Five Eternal Gifts from God - Scripture 1
Dr. Michael Kruger, in the November 2012 issue of Tabletalk magazine, writes:
“We live in a world filled with competing truth claims. Every day, we are bombarded with declarations that something is true and that something else is false. We are told what to believe and what not to believe. We are asked to behave one way but not another way. In her monthly column “What I Know for Sure,” Oprah Winfrey tells us how to handle our lives and our relationships. The New York Times editorial page regularly tells us what approach we should take to the big moral, legal, or public-policy issues of our day. Richard Dawkins, the British atheist and evolutionist, tells us how to think of our historical origins and our place in this universe.”
Kruger continues by stating, “How do we sift through all these claims? How do people know what to think about relationships, morality, God, the origins of the universe, and many other important questions? To answer such questions, people need some sort of norm, standard, or criteria to which they can appeal. In other words, we need an ultimate authority. Of course, everyone has some sort of ultimate norm to which they appeal, whether or not they are aware of what their norm happens to be. Some people appeal to reason and logic to adjudicate competing truth claims. Others appeal to sense experience. Still others refer to themselves and their own subjective sense of things. Although there is some truth in each of these approaches, Christians have historically rejected all of them as the ultimate standard for knowledge. Instead, God’s people have universally affirmed that there is only one thing that can legitimately function as the supreme standard: God’s Word. There can be no higher authority than God Himself.”
The Gift from God we focus upon today is the gift of His Word: the Scriptures. The Bible.
To begin with, what is meant by the phrase Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura). Sola Scriptura means that Scripture alone is the believer’s preeminent authority. It is the final influence by which the Christian’s conscience is bound. It is the believer’s understanding and commitment that anything besides Scripture including feelings, passions, church traditions and teachings, along with personal convictions are secondary to God’s Word being the ultimate authority within the believer’s life. Dr. Michael Horton writes, “Scripture not only has the final say, but it is the formal principle of everything we believe about doctrine and conduct” (Sola Scriptura xvi).
Dr. W. Robert Godfrey explains that “the Protestant 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” (Sola Scriptura 3). Dr. John MacArthur adds that, “Sola Scriptura simply means that all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in Scripture” (Sola Scriptura 165).