"Bible Christians": question on truth


#1

I am trying to understand how those who are so insistant that the Bible is the sole measure of faith (sola scriptora) can hold to such a claim. Where does the Bible claim to be completely true? In fact I have a better question, what does the Bible say is the pillar and foundation of the truth?

1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (DRB)


#2

[quote=But for Grace]I am trying to understand how those who are so insistant that the Bible is the sole measure of faith (sola scriptora) can hold to such a claim. Where does the Bible claim to be completely true?
[/quote]

"The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.” -CCC 107

Who said Protestants argued it did? S.S. never denied the Church as pillar and foundation, it just disagrees on who to interpret “church” and in what sense it is a “pillar and foundation”. Your confusing classic Sola Scriptura with fundy “Solo” Scriptura


#3

It seems the source of the confusion is THE 100’S OF NON-CATHOLICS WHO COMES ON HERE AND THEIR FIRST POST IS, “Why don’t you Catholics believe in the Bible, don’t you realize it is the only source of the Truth?” or something to that degree.

I could see how that could create our confusion on this issue.

Notworthy


#4

I think he is equating Bible Christian with “fundies” as many of the Evangelicals\Fundamentalists have taken the name Bible Christian to describe themselves. Some of these churches are growing very quickly and where I live seem to be the majority.

Many of them do take a different approach to Sola Scriptura and make it Solo Scriptura.

One thing as Catholics is we should be careful with the Bible as it as always has been to be treated with respect and preserved. It is 100% true and must be respected. We just disagree on interpretation and authority.

As a Catholic I believe in authentic intepretation of the Bible to preserve truth, which has to be one single interpretation. We just need to search for that unified intepretation of truth, as truth is not opinion.

The reformer intepretation of “Church” then is something to discussed with our separated bretheren.


#5

[quote=Knight4God]"The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.” -CCC 107

Who said Protestants argued it did? S.S. never denied the Church as pillar and foundation, it just disagrees on who to interpret “church” and in what sense it is a “pillar and foundation”. Your confusing classic Sola Scriptura with fundy “Solo” Scriptura
[/quote]

So, when Philip was answered “…how would I know unless someone tells (teaches) me…” that wasn’t really necessary.

firmly, and faithfully do not equate to completely.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, only the Catholic Church declared the Canon of Scripture. Yes it thus represents what God, the Holy Spirit wanted to see confided in the the Sacred Scripture.

Nowhere is one given the responsibility to self interpret,… in fact we are warned by scripture itself of this common evil.


#6

[quote=But for Grace]I am trying to understand how those who are so insistant that the Bible is the sole measure of faith (sola scriptora) can hold to such a claim. Where does the Bible claim to be completely true? In fact I have a better question, what does the Bible say is the pillar and foundation of the truth?

1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (DRB)
[/quote]

I’m going to try to help you understand this, to some degree. I’m not going to argue with you, I’m not “there” now. Maybe I can help though.

A “hidden” verse that maybe many Protestants don’t know about is I Cor. 4:6, … that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, …

I’m not trying to be deceitful and take it out of context. In “Not By Scripture Alone” there’s a big section on this verse, and it’s a difficult text. I don’t mean “difficult for Catholics,” but rather it’s just simply difficult to interpret from the Greek, much less apply or draw a foundational doctrine from!!

Ok, along with “not to go beyond what is written” is the basic understanding that since God’s revelation to man ended with the last Canonical book written, therefore there is no more “revelation” from God. And we are now not without a guide, that guide being the revelation from God, contained in the Bible.

There’s side issues about God revealing Himself to us through nature and such, but obviously the fullest revelation is through the written word, and of course Christ. Christ repeatedly appealed to the OT Scriptures, as did the Apostles.

The Sola Scripture belief is, in a way, not a denial of the necessity of the Church to interpret it, it’s rather, I now think from some study and reflection it is, let me set it apart::

Sola Scriptura is not a denial of the benefit of the Church interpreting Scripture, but rather it is an assertion of the Scripture’s INDEPENDENCE from the Church’s interpretation, since the Church can err. Catholics typically say Scripture is materially sufficient, but not formally sufficient. Protestants typically say that Scripture is both materially and formally **sufficient. **

That’s by no means a complete explanation, but it’s perhaps enough to help.


#7

[quote=But for Grace] Where does the Bible claim to be completely true? (DRB)
[/quote]

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you…

Are you saying you don’t believe the Bible to be completely true??

