The 5 Solas

The Protestant Reformation was a theological revolt against the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. Reformers such as Martin Luther in Germany, Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, and John Calvin in France protested various unbiblical practices of the Catholic Church and promoted a return to sound biblical doctrine.

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:

Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone

  • The Bible alone is our highest authority
  • If some belief or practice is contradicted by Scripture, we have to be open to correction and change

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Sola Fide – Faith Alone

  • Salvation is by faith in Christ alone

Romans 1:17 For in the Gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’.

Sola Gratia – Grace Alone

  • Salvation is by God’s grace alone
  • It is not dependent on or made possible by human effort

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.

Solus Christus – Christ Alone

  • Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone

Acts 4:12 There is salvation in no one else! For there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved!

Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God Alone

  • In word or deed, glorify the Lord our God only

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.

 

Additional Reading

The 5 solas (GotQuestions.org)

The Protestant Reformation (GotQuestions.org) 

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (GotQuestions.org)