Five hundred years ago, a German monk named Martin Luther took a stand and sparked a movement that changed human history. He saw the average person being kept from reading the Bible for themselves, which distanced them from a personal relationship with the God of the Bible. This developed a central rallying cry among reformers: sola scriptura.

“The idea of ‘sola scriptura,’ or scripture alone, is the basis for the whole movement. It’s the belief that scripture is the authority for what we know to be true.”

While we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the same core questions about what and why we believe still live today. David Wheaton says each of us have to answer those questions for ourselves.

“This isn’t just an obtuse, 500-year-old event: it’s relevant to us today in every way. There something that is the authority in your life, whether you have identified it or not, something is driving your decisions every day, as to how you know right from wrong.”

“For instance, if you’re tempted to get into an adulterous affair at your workplace, what is the thing saying ‘No, I shouldn’t do that?’ If it’s based on Scripture, you’ll know this is wrong because it’s offensive to God — it’s sinning before Him and sinning against other person’s family — that comes from the authority of scripture.”

Separated from that solid foundation, each of us is left to put our trust in something less, like the influence of other fallible person, or our own opinions, which can change from day to day.

“If you don’t have the authority of scripture, you’re just kind of working on your own personal opinion. Then you’re going to do what’s right in your own eyes. That’s why the authority of scripture is so critically important in our lives. It says this is the truth; this is what I’m going to base every single decision I make in my life on, because it is the truth. God established scripture, He inspired it, without error, and it is all-sufficient in our lives.”

When he was put on trial for his ideas, Martin Luther famously submitted to the authority of scripture in his reply:

“…My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither sound nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me.”

May each of us be willing to take the same bold stand in our lives, to strip away our own opinions or human traditions, and build our lives and our faith on scripture alone.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17

David Wheaton is an author, radio host, and former professional tennis player. He’s also the host of The Christian Worldview, a weekly, nationally-syndicated radio program that airs on 150 stations. In addition, David is a contributing columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a sought-after speaker.

Scripture alone