Sola Scriptura is a Latin term which means “by scripture alone.” It refers to the theological doctrine held by most Christian denominations that the Christian scripture (the Bible) is the sole infallible rule of faith and practice.  According to Sola Scripture there is only ONE source of unerring truth and authority.  It also indicates there is complete sufficiency in the Bible.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  That, in itself, assures us that all we need to know God’s mind is His Word…the Bible. 

Sola Scripture stands in contrast to the Roman Catholic Church which advocates three sources of authority for the church:

  • Magisterium – The teaching authority formed of the Pope and Bishops of the Church
  • Scripture
  • Tradition

On the Corpus Christi Catholic Church website, we find this statement:

“Think of our three sources of authority as a three-legged stool. No single source is more important than any other and they all work together in a cohesive and unitive way. We should not cling to our pope more than our Scripture, nor do we ignore the beautiful smells and bells of liturgy that have been handed on to us in order to study Scripture day and night. Our Faith is dependent on all three, equally and simultaneously, which have been given to us as a gift of insurance from God, protecting the truth from our faulty human natures forever.” 

How terrible that this awful doctrine places the pope, the church traditions, and the scriptures on the same level of authority.  As it states, “No single source is more important that any other…”  So, to them, the pope’s words are just as authoritative as the words of the Lord Jesus.  Heresy!!!  The Roman Catholic Church may not deny the authority of Scripture outright, but by placing traditions and leaders on equal footing with Scripture, their man-made religion often supersedes the authority and sufficiency of the Bible altogether.  Martin Luther rebutted this position and declared that Scripture alone has the right to rule in the church. By this fearless posture, he established and embodied Sola Scriptura.

Sola Scriptura affirms that all of our ideas about God, faith, and Christian living should be developed from Scripture and based on the Word of God.  The Bible is sufficient and complete. Any doctrine, idea, or viewpoint that contradicts Scripture should be rightly examined, challenged, and discarded.

Men are fallible.  Traditions change.  Only the Word of God is unchangeable and trustworthy.  As we read in Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but THE WORD OF OUR GOD SHALL STAND FOR EVER.”  We hold fast to the thought of Sola Scriptura as the only way to be sure we have God’s mind.  We do enjoy good books and commentaries on the Bible, but they are subject to be examined by the scriptures and their benefit or detriment is determined by the Bible itself.  (CC)  (496.6)