Sola Scriptura. It’s a popular phrase with evangelical Christians, claiming that there’s nothing more important than the Bible. It’s a comforting kind of blasphemy. And that’s the problem: This concept turns our worship into a farce. Can any thinking person justify putting scripture on a pedestal above God and his ability to speak directly to his people? God didn’t write the Bible. People wrote it. People like Moses and David and Peter and Paul. People with problems. And these people had a specific audience in mind. They weren’t writing letters and histories and poetry to us. Some of it was written for the Israelites. Some of it was written as personal reflection or as prayer. Some of it was written to a band of Christians in Corinth or in Rome or in Ephesus. None of those people are us.
I believe that what was written about God was, is and always will be absolutely true. But the truth presented in scripture is limited by the author’s perspective (experience of truth), and it is limited by the intended audience (the particular truth that the author felt that group needed to hear).
Paul told the Corinthians that women shouldn’t speak in church. But he told the Galatians that men and women are equal in the eyes of God (implying that they should also be equal in the eyes of believers). Moses told the Israelites to abstain from pork. But Luke records in Acts that Peter had a dream in which a voice from heaven gave him permission to take and eat the other white meat.
Most Christians take this and say, “Oh, that’s because the new covenant replaces the old covenant.” But Jesus disagreed. He made it clear that not one stroke of the pen would be removed from the Law. He never replaced anything. Instead, Jesus asked us to rethink our concept of what is true and what isn’t. He asked us to consider God’s intent rather than trying to literally follow every regulation. He pointed out that the problem with literal interpretation of scripture is that it is almost always done for the sake of finding loopholes, not because we want to know God.
Sola scriptura is a farce. We would do well to put scripture in its place and get back to worshiping the one true God.
the problem with literal interpretation of scripture is that it is almost always done for the sake of finding loopholes