committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

ss3.gif (7241 bytes)
John 8:31-32
..."If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed... And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Hebrews 4:12
... the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Col 3:16-17
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Psalms 119, verses 11-12,15-16
Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You! Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes! I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.


Sola Scriptura


by A.A. Hodge (1823-1886)

 

Our historic Reformed Confessions on Sola Scriptura:

1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith

Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures

1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible1 rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the 2light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation.3  Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto4 writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
12 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Ephesians 2:20; 2Romans 1:19-21; Romans 2:14,15; Psalms 19:1-3; 3Hebrews 1:1; 4Proverbs 22:19-21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19,20

2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these,

Of the Old Testament.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomen, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations,Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Of the New Testament.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul's Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation.  All of which are given by the5 inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
52 Timothy 3:16

3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of6 divine inspiration, are no part of the canon (or rule) of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.
6Luke 24:27, 44; Romans 3:2

4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon7 God who is truth itself, the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.
72 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 5:9

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole which is to give all glory to God, the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet not withstanding, our8 full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
8 John 16:13,14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things9 necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

Nevertheless, we acknowledge the11 inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be12 ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
92 Timothy 3:15-17; Galatians 1:8,9;  11John 6:45; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12; 121 Corinthians 11:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 14:26,40

7. All things in Scripture are not alike13 plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so14 clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.
132 Peter 3:16; 14Psalms 19:7; Psalms 119:130

8. The Old Testament in15 Hebrew which was the native language of the people of God of old, and the New Testament in Greek which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations, being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore16 authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them17. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read18 and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they19 come, that the Word of God dwelling20 plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.
15Romans 3:2; 16Isaiah 8:20; 17Acts 15:15; 18John 5:39; 191 Corinthians 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28; 20Colossians 3:16

9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the21 Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture which is not manifold, but one, it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.
212 Peter 1:20, 21; Acts 15:15, 16

10. The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which24 Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.
21Matthew 22:29, 31, 32; Ephesians 2:20; Acts 28:23

First Helvetic Confession (1536)

Art. 1. Scripture. The Canonical Scripture, being the Word of God, and delivered by the Holy Ghost, and published to the world by the prophets and apostles, being of all others the most perfect and ancient philosophy, doth perfectly contain all piety and good ordering of life.

French Confession (1559)

Art. 5. We believe that the word, contained in these books, came from one God; of whom alone, and not of men, the authority thereof dependeth. And seeing this is the sum of all truth, containing whatsoever is required for the worship of God and our salvation, we hold it not lawful for men, no, not for the angels themselves, to add or detract any thing to or from that word, or to alter any whit at all in the same.

Belgic Confession (1561)

Article 7. The Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures to be the Only Rule of Faith

We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein. For since the whole manner of worship which God requires of us is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures: nay, though it were an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul saith. For since it is forbidden to add unto or take away any thing from the Word of God, it doth thereby evidently appear that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects. Neither do we consider of equal value any writing of men, however holy these men may have been, with those divine Scriptures; nor ought we to consider custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees, or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God, for the truth is above all; for all men are of themselves liars, and more vain than vanity itself. Therefore we reject with all our hearts whatsoever doth not agree with this infallible rule which the apostles have taught us, saying, Try the spirits whether they are of God. Likewise, If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house.

Second Helvetic Confession (1566)

I. Of the Holy Scripture Being the True Word of God....

2. And in this Holy Scripture, the universal Church of Christ has all things fully expounded which belong to a saving faith, and also to the framing of a life acceptable to God; and in this respect it is expressly commanded of God that nothing be either put to or taken from the same (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18-19).

3. We judge, therefore, that from these Scriptures are to be taken true wisdom and godliness, the reformation and government of churches; as also instruction in all duties of piety; and, to be short, the confirmation of doctrines, and the confutation of all errors, with all exhortations; according to that word of the apostle, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,” etc. (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Again, “These things write I unto thee,” says the apostle to Timothy, “...that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God,” etc. (1 Tim. 3:14-15).

II. Of Interpreting the Holy Scriptures; and of Fathers, Councils, and Traditions....

4. ...Therefore, in controversies of religion or matters of faith, we can not admit any other judge than God Himself, pronouncing by the Holy Scriptures what is true, what is false, what is to be followed, or what [is] to be avoided. So we do not rest but in the judgment of spiritual men, drawn from the Word of God. Certainly Jeremiah and other prophets did vehemently condemn the assemblies of priests gathered against the law of God; and diligently forewarned us that we should not hear the fathers, or tread in their path who, walking in their own inventions, swerved from the law of God.

5. We do likewise reject human traditions, which, although they be set out with goodly titles, as though they were divine and apostolic, delivered to the Church by the lively voice of the apostles, and, as it were, by the hands of apostolical men, by means of bishops succeeding in their room, yet, being compared with the Scriptures, disagree with them; and that by their disagreement betray themselves in no wise to be apostolical. For as the apostles did not disagree among themselves in doctrine, so the apostles’ scholars did not set forth things contrary to the apostles. Nay, it were blasphemous to avouch that the apostles, by lively voice, delivered things contrary to their writings. Paul affirms expressly that he taught the same things in all churches (1 Cor. 4:17). And, again, “We,” says he, “write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge” (2 Cor. 1:13). Also, in another place, he witnesses that he and his disciples—to wit, apostolic men—walked in the same way, and jointly by the same Spirit did all things (2 Cor. 12:18). The Jews also, in time past, had their traditions of elders; but these traditions were severely refuted by the Lord, showing that the keeping of them hinders God’s law, and that God is in vain worshiped of such (Matt. 15:8-9; Mark 7:6-7).

The Westminster Standards (1646-1648)

Shorter Catechism

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?

A. The word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

Larger Catechism

Q. 3. What is the word of God?

A. The holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience.

 

Sola Scriptura:  The Sufficiency of Scriptura
By Dr. Rowland Ward From The Presbyterian Banner: July, 1996.

 

Sola Scriptura: The Erosion of Authority

Scripture alone is the inerrant rule of the church's life, but the evangelical church today has separated Scripture from its authoritative function. In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions and what it offers, than does the Word of God. Pastors have neglected their rightful oversight of worship, including the doctrinal content of the music. As biblical authority has been abandoned in practice, as its truths have faded from Christian consciousness, and as its doctrines have lost their saliency, the church has been increasingly emptied of its integrity, moral authority and direction.

Rather than adapting Christian faith to satisfy the felt needs of consumers, we must proclaim the law as the only measure of true righteousness and the gospel as the only announcement of saving truth. Biblical truth is indispensable to the church's understanding, nurture and discipline.

Scripture must take us beyond our perceived needs to our real needs and liberate us from seeing ourselves through the seductive images, cliches, promises and priorities of mass culture. It is only in the light of God's truth that we understand ourselves aright and see God's provision for our need. The Bible, therefore, must be taught and preached in the church. Sermons must be expositions of the Bible and its teachings, not expressions of the preacher's opinions or the ideas of the age. We must settle for nothing less than what God has given.

The work of the Holy Spirit in personal experience cannot be disengaged from Scripture. The Spirit does not speak in ways that are independent of Scripture. Apart from Scripture we would never have known of God's grace in Christ. The biblical Word, rather than spiritual experience, is the test of truth.

THESIS ONE: SOLA SCRIPTURA

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation,which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

Used by permission of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, 1716 Spruce
Street, Philadelphia, PA  19103.  Visit our Web site at www.AllianceNet.org.

 
 
The Reformed Reader Home Page 


Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved