How can we rely on Sola Scriptura if the Bible has so many conflicting ideas?

Even within the New Testament, the Bible has more than a few contradictions. I believe that the Bible is sacred and divinely inspired, but the idea of “Sola Scriptura” means that we all need to be theological scholars to understand the intricacies of the text, doesn’t it? What about your “Average Joe/Jane” who works 12 hours a day, gets home and spends time with family/household chores/taking care of kids, and then might get maybe ten minutes to read the Word before turning in for the night.

I’ve heard of countless people who have tried to find the “truth” by themselves with just their Bible, and end up confused and disheartened.

I myself have made the Bible a huge part of my life, but even I feel I can look at it and, based on what’s going on in my life or who I am associating with, take a different thing out of it from one point or another.

Surely this points to the need for guidance from people who devote their entire lives to God, who can shepherd us in the right direction? And let’s not forget that we in North America and Europe are privileged to be able to read. How does Sola Scriptura stand up for the masses upon masses of people who cannot?

I have found that IF there are indeed contradictions in scripture, whether real or perceived, they usually are much ado about nothing, or explainable.

Give us an example of these more than a few contradiction you believe exist, and I can share my take on it.

I don’t think its so much the bible has contradictions its more like the ones who interpret it have conflicting contradictions which is why any church based on Sola Scriptura cannot work…

Precisely. Sola Scripture does not stand up. Tradition, Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church go together inseparably.

It’s not the Bible that has many conflicting ideas. It’s those with conflicting ideas that are interpreting the Bible to support those ideas even to the point of removing books from the Bible.

Jesus founded a Church.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church…

100 The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.

well after you get baptized in the Holy Spirit and can hear the voice of God-- this will relieve you of the natural mind-- understanding- of the bible scripture–

and religious “Dogma” will be reviled-- people who don’t know how to pray and get answers from the Holy Spirit-- get lost in scripture interpretation-- and religious dogma

“4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice” Mark Virkler Pt.1

youtu.be/oqvi8-86Rak

Can’t say I’ve seen many contradictions in the NT…which is not to say that there isn’t a lot of debate over what it all means…

I believe that the Bible is sacred and divinely inspired, but the idea of “Sola Scriptura” means that we all need to be theological scholars to understand the intricacies of the text, doesn’t it?

Not really. The original intent of Sola Scriptura was to say that all doctrine needed to be firmly grounded and found in Scripture.
However, once released - this whirlwind has swept many things before it including the original intent of the doctrine.
Luther himself lamented this later in his life.

What about your “Average Joe/Jane” who works 12 hours a day, gets home and spends time with family/household chores/taking care of kids, and then might get maybe ten minutes to read the Word before turning in for the night.

The average Joe can still gain a great deal from reading Scripture.

I’ve heard of countless people who have tried to find the “truth” by themselves with just their Bible, and end up confused and disheartened.

Indeed - this is just one od the down sides to the modern idea of “Bible Alone”

I myself have made the Bible a huge part of my life, but even I feel I can look at it and, based on what’s going on in my life or who I am associating with, take a different thing out of it from one point or another.

Yup

Surely this points to the need for guidance from people who devote their entire lives to God, who can shepherd us in the right direction? And let’s not forget that we in North America and Europe are privileged to be able to read. How does Sola Scriptura stand up for the masses upon masses of people who cannot?

All good points.
Just to add one more…If one really looks at what the NT Scripture says…it points much more to the CR / EO style of structure than to the more independent protestant style.

Peace
James

One has to understand scripture in it’s entirety. A common mistake is for people to compare single versus from one part of scripture with others, when they find such conflicting areas. The entire context of each line or verse must be understood and studies, as well as the time in which that part of scripture was written, the language or literary style used at the time, and the linguistics.

Here is a very, over simplified example of a problem in understanding language:

We have gone nutty with the inclusive language bug in this country. One can hardly use the gender specific words of he, or she, or use a phrase like “hey guys” when referring to a group of people having both men and women in it. But if one understands language well they will understand that using a phrase like “hey guys” does not exclude women. It is a term that refers to both genders being present. Understanding Latin, French and Spanish for example, help make this more clear.

When we say “mankind” this word does not actually exclude the females. It does in fact mean both genders are to be included in the context of the statement being made. But now people seem to take offense and think it excludes the female. So, understanding the bible, its apparent contradictions, and meaning requires more than a superficial understanding or our given language, or history and culture. We really benefit if we understand the times in which the Bible was written, the languages it was written it and the deeper meanings of words used in the Bible.

First of all, the Bible was never written for the masses to own and read. Second, the Bible was never written for the sole purpose of Sola Scriptura. Third, the Bible is a book of the church,which was protected for many valid reasons;hence, evidently there is a reason why it is called Sacred/Holy.

