If not for the Bible...

In another thread a poster made a comment, something to the effect of if we didn’t have Scripture how would we know God’s will? How would we know Christ and know about the Eucharist?

So, how many of us truly believe that without a single Bible or *a single written word *from the NT, Christianity would have failed to spread and take hold on the world as it did?

Please consider the following also:

1.) Christ left his Church with a promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. No such promise was made with reference to Scripture.

So is it the Church that is responsible for speading God’s Word or is it God’s Word that is responsible for spreading the Church?


Seriously, nobody?

I know sola scriptura has been done and redone, but this is something different, no?

But I guess there is the potential to disprove SS if one concedes that God could proclaim Himself with or without Scripture. Especially since it had already been done.

That’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to know how people reconcile the way we know God being dependent on the existance of the Bible. I think folks are getting confused about why God commissioned and Inspired His Holy Word.

Hello HappilyCatholic,

Well I have no strong feelings on the question you posed. I sorta see where you are going… Why can’t we look at scripture as an instrument of God, man, and the Church? I.e., the Church assembled the Bible and the writers were inspired by God.

We have glimpses of God through His creations. There is enough in the world to see Him. Is there something besides the Bible which reveals Christ to us. Well, it’s the gospels, it’s Paul, it’s prophecy (Isaiah). All these things are in the Bible. Could the message have spread without these testomonies being put down on paper? Probably not… Perhaps an oral tradition - difficult.

I think Church and Word compliment each other. Does it matter which was first? Of course, given my flavor of protestantism, we probably would go round and round arguing over what the Church is.

God bless you,

I have come to believe that the desire for God is written on everyones heart.

In the early days huge swathes of the populus were illiterate. The Word was spread orally.

As you say, Christ promised the gates of Hell would not prevail against his Church, not against His written word. And that makes sense - just look at the number of Bible versions out there all claiming to be the unadulterated written word of God!!!

I know. It’s a tired argument and why does it mean so much? I often wonder if God meant for us to gnash our teeth over this. Is there a message in it?

I don’t have a particular problem with Sola Scriptura. My parents are devout Southern Baptists, they make me say Southern. :stuck_out_tongue: But I did kind of cringe when I heard the post I started the thread about.

I made this comment to the poster: You see it as a book that tells a story and if there were no book, there would be no story to tell.

I just don’t see it that way. I could probably get behind a statement that would infer we would tell the story incorrectly, but as a catholic I have certainty in my belief in the guidance of the Holy Spirit where the Church is concerned so that makes it an impossibility. I guess that’s where others kind of cringe. :wink:

And wasn’t Scripture initially passed on by Oral Tradition? It was not widely written down in the infancy of its canonization. So if that is true, then I’m sure Oral Tradition could have and did advance Christianity rather than it being done by written word, even Divinely Inspired.

The Scriptures were canonized, protected, and promulgated by the power of the Holy Spirit, not man. Through man, but not by man.

Don’t you agree that the Holy Spirit could and did protect Tradition as well as the Written Word? Or maybe only the Tradition that is contained within the Written Word. Why would God do that? Why would God protect one but not the other since that is the way it was done initially. I can’t wrap my mind around God saying, “Write this down and then do away with everything else unless it’s in My Word.” Wouldn’t we know He meant that? Wouldn’t that be important enough to state? Well, even if God did state that, then by it not being in the Scriptures we have established the most important Tradition of man there is, Sola Scriptura. :blush:

These are the questions that come to my mind when I discern statements like the one that prompted me to start this thread. When I try to compare the answers of the Church with the answer of others, I see a great divide. I see those who adhere to SS as actually adhering to something that is tradition and not explicitly Scriptural as opposed to …well (T)radition that is not explicitly Scriptural and then I’m just utterly confused and back to square one. :shrug:

I guess it will always be there, but I don’t think it hurts to hear what others have to say. I am not here to prove myself right or anyone wrong. I don’t want to step on toes or add insult to injury.

Peace Be With You,


yes, it does. since that is how our Lord did it. first He found His Church. as the Church was being built up, somethings were written down and some were not. why? because the Church is what Jesus left in charge of His Teachings and not a book.

i just had an encounter with a cousin of my who is an evangelical anti Catholic. when i told him i am a Catholic, he screams at me and says that Jesus is the One who saves and not the idolatra Catholic Church. i thought to myself, if he knows that Jesus is the One who saves, why is he worried about me being Catholic?

when i began to explain to Him the CC, he sort of ended the conversation. so, every evangelical i talked to try to preach to me against the CC, but when i try to explain the CC, they immediatly end the conversation and do not want to hear. i think when an evangelical encounters someone who knows a little about the Catholic Faith, they run away because they are scared to hear the Truth. very interesting to me.

