"What Do We Mean By Sola Scriptura?" - Dr. W. Robert Godfrey
I bought the book - this essay can be found on line here.
The first order of business is to define what Sola Scriptura is NOT.
Sola Scriptura is NOT the teaching that Scripture is the source of all truth. It is not a science text or a math text. There are sources of learning truth outside of Scripture.
Sola Scriptura is NOT the teaching that the Written Word is the only form of God's Word that has ever been brought to His people
Sola Scriptura is NOT the teaching that the church (and her people) are not valuable in understanding the Word.
"The Protestant position, and my position, is that all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible clearly enough for the ordinary believer to find it there and understand."
Deuteronomy 31 says,
"Then Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests...And Moses commanded them...when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing...that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess."
And the following chapter says,
"And he said to them, "Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess."
In this one continuous "sermon" by Moses, we find that
- The Word/Law was written
- The people can (and must) listen to it and learn
- The Word gives life
Is this reflected in the New Testament? Paul writes in 2 Timothy,
"...and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."
We find that:
- The Word is written (sacred writings)
- Timothy listened and learned
- The Word brings life (wise for salvation)
The closing paragraph of this essay sums it up:
If we would be faithful children of God, if we would be noble, we must proceed as the Bereans did. We must follow the example of Moses and Paul and our Lord Jesus. Do not rest your confidence on the wisdom of men who claim infallibility. Stand rather with the Apostle Paul who wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:6, "Do not go beyond what is written."