomizing in the flesh as the God/Man.
  • Old Testament and New Testament authors make the claim they are not writing their own words but God’s words.
  • Theology is a combo word made up of “theos”, meaning God, and “logos”, meaning word. So, theology is a word about God.
  • Theology’s source document is Scripture, the word of God!
  • Where might one determine who God is, what he has said and what he requires other than what he speaks or reveals about himself? Scripture!
  • This is why Scripture, the bible, God’s word matters.
  • This is why Scripture alone matters.

“Sola” is the Key Word When We Talk About Sola Scriptura

  • The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is what led to all other principles of the Reformation.
  • The Roman Catholic Church believed in Scripture, grace, faith, Christ and God’s glory.
  • The Roman Catholic Church did not and does not believe Scripture alone is sufficient for the final say. The Pope is final say. They believe(d) that God spoke through the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
  • The Roman Catholic Church did consider Scripture, but Scripture was only one part of the sources to which the Pope was the final authority on what is right.
  • Often, in determining what was to be the church’s stance on an issue, the church would take what the “norm” of various provinces of the Holy Roman Empire, consider Scripture, consider church counsels, and the Pope would then issue the final and authoritative answer.
  • Luther said that the Scriptures are, “Norma, Normans Non Normata”. This is a Latin phrase that means, “The norm of norms that cannot be normed.”
  • Scripture alone was a statement that rejected the Papacy as a conduit of revelation.

“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it.” – Martin Luther

What does Sola Scriptura mean?

It means that the Scriptures, rightly interpreted, are the final say/authority on any subject.

Sola Scriptura does not say that the bible is the only authority that we ever look to, but it is the final authority. It has the last word.

If Scripture rightly interpreted, contradicted reason or experience or tradition then the Scriptures are right. It has the final say.

Why don’t we trust Popes, church councils, tradition, our experiences, reason or tradition as the final authority?

Human perception of what is true is broken without a clear and inerrant standard.

When Scripture is our final authority, we learn to bring our likes, dislikes, comforts and discomforts, reason, experiences and traditions under God’s word not the other way around. That is how we grow in godliness.

We Must Beware of the “Nativist Fallacy”[1]

Sola Scriptura does not mean that we don’t look to correct work, and correct interpreters in our history past.

Some people believe they are going back to the beginning and starting over and doing things “purely” with their bible by itself.

This is not possible. All of our Christian habits and presuppositions are shaped by those who have practiced the faith. There is no such thing as “unshaped” practices.

Sola Scriptura is not “Solo Scriptura”.

Scripture Alone is Supernaturally Powerful

Mark 4:26-29 (ESV) And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself (automate’), first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”


God’s word is supernaturally powerful!

How do we obey?

  1. Read your bible as the primary means of your sanctification.
  • Show me a disciplined bible reader, and I’ll show you a person whose sin is not covered up, who is fighting sin, and who is in community helping others fight sin.
  • Hebrews 4:12-13 (ESV) For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
  1. Take confidence in your preaching, teaching, evangelism and discipling. No word of God sown will return without accomplishing God’s intended purpose.
  • Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV) For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
  • Scripture alone can and will reach the human heart.
  • Reformers: “Do everything within your power to get the Word to people’s hearing, and trust Holy Spirit to take it to the soul.”
  1. If we can build it without God’s word and prayer and obedience to God’s word, then we don’t need it.
  • This does not negate the hard work of obedience, but fuels the hard work of obedience in walking with the Spirit in his application of the Word.


[1] The language of “nativist fallacy” is borrowed from a conversation between Al Mohler and Kevin DeYoung on the Reformation.

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