HC, some thoughts on the Holy Spirit and the Word.
I occassionally listen to theology lectures and such. One professor read a prayer which invoked the Holy Spirit and asked for His guidance, presence, and wisdom as Scripture was being read. I am going along quite nicely with this and thinking, how appropriate and useful this prayer is - it was a strawman. It was a prayer used by LDS when they read their holy books. No real point here, but just food for thought.

On Sola Scriptura, I think there is a lot of lip service paid to it but it’s not strictly adhered to. I agree with your confusion. I like Wesley’s approach - Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience. A lot of wiggle room in that…

wisdomseeker, I’m sorry you got a dose of anti-Catholic rhetoric. For sure you and I will disagree on many doctrines and practices of faith. We will even disagree about what the Church is. For me, more importantly, is to keep our eye on Jesus and His character and share the blessed joy of being Christian and having salvation.

As for truth, I think every church has their version of what they think the Truth is. Sometimes this “truth” compels them to feel that they need to reveal it to their misguided brothers and sisters. A lot of times it is out of love and best intentions. Perhaps they believe we are in mortal peril.

I am soon to be SDA. This church has some the worst anti-CC rhetoric I’ve ever heard and read. At the heart of this is prophetic interpretation from Daniel and Revelation.
From Daniel, four beasts - lion=babylon, bear=persia, leopard=greece, last beast=Rome
Then from Revelation a beast is described like the former beasts. I.e., the Roman Catholic Church. It’s fascinating but also scary. Fear becomes hatred and may explain some of the interaction you have with evangelicals.
For me, I’m just uncomfortable with the idea of a theocracy. Historically, the CC was a political power and it still is. My view of Christ is pastoral, so I am uncomfortable with bureaucracies and hierarchies.

God bless you,

I truly feel for you. if you cant submit to Jesus Church, how can you ever submit to Christ? you cant.

the Church is not what you think she is. she is simply what Jesus said she is: " the Church of the living God, the Pillar and Bullwark of the Truth."
she cannot be hidden. she is here for everyone to see. the Kingdom of God. the CC wills not anyone to be lost but come to the Truth and be saved. that is her mission on this earth. to gather all who believe in Christ. the Ark of Noah is the prefigure of the Church.
One cannot say they love God and hate His Church. it is taking the name of God in vain.

i am sorry you decided to join those who hate our Lord’s Church. oh well. think about it.
it is not so easy to see this Church. you must beg God for Mercy and Grace to see His Church. you must humble yourself. without it, you will never be able to come to the Truth.

“Never before has there been so much learning, and yet so little knowledge of the truth.”

I do not hate the CC. In fact as an ex-Catholic, I feel uniquely positioned to share some of the blessings of the CC with my brothers and sisters. However, I am not an under-cover operative for the CC either.
Thank you for your prayer.

God bless you,

The FIRST NT book was not written until at least 45AD i.e. at least 12 years after the church had started.

So the first Christians did noy have a SINGLE piece of scrpture let alone a bible to giude them.

Hi Paul

I know we are going off the topic (apologies to the OP :o !), but I am going to ask you the predictable question: What was it that made you leave the Catholic Church?

And given the fact that you seem to recognise that much of SDA theology is very strongly anti-Catholic, what made you join the SDA?

God bless you too

I am not one to mind a thread that I start going off topic. I think the conversation should go the way it would if we were all sitting at a table having a wonderful meal together. :slight_smile: So off you go!

But on the subject of Revelation, what do we believe Revelation really is? The term “revelation” is usually defined as *some truth revealed by God by supernatural means. *

So what do SDAs believe God is revealing to us in the Book of Revelation?

On Revelation:
It’s the end game, if you will. The 2nd coming of Christ and the trials that will procede the Advent. It’s more Good News - God has a plan and it will all work out.
We believe we should keep the commandments and remain faithful to Jesus - Revelation 12:17, Revelation 14:12.

On leaving RC:
First, let me share the blessings I recall from the Catholic Church:

  • A strong moral stance against abortion.
  • Fish Fridays and Lent - a way of demonstrating love for God.
  • During Mass, shaking hands and saying “Peace Be with You”.
  • Deep and solemn contemplation of the crucifixion.
  • Sharing the same faith as family and friends - a large community.
  • Good works and active community service.
    Probably more…

I initially left because of the style of worship - the Mass and other ceremonies and practices. My best friend was a Baptist and I started hanging with him and went to his church some. The worship style was so different - it felt liberating to me. I felt warm fellowship and good Christian cheer. I started reading the Bible and forming my own opinions. Eventually, I started questioning things like the Eucharist, purgatory. Today I even reject the everlasting torment of hell.

