Sola Scriptura

Sola Scriptura

One of the main challenges Martin Luther and the Reformers faced was the question where does the authority to teach the Christian faith come from? For them this authority did not lie in the offices of the pope and the bishops or in the church as an divinely ordained institution. Both had failed. Both participated in the gigantic scam of selling salvation through the issue of indulgences.

The answer was Sola Scriptura. Scripture alone. The authority to teach and all knowledge necessary for salvation is to be found in the scriptures and in nothing else. God speaks through the scriptures.

Sola Scriptura does not mean literalism. Luther did not claim the inerrancy of scripture. Those ideas are a 20th century innovation. No church, not Roman Catholic, Orthodox or protestant has ever read the bible literally until the early 20th century.

Today, not even the most ardent literalists really read the bible literally. They read carefully selected passages literally that support their world-views and ignore everything that challenges their preconceived notions of what God wants.

Luther did not believe that the bible was the word of God, but that it contained the word of God. Luther writes that the bible is the cradle in which the Christ child is laid.

But because some books do not talk enough about God’s free gift of grace Luther wanted to kick them out of the biblical cannon. But the fight to remake the biblical cannon is a fight that Luther lost.

Luther always read the bible read through the eyes of the gospel. The gospel is not the sequence of letters on the page, but the good news of Jesus Christ to which the bible testifies. Luther followed a man not a book.

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