As we study the subject of the Sola Scriptura in this issue of Theology for Life, it could be argued that there is no greater topic for us to consider. For over 25 years I’ve been studying this topic, and since my teenage years, I’ve seen many movements come and go, some of which have sought to be helpful to the Church and others that have harmed her.
Few doctrines are as least understood and yet more taught than the doctrine of Sola Scriptura today. That is quite the statement. While space and time constraints prohibit a person from understanding everything about it, one should review the statistics on biblical and theological illiteracy put out by Lifeway Research, the American Bible Society, and the Worldview Research Center at Arizona Christian University. Also, check out the State of Theology that was published last summer by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research.
In the world today, we are seeing a multi-pronged assault on the doctrine of Scripture—from the New Apostolic Reformation, with its Passion “Translation” (which, even in the most generous sense, cannot be considered a paraphrase), to the assault by the growing tide of homosexuality, “gay Christianity”, transgenderism, gender pronouns, etc., both inside and outside the Church.
Further, the doctrine of Scripture is under assault by those who profess to believe what the Church has always taught concerning the Bible, but by their own teaching and ministry, undermine not only the authority but also the sufficiency of Scripture, either by their teaching or practice. Understanding what Sola Scriptura is and why it matters is the necessity of the hour.
Sola Scriptura means that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, clear, and authoritative. Scripture is the only way we can know God. God has revealed Himself in Scripture from the very first words in the first sentence of Genesis 1 to the last word in the last sentence in Revelation 22. Throughout Scripture, we discover from beginning to end, and everywhere in-between, the person and work of Jesus Christ, both in/through His World and among His people.
We also see an assault on Sola Scriptura in both doctrine and practice. Today, many think they need to have dreams and visions in order to hear from God (apart from Scripture). Yet, today we have the Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) and is closed. We are taught in the Word to test all things in accord toance with Scripture (1 Thessalonians 5:21). These very people who want you to believe you need dreams, visions, and more, undermine the sufficiency of Scripture. Scripture is for every phase and stage of our lives. Our lives and ministries are not about how many people we reach on social media or how many people hear (or read) our teachings, etc. We must understand how Scripture is sufficient for every aspect of the Christian life, and how this affects ministry.
The Scriptures are the standard for a Christian’s life and ministry. This means that whether you are a parent, a blogger, an author, a podcaster, a pastor/teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, a chef, or some other vocation, you are to be faithful to the Lord and to His Word.
All of this is why we have put together this issue of Theology for Life on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. In the pages of this issue, you will discover what Sola Scriptura is and why it is essential to the Christian faith. Along the way, you will discover how it is under attack. But be encouraged. The Word promises that it will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). The Scripture will cut and pierce the heart of men (Hebrews 4:12). The Holy Spirit aims to take the Word as we read and hear it, and bring comfort and conviction.
I hope as you read the pages of this magazine, you will be blessed, encouraged, and equipped in and through the Word. The challenges we face are not insurmountable. Be encouraged. The Lord is at work through His Word, and the Holy Spirit takes the faithful preaching and teaching of Scripture and drives it further and deeper into our lives. Be faithful to the Word. The Lord is building His Church. He is sovereign over the Church and all of Creation. His rule extends from the beginning to the end, and everywhere in between.
Christian, in an age of “post-truth”, where people think they can believe whatever they want and do whatever they want, may we stand on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture and tell others of the glories of Christ, as shown in the Word.
In Christ Alone,
Executive Editor, Theology for Life Magazine
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.