Is the "Bible the final authority" a tradition?

In a recent conversation with a non-Catholic friend of mine they said that the Bible is the “final authority” in matters of faith and morals. I asked them where the Bible teaches that. My friend said they would get back to me about it. I was a little disappointed when, two weeks later, the response I was given was: “Catholics interpret the Bible too literally.” :confused:

So I was left to believe that the Bible does not claim to be the “final authority”.

If somebody wants to believe that the Bible is the “final authority” I guess that is their choice…but wouldn’t it be more honest to admit that that belief is a tradition? Or am I missing something here?

The Bible is A final authority. Meaning no doctrine may (or does) contradict the plain meaning of the text.

And Church leaders have been quoting Scripture as a source of authority all the way back to the Early Fathers.

So I’m not understanding the use of the word “final.” Nothing may contradict the plain meaning of Scripture.

This might be another way to dress up our old friend, Sola Scriptura, which maintains that the Bible is not the *final *source of authority, but the only source of authority. So not contradicting doesn’t go far enough.

And, of course, as you pointed out, Sola Scriptura is self-defeating, since it is not a Biblical doctrine.

Well, that’s a new one. We usually get accused of the opposite.

Exactly how literally are we supposed to interpret it? 70%? 80%? 90%? 95%? And who decides which teachings are to be ignored?

The Canon of the Bible is a tradition of the Church. It is authoritative because the church said these books were divinely inspired.

No where in the Bible does it say what books it should contain. Also nowhere does it teach sola scriptura these are traditions that Protestants just assumed and now when they try to say the bible is their only authority it is an incoherent argument. They divorce scripture from its tradition which is a major problem.

So yes. Sola scriptura is a man made tradition.

Tradition and scripture are two distinctly different elements of what the Church refers to as the Deposit of Faith, which is the body of revealed truth for the belief of the faithful.

Protestants need the bible to be the final authority since they don’t accept the authority of the church. It’s sort of like if you distrust the refs, then you go to the rule book to counter the bogus refs. When we Catholics try and use the argument that ‘it’s not in the bible’ to a protestant, we like to feel like we have cornered them regarding certain protestant beliefs. But what good comes of that? If you get them to accept that ‘The bible is the Final Authority’ is their own ‘tradition’, what good will come of that?

Better I think to go to the root of the problem and try to clear up the misconceptions and outright lies about the church that lead them to distrust and reject its authority with regards to interpreting scripture.

The Bible cannot be the final authority since it can be misinterpreted by our many Protestant brethren (and even by us who belong to the Sacramental Churches) so another authority must assist it to bring to us this better “light” which God wants us to have. This other authority is simply the Holy Spirit who resides in the Church. The Lord Jesus said of Him that He will lead us into the truth, even all truth. How can we interpret the truth without the Holy Spirit? He is the Tradition which hold the whole criteria of truth together. If you check out the Catholic and Eastern Churches the reason why these Churches do not break up as do many of our Protestant brethren is simply the Catholic Church and the Eastern Churches adhere to Tradition as this authority which works with the Holy Scriptures. Without Tradition it would have been disastrous for the Church to exist. Tradition is the glue which binds the truth for us. Without it the Holy Scriptures would not be able to do its work on us.

From the movie “Amadeus”

EMPEROR: Well, Herr Mozart! A good effort. Decidedly that. An excellent effort! You’ve shown us something quite new today.

[Mozart bows frantically: he is over-excited.]

MOZART: It is new, it is, isn’t it, Sire?

EMPEROR: Yes, indeed.

MOZART: So then you like it? You really like it, Your Majesty?

**EMPEROR: Of course I do. It’s very good. Of course now and then - just now and then - it gets a touch elaborate. **

MOZART: What do you mean, