The Authority of Scripture and Church Tradition

Hebrews 4v12-13

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (ESV)

Background: what God has to say to humanity is in His Word, which we will use as our supreme authority, guided by the Holy Spirit – see 2 Tim. 3v16-17. Read Calvin and Luther. In the passage opened before us we see the value of Scripture. The significance of Sola Scriptura is that everything in the Bible and Christianity resolves around Christ. We live in an age where the Scriptures are devalued by men and even evangelicals. We must not be confused about what is good and evil in this world by looking to the wisdom of mankind. We must use the Scriptures in all circumstances, because our hearts are poisoned by sin.

Consider the following:

  1. The Authority of Sola Scriptura:
    It is the inspired Word of God from whom it gets its authority from. It was breathed out from the mouth of God (see 2 Tim. 3v16). Every word is inspired by God and is inerrant due to the the nature of God and the Bible’s teaching about itself. The Bible presents itself as the written Word of God – it is Holy and reliable. It is the light unto our path and it is infallible – it is incapable of error since God is perfect. What we believe about God and the Bible are intricately intertwined where God cannot lie (see Heb. 6v18). We must study the Bible knowing that Scripture interpret Scripture.

  2. The Action of Sola Scriptura:
    It is to stop us from being ourselves and living in sin. It is to put sin in us to death and raise us up in Christ (see Heb. 4v12). The Word is alive and living – this Book is not dead. It is the breath of the eternal God that cannot die. What is the value of Scripture? We must remember that every imagination of our hearts is evil. The Word is powerful: it is mighty to awaken the conscience. It shows us the evil in our actions and causes us to tremble, knowing Judgement is coming. God knows why we do what we do and what is in our hearts. The Word is powerful to free us from the power sin through our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word is also sharp, cutting both ways – hurting and healing as required. The conversion of Paul is significant, as Jesus took control of Paul, steering him in the right direction. The Bible is a discerner: through the work of the Holy Spirit it reveals the intentions of our hearts.

  3. The Aim of Sola Scriptura:
    What does the Lord want to achieve? It points us to God our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 13 tells us two things: God’s attributes – all wise, all seeing (omniscient), see Gal. 6v7 and our accountability – our behaviour seen by God, see 2 Cor. 5v10. He sees what is in our hearts – we cannot hide our thoughts from Him. The point of Scripture is to transform our hearts and minds. The Messiah was promised in the Old Testament (see Isa. 7v14) and then we see our Lord Jesus who is the fulfilment of prophecy (see 1 John v14, Luke 24, Gen. 3, Mat 5v7).

What is hope? It is the reliance on the promises of God as we have faith that God will fulfil every promise. What is righteousness: to give to God and our fellow human beings what is due to them, namely to love them.