Sola Scriptura: Our Ultimate Authority

Our concept of scripture affirms that the Bible is the supreme standard of knowledge. It tells us what to think, but also how to think, why, and when. It provides the norms for life, thought, and faith. It teaches wisdom to navigate the complexities of existence.

The Bible is revelation from God. It is his voice speaking to us. It demands our full attention. It requires our complete obedience. The Bible is the revelation of the mind of God with respect to creation. It tells what is real and how to respond.

Consider this brief illustration. In the Old Testament, the central creedal affirmation is called the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4–5. It says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

The Shema is an example of the indicative-imperative dynamic in the Bible. There are three parts of this formula: an indicative statement, which is a statement of truth or fact; a literal or logically implied “therefore,” which points to the proper response; and then the answer, which is an application or command.

In this case, the indicative is found in verse 4, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” The imperative is verse 5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

The Shema tells us what reality consists of: an absolute, transcendent, sovereign creator, the Lord our God, and that he is God alone. There is no other. And there is a relationship between the creator and creature: a Lord-servant covenant. This means that we must devote all our being to his honor and service, which he communicates to us through the Bible.

In this passage, therefore, we are told that the proper response to God is total devotion in thought, desire, and behavior. This is an important implication of sola scriptura. God communicates to us with authority, and we must listen and obey because of who he is (creator) and what we are (servants).









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