Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word "apologetics" derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense.

Is Sola Scriptura Biblical?

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  • Is Sola Scriptura Biblical?


    Two of the fundamental differences between Catholics and Protestants are the source of Divine Revelation and the source of Authority. These two show up strongly in the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone).

    According to Catholic teaching Divine Revelation is contained in both (Sacred) Scripture and (Sacred) Tradition. Together they form one Deposit of Faith from which the Church draws its teaching. Authority for teaching doctrines from that Deposit of Faith was given by Jesus to the leaders of His Church (The Magisterium)

    This is how the Catholic Church expresses it.
    95 "It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls."
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

    Scripture, Tradition, Magisterium – like a three legged stool, each is necessary or the stool falls over.

    When the reformers rejected the authority of the Catholic Church and (Sacred) Tradition it left them with Scripture alone (sola Scriptura).

    Three points:
    1. Nowhere in scripture does it teach sola Scriptura in any form. Rather it teaches both Scripture and Tradition.

    Paul gives equal weight to the spoken and written teaching and calls them both traditions.

    “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” (2 Thess 2:15).

    Paul tells the Corinthians; “About the other things I will give instructions when I come.” (1 Cor 11:34)

    He tells Timothy “and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.” (2 Tim 2:2)

    John writes “Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 1:12;)

    2. Scripture teaches that there are other sources of revelation and authority apart from scripture.

    Apart from the above, John says
    “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (Jn 21:25)

    Luke says:
    To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
    What did Jesus say to the apostles in those 40 days? Very little is recorded.

    In Mt 28:19-20 Jesus says:
    “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”.
    But as I have shown not all that Jesus taught is in scripture. Therefore there must be teaching outside of scripture that must be taught as well.

    3. Neither Jesus, nor the apostles taught from scripture alone.

    Matthew quotes many times from scripture, usually with a phrase such as as had been spoken (or written) through the prophet (sometimes named). But in Mt 2:23 he is less specific:
    He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazorean.” Nowhere in scripture does it say “He shall be called a Nazorean”. Matthew is quoting from Tradition.

    Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you.” (Mt 23:1-3). The scribes and Pharisees had a valid and binding teaching authority passed down from Moses. This is not in scripture but in the Mishnah (originally an oral tradition).

    The chair of Moses outside a synagogue was the traditional place where teachers (Pharisees) sat to teach people.

    “they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ.” (1Cor 10:4). Scripture does not say the rock followed them, but rabbinic tradition does.

    “Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses..” (2Tim 3:8)
    Jannes and Jambres are not found in scripture.



    In the thread The Holy Spirit and Interpreting Scripture William said:
    What is mentioned in Scripture is the idea that the Word of God was to be the guide that the church was to follow (Acts 20:32). It is Scripture that was to be the infallible measuring stick for teaching and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is the Scriptures that teachings are to be compared with (Acts 17:10-12).

    I’m not suggesting this is the only justification for Sola Scriptura but I will comment on these and then await responses

    Originally posted by William View Post
    What is mentioned in Scripture is the idea that the Word of God was to be the guide that the church was to follow (Acts 20:32).
    “And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

    Who was Paul speaking to?
    What was this word of grace that Paul commended to them?
    Was it a written word or a spoken word.

    Go back a few verses to verse 17
    “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they came to him, he said to them: ‘You yourselves know how I lived among you all the time from the first day that I set foot in Asia…..’”

    Paul was speaking to the elders of the Church, not to the ordinary people.

    Vs 20 “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house”

    Vs 31 “Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.”

    Paul taught them orally for 3 years. It was those words they were to rely on. There is no evidence Paul gave them anything to read. He wrote only one letter to the Ephesians, and his authorship of that is in doubt. In addition it is not addressed to the Ephesians – that is just a tradition.

    We can conclude that the word of God is to be the guide, but we cannot conclude that it was the written word of God.

    Originally posted by William View Post
    It is Scripture that was to be the infallible measuring stick for teaching and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
    “All scripture is inspired 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.”

    Leaving aside that the scripture referred to here is the Old Testament, this does not say that scripture is the infallible measuring stick for teaching and practice. It says it is profitable (or useful). It does not say it is solely sufficient to refute error or for training in righteousness.

