We continue our study of the doctrine known as Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura, from the Latin, simply means Scripture Alone. Sola Scriptura is a term derived from the 16th century Protestant Reformation and is the perspective that the Bible is the sole, supreme and final authority for not only individual believers but also the church in all spiritual matters.
We are examining the importance of the Old Testament and the suggestion by a few within the church that believers should detach themselves from the Old Testament Scriptures. It is my contention that this would be an incredibly misguided and sinful thing to do.
How many portions of the Old Testament have resonated with you in your walk with Christ? I’m sure if I received responses from you, and I would gladly do so, the comments would be I’m convinced as varied as the many texts of Scripture from the OT that have impacted my own life.
Let’s begin in the beginning with Genesis 1:1. The text which begins it all in the book of beginnings: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” This is the text which supports everything which follows in the Scriptures. It is the text by which God first revealed Himself to Israel as the One True God uniquely different from their idolatrous and polytheistic neighbors.
Then there is Genesis 3 and the fall of man into sin. However, even in this account of disobedience and judgment, God remembers mercy and gives a promise of future redemption in Genesis 3:15.
Also contained in Genesis are the narratives concerning Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Then there is the historical narrative concerning Moses and the Nation of Israel in Exodus thru Deuteronomy and the journey from bondage to the Promised Land. This account serves as a historical metaphor to our own bondage to sin and God’s redemption in Jesus Christ which frees us and leads us to a promised land where believers will spend eternity with God (Romans 6).
One of my favorite passages in the Old Testament is contained in Joshua 1:1-9 and God’s call to Joshua to be strong and courageous. I cannot accurately tell you how many times I have referred and re-read this passage in facing the challenges of my day and ministry as Joshua faced the challenges in his day and ministry.
What can be said about the Psalms? Not only were the 150 Psalms musical expressions of faith and trust in the Lord, but also examples of heart felt emotion.
The Psalter begins with Psalm 1 and the “blessed man” who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners nor sits in the seat of the scoffer because his delight is in the Law of the Lord. This is a psalm I have memorized and one which I hope to embody.
What about Psalm 19 and the heavens declaring the glory of God, or Psalm 119 and the tremendous emphasis placed upon the Word of God. Let me encourage you to read and list the number of descriptions for God’s Word contained in Psalm 119.
How about Psalm 23? How can the church un-hitch itself from the tremendous comfort this particular psalm has provided to believers through the centuries?
I would include King David’s personal lament psalm of confession and repentance found in Psalm 51 as indispensable to the church today. Christians still sin and in Psalm 51 is the way in which the sinner is restored to intimate fellowship with the LORD.
How could the church exist without the Prophet Isaiah and his magnum opus? It contains, among other narratives and prophecies, a description of the holiness of God in Isaiah 6 and the suffering servant prophecy found in Isaiah 52:13-53:12.
Or how about the other glimpse of the glory of God in Ezekiel 1. Then there is uncompromising commitment of Daniel and his friends. Additionally, there are the lessons learned when a person runs from God like Jonah.
One minor prophet who is a personal favorite of mine is Habakkuk. He experienced a crisis of faith and engaged God in a series of questions and answers. Ultimately, he concluded that the righteous will live by his faith because our strength is in God.
Beloved, this is but a sampling of the riches contained in the Old Testament Scriptures. We must never allow anyone to convince us that we must un-hitch ourselves from its riches. While there are troubling passages, these reveal to us that God’s ways are not our own. God never promises us that we will understand all which He does. Rather, He commands us to trust in Him.
May we continue to do so!
Soli deo Gloria!