God bless you abundantly! I trust you are well, or soon will be. It's been a while since I last posted. I received a message from a woman named Christina who said
God Bless You! A dear young man came to me and asked, "What verses from the bible support Sola Scriptura?". I could not answer that question. Could you help me?
I felt compelled to respond to Christina here. Perhaps my response will help either her or you.
I'm not an expert in the history of the Protestant Reformation or the RC's. However, I found the basic meaning of "Sola Scriptura" from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solae and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_scriptura.
From the second article:
Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, "by Scripture alone") is the Protestant Christian doctrine that the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. Sola scriptura does not deny that other authorities govern Christian life and devotion, but sees them all as subordinate to and corrected by the written word of God.
The question then asks: What verses of Scripture support the notion that the Scriptures themselves are the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice?
The short answer: They all do!
A medium size answer: None of them do!
The Scriptures are the *only* source of authority in all matters of doctrine and practice for everyone everywhere. A knowledge of Latin is not required.
There is no "supreme" authority as the definition of Sola Scriptura above asserts. The Scriptures are not a work like any work or word of man. There is no comparison and there is no theory of relativity as to their respective authorities. The Scriptures are authored by God Himself. He didn't ask anyone's permission to publish them, and He didn't ask anyone to review them before publication.
God is the Author of Life. He wrote the Book. He didn't and doesn't need any help, you can be sure. For a witness, take a look around at the physical creation: the heavens, the earth, and everything therein. For anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, it looks like He knows what He is doing.
He is *the* Authority on matters of life.
It appears that a wonderful, loving God created all of what you see for you to enjoy. If He exists and is all Love like His creation implies, then is is very likely that He'd want to make Himself known to those He's blessed.
The written word of God, the Scriptures, serve that beneficial purpose. Since the Creator, God, is obviously invisible, and doesn't live in a house with a door upon which you can knock, it seems only right, proper, and logical that He would use words and language to make Himself known.
If He did, then it is only fair to conclude that His word is *the* Authority on matters of life.
Consider John 17:17:
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Jesus Christ spoke these words in a prayer to God. He wasn't lying. He never lied. He is, quite likely, the only man to have never lied.
Jesus Christ said that God's word is truth.
- He did not say that about the doctrine of the scribes or Pharisees.
- He did not say that about the best philosophical ramblings of the most intelligent people in the world.
- He did not say that about another person or thing.
- -- Insert a long list of people or things not mentioned by Jesus Christ as being "truth" --
The Scriptures are God's word according to 2 Peter 1:20 and 21:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Moses was one of those "holy men of God" who spoke what God told him to speak. He also wrote what God told him to write. Numerous others wrote what God told them to write, verbatim, by dictation, and most (if not all) of the writings are included in the canon of the Bible.
The process of dictation is described in a number of records in both the OT and NT. "Holy men of God" are men (or women) whom God has made holy, not they who call themselves "holy."
In our day and time, the spoken word of God is the written word of God read aloud. There might come along one of those holy men of God who can speak for God without quoting verbatim something written, but what he speaks should never be at cross-purposes or contradict what is recorded in the Scriptures.
If what such a man said or did contradicted the Scriptures or were at cross-purposes to them, you'd be right to conclude that the man was not speaking for God as a holy man of God.
Consider 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17:
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The same is true for a woman of God. The word "perfect" in verse 17 can be translated "equipped", and the words "throughly furnished" can be translated "fully equipped". If "all Scripture" does this for a man or woman of God, why would one need anything else? Was God just joking when He told the apostle Paul to write what he wrote here?
It would be helpful to note (here as well) what God does not include as necessary for "fully equipping" the man or woman of God. Make your own list. The RC encyclical is not mentioned, for instance. The writings of the Protestant reformists are not mentioned either, nor is Fox News, CNN, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, any periodical, or any other thing.