Or are you saying that the Bible requires extra-Biblical approval of it’s truth? In which case, lets say for argument’s sake there is a verse in the Bible that says “all the writings in the collection of books which will be referred to as the Bible are completely true.”

Ok, even granting that, that wouldn’t be enough, would it? Somebody will still say “That’s circular reasoning, you believe it’s true because it says it’s true, and you believe what it says because you believe it’s true, because it says it’s true!”


#8

Sola scriptura is a completely circular argument. Take it for what it’s worth - not much.


#9

The Protestant theory of “Sola Scriptura” states that all truth revealed by God is contained in Scripture.

Because the Canon of the New and Old Testaments of Scripture are indeed a truth revealed by God and the table of contents of Scripture is not Scripture the theory fails plain and simple.

Ken


#10

By the way, one of the more recent tactics is to make a distinction between SolO Scriptura and Sola Scriptura. Sola is certainly more respectable, but ultimately they end up in the same place: The decision that x tradition is correct, but y tradition is a Catholic corruption is completely arbitrary decision by a private superpope.

Scott


#11

Looks like we need to define “Sola Scriptura”

Below is a post I saw on another board, from a Calvinist, and is probably the best explanation of Sola Scriptura I’ve ever come across.

Sola Scriptura is the evangelical doctrine. What I mean by that is the original evangelicals, the Reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries viewed Sola Scriptura as the doctrine upon which their movement rose and fell. Quite simply, if Sola Scriptura is true, then Protestantism is the proper form of Christian understanding.

What Sola Scriptura advocates is that the Bible is the first and last rule of faith. It says the Scriptures are the highest authority on all things pertaining to the Christian religion. If tradition contradicts with Scripture, then tradition should be changed to coincide with the Word of God. Quite clearly, we see the distiction between institutions such as Catholicism and Protestantism. For Catholics, extra-Biblical (things that aren’t in the Bible) traditions are Biblical because they believe the Church has been given the right and responsibility to perform their services as they do. For Protestants (true Protestants), traditions are always submissive to the Scriptures. We look to the Word to see what traditions we should follow, instead of binding the Word to the traditions that we create.

What Sola Scriptura does not teach is that the Bible is the first and last word on everything. You won’t learn how to solve systems of linear inequalities from the Bible. In fact, you won’t learn any math from it. This is a common misconception of the doctrine. Many people from tradition-oriented churches (Catholic, Easthern Orthodox, etc.) seem to think that Protestants believe the Bible is sufficient for all things, but that is inconsistent with what we believe. Instead, we believe that the Bible is the highest authority for every aspect or issue that it addresses. To put it in a rougher vernacular, the Bible is the rulebook for Christianity. More than that, it is a special kind of rulebook because instead of just given a list of rules that must be followed, it is a guideline for the very spirit of the game. Breaking with the spirit is breaking the rules.

That being said, there is ample room for tradition to coincide with the Word. The very way we worship is a tradition. Historically, the figures in the Bible worshiped with the instruments that were common to their groups. That is true to how we worship now. Instead of harps, lyres, and goatskin drums, we use keyboards, electric guitars, and plastic skinned drums. The method of worship is largely traditional, but the spirit of worship is formed within the Word, and it is to this spirit that we are subservient. Also among the traditions of the Reformed church are confession and creeds, which are doctrinal guidelines for what the Bible teaches. If you want to understand the Reformed view, read the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms.

Here is a page that has the Confession with Scripture proofs:
reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/

Here are the Catechisms (the Larger contains all of the Shorter and more):
freechurch.org/muir/lc.html (Larger)
freechurch.org/muir/sc.html (Shorter)

So, essentially, Sola Scriptura is this: The Bible is the highest authority of the Christian religion. It does not bar tradition, but instead would establish it according to the Word. If tradition should speak differently of the Word, or if a man should preach contradictory to the Word, then they are to be silenced, and the Scriptures are to be sought for the truth.

The obvious problem here is that the Bible is not crystal clear on everything… especially when we are reading translations divorced by 2000 years from their historical and cultural context!

When this guy says “If the Word and Tradition differ, the Bible takes precedence and tradition is rejected” - this is where Sola Scriptura falls. Because what does “the Word” mean? It means whatever Sola Scripturists get from it. And by the massive number of different Protestant beliefs on every issue, we see that it’s not at all clear.

The Catholic belief is the more rational, and practical approach, which puts Scripture and Tradition on equal levels (makes sense since it is through Tradition that we can even know we are reading inspired texts!) and this way personal subjectivism has no basis or right to topple doctrines and practices that were taught from the mouths of the apostles!