On joining SDA:
I’m part of a fairly progressive/liberal wing of the church. There is a wide range of differences between progressive Adventism and traditional Adventism. I do not subscribe to the anti-Catholic rhetoric, nor do my close Adventist friends.
I got started with the church because of the health message and lifestyle. I have libertarian leanings, am vegetarian, and exercise regularly. It was like I found my people…
Most of our doctrines and beliefs are Bible based. Sometimes to a flaw - I’m not a Bible literalist. I like to employ some RC wisdom from time to time - Augustine, Aquinas, etc.
Mostly I believe that the SDA church has one of the most holistic and complete views of a person, God, and His universe. I am so blessed by the view of Our Father that has been revealed to me: “What we believe” - pineknoll.org/adventist/

Thank you for letting me share.


I wish you all the blessings the Holy Spirit has to offer.

Peace Be With You :slight_smile:


so, they finally got you. that is their tactic, read your Bible, suddenly you share their views.
the Church that Jesus gave us, the Teaching Church, is not meant to fit what we believe it should be. it is not about me liking what is in it. if you remember it is written: when you come to Christ, you become a new creature. it is no longer what you like or want but it is He who leads you.
if you find a place that fits just what you are and what you like, then you must know that is not the right place for you…
“Never so much learning, yet so little knowledge of the Truth.”**

We are imperfect people that fit easier into imperfect molds. Let us wiggle and squirm and make ourselves fit into the perfect heart of Jesus! :smiley:

Beautiful, thank you.

Thanks a lot for your answer, Paul.

At certain points of my life I also attended services of other denominations, and I must admit that some of them were very moving and filled with emotion.

But HappilyCatholic’s words (see his post #16) are indeed very wise.
Do we seek that which seems to suit us, or do we seek that which suits God? For me, I always base my faith on TRUTH, and what that truth is.

In searching for this TRUTH I realised that it was not about searching for that which seemed more appropriate and alluring to me, because it is not about me… It is about God… and about finding the truth as instituted by God, and being obedient to that truth, because that is what God asks of us - to obey His Word - in it’s absolute fullness!

So even though I have many opinions on all kinds of aspects of my faith, the single most important aspect for me, is to obey the truth of God’s word, irrespective of my opinions. I do this simply because that is what God asks of us. The incredible blessing I have found through my life, is that in the actual act of obeying God’s truth, without exception, I have found that my opinion now actually matches the teachings of God, something which was not necessarily the case when I was younger… but the crux was always to put God’s opinion / truth before my own…

Thanks once again for sharing.

Have a great weekend and may you be blessed!


I must give credit where credit is due, wisdomseeker said it first. I just said it in a different way.



It seems to me that your basic question or questioning kind of assumes certain definitions of sola Scriptura or even of Tradition.

As far as sola Scriptura, you seem to adopt a definition that is like the bible alone and completely alone.

Now Lutherans who certainly were and are sola Scriptura have never treated things like that.

What we believe is indeed consistent with the early fathers, and that includes sola Scriptura.

Probably the best treatment of that would be in volume 1 of Martin Chemnitz’s “Examination of the Council of Trent”. He spends a lot of time on the question.

I would also point out that you reference the early church as if there was no scripture. There was no time since Moses without sufficient scripture. Indeed if you actually believe what is written in the New Testament you see a reference to Paul going into the synagogs and teaching the Gospel of Jesus from scripture. The synagogs in Paul’s time has sufficient scripture to teach the Gospel. So there was no here’s tradition and it carries things and then later comes scripture. Sure the New Testment writings were not there in the earliest days but if you read them, some of them say why they were written.

Would we need scripture if the Apostle Paul was standing in our midst teaching, no, let’s be honest about that, his authority would be plenty sufficient. But he’s a lot different than any individual or group today.

Anyway, here’s one example that shows the scriptures were the standard even then, it’s those noble Bereans.

Act 17:10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.
Act 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Act 17:12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

Notice how they could tell what Paul and Silas told them was true, they examined scripture, the New Testament Scriptures didn’t exist then. So even from the Old Testament scriptures they could test what was said and due to that, many came to believe.

No first we have tradition and people are accepted because of who they are and then scripture shows up, but instead even Paul was accepted because he stood up to examination of scripture.

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