Sola Scriptura means that Scripture alone is the final court of appeal in all matters of faith and practice.
- "It is often asserted by devout people that they can know the Bible completely without helps. They preface their interpretations with a remark like this: "Dear friends, I have read no man's book. I have consulted no man-made commentaries. I have gone right to the Bible to see what it had to say for itself." This sounds very spiritual, and usually is seconded with amens from the audience."
But is this the pathway of wisdom?
How do you understand the meaning of the text? Too often people who have had no formal training, nor are in churches where expository preaching is preached will say: " I just read the verses and I know what it means." I have heard many preachers say this same thing. It’s true that anyone can read the Bible and have a general understanding of the words they read. You can be ten years old or eighty years old and have a general sense of what the Bible is saying. Especially you can read the Old Testament and understand the history and stories. . You don’t even need to be a Christian to read the Bible. You have heard that the Russian Leader memorized several books in the New Testament.
On the other hand if those people are in a church where expository preaching is preached each week, they will have a greater ability to understand the meaning of the text. I would say those in Grace Community Church, John MacArthur pastor/teacher, have a greater capacity of understanding the meaning when they go to the Scripture because they have been taught by a teacher who week after week has given them the meaning of the text.
Suppose there is a person who has never been in church, never heard a sermon by John MacArthur or Charles Whisnant, and he becomes a Christian at the age of twenty one. How much will that person be able to know what the Bible is teaching? Will he grow spiritually and in the knowledge of the Word by sitting down and reading the Bible?
For example: Brett and Laura Busby, both had not been in church, were not saved when they came to FBC. They both became Christians within a few weeks following coming to FBC.
My belief was to teach the Word of God in such a way that they would know the principles of the Word and be able to apply those principles to their life and thereby grow spiritually.
I used to say, "The Holy Spirit will give you the assurance in your mind, what I am saying is correct." I have always believed that each person who hears me preach a message, should check out for themselves if what I say is correct. How do they do that? By their own thinking? I don’t think so, but by a diligent search through study of the Word.
"Well, I just do not think that is right, preacher." If it’s off the "top of their mind", it’s not valid. But if they were to research by diligent study and come back and say "Pastor, could we take a closer look at the text." That would be great for both of us.
"Pastor, I was reading the Bible the other day and it came to me that this verse means this." And how did you come up with this meaning?" "It just came into my head, without anyone telling me a thing." Or they will say, "while I was listening to T.D. Jakes or Benny Hinn, they said such and such, and I believe they could be right." " What do you think Pastor Charles?"
I will finish up next time:
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant, Checked Charity Whisnant
Reading theological books have been part of my study for forty years. Reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation yearly has been a part of my study for forty years. Listening on tape the Bible is also a part of my study. God has already spoken in His Word, lets read it, and study to get an understanding.