10/03/2017 in: Bible Study Articleson
When the Reformation began the doctrine of Scripture was central. During this time the Bible was not something for the common man. Through the centuries the Roman Catholic church had elevated the authority of tradition and the papal office’s interpretation over that of scripture itself. The Bible had not authority in the lives of Christians or even its teachers.
In 1516, a year before Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Erasmus of Rotterdam published a Greek New Testament alongside the Latin text of the Vulgate. Through his own reading of the Bible and reading this Greek New Testament, Luther was led away from Roman Catholic traditions that had obscured the gospel. No longer relying on tradition but scripture alone, Luther rediscovered the heart of the gospel. Others like Ulrich Zwingli were also affected and began preaching through the New Testament.
What does “sola scriptura” mean? In a nutshell, it speaks to the authority of the Bible for the church. Because God’s Word is inspired, inerrant, and wholly sufficient, it alone is the final authority for the church and the Christian. This means, Christians are not to place feelings, tradition, or teachings of men above that of the Bible. While some of these may have a authority, they all must submit to and agree with God’s written word.
This quote from Martin Luther sums it up well:
Scripture alone is the true lord and master of all writings and doctrine on earth. If that is not granted, what is Scripture good for? The more we reject it, the more we become satisfied with men’s books and human teachers.
IT STILL MATTERS
In as much as the authority of the Bible mattered for Martin Luther and the reformers, it is just as important today. Part of the Reformation included putting the Bible in the hands of everyone, not just those who were given authority to teach it. Instead of taking your pastor or favorite Christian author’s word for what the Bible says, read it yourself. Let the Bible always be your final authority. With the Olive Tree Bible App the final authority is always at your fingertips!