While we read the Bible through the lens of the teachings of the apostles, most Reformed Protestants read the Bible through the lens of Calvin.


#12

[quote=Reformed Rob]I’m going to try to help you understand this, to some degree. I’m not going to argue with you, I’m not “there” now. Maybe I can help though.

A “hidden” verse that maybe many Protestants don’t know about is I Cor. 4:6, … that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, …

so… written up to that point?.. written in the OT?.. nothing after this verse is acceptable because we would have to “go beyond” ???
and… what about Scripture telling us that there are many things “not written down”??

I’m not trying to be deceitful and take it out of context. In “Not By Scripture Alone” there’s a big section on this verse, and it’s a difficult text. I don’t mean “difficult for Catholics,” but rather it’s just simply difficult to interpret from the Greek, much less apply or draw a foundational doctrine from!!

Ok, along with “not to go beyond what is written” is the basic understanding that since God’s revelation to man ended with the last Canonical book written

***It ended with the death of John (the last of the Apostles) … not the last book written. ***

, therefore there is no more “revelation” from God. And we are now not without a guide, that guide being the revelation from God, contained in the Bible.

*** Jesus did not say “I will leave you a book to guide you”***

He said " The Paraclete will come (Pentacost and beyond) to lead you into all Truth"

There’s side issues about God revealing Himself to us through nature and such, but obviously the fullest revelation is through the written word, and of course Christ. Christ repeatedly appealed to the OT Scriptures, as did the Apostles.

The Sola Scripture belief is, in a way, not a denial of the necessity of the Church to interpret it, it’s rather, I now think from some study and reflection it is, let me set it apart::

**Sola Scriptura is not a denial of the benefit of the Church interpreting Scripture, but rather it is an assertion of the Scripture’s INDEPENDENCE from the Church’s interpretation,

and Scripture itself warns you and I of the ongoing errors committed through self interpretation**

since the Church can err. Catholics typically say Scripture is materially sufficient, but not formally sufficient. Protestants typically say that Scripture is both materially and formally **sufficient.

That is impossible. For you to make that declaration of your position is to give yourself the authority to say it is so… thus defeating the position that Scripture is formally sufficient.
In other words… The Bible is sufficient on its own (formal) because I have the authority (self-given) to recognize that it is so.
**

That’s by no means a complete explanation, but it’s perhaps enough to help.

[/quote]


#13

Here is a good dialog on Dave Armstrong’s blog about how SolO Scriptura and SolA Scriptura is a distinction that eventually leads to the same dead end: How Different (In Nature and Ultimate Effect) Are SolO Scriptura and SolA Scriptura (vs. Keith Mathison): Part I

And Part II here

Scott

Note: For some strange reason, when I click on the link I get a “You are not authorized…” message. I click on it again and it comes right up. :confused:


#14

In This Rock Magazine, Patrick Madrid spends an entire article on this very quandry about 1 Cor. 4:6 and what it really means to “not go beyond what is written.” It is an excellent read:

catholic.com/thisrock/1992/9208chap.asp

But, for those who do not wish to click and read. . .A highlight of the article was the exegetical comparison between 1 Cor. 4:6 and 2 Thess. 2:15 which says:

“Therefore, brothers, stand firm. Hold fast to the traditions you received from us, either by our word or by letter.”

If indeed, St. Paul meant in 1 Cor. 4:6 that one should rely on Scripture ALONE as the sole source and guide for faith, then he would have been contradicting himself in 2 Thess. 2:15 where he clearly instructs the Thessalonians to keep ALL they have been taught–both by oral tradition and by written letter (Scripture).

Patrick Madrid does a much more comprehensive job exploring the difficult passage of 1 Cor. 4:6!


#15

I do not know if this will help anyone other than me, but here goes.

For reasons known only to God He started showing me that letters in words stood for certain meanings. The first word He showed me was the word** LOVE** and asked me what the letters stood for. I spent approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes over a period of four days trying to come up with an accronym for the word LOVE without success.
The particular Sunday reading for the weekend following the asking of the question was,(quoting from memory)"And the Pharasees asked Jesus,“What is the greatest commandment of them all?” and Jesus said,"The greatest commandment of them all is to love the Lord, Your God with your whole Heart, your whole Body and your whole soul and the second commandment akin to the first is to love your neighbor as yourself for the love of God."
In mass that Sunday our parish priest started his homily by saying,"As a parish priest, you stand on the altar and you look out on the congregation and your eyes will come to rest on a particular individual and the air around them is charged! It is filled with energy! You can see the Holy Spirit working in them! And then you will look at someone else and the air around them is dead! There is nothing!"
I thought,“Wow! I have never heard a homily start like this!” And I settled down to listen to every word that priest would have to say that day!
But, I never heard another word that priest had to say in his homily that day. Instead I heard**,“God is love. God should be the center of our lives. Therefore Love should be the center of our lives. When we love, we imitate God. (And I felt that this pleased Him.)
When we love someone on Earth, we give them our permission to do things to us and for us, even when we don’t know what those things are, because in our love for them we trust them not to harm us. And so it is with God. We must give Him our permission to do things to us and for us, so that in His love for us He can (L)et (O)ur (V)ocation (E)merge. When we give Him our permission and He, in His love, Lets Our Vocation Emerge, then we must (L)ive (O)ur (V)ocation (E)nthusiastically. When we live our vocation enthusiastically then (L)ove (O)ur (V)ows (E)nforce.” **
I have editorialized the locution for brevity here but have not changed the message.
By way of better understanding for readers I will include a postscript to this message.
I did not understand the last acronym for LOVE and thought it must have been something I had made up, I but loved the first two. The next day, Monday, I was doing Eucharistic Adoration when Jesus spoke to me saying**,“Jack, when did you get so smart? I gave you four days to come up with a single acronym and you couldn’t come up with one! And then I give you two, and you think you made up the third one, and it doesn’t make any sense! When did you get so smart?” ** Chastized I meditated on the third acronym and learned, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, more about Our God of Love’s Love.

Some time later I got to wondering why we called the Bible, ‘The Bible’, so I asked God**,“Why do we call the Bible the Bible? What do the letters in BIBLE stand for?” And He replied,“The Bible is a book of instruction, which, if we allow it, will enable us to (B)uild (I)n (B)elief (L)ife (E)ternal. But remember, (B)lind (I)nfidelity (B)rings (L)ife (E)xtinction!”**
I was then reminded that no one knows or believes in the Bible better than Satan. This caused me to realize that we must not only know and believe the Bible’s teachings, but we must also live them.
I have been an avid reader all my life and many have been impressed with my reading and comprehension abilities, but until I gave God permission to lead me I could not get interested in nor make hide nor tail out of anything I read in the Bible.

I hope this posting helps someone somewhere somehow. May God lead, bless and protect us all.


#16

I just wanted to share that I asked my protestant Bible Study/Sunday School teacher (who has been to Seminary) about where there is “proof” for Sola Scriptura and he had no answer for me really at all. I asked it from the point of view of a Catholic friend had asked me (because she did, but I was really asking for my own curiosity) and he felt that “well you shouldn’t let them turn the burden of proof on you” and never gave me a real answer… Needless to say that didn’t encourage me to remain a Protestant!

(of course I also asked a Protestant for why we didn’t believe in the Apocryptal books when they were part of the Septuagint that Christ used, and they gave me some vague answer comparing those books to the introduction and footnotes in our study Bibles! uh? hello??? I wanted a real answer here! LOL - needless to say I am beginning to not feel guilty for not trying harder to reinvestigate the Protestant side of things - Catholicism flat out makes sense - so why should I stress over how the church of my childhood thinks?)


#17

[quote=AmISearching?]I just wanted to share that I asked my protestant Bible Study/Sunday School teacher (who has been to Seminary) about where there is “proof” for Sola Scriptura and he had no answer for me really at all. I asked it from the point of view of a Catholic friend had asked me (because she did, but I was really asking for my own curiosity) and he felt that “well you shouldn’t let them turn the burden of proof on you” and never gave me a real answer… Needless to say that didn’t encourage me to remain a Protestant!

(of course I also asked a Protestant for why we didn’t believe in the Apocryptal books when they were part of the Septuagint that Christ used, and they gave me some vague answer comparing those books to the introduction and footnotes in our study Bibles! uh? hello??? I wanted a real answer here! LOL - needless to say I am beginning to not feel guilty for not trying harder to reinvestigate the Protestant side of things - Catholicism flat out makes sense - so why should I stress over how the church of my childhood thinks?)
[/quote]

I agree! I am a Catholic revert, and when I was younger (14-17), I drifted from the Faith. I started going to Protestant youth groups with the girlfriend at the time, and the people leading it (it was a man and a wife) both started having different interpretations of the same verses of Scripture, I really started to question the validity of Protestantism. Then, I didn’t even have any idea of what Sola Scriptura was and once I found out that’s what protestants believed, I started investigating the claims of Catholicism and there’s nothing that I disagree with here. :wink:

Welcome home!


