On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther turned the western civilization upside down. Tradition has it
that on that day he nailed a list of 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, calling for an academic debate on issues fundamental to the theological doctrine of justification by faith alone (sola Fide) and the sale of indulgences. At the heart of the controversy was the authority of Scripture, and Luther's position was interpreted as an attack on the papacy and the Roman Church. Luther was summoned to Rome, but he refused to go. Then in 1521 the pope issued an ultimatum that Luther must recant his writings or be condemned as a heretic. He was summoned to the city of Worms in southwest Germany to stand trial before the Imperial Diet, an assembly comprised of officials from the Empire and the Church. Luther's reply to the Diet was a thunderclap that changed the face of Western Europe. "Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise; here I stand. May God help me. Amen." The Diet of Worms issued an edict condemning Luther as a heretic, and he was excommunicated from the Church.
This October we will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with sermons on five central and fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith that came out of that tumultuous time. They are referred to as the Five Solas: Sola Scriptura ("Scripture alone"); Sola Fide ("faith alone"); Sola Gratia ("grace alone"); Solus Christus ("Christ alone"); and Soli Deo Gloria ("to the glory of God alone"). This week we will look into Sola Scriptura. There will be many texts of Scripture to look up and you probably won't have time to read them all. Pick a couple from each group and trust the Lord to speak to you.
1. If someone were to ask you what you believed about the Bible, what would you say? How would you defend your position?
2. What does the Bible say about itself? Let's begin with the Old Testament.
* Exodus 31:18; 32:16
* Deuteronomy 31:9-13, 24-26
* Joshua 24:26
* Isaiah 30:8 and Jeremiah 30:2
* Deuteronomy 8:3-4; 32:47
* Psalm 18:30; 33:4
* Isaiah 40:8; 55:11
3. What was Jesus' understanding of the Bible?
* Matthew 4:1-11
* Matthew 5:17-20
* Matthew 12:1-8; 12:38-42; 15:3-9; 19:3-6
* Luke 24:27, 32, 45
* John 5:38-40; 7:38; 10:35; 17:14, 17
4. What did the New Testament writers say about the Bible?
* Acts 1:16
* Acts 17:2-3, 11; 18:28
* Ephesians 6:17
* I Thessalonians 2:13
* II Timothy 3:16
* Hebrews 4:12
* I Peter 1:2-25
* II Peter 1:19-20; 3:16
5. What did you learn?
* Is the Bible true?
* What authority does it have?
* Is it infallible or inerrant?
* Can only biblical scholars understand it?
* How necessary is it?
6. What are we to do with God's Word?
* Joshua 1:8
* Psalm 1:1-2; 119:9, 11, 25, 28
* Matthew 7:24-27
* Romans 15:4
* Colossians 3:16
* II Timothy 3:16-17
7. In light of what you have read here, would you change your answer to question 1 at all? If so, how?
8. Did the Lord give you a take away? (James 1:22-25)
God be with you!