Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to Read the Bible Like a Lutheran. Part 5

SOLA SCRIPTURA

“Sola Gratia. Sola Fide. Sola Scriptura” (Latin for “Grace Alone. Faith Alone. Scripture Alone”) was the great motto of the Lutheran Reformation in the sixteenth century. The first two of these “three solas” are taken from Ephesians 2:8–9

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (New Revised Standard Version)

Martin Luther set the course for Lutheran Christianity with his absolute commitment to the principle that we are made right with God only by grace through faith. Nothing else can save us. Nothing else is necessary.

The third sola—Sola Scriptura—signified that the Bible contains all that is necessary for the knowledge of salvation. Luther made the Bible the sole “source and norm” of Christian doctrine. That is, the Church’s teaching must be derived from the Bible. And every teaching of the Church must be compared to the Bible to determine its truth.

The principle of Sola Scriptura served a very practical purpose in the Reformation. It gave Luther a way out from under the authority of the Pope. It remains a valuable tool for Christians concerned about the things that are taught in the name of Christ.

From all of this it should be pretty clear that Lutherans hold the Bible in high regard. We read the Bible as the written word of God, both Law and Gospel, revealing Jesus to us. We understand the Bible according to its plain sense and allow the clear teachings of Scripture to illumine the difficult passages. We look to the Bible as the source of our teaching, and we compare our teachings against the Bible.

Because we hold the Bible in such high regard, I would suggest that we should we should use every tool available to understand the Scriptures.

We should also be very careful not to misuse the Bible.

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