Reformation500: Sola Scriptura

Aside from being a full-time medical student, I also serve our local church as a worship leader and head of publications in print and online. This year, Christendom will be celebrating the 500th year of the Reformation which was led by Martin Luther, giving way to reforms in the whole Christian church. Every week, I post some reflections on the events of the Reformation, writing about some points on it. This is our post for this Sunday:

The Reformation brought key principles in defining where the true Christian faith is based on. These points are commonly known as The Five Solas/Solae which took their names from the Latin word “sola” meaning “alone.”

These solas echoes Martin Luther’s observation of the excessiveness in the Roman Catholic Church during his time. Initially, there were three, called by the Lutherans as The Three Principles of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fides (“scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone”).

Further into history, with the rise of later Reformers especially John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, two more points were added to these and summarized the Reformed faith. These are Solus Christus and Soli Deo Gloria (“through Christ alone” and “all glory to God alone”).

Sola Scriptura was an early cry of Luther and his followers after he contradicted the priority given to tradition in his old church. He also lamented the inaccessibility of believers to the Word of God and the lack of translations available for common people. Through this, he was inspired to translate the Bible into German, not only establishing a translation in the vernacular but also developing their literary language in the process. Prior to this, the Bible was only available in Latin.

Later on, the Bible was translated into French and English, inspiring local Reformation movements in countries using these languages. The rest of this journey is history in the making as we see more translations being done as of this writing.

Sola Scriptura rejects the divine authority of human beings and the emphasis on sacred tradition in practicing the faith. 2 Peter 1:20-21 says that “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 further reiterates that “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.”

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