Sola Scriptura


Luther’s explanation of the Third Commandment in the Large Catechism says the “Word of God is the true holy thing above all things.” Indeed, it is the only one we Christians acknowledge and have. Though we had the bones of all the saints or all the holy and consecrated vestments gathered together in one heap, they could not help us in the slightest degree, for they are all dead things that can sanctify no one. But God’s Word is the treasure that sanctifies all things. By it, all the saints themselves have been sanctified. At whatever time God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read or pondered, there the person, the day, and the work are sanctified by it, not on account of the external work but on account of the Word which makes us all saints. Accordingly, I constantly repeat that all our life and work must be guided by God’s Word if they are to be God-pleasing and holy. Where that happens the commandment is in force and is fulfilled.” (Book of Concord, Third Commandment)

Lutherans confess that “the Bible is the sole authority in all matters of faith and life.” What does that mean? And how are we to view the Bible as Lutheran Christians?

First, we acknowledge the Bible as God’s living Word. It is not the book that we worship but the Savior of whom the book speaks. Jesus is God’s living Word to us. For Lutherans the central theme of Scripture is God’s saving grace which God showers upon us freely, not as reward, or answer to prayer, or as inheritance, but as pure gift. And what is this grace? It is found in Jesus life and work among people. It is contained in the stories of Jesus which Luther called “the Bible in miniature.” Time and time again Jesus goes the extra mile loving us into a relationship with him. He doesn’t beat us over the head with the Bible. He doesn’t use the Bible to prove or disprove the latest controversy. He instead tells stories that can be related to in everyday life.

“I have come that you might have abundant life.” “Go and sin no more.” “No one will ever snatch them out of my hand.” These are but a few of the graceful announcements to us. Someone once said that God’s grace is “on the house.” That’s the lens Lutheran’s use to read the Bible. We acknowledge that the Bible was written by humans and therefore is inspired not inerrant. The Bible is ever new to us if we read it looking for the Christ as the one who holds us up in our lives. The Bible is the sole authority and that authority is made flesh Jesus Christ.


Pastor John Albertson

*Originally printed in the June 2009 SEED Newsletters.

Faith Lutheran Church - 155 Boyson Road, Marion, IA 52302 - 319.377.9700