Luther and Calvin and the other early reformers didn’t think we should only need scripture plus nothing. That is a latter doctrine. They did believe that scripture is the final authority.

That being said, if one didn’t know anything else about Christianity, I believe that just with a bible they will ascertain enough truth to find salvation.

It does not. See this story and she solved her problem:

freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1858224/posts

How I Solved the Catholic Problem (in 3 parts)
Envoy Magazine ^ | Kristine L. Franklin

And finally, the Protestant notion of sola scriptura (the Bible alone) fell apart each time I tried to test it. I began to see that Evangelicalism’s insistence on going by the Bible alone led continually into division and problems. Worse yet, claiming to go by the Bible alone didn’t really provide any certitude of belief for believers.

*I asked myself where was the “one body, one faith, and one baptism” St. Paul spoke about so passionately? I began to fear that the answer could not be what American missionaries were peddling, at least it couldn’t be the whole answer.

This is the point at which I began to have serious doubts about the doctrine of sola scriptura. I noticed that the early Church did not follow the Protestant concept of going by the Bible alone. That was a shocker! My study of the early Church showed that Scripture and Sacred Tradition, promulgated by the Church’s teaching magisterium, was the model of authority for the early Christians.

The most astonishing discovery came when it dawned on me through long hours of reading and studying Scripture and conservative Evangelical commentaries on biblical sufficiency that Scripture doesn’t even teach that it alone is sufficient for knowing all Truth about the Faith. Protestants presuppose sola scriptura, without giving the slightest thought to the possibility that the “Bible alone” is an incorrect view. If that presupposition were erroneous, I reasoned, then everything which was built upon it would be dubious as well.*

:thumbsup:

They did believe that scripture is the final authority.

And yet it can’t be - as they discovered to their dismay. There will always be interpretation and when removes the Church as arbiter (as described in Scripture) chaos ensues.

That being said, if one didn’t know anything else about Christianity, I believe that just with a bible they will ascertain enough truth to find salvation.

Possibly - yet many who do not believe read the bible and still do not believe. There are many things about Scripture that make it difficult.
A person using just the bible and nothing (and no-one) else could have a very hard time figuring things out - and figuring them out correctly.
Not saying they couldn’t but It would be difficult.

Peace
James

And why is the magisterium/Pope as final arbiter a better option?

I’m no expert on these matters but will offer 2 main reasons I believe it is.

The Magisterium is a better option because

  1. This is the model that we see described and played out in NT Scripture itself.
  2. The Magisterium is protected by the Holy Spirit in matters of teaching faith and morals.

The model is seen described in Mt 18:15-18 and acted out in Acts 15. Add to this the many calls for unity found in the NT letters (I know of at least seven), the description of the Church as the Pillar and ground of Truth and the vehicle by which God’s wisdom is shown and there can be little doubt but that Christ intended His Church to be something more than a loose collection of locally independent communities.

I’ve invited many protestants to show me equally compelling evidence for what I call the protestant model of Church (locally independent SS). No one yet has even come close.
So I offer that it is the Catholic Church that is actually the closest in structure to the Church described in the NT.

As further evidence of this being a better model, I would offer that the two great ancient Churches, the RC and the EO both use a similar model and in 2000 years of existence, even with the great schism, have not see the kind of splintering and contradictory teaching that a mere 500 years has produced in the SS community.

The protection of the Holy Spirit came with Christ’s commission to the Apostles and the granting to them of His authority. The Apostles, using that authority, commissioned others (successors) and passed that protection and authority (and responsibility I might add) on.

The Magisterium is made up of the Bishops of the Church. These men go back in unbroken line to the Apostles…ordained in the same way by men who themselves were ordained in the same way - with laying on of hands and breathing that they receive the Holy Spirit…

I’m sure others will be able to put this more eloquently than I, but those are my reasons.

Peace
James

I know your response was long, so I don’t want to not address anything you said, but I wanted to try and cut it down, only to go through it point by point.

How do you know that the evidence in Scripture confirms the hypothesis? That is to say, if only the magisterium can accurately interpret Scripture and only the magisterium can tell you what Scripture is (canon), how can you make any statements about what Scripture teaches about the magisterium? If you do, isn’t that relying on your own, potentially errant, interpretation of Scripture?

No-not at all. The church is the final authority of intepretating scripture-not individual lay folks. The church Jesus founded was promised by the Holy Spirit to guide into all Truth. There is a reason why Jesus set up his church in such a fashion;hence an established bishopric to handle doctrinal matters,interpretation,etc. The church is our guardian against errors,personal interpretations,etc. Precisely why so many denominations popped up because that specific authority was kicked to the curb.

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