    Earlier I mentioned the 3 legged stool of Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium. If we look at the previous two verses (14&15) we find them:
    “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed [Tradition], knowing from whom you learned it [Magisterium], and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings [Scripture] which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

    Originally posted by William View Post
    It is the Scriptures that teachings are to be compared with (Acts 17:10-12).
    “The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea; and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

    Sure, we should compare teaching with scripture to make sure it does not contradict it. But this text does not suggest that everything must be taught in scripture. Paul didn’t teach the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Christ solely from the Old Testament. It’s not possible! Paul taught from his own knowledge, and would have used the Old Testament just as we quote it (e.g. to expound on the foreshadowing in the OT). But you can’t do it by the Old Testament alone

    Interestingly the Bereans rejected sola scriptura. It was the Thessalonian Jews who were sola scriptura. Paul spent 3 sabbaths arguing “with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead..” but they would not listen. The Bearans were “more noble” and listened to Paul and accepted what he taught on his authority. They “received the word with all eagerness”. What word? The word that Paul preached to them – the spoken word not the written word.

    Originally posted by William View Post
    Again, the Bible teaches that it is Scripture that is to be used as measuring stick to determine truth from error. In Galatians 1:8-9, Paul states that it is not WHO teaches but WHAT is being taught that is to be used to determine truth from error.
    Actually no! Paul considers that what HE has taught is authoritative. Anything different is false. Therefore the authority of the source of the teaching is important to know that what is being taught is the truth.

  • #2
    We are at odds Bede. I find it difficult to converse when definitions are being dictated by the Roman Catholic Church.

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    Seemingly, when I have used Scripture, you have referred to the authority and succession of the Roman Catholics.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by William View Post
      We are at odds Bede. I find it difficult to converse when definitions are being dictated by the Roman Catholic Church.

      [ATTACH=CONFIG]n1443[/ATTACH]





      Seemingly, when I have used Scripture, you have referred to the authority and succession of the Roman Catholics.
      1. The Archbishop of Venice is reported to have said.....

      2. The Catholique Nationale (whatever that is) is not an authoritative publication of the Catholic Church.

      Let's keep to official statements not tittle tattle such as this. Also note that Catholique sounds French not English, so it's fair to presume that the above quote is a translation, possibly mangled.

      Do you actually have any comments on the OP?

      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by Bede View Post
        Three points:
        1. Nowhere in scripture does it teach sola Scriptura in any form. Rather it teaches both Scripture and Tradition.

        Paul gives equal weight to the spoken and written teaching and calls them both traditions.

        “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” (2 Thess 2:15).

        And you once again shift context in support of Apostolic succession.

        The traditions which they had been taught, or the doctrine of the gospel, which had been delivered by the apostle, by word or epistle. There is no argument accordingly for oral traditions in our days, now that the canon of scripture is complete, as of equal authority with the sacred writings.

        Such doctrines and duties as were taught by the inspired apostles we adhere; but we have no evidence of any thing delivered by them more than what we find contained in the holy scriptures.

        Sola Scriptura.

        God bless,
        William
        Comment>

        • #5
          What Paul wrote in 2 Tim 3:16-17 is IMO uncontestable. At that point of course he was referring to the OT but he also knew his letters would or should be considered such.
          Peter affirms this in 2 Peter 3:14-16 so as such the writings of the Apostles in the first century were also considered scripture. I have no problem with this. Luke is the ONLY writer that was NOT an apostle but he was definitely a witness and approved by Paul.
          We were given the Holy Spirit to guide us into scriptural truth, NOT denominational leaders. IMO most leadership in denominations is political, not called.
          Comment>

          • #6
            I agree with that last statement, Stan, but they should be called, though many are not, if you can follow my logic there. I also agree with William in post 4. Also, Sola Scriptura. We are not to add to or take away from what is in the Scriptures, and that is exactly what happens in some churches claiming certain gifts or through a special leader. Everything God wants us collectively and individually to know is in the Bible, as "that which is perfect" (complete) is come. That which is perfect is a neuter noun, not gender, so we are talking about an object, not a person or Jesus.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Yes they should be called Stratcat but the OP is about Sola Scriptura so I guess I limited my response to that.
              I do NOT indeed believe in Apostolic succession. The Apostles were appointed by Jesus, except for the last one, but they felt they had the mind of God in that matter, as scriptures records.
              'Special' leaders are never from God IMO.

              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by William View Post


                And you once again shift context in support of Apostolic succession.

                The traditions which they had been taught, or the doctrine of the gospel, which had been delivered by the apostle, by word or epistle. There is no argument accordingly for oral traditions in our days, now that the canon of scripture is complete, as of equal authority with the sacred writings.

                Such doctrines and duties as were taught by the inspired apostles we adhere; but we have no evidence of any thing delivered by them more than what we find contained in the holy scriptures.

                Sola Scriptura.

                God bless,
                William
                The evidence is there in scripture. Scripture itself says there is more than is contained in scripture as I have already shown. The word of God was transmitted orally as well as in writing.

