Writing an article on Sola Scriptura and the Church might seem weird, but I can tell you that few topics today are as least considered or as crucial as this one. Few things are more vital for us to bring to bear on our lives and ministries than the doctrine of Scripture. We are living in a day when the Bible is under attack from both inside and outside the Church in a multi-pronged assault via topics like gender, sexuality, church government, ministry philosophy, social justice, and so much more. One of the critical aspects I want to cover in this article is how the doctrine of Scripture will be brought to bear on the life of the Christian and the Church.

Scripture Truly Matters for All of Life

Scripture is how we know who God is and how He has revealed Himself. Scripture is how we know who Jesus Christ is, what He has come to do, what He has done, and how He will return at the right time, as appointed by God the Father. It is essential to say that a pastor’s view of Scripture will affect how he preaches the Word. The conviction that pastors (and teachers) are to preach and teach line by line, text by text, through books of the Bible finds its foundation in the fact that we believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, sufficient, clear, and binding Word of God.

Further, we must understand that expository preaching is vital to the health and growth of the local church and the people therein, in every place and for all time. Expository preaching and our view of Scripture are tied together, so it is possible to say that our view of the Bible will affect our view of preaching.

Unfortunately, in the world today, we see many people choosing not to ground their life and ministry in the Word. Now more than ever,  ministry philosophies rooted in the American business model are taking hold. Worldly self-help techniques and philosophies are leading way to counsel people in our local churches. We are seeing the rise of movements that dishonor the God of the Word—those that deny the authority of the Scripture. Movements such as the New Apostolic Reformation, the social justice revolution, the “gay Christian” movement, and more, all have at their root one idea: the Bible is true in so far as it goes along with the culture, but is not valid in everything it says. Some in the Church have even suggested that the parts of the Bible about gender and sexuality should be removed. With the removal of such texts, they would no longer have to do “hermeneutic gymnastics” to force the Bible to be “culturally acceptable”, and thus would not have to deal with what the biblical text says, but purposefully explain away the references without ever dealing with them. This also reveals an agenda that is prevalent in the Church, which led me to write this article to you today.

As Christians, we are to believe all that Scripture says. Scripture is the only way to know God as He has specifically revealed Himself. This affects the Church because, as Christians, we have been called out of the darkness and into the light of God’s Son, Jesus. We have been transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, the God of grace has declared us not guilty. We are His, and He is ours. We are indwelt by the Spirit. We are united to Him by faith in the Son. We are held fast by the King who holds the world and rules all of history by the Word of His power. Such truth is such a comfort because it means that, despite all that is going on, all the false teaching occurring, and all the many people who have fallen away, God knows this too and is not surprised.

Some people today believe that God has changed, but this isn’t true. Instead, what we see in Scripture is that God is unchanging. Theologians call this the immutability of God, simply meaning that God is unchanging, and therefore we can trust Him. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:5, 9). Titus 1:2 says that God never lies. This means that because God has spoken through the Scriptures, we can know Him (His words are true), and since God never changes, we can take Him at His Word (His promises are sure). God is faithful to His Word. Scripture has a clear point: to help us know God, grow in Christ, and to help us become more like Jesus. Whether you are personally reading the Word or hearing it preached, Scripture is enough—for you personally, and for the Church.

These same Scriptures reveal to each believer a sufficient Christ. In the midst of your parenting or marriage challenges, the trials that come at all of us, or the hurt and pain that is inevitable in a fallen world, you can trust your God. You can know this because God has told you what to expect. In John 16:33, Jesus tells us that we can expect trouble in this world. Further, James 1:2-3 tells us that we should consider trials a source of joy. In fact, one of the fruits of the Spirit that Paul lists in Galatians 5:22 is joy. The Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, is producing joy in you. Through the trials of your life (just as in the good times), Christ is to be honored and worshipped. He allows such struggles to come so that you will become matured in the faith and be helpful to others, while giving Him glory and honor. That is profoundly encouraging. And this brings me to how the doctrine of Scripture relates to the Church.

The Relationship Between Scripture and the Church

As Christians, we are brought into the Body of Christ, the Church, once we are saved through our faith in Him. We were once enemies of God, but now we are a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9-10). Christians are to read, study, meditate upon, and memorize the Word. In addition to our private times of worship, we are also called to gather together under the Word in local assemblies, shepherded by biblically qualified male pastors who preach, teach, care for the flock of God. These men are not super-Christians—there is no such thing—but they are worthy of imitation because they have grown to be mature men of the Word, tested by time, season, and their doctrine and life.

