On Oct. 31, many churches will observe Reformation Day.
Martin Luther is credited as having started the Reformation on Oct. 31, 1517, when he nailed his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany.
One of the main principles coming out of the Reformation is that of sola scriptura, scripture alone. Since then, there has been plenty of debate about how to think of the Bible. Some have come to regard the Bible as essentially a series of humanly produced historical documents subject to error and bias. Others read the Bible without taking into account the human factor at all — ignoring that there are a multiplicity of voices speaking in the text.
The Bible is neither a merely humanly written book, or a divine text produced ex-nihlo. It is at once a human and divine product. While the Bible was written by humans, it is a divinely inspired text through which God is revealed. Furthermore, Sola Scriptura does not mean that it is the only authoritative source in the lives of Christians or the only book we should ever read.
There are subjects about which the Bible simply does not speak. For example, it will not be the source we go to if we are studying Canadian law, medicine, modern history, or quantum physics. And there are many books worthy of our attention and can be very helpful. But when it comes to God, and God’s will for our lives, the Bible stands above and beyond any other text.
The Bible is authoritative for us when we recognize that through its words, God is exercising divine authority in our lives — an uncomfortable idea for us humans, who naturally want to be in charge. When it comes down to it, it is not so much that we interpret scripture, but that through the power of the Holy Spirit, scripture interprets us — as sinners in need of God’s forgiveness and healing through Jesus.In the pages of the Bible, we will come to realize our need for a saviour, and through its pages our saviour will find us.