-- Insert list of things not mentioned to be "given by inspiration of God" --
-- Insert list of things not mentioned to be profitable for doctrine --
-- Insert list of things not mentioned to be profitable for reproof --
-- Insert list of things not mentioned to be profitable" for correction --
-- Insert list of things not mentioned to be profitable for instruction in righteousness (justness) --
-- Insert list of things not mentioned to be necessary to "fully equipping" the man or woman of God --
"Scripture" is Gr. graphē, writing. What is written. It is eye opening to do a word search on "it is written" in the Scriptures. Even the Devil himself acknowledges that the Scriptures are the word of God. He quoted them or his representitives might have quoted them when trying to trip up Jesus. Fascinating how tricky he is, even when dealing with a believer like Jesus Christ.
Also consider 2 Timothy 2:15:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
That's our job as students of the Scriptures. To be approved unto God as a workman, one must "rightly divide" the word of truth, God's written word, the Scriptures.
-- Insert list of things *not* required to be approved unto God as a workman of His word --
"Study" is Gr. spoudazō, "exert a diligent effort". The effort necessary to show oneself approved unto God is a diligent effort, not a half-hearted or pretended one. Someone who has little or no respect for the Scriptures, the written word of God, is never going to "rightly divide" them. One who seeks the truth should flee with all haste from their offers to explain and assist in understanding the Scriptures.
Finally, one could attempt to make a list of the people in the Bible who understood and believed that the Scriptures were the written word of God. Moses, Jesus, Paul, for example. The record is clear. One would quote the Scriptures to show that this assertion is most certainly correct. When you read through Psalm 119, you can see David's awesome respect for the Scriptures (the word of God is mentioned in every one of the 176 verses). God spoke of David in Acts 13:22:
...I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
It is impossible to know the will of God without knowing the word of God. David could fulfill God's word because he knew God's word.
Jesus Christ spent the first 30 years of his life studying and appreciating God's word before the opening day of his public ministry. In his public ministry, Jesus Christ spoke God's word and fulfilled His will. According to Acts 10:38:
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
You won't see recorded in God's word that any of these believers added to or subtracted from the word of God given to holy men of God who wrote what God told them to write.
If they didn't, why should we?
In the first century, some people in the town of Berea heard Paul speak God's word. In Acts 17:11 it is said about them:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
After Paul spoke to them, no doubt some of the Thessalonians consulted the highly esteemed and valued professors, scholars, and religious people of the day. No doubt they consulted their traditions, their societal mores, their textbooks, and their neighbor's opinion. No doubt they consulted the combined wisdom of all the great men of the day and throughout history.
The record of God's written word, the Scriptures, is that people who receive God's word and search the Scriptures for truth are more noble than those who don't. That sounds like a pretty clear cut affirmation by God Himself to consult the Scriptures about matters of truth and life.
Obviously, the choice the Bereans had of who or what to consult still exists today. God's word is still available to those who want to know the truth. Among other things, choosing God and His word holds this promise about Jesus Christ from John 10:10:
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I [Jesus Christ] am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
He was quite a man, and still is, since God raised him from the dead to die no more. He's lived almost two thousand years in his resurrected body, longer than Methuselah in his first body. He'll be returning soon. In the meantime, you get to choose the high road or the low one, just like the Bereans and Thessalonians did. God gave you free will and the thinking power to decide.
Now as to the topic of the audience of the Scriptures, please consider 1 Peter 1:23:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
The audience for the Scriptures is certainly not limited to the Christian believer for it is by the Scriptures that the man or woman of body and soul is called or invited into the family of God to be born again, born from above, having received the gift of holy spirit.
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
In 1 Timothy 2:4 and 5, God states that it is He:
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Since you believed God's word and were born again, why would you now seek another's opinion on how to live your Christian life? The Scriptures are the *only* source of authority in all matters of doctrine and practice for everyone everywhere at any time. Luke 21:33 and Hebrews 13:8:
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever.