Catholic apologists argue wrongly against Sola Scriptura


Catholic apologists do a good and faithful job of defeating Sola Scripture, but they miss the primary and fundamental point against Sola Scriptura! The elephant in the room of Sola Scripture is that the Scriptura does not exist anymore. There does not exist one single dot, title, letter, scrap or remnant of any of the original books of the Bible! All we have are copies of copies subject to copy errors/translation errors/interpretation errors. If we had the originals then I might say OK to SS but they ascribe “magical” powers to something that does not even exist. Some will rebut ”we have 5,000 remnants”. If you saw a train in 5,000 pieces then you know that something has gone horribly wrong. Think about it – why there are no survivors of the original Bible books? God abandoned them, God let them perish, God willed them out of existence so that humanity would have to depend on the Catholic Church to apply Gods word.


The argument that the Catholic church is true is based on the accuracy of the biblical account. So this defeats catholic arguments as well.


I like your name. I’m a fan of the satirical show “Family Guy” as well. And I see you joined today. Welcome!


But then how could anyone know the Catholic Church was true before the New Testament was written?

No, the truth of the Church is traced back through people - communities. Not the books. The books came later.


Just wanted to welcome you to the forums!~

I leave comments to your post to other.



I think your thread title is false. Why would you say OK to SS if you had the original texts? The originals would not prove SS.


That’s not true. The argument for the Catholic Church is certainly attributed to by the Scriptures, but the argument for the Church is grounded in its own existence and living history.

What CG’s arguments would accomplish, though, if they held up, is that they would destroy the legitimacy of a Bible that the Catholic Church, too, holds up as true and inerrant in its teachings. So… there’s that problem. :wink:

Welcome to the forums, CG! Good to have you here!


Hi, Chris!

…yeah… not!

Consider the fact that the Church was instituted by Christ but that Christ’s Apostles proceeded to put to ink the Word of God which the Holy Spirit Inspired them to Write.

…for argument’s sake lets say that there is a surviving text–original and unadulterated… do you think that millions of people taking the text apart (reading/studying it) would come to the same conclusion and understanding?

…sadly, even as Christ was speaking to His contemporaries there were the various takes/understanding on Who He Is and what He was Teaching…

…it is man’s obstinacy that causes misunderstanding of the Word of God, not the physical redacting and copying of the Holy Scriptures…

…check Jesus’ Word:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]31 Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead

”.’ (St. Luke 16:31)
…Jesus rose from the dead and even then some would not Believe–and today some would rather believe that He in deed was never crucified, that He traveled abroad or that He got married… anything and everything, but God’s Testimony of the Suffering Servant!

Maran atha!




I don’t know where the original scripture writings are stored but maybe they are stored somewhere in the Vatican Archives. Many writings were destroyed in the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

All we have are copies of copies subject to copy errors/translation errors/interpretation errors.

If you mean the Old Testament then there are historical accounts concerned with explaining the scrupulously dedicated work that went into collating and interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures.

With the New Testament, the ‘Father’s of the Church’ throughout history, have spent countless hours through hundreds of years, in the service of the Church, providing and handing down interpretations and translations.

If we had the originals then I might say OK to SS but they ascribe “magical” powers to something that does not even exist.

Scripture does not just contain any words of human willing but words of spiritual foundation.

Some will rebut ”we have 5,000 remnants”. If you saw a train in 5,000 pieces then you know that something has gone horribly wrong. Think about it – why there are no survivors of the original Bible books? God abandoned them, God let them perish, God willed them out of existence so that humanity would have to depend on the Catholic Church to apply Gods word.

Because Scripture has been passed on from generation to generation, with the up-most care and reverential treatment in view of the fact that it is sacred, Catholics don’t have to worry.

But yes, Sola Scriptura would be hard to define when serving as a means to itself, without any Church to keep it being learned and spread.

And too, Protestant compilers of Scripture did have to rely on the Catholic Church in order to gain the words of Scripture, for the compilation of Protestant versions of the Bible.


there are no original copies of Julius Caesar’s books either. Don’t forget that technology of the day wasn’t as preservative as it is today. To preserve writings they had to make copies of the originals because they didn’t have true paper and vellum was expensive. Very easy for ‘books’ to be damaged by weather, fire, wars etc.


I can’t-and you can’t-know what God did or didn’t do with the “original scriptures.” The Bible has been revealed to man over time. Yes, sometimes there are some errors in translation over the past 2,000 years or so, but consider the English language changes in the past 50 years. We still speak English and understand the main context. I would leave it to the experts who have translated the Greek and Latin texts of the Bible. Keep in mind that the NT wasn’t written until well after the resurrection. I find no solid argument in your post as it can not be proven or disproven. However, we have “faith’” in the accuracy of the NT. Or at least I do. Anyway, you are most welcome in this forum and free to espouse your own perceptions. Peace.


Sacred Tradition has passed on the truths taught by Jesus Christ, from the night of the Resurrection itself. Re-read the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. What we received from the Apostles has been passed down faithfully. Sacred Scripture is not a book we worship–it takes its seat in the witness chair. Even if every copy of the Bible ever printed, and every fragment of every original manuscript or copy manuscript, were to be destroyed, the Church would continue to hold the truths in her very heart. This is the mystery of the Magisterium.

