Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Rule of Faith

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.   Is 8:20


During the Protestant Reformation, the Reformers distilled their basic belief system down to five basic latin phrases (5 solas) which served as a basic summary of their distinctives in contradiction to the beliefs of the Roman Church. The Latin word “sola” means “alone” in English. These core tenants of the Protestant Faith are:

The Baptist Reformer

William Kiffin

5 Solas

  • Sola Scriptura (By Scripture Alone)
  • Sola Fide (By Faith Alone)
  • Sola Gratia (By Grace Alone)
  • Solo Christo (Through Christ Alone)
  • Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)

  • Rule of Faith

    Although each pilar of Biblical Protestant Faith must be defended and safeguarded in each generation, the attack on Scripture seems to be the most fierce. For once a person accepts the 66-books of inspired Scripture to be the sole, infallible, and inspired rule of the Christian faith, the rest of the tenants fall naturally from it.

    Our early Baptist forefathers trained their children about Sola Scriptura as follows, using Keach’s 1677 Catechism:

    4. What is the Word of God?

    A. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Isaiah 8:20)

    5. How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?

    A. The Bible evidences itself to be God’s Word by the heavenliness of its doctrine, the unity of its parts, its power to convert sinners and to edify saints; but the Spirit of God only, bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in our hearts, is able fully to persuade us that the Bible is the Word of God. (1 Cor. 2:6,7,13; Ps. 119:18, 129; Acts 10:43, 26:22; Acts 18:28; Heb 4:12; Ps. 19:7-9; Rom. 15:4; John 16:13,14; 1 John 2:20-27; 2 Cor. 3:14-17)

    6. May all men make use of the Scriptures?

    A. All men are not only permitted, but commanded and exhorted, to read, hear, and understand the Scriptures. (John 5:39; Luke 16:29; Acts 8:28-30; 17:11)

    The Baptists joined with all 17th Century Protestants in believing that the Word of God is the only rule of faith, the Bible (66 book Protestant Canon) is this Word of God, and that all men are commanded to obey it. This rule of faith is not found by the wisdom and logic of man, nor by a blind leap of faith; but rather, by the inner working of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness in the hearts of believers.

    For the definitive confessional statement of Baptists regarding the Scriptures as their rule of faith, see Baptist Confession, Chapter 1: The Holy Scriptures.

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