How Detailed is Our God?
How Detailed is Our God?
By Ron Kempen, Gospel Light Ministries
There is a question about the Sola Scriptura belief that divides Protestants and Catholics. Sola Scriptura is basically the belief in the Bible alone as the Protestants’ source of authority. The Bible is inspired by God and is so complete in detail that an individual can follow it alone as an instruction guide for everything that may come up in his or her life. Catholics say that this belief is unscriptural, and they are hoping to get Protestants to change their view on at least this part of the religion issue. I was once asked to publicly post a debate with a Catholic writer on this subject. Those readers who would like to see this debate can view it in its entirety on my website, www.gospellightmin.com. Catholics would disagree with the Sola Scriptura principle by saying that the Bible doesn’t have one verse that even suggests the idea of Sola Scriptura. They hold to the belief that Jesus gave us the Church to be the source of authority, not the Bible alone.
There are two main reasons for belief in the Sola Scriptura principle. The first is that Sola Scriptura is not a denial that historically God’s Word came in other ways other than the written form. Before writing down His message, God spoke through the apostles and prophets, and spoke personally in Christ Jesus, His Son. During the same time the Holy Spirit moved holy men to write down His Word to be the permanent inspired record of His message for the post-apostolic age until the end of time as we know it. The apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church with Christ as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). With the apostles and prophets now gone, we can still build our lives on their teaching which is recorded infallibly in the Holy Scriptures.
The second reason for belief in Sola Scriptura, I thought of during my latest Saturday morning prayer gathering. We like to make comments on the Scriptures that we read on that particular day. Just as I did the previous weekend, as I read from the part we were reading (a few chapters beginning at Exodus 27), I noticed how totally and efficiently the Lord described in every detail, and I do mean every detail, how the Israelites were to build the temple. In doing this, it occurred to me that if He was this efficient and thorough in giving direction on the building of the temple, and Scripture tells us that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), then why wouldn’t He be as efficient and thorough in giving us the Bible? The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3:15-17 that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Notice how these verses have in them the words “all,” “thoroughly equipped,” and “in every good work.” These words by definition are easy enough to understand and there isn’t much room for doubt about what they mean. How hard is it to understand what “all” means, what “thoroughly equipped” means, or what “for every good work” means?
We could also point out that John 20:31 tells us that “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” So once again, if we find a spot in the Bible that tells us that we can know something, then it should seem obvious that the writer wanted us to know what he was writing about. The point made is stressed and often repeated in the same chapter. In this example, John says the same thing in 1 John 5:13: “These things I have written . . . that you may know that you have eternal life.” Even more convincing is how 1 Corinthians 10 tells us that “Now these things became our examples . . . they were written for our admonition . . . .” To say that the Bible comes up short on something or doesn’t specifically teach something simply because a particular word or phrase (such as “Sola Scriptura”) isn’t used, is simply ridiculous. The word “trinity” isn’t found in Scripture either, but that concept is very Biblical. Sola Scriptura is, likewise, clearly understood in the Bible, thanks to the details given in the Bible itself.
In closing, the argument that the Bible doesn’t support the concept of Sola Scriptura because the Church is the pillar and foundation of authority instead, dismisses the fact that God’s true Church submits to the authority of Scripture just like all true believers should do. Knowing how much God pays attention to details, there shouldn’t be any questioning the truth of Sola Scriptura. The Bible is the Christian’s authority and instruction book (and it alone), just as it tells us so in 2 Timothy 3:17, “So that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” What else is there that can compare with the Bible? Consider that the Bible is, in truth, known as the Word of God in every detail, not just by the word of man.