Goals and Priorities

Sola Scriptura

I have a basic hermeneutic which guides my studies: What the Bible says is true. I may introduce a topic with some history and an explanation of some of the issues as I see them and may quote others who have studied on the same issue. These are valuable but for the answers I depend upon what the Scriptures say. This is the rule both of the Lutheran Church and the Reformed Churches. The confessional statements below verify that this is how we are to study these issues, but we do not abide by the principle of "Scripture Alone" because these confessions say to, but because they agree with this vital reformation principle.

The Book Of Concord, the Lutheran Confessions, declare:

"We believe, teach, and confess that the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments are the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged. .... Other writings ... should not be put on a par with Holy Scripture. Every single one of them should be subordinated to the Scriptures and should be received in no other way and no further than as witnesses to the fashion in which the doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved in post-apostolic times."

It continues, Part I The Holy Scriptures, page 2, item 6.

"6. To be true, a doctrine need not agree with the resolutions of church councils, the confessional writings of a church, the deductions of human reason, the "findings" of science, etc., but it must in all parts and points agree with the clear statements of the Scriptures. As sources and norms of Christian doctrine we, therefore, reject every type and form of human authority, such as: church fathers, church councils, church confessions; human reason, philosophy, science, private opinions; the "inner light" of enthusiasts, new revelations, the "shrine of the Pope's heart."

It goes on to say, in item 8.

"8. Our Lutheran confessions are very explicit on this point. "We receive and embrace with our whole heart the Prophetic and Apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the pure, clear fountain of Israel, which is the only true standard by which teachers and doctrines are to be judged."

Similarly, A.A. Hodge, in "The Confession Of Faith" states:

"The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.(12) Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word;(13) and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed."(14)
(12) 2 Tim. 3:1517; Gal. 1:8,9; 2 Thess. 2:2. (13) John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:912. (14) 1 Cor. 11:13,14; 1 Cor. 14:26,40.

A. A. Hodge, The Confession of Faith, (Simpsonville, SC: Christian Classics Foundation) 1997.

The Westminster Confession states;

"The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God. (2 Pet. 1:19,21, 2 Tim. 3:16, 1 John 5:9, 1 Thess. 2:13)"

Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

Being fully committed to the Scriptures and the truth of the above statements, I challenge every believer to set aside, as much as possible, all prejudice and preconceptions and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through His word on these very important issues. I invite your feedback and will be happy to enter into congenial dialogue with any who may have questions or comments. The only requirement is that our dialogue be based on Scripture, not the writings or opinions of people, and that it remain congenial.

You are encouraged to print the study and use your Bible and study aids to confirm what is being taught. Each of us is responsible before God for obeying His word and living in His light. Paul commanded Timothy to "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing (handling) the Word of Truth." (2 Tim 2:15). Again we are told about the Bereans that they were "more noble" because they went home and searched the Scriptures to see whether the things Paul taught were true (Acts 17:11-12).

Be a Berean. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth and then for the power to live it. Thanks for honoring me by spending your time here. I pray that you grow in God's power in behalf of and for the benefit of His people.

Unless otherwise indicated, the documents on this site were written by Robert L. Goldsby (5101 NE 121st Ave #140, Vancouver, WA 98682-2121) and is the sole property of the author. They may be used for personal and group Bible study but may not be used for any commercial or publishing purposes without the express written consent of the author.

Last Modified: January 2, 1998