Textual Criticism Overview


 The five solas are five Latin phrases popularized during the Protestant Reformation that emphasized the distinctions between the early Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church. The word sola is the Latin word for “only” and was used in relation to five key teachings that defined the biblical pleas of Protestants.
They are:

1. Sola scriptura: “Scripture alone”
2. Sola fide: “faith alone”
3. Sola gratia: “grace alone”
4. Solo Christo: “Christ alone”
5. Soli Deo gloria: “to the glory of God alone”

Each of these solas can be seen both as a corrective to the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church at the start of the Reformation and as a positive biblical declaration.

Sola scriptura emphasizes the Bible alone as the source of authority for Christians. By saying, “Scripture alone,” the Reformers rejected both the divine authority of the Roman Catholic Pope and confidence in sacred tradition. Only the Bible was “inspired by God” (2 Peter 1:20-21) and “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Anything taught by the Pope or in tradition that contradicted the Bible was to be rejected. Sola scriptura also fueled the translation of the Bible into German, French, English, and other languages, and prompted Bible teaching in the common languages of the day, rather than in Latin.

Sola fide emphasizes salvation as a free gift. The Roman Catholic Church of the time emphasized the use of indulgences (donating money) to buy status with God. Good works, including baptism, were seen as required for salvation. Sola fide stated that salvation is a free gift to all who accept it by faith (John 3:16). Salvation is not based on human effort or good deeds (Ephesians 2:9).

Sola gratia emphasizes grace as the reason for our salvation. In other words, salvation comes from what God has done rather than what we do. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Solo Christo (sometimes listed as Solus Christus, “through Christ alone”) emphasizes the role of Jesus in salvation. The Roman Catholic tradition had placed church leaders such as priests in the role of intercessor between the laity and God. Reformers emphasized Jesus’ role as our “high priest” who intercedes on our behalf before the Father. Hebrews 4:15 teaches, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus is the One who offers access to God, not a human spiritual leader. 

Soli Deo gloria emphasizes the glory of God as the goal of life. Rather than striving to please church leaders, keep a list of rules, or guard our own interests, our goal is to glorify the Lord. The idea of soli Deo gloria is found in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

The five solas of the Protestant Reformation offered a strong corrective to the faulty practices and beliefs of the time, and they remain relevant today. We are called to focus on Scripture, accept salvation by grace through faith, magnify Christ, and live for God’s glory.

Study: Only 12% of Young People View the Bible as “the Actual Word of God”

Study: Only 12% of Young People View the Bible as “the Actual Word of God”

by Ken Ham on July 8, 2017


The serious effects of teaching generations that they can reinterpret God’s Word—particularly in Genesis—or totally reject it are painfully evident in Americans’ views of the Bible. We’ve been saying for years that one consequence of this compromise will be an increasing rejection of the Bible as the literal Word of God and as our authority. And this is exactly what a new Gallup poll shows.

Only 24% of Americans (including older Americans) believe the Bible is “the actual Word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word” compared with 26% who view the Bible as “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.” Another 47% of Americans view the Bible as “the inspired Word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.”

According to Gallup, this is the first time in 40 years that the number of those who are skeptical about the Bible has surpassed those who believe it should be taken literally.

Only 12% of Young People

What I found particularly striking about these results is the numbers when it came to young people. In 40 years, the number of young people who believe the Bible as written has fallen from 32% to a mere 12%. That’s a massive drop!


That number represents generations of young people who have not been taught to stand boldly on the Word of God, defend what they believe, and allow God’s Word to be the authority in their lives. Most of them have been indoctrinated in the increasingly atheistic public education system. Frankly, I believe their parents and churches are partly to blame. Sadly, I wonder how many of those young people were told it didn’t matter what they believed about Genesis, as long as they trusted in Jesus? When you open the door to reinterpreting the Bible in Genesis, where do you stop? If we can be the authority over the clear words of Scripture in Genesis why not be the authority in other places too?

Parents, pastors, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, Christian teachers—are you actively working to instill a belief in the inerrancy, inspiration, and authority of the Scriptures in the young people under your influence? Are you simply assuming they view the Bible in this way? Are you actively undermining this belief by allowing for compromise regarding the history recorded in God’s Word?

As believers we need to be diligent about teaching young people the correct view of the Bible because the world is trying very hard to convince them that God’s Word can’t be trusted and that man is the authority, not God. I encourage you to arm yourself with resources (such as our newly updated and expanded Answers Bible Curriculum) and dedicate yourself to training up a generation of young people in the way they should go.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.