The term “sola Scriptura” or “the Bible alone” is a short phrase that represents the simple truth that there is only one special revelation from God that man possesses today, the written Scriptures or the Bible. Scripture states this concept repeatedly and emphatically. The very phrase “It is written” means exclusively transcribed, and not hearsay. The command to believe what is written means to believe only the pure word of God. What is at stake before the All Holy God is His incorruptible truth.
In the very last commandment in the Bible God resolutely tells us not to add to nor take away from His Word.
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”
His Word is absolutely sufficient in itself (Psalm 119:160).
The Biblical message breathed out by God is revelation in written form. (2 Timothy 3:15-16). The Biblical claim is that what God has inspired was His written word (2 Peter 1:20-21). When the Lord Jesus Christ said, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), He was speaking of God’s written word. The events, actions, commandments, and truths from God are given to us in propositional form, i.e. logical, written sentences. God’s declaration in Scripture is that it and it alone, is this final authority in all matters of faith and morals.
Thus, there is only one written source from God, and there is only one basis of truth for the Lord’s people in the Church.
The total sufficiency of Scripture is declared by the Apostle Paul,
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
—2 Timothy 3:16-17
For final truth and authority, all that we need is the Scripture.
What about the claim that sola Scriptura is not possible?
In an attempt to justify traditions as being of equal or higher authority than Scripture, an appeal is often made to the very last verse in John’s gospel,
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
Of course, there were many deeds and sayings of the Lord not recorded in Scripture. Nonetheless, Scripture is the authoritative record that Holy God has given His people. We do not have a single sentence that is authoritatively from the Lord, outside of what is in the written word. To appeal to a tradition for authority, when Holy God did not give it, is futile. The idea that somehow sayings and events from the Lord have been recorded in tradition is simply not true.
Another attempt to justify tradition, is the statement that the early church did not have the New Testament. The Apostle Peter speaks about the writings of the Apostle Paul when he states,
“…even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
—2 Peter 3:15-16
Peter also declares that he was writing so that the believers could remember what he said. So he wrote, “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2 Peter 1:12).
From the earliest days of Christianity, a substantial part of the New Testament was available. Under the inspiration of the Lord, the Apostle Paul commands his letters to be read in other churches besides those to which they were sent. This clearly shows that the written word of God was being circulated even as the Apostles lived. The Lord’s command to believe what is written has always been something that the believers could obey and did obey. In this matter we must have the humility commanded in the Scripture not to think above what is written. “…that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6).
See more here: “sola Scriptura” or “the Bible alone”