Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Random Thoughts on Sola Scriptura, Part VII

In a comment to one of the posts in this series someone mentioned that there are ample biblical passages which support the Catholic Scripture and Tradition position while clearly refuting the Sola Scriptura Protestant doctrine. My original intent for this series of reflections was to simply state some common sense objections to Sola Scriptura without relying too heavily on Biblical references which so often divide Christians due to differences in interpretation. But the aforementioned commenter is right in pointing out the obvious biblical verses which refute Sola Scriptura so soundly. And so, below you will find a few of these verses:

> The Sola Scriptura position states that the “Bible Alone” is the only source for Christian doctrine. According to this line of thinking, Tradition does not carry the weight of authority that God’s Word in Scripture does. But the Bible itself says this:

"So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter." (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

Here we see clearly that we are to “stand firm and hold fast” to tradition. And this tradition includes both the written word and the word of mouth (oral) tradition. Obviously, the Bible contains the written “letter,” as mentioned in this verse. But the “word of mouth” tradition (which Catholics simply call Tradition – with a capital ‘T’) is regarded with equal importance. According to this verse from Scripture, these two are linked as one body of tradition – oral and written.

So the Bible tells us that Tradition is exactly what we should adhere to – both in Scripture and in Sacred Tradition - together. This obviously refutes the idea of Sola Scriptura.
> It becomes even clearer why we need oral Tradition when we realize that the Bible does not contain everything about Jesus’ life, ministry, miracles and preaching. The Bible is not a complete record of Christian teaching, nor does it claim to be. The Bible even tells us that there is much more about Jesus that is not contained in the pages of Scripture:

“But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." (John 21:25):

Indeed this opens the possibility that some other source, something other than Scripture Alone, may also contain teachings that can instruct us about Christ, His Church, and the Christian life. The Bible does not claim to be the only source.

> Most Bible-Only Christians believe that the “church” has no real authority over the individual believer. Supposedly each Christian can take up the Bible and read for him or her self and understand and interpret God’s Word. But the Bible answers:

"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy every came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2 Peter 1:20-21)
And chapter 2 of the same book tells us to be on guard against false teachers, those who twist the Word of God. So obviously the “plain word” of Scripture is not so obvious to the individual Christian, as Protestants would have us believe. It can be misused and twisted by false teachers. Indeed, we are further warned:
".... So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures." (2 Peter 3:15-16)
There is no way that individual interpretation of the Bible can work for Christianity as a whole, when the Bible so clearly warns us of it perils. We need a divinely guided teacher.

> If Sola Scriptura were true, if the Bible really is the only source for Christian doctrine, then one would think that the Bible itself would prove it. One would think that the Bible itself would say that it alone is the pillar and foundation of truth. However, the Bible itself tells us this:
"... you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15)
So, according to the Bible the Church is the “pillar of truth” and “the foundation of truth,” NOT the Bible itself. If this is the case, then how can anyone say that the Bible stands Alone? The Bible tells us that Scripture and Tradition stand together as taught by the Church, which is the foundation of Truth.

> These are just a few of the Biblical verses that demonstrate that Sola Scriptura is an unbiblical doctrine.

[Thank you to Jason, for compiling these verses and introducing them into the conversation.]


  1. Speaking of common sense, Sola Scriptura also fails a basic rule of logic called The Principle of Non-Contradiction. Click my name/URL to see more on this.

  2. Good post, Ben! The picture was great!