                Jesus himself passed on no writing and he instructs the apostles to teach orally.

                Peter says “but the word of the Lord abides for ever. That word is the good news which was preached to you”. (1Pet 1:25).
                That word of God that was preached was more than is written in scripture. Scripture itself tells us that (see OP).

                Luke writes:
                “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.” (Lk 1:1-4)
                The word was passed on orally by eyewitnesses. Theophilus had been instructed orally. Luke writes to verify what they have been taught orally.

                Paul writes:
                “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.” (1Cor 11:2)

                “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil 4:9)

                “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (1Thess 2:13).

                Scripture constantly tells us to listen to what the apostles taught orally not just what has been written down.

                “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” (2Thess 3:6).

                Nowhere does scripture say that the gospel should be committed to writing for future generations.
                Indeed it says the opposite (2Tim 2:2).

                Nowhere does scripture say that we rely on scripture alone.
                Indeed it says the opposite (2Thess 2:15)
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stan View Post
                  What Paul wrote in 2 Tim 3:16-17 is IMO uncontestable. At that point of course he was referring to the OT but he also knew his letters would or should be considered such.
                  Peter affirms this in 2 Peter 3:14-16 so as such the writings of the Apostles in the first century were also considered scripture.
                  I have no problem with this.
                  But 2Tim 3:16-17, as I have already pointed out, does not support sola scriptura. It says profitable (or useful) not solely sufficient.

                  Originally posted by Stan View Post
                  Luke is the ONLY writer that was NOT an apostle but he was definitely a witness and approved by Paul.
                  Mark was not an apostle and we don’t know who wrote Hebrews.

                  Originally posted by Stan View Post
                  We were given the Holy Spirit to guide us into scriptural truth, NOT denominational leaders. IMO most leadership in denominations is political, not called.
                  That may be your opinion but you provide no evidence to support it.

                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                    We are not to add to or take away from what is in the Scriptures,
                    Scripture doesn't say that.



                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      A question for you guys:

                      What does scripture say is [FONT=Georgia]"the pillar and bulwark of the truth.[/FONT]" (2Tim 3:15)

                      Is it:
                      a) the Church
                      b) Scripture

                      Do you believe what scripture says - or a 'tradition of man' ?
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bede View Post

                        But 2Tim 3:16-17, as I have already pointed out, does not support sola scriptura. It says profitable or useful not solely sufficient.
                        It says in it's entirety; "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
                        Best to quote the whole thing and not equivocate on it Bede. Along with what Peter wrote we can be safe in concluding this.

                        Originally posted by Bede View Post
                        Mark was not an apostle and we don’t know who wrote Hebrews.
                        Sorry I meant to type disciples, and Luke wrote Hebrews. Lukan Authorship of Hebrews in Review | COVENANT OF LOVE

                        Originally posted by Bede View Post
                        That may be your opinion but you provide no evidence to support it.
                        Indeed, which is why I wrote IMO. In my experience it holds and if you think electing a Pope is NOT political, then you are at the very least, naïve.



                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bede View Post
                          A question for you guys:

                          What does scripture say is [FONT=Georgia]"the pillar and bulwark of the truth.[/FONT]" (2Tim 3:15)

                          Is it:
                          a) the Church
                          b) Scripture

                          Do you believe what scripture says - or a 'tradition of man' ?
                          You mean 1 Tim 3:15?
                          You can't just pick one verse and properly exegete it Bede. What Paul says here means the Body of Christ. Not understanding metaphorical language when you see it could be your issue with this.
                          Collectively as believers, we are the Church, Body and Temple, as well as containing the Kingdom of God. We are indeed A pillar and buttress of the truth, who IS Jesus, who IS our Rock.

                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bede View Post
                            Scripture doesn't say that.
                            I agree, only Revelation says that, BUT it is commonly accepted amongst the majority of the Church, that the canon of scripture is complete and should NOT be added to. Of course there will always be a difference in this view between Protestants and Orthodox Catholics.
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Whether we are not to add or take away from the Bible is only in Revelation 22:18-19, so it is in the Bible, and that is sufficient. Generally I go along with what Stan says here, Bede. We are not to add to or take away from the book, that which is perfect (complete) 1 Corinthians 13:10, the Bible. Could someone name for me all 12 Apostles, (not Judas)? 2Timothy 3:15 is a pretty good conclusion about being a pillar, etc. The Bible is our only standard by which we judge everything against as according to righteousness. Without a standard, we are lost. How can we judge righteous judgement without it? We can't. We would judge by the appearance, which Jesus told us not to do.
                              Comment>
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