The Church (inspired by the Holy Spirit) wrote the Bible. The Bible didn’t create the Church. Can’t make it any more simple than that.


The last three lines are not logical. Why would God will them out of existence when He had already “established” Himself and made the Jews His chosen people? Jesus fulfilled the many prophesies of the OT. Jesus said He did not come to replace the OT, but enhance-make the OT complete. Peace.


An extremely flawed argument, although one that those seeking to “debunk” Christianity in general are fond of. Every ancient literary and historical work that we have today is dependent on “copies of copies”. The scriptures are actually better attested than most other ancient works. We have fragments that go back very early, and which agree substantially with the later manuscripts that were supposedly the result of hundreds of years of “copying errors”.

You don’t have to consign scripture to irrelevance to be a good Catholic or Orthodox Christian. You really don’t.


I don’t think this is a good argument. There are no manuscripts or fragments from books of the New Testament that lead to an inherently different version of the New Testament.

There are some exceptions. The oldest manuscripts of Mark end at 16:8 – is the rest of it inspired scripture? The “woman caught in adultery” story of Jn 8 isn’t in any of the early manuscripts of John – is it inspired scripture? However, for almost everything else, there are not variant readings – we are well-grounded in knowing that we have captured the original meaning of the original text. However, none of scripture tells you to do this…


My original post simply addresses the fact that nothing of the original Bible exists anymore. God let it be 100% lost/destroyed. That seems to be a fatal flaw in Sola Scriptura that Catholic apologists ignore. How can Sola Scriptura be true if God commanded or allowed the Scriptura to vanish? It is illogical for SS to be entirely dependent on something that does not exist.

Why don’t Catholic apologists admit this and use it as the top line refutation of SS?


Good question.
I think apologists try to start with what their opponents will accept and then work from there.
There are some very simple arguments against SS. Yours is one - and there are others. They’re just slam-dunk arguments that get no response from Protestants.
So, why not just use those few?
First, I think Catholic apologists want dialogue. If your opponent just shuts up, then the conversation stops. So, the apologist will often try to get them talking about something they can accept and then undercut their belief at that point. The Catholic apologist will “pretend for the sake of argument” that the Bible always existed and then show problems within the text, or they will deal with the Protestant’s supposed defense of SS by analyzing each quote given.
If they stayed with a single, irrefutable point - that would be the end of the conversation. The Protestant walks away, unconvinced due to many reasons.
In the act of trying to convert someone away from error, you have to take many different approaches and eventually use them all.
The human mind and soul runs away from truths it doesn’t like. Very few people will totally accept a contrary point – because that will cause pain. In religious matters its even worse. A person builds his whole life on an interpretation of Scripture. There is so much defense inside the person - a single argument, even if irrefutable- is not going to work.
You have to get the person talking. Make them comfortable with new ideas that they never considered. Take a gradual, kinder approach and set aside the nuclear bomb arguments.
So, probably the best thing to do - undercut the weakest and “safest” beliefs for them. Those are the ideas that they can get rid of while still staying a Protestant.
So, instead of hacking down the entire heretical tree with one huge hit – you slowly nibble away at it. That’s not as frightening for them.
I’ve seen Protestants, over time, eventually give up a lot of their belief system – admitting little by little that the Catholic Faith is correct on each point. Often they’ll try to claim “we always believed that”. And that’s fine (even though false).
If we can get a Protestant to say “we never actually believed in Sola Scriptura after all” - why argue with them? The fact is, they’re getting rid of the false belief. Let them retain some dignity and the path to the Catholic Faith will be smoother, less humiliating and less painful for them.
Speaking for myself - I’m kind of a warrior and I want to “win”. But it’s really not supposed to be like that. We’re trying to help, offer God’s grace and truth – if a conversion happens, it’s God winning, not us.
Anyway! Great points and very interesting post - thank you. :thumbsup:


How do you know that it has been “100% destroyed”?

This has already been addressed and so I ask you the same question…?!


He didn’t, though. The original sources are lost, but not the works themselves. Would you make the claim that Chaucer’s Tales doesn’t exist (since we don’t have an original)? Or any of the documents from antiquity which survive through copying?

The stance just doesn’t hold up… :shrug:


Again, I’m going to say that we have excellent reason to believe that we have the “original text” of the biblical documents. The Nestle-Aland New Testament represents a standardized version of the Greek, as studied by a wide variety of critical linguistic and historical scholars:

The fact that the particular page originally recorded by, for example, Paul’s secretary Silvanus or the author of the Gospel of Luke, has been degraded by age and history really is a key feature of ANY ancient document. They only persisted if someone literate (often a scribe) copied them by hand onto a new document. We have a[ New Testament manuscriptsearly fragmentary](“”) that can be dated to the second century, and possibly the first.

I don’t think Sola Scriptura is based on reliance on the original hand-written pages. It’s more based on an out-of-context reading of verses like 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.”

Catholic Answers’ Tim Staples has a good refutation of that line of thinking:

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