One of the great and lasting themes of the Reformation was a return to Holy Scripture. In an era when Bibles were not available in the language of the people, and knowledge of the contents of Holy Scripture was woefully lacking, this was a much-needed change. It seems so obvious to Christians today, but at the time, this return to the original, inspired sources was a radical change.
Sola Scriptura—Scripture Alone—affirms the primacy of the Bible. That source of Christian teaching must be the Word of God, and Christian life and teaching must be evaluated by that Word. It all comes from God. We may learn from tradition and learned authority. We reflect on our own experiences and use the reason that God gave to us to think and contemplate different ideas. But Reformation theology recognizes that all of these things are impacted by sin and so are imperfect. Nevertheless, one source is perfect. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV). Jesus Himself teaches us that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17).
The Reformation era insight is just as important for Christians today. God’s Word is a gift to us. It informs and guides our teaching and lives.