Whether you are a pastor or church member, you can be of help to others. If you are a parent, this is done by raising your children in the Lord. Scripture is enough to help you train your child. Do not listen to the world’s lies that you need to give your child over to a godless education system and succumb to cultural accommodation.

Church Shepherds, you don’t need to listen to the majority of the publishing industry, which tells you that you must listen to the latest fad, philosophy, or trend to “grow your church”. Scripture is enough; stand fast upon the Word and preach it (in and out of season).

Dear Christian, you do not need the latest Christian marriage book or marriage conference to tell you how to have the best marriage possible. Those books can help you, but your reliance should be upon Scripture.

Men, you must lead your wife (and children) in family worship where you study the Word, sing it, pray it, and fellowship together around it. Scripture is enough for our marriages, families, churches, and for all of life.

Trusting Scripture in All of Life

This leads me to my last point, which is the most critical. Scripture is sufficient for everything in our lives and ministries. “Sure,” you say, “I know that.” But I must ask, “Do you really know it?” Are you intimately acquainted with the Scriptures? Are you growing in your understanding and skillful exposition of the Word? If someone was to spend the day with you, could they honestly tell something different about you? Would they be pointed to Christ just by watching your life and seeing how you speak to and treat others? Or would they see more of you and less of Christ? What would your spouse say to those questions? Have you ever asked? Do others in your local church see more of you or more of Christ being formed in you? If the answer is you over Christ, we must return to the original question at the beginning of this paragraph: do you really know that Scripture is sufficient for everything in our lives and ministries?

The sufficiency of Scripture has too often been given intellectual assent by Christians. But we are seeing the sufficiency of Scripture under assault by integrating the Bible with psychology. We are witnessing the attack of Scripture by those who claim they need visions, dreams, and “words from God” outside of the Bible. We also see it under attack from the rise of New Age practices that are sneaking into the Church. We are seeing the sufficiency of Scripture under assault today in the publishing industry. We are witnessing books that claim to be “helpful to people”. All you need to do is look at the list produced by the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association of the most sold “Christian” books every year . Look at the top “Christian” shows on Apple Podcasts. Then lay that over with the “State of Theology” study published every other year by Ligonier Ministries with the help of Lifeway Research. Next look at the current biblical and theological illiteracy statistics from Lifeway Research and the American Bible study. Look at the statistics published by the Worldview Research Center at Arizona Christian University. Then you can see that the authority of Scripture is under attack today and that people are actively undermining the sufficiency of Scripture through their doctrine and practice in every way, shape, and form.

Despite these abysmal facts, however, you can still be encouraged. The Lord is not surprised by these attacks. There have always been false teachers who have sought to come into the church. Second Peter, chapter 2 tells us about these false teachers. Jude 3 tells us to contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. We are to stand fast on the Word of God and always to be ready to give an answer for a reason for our hope, while doing so with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). The Lord is building His Church. There will always be those who want to destroy the Church and/or cause it harm. Still, the Lord is sovereign over the Church; He is building it every second of every day, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The Lord is using your faithfulness to the Word wherever you are. Whatever your station or title, Christian, be faithful to the Word, declare Christ from its pages, and engage in making disciples who make disciples, wherever the Lord has placed you vocationally.

Closing Thoughts

The Lord will use your faithfulness to bring people to repentance and faith in the name of Jesus, through your faithfulness to His Word. Be faithful in your attendance at church every Lord’s Day (as often as your ability allows).

If you are a pastor, preach the Word faithfully and care for the people He has entrusted you with. If you are a blogger or podcaster, do not covet more subscribers/listeners for your blog or podcast. Focus on ministering to people through audio, written, and video mediums. No matter your platform, station, or title, be faithful to the Word and declare the glory of Christ.

Prayerfully entrust your efforts to the Spirit to bring fruit, trusting that He will use your efforts to help others grow and change, as the Lord is using His Word to grow and change you. Only then will we see people grow as God has designed, according to His Word.

And this is precisely why the doctrine of Scripture matters for the Christian personally and for the Church corporately. As members of the professing Church, may we stand on the Word of God and, without apology or compromise, let us preach and teach the Word of God wherever He has placed us. With every opportunity, may we point people away from themselves (and ourselves) and to the glory of Christ, who alone can help them amid their burdens and troubles. He is enough, and we know this because the Scripture is sufficient; it is now and always will be.

Be faithful to the Word and Christ, aiming your life to build up the Church. Only then will you grow yourself in Christ, be ultimately useful to your Master Jesus, and be a help to others around you.

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