What is Sola Scriptura

Picture & bible

(epd): The Latin term "Sola scriptura" ("solely through writing") is considered a unique feature of the Protestant Church. According to this core principle of the Reformation, which goes back to Martin Luther, the Bible is the only source and norm of the Christian faith. This idea wasn't new. However, the reformers and their successors placed this principle at the center of their teaching. The emphasis on the Holy Scriptures as sole authority is also a demarcation from the Roman Catholic Church. In the Middle Ages it was customary for the Holy Scriptures to be read through the glasses of the church fathers and council resolutions. The “tradition” naturally helped to shape theological statements.

Back to the sources

The reformers went back "to the sources" ("ad fontes") following the humanistic educational tradition at the beginning of the modern era. In this way they wanted to be the center of the Christian
Get close to the message, the gospel of Jesus Christ. From their point of view, the Bible - the oldest document of Christianity - was increasingly obscured by special church teachings. According to Luther lays
the Holy Scriptures themselves. Luther and other reformers translated the biblical texts into their mother tongues so that every Christian can read the Bible independently of the Magisterium and Church.

The Catholic Church responded to the teachings and demands of the Reformation movement at the Council of Trent (1545-1563). The divine truth is not only in Scripture, but in the
Finding a connection between script and tradition was determined at the time. Only in this way can the correct interpretation be secured with the help of the Holy Spirit. In addition, the church is older than the Bible.

Biblical writings still in the center today

The expression “Sola scriptura” is interpreted differently today than it was in the Reformation 500 years ago. Protestant theologians are aware that the Bible itself was created in a traditional process and did not fall from heaven. Nevertheless, the biblical writings are still at the center of Protestant religious practice to this day. "In them, human experiences with God have condensed in such a way that other people can rediscover themselves and their experiences with God in them", explains the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) in the basic text "Justification and Freedom" on the occasion of the Reformation anniversary in 2017. In this sense, the Bible is still to be understood as “the word of God”.