#18

[quote=AmISearching?]I just wanted to share that I asked my protestant Bible Study/Sunday School teacher (who has been to Seminary) about where there is “proof” for Sola Scriptura and he had no answer for me really at all. I asked it from the point of view of a Catholic friend had asked me (because she did, but I was really asking for my own curiosity) and he felt that “well you shouldn’t let them turn the burden of proof on you” and never gave me a real answer… Needless to say that didn’t encourage me to remain a Protestant!

(of course I also asked a Protestant for why we didn’t believe in the Apocryptal books when they were part of the Septuagint that Christ used, and they gave me some vague answer comparing those books to the introduction and footnotes in our study Bibles! uh? hello??? I wanted a real answer here! LOL - needless to say I am beginning to not feel guilty for not trying harder to reinvestigate the Protestant side of things - Catholicism flat out makes sense - so why should I stress over how the church of my childhood thinks?)
[/quote]

that’s one of the things that spured me to investigate the Catholic
church originally also… and if you really want to hear some
stuff, ask them why the Apocryphal books were taken out
of the King James Version of the bible, in the 1880’s…

(( most Protestants don’t even know that prior to the 1880’s,
the Apocrypha was included in the King James Version ))

another thing that most Protestants don’t know is that the
King James Version,wasn’t a true Protestant bible… King
Henry VIII took ‘control’ of the church in England in about
1536, creating the Church of England, and making himself,
and following Kings and Queens, the head of the church…
King James had the bible translation called the KJV done
for the Church of England ( Anglican church ), in 1611…

the true Protestant churchs used the Geneva bible until
the 1640’s or so… the Geneva bible was the first English
bible in America… but the King James became more popular
and the Geneva went out of print in 1644…

anyway… tell me to hush… lol

:slight_smile:


#19

I recently had a long conversation with my (now former) evangelical pastor. That conversation was the final push I needed to convince me that I must become Catholic.

I wanted to know this pastor’s perspective on just this issue - how do we determine what of the Christian faith is true when so many churches, all reading the same scriptures, come to different conclusions? His answer was essentially this: we can’t go beyond the plain words of scripture. As a follow-up, I asked, then why can’t we all agree exactly on the meaning of the plain words of scripture? His answer was, “that’s why we all worship in different churches on Sunday.”

Furthermore, what of the earliest century believers, who didn’t have access to a modern Bible, consisting of both Old and New Testaments? Did God cruelly intend for them to be condemned, as they didn’t have that which is supposedly the sole rule of faith?


#20

[quote=Reformed Rob]Maybe I’m misunderstanding you…

Are you saying you don’t believe the Bible to be completely true??
[/quote]

No, what I am saying is that the Bible does not contain the complete truth. There are things that need to be understood which cannot be understood looking at the Bible in isolation. Further, the corrupted canon of protestant Bibles is even further insufficent. So, to answer this I would say that the Bible is completely true but not the complete truth.

Or are you saying that the Bible requires extra-Biblical approval of it’s truth? In which case, lets say for argument’s sake there is a verse in the Bible that says “all the writings in the collection of books which will be referred to as the Bible are completely true.”

The validation of the Bible rests not upon what is written but upon who wrote it, to loosely quote Augustine, “If the Church hadn’t taught it, I would not believe it.” The validity of the Bible therefore has the Cross and the blood of martyrs as its ultimate support. This is why the Early Church Fathers and the Councils should be studied by anyone seriously intrested in Christianity, because in some instances (the letters of Ignatius for instance) their writtings predate the Sacred Scripture, and certianly they predate the Canon of Scripture. Similarly the Councils are of great importance because they formally set Canon.

Now it stands to reason (though some may argue) that if A creates B then A is greater than B. For, as Aristotle say (supported by Aquinas) that which is creates is greater than that which is created. Now we know that the Church wrote and formalized the Canon of Scriptures (that is the Bible), therefore the Church is greater than that same Canon. Further, since no other Church can be proven to exist at this early of a date we must understand that the Church spoken of here is the Catholic Church.

Ok, even granting that, that wouldn’t be enough, would it? Somebody will still say “That’s circular reasoning, you believe it’s true because it says it’s true, and you believe what it says because you believe it’s true, because it says it’s true!”

Of course it would be circular reasoning, that is why the proof of the validity of the Bible must come from something outside of the Bible which has greater authority than the Bible, namely the Catholic Church.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.