Jesus told His disciples, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 25:34). He had just finished giving some signs of His coming, and said that the generation who sees the signs will see all of them. His words are true, firm, inerrant, infallible, indestructible, and eternal.
The Word is living and abiding, and this is the word that was preached in the first century, it is the word that was recovered in the 16th century, it is the word that continues to regenerate and reform.
Sola scriptura was the material cause of the Protest. We Protestants are made by this Word. Scripture is the thread and pattern of our worship and worldview. Obviously it’s possible for men to have it and twist it and turn it for their own advantage; such is the work of Medieval Popes and Cardinals and modern televangelists and so-called critical scholars. But when plough-boys and milk maids get their own copies, and when the Spirit opens the eyes of our hearts, Christians are born and churches are built.
When God gives men understanding of the Word they summarize it into creeds and confessions. Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a systematic theology that helps us in ways that complement his commentaries. Luther’s recovery of justification by faith alone was the instrumental cause of the 16th Century Reformation, and needed particular definition and defense. And while we thank God for those who sacrificed to translate and preserve and teach us God’s Word through their words, we honor their work best by reading and hearing and preaching and memorizing the Word most.
Let the pastors boldly dare all things by the word of God. Let them constrain all the power, glory, and excellence of the world to give place to the divine majesty of the word. (—John Calvin)
When we suffer, Scripture gives us hope. When we walk in darkness, Scripture is a light. When we groan, we learn from God’s Word our lines.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 ESV)