We have been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, for the glory of God alone.
The final answer to any question posed in this life is What does the Bible have to say about this?
This, ultimately, is the practical definition of Sola Scriptura, or Scripture alone–the second-to-last slogan of the Reformation. It is the question every Christian should ask him or herself regarding everyday circumstances. In other words, the Bible should be the Christian’s highest authority.
“Sola Scriptura,” John MacArthur wrote in an article at Ligonier Ministries, “simply means that all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in Scripture.” However, this doesn’t mean all types of truth is found there. MacArthur explains further: “It is not a claim that all truth of every kind is found in Scripture.”
There are things in life that the Bible does not specifically address. In those situations, Christians are to use their God-given wisdom to determine the best thing to do. But for matters that the Bible does address, make no mistake: whatever it says is true and final.
Because the Bible is inerrant and infallible, we should make it the highest authority in our lives. If the Bible’s teaching conflicts with society’s opinion, we must side with Scripture. Always. Period. When we begin to succumb to the culture’s ideology, we slowly begin to not trust the Bible’s inerrancy and sufficiency.
It is the Bible, and the Bible alone, that instructs us how to live upright and godly lives. We have everything we need in Scripture (2 Peter 1:3). This doesn’t mean we can’t glean truth from outside sources. This doesn’t mean we can’t learn from secular organizations and the like. It simply means that, at the end of the day, our foundational truth source is Scripture. Nothing trumps it. Nothing is above it.
More importantly, we have the message of salvation only in the pages of holy writ. The God-planned message of salvation is not contained in the Quran, Book of Mormon, or any apocryphal text. The testimony of salvation by grace alone only resides in the Bible.
As a result, we need not look elsewhere for how to be saved or how to know God. We will only find the truth about God and salvation in the Bible.
So, Christian, what does this mean practically? Let’s talk about the sufficiency of Scripture and how it impacts our daily lives.
If we believe that the Bible is free from error; if we believe that the Bible is correct and true in everything it addresses, then those two affirmations should absolutely affect how we live our lives. The Bible should inform our day-to-day decisions.
It doesn’t mean the Bible has something to say about whether you should eat Arby’s or Sonic. (You should eat neither and keep driving until you find Chick-Fil-A.) It doesn’t mean it is able to give a clear answer as to whether you should buy a Ford or a Chevy. The Bible’s authority over day-to-day decisions simply means it is the foundation of everything we do. We are free to do many things in life that Scripture doesn’t address. In those things, we are called to use our God-given wisdom.
But when you’re in a situation that the Bible does address, you should certainly be looking to Scripture for guidance. The Bible should inform your behavior.
Friends, let us look to the Scriptures–and Scripture alone!–for everything we need in life. Let it guide us in living Christlike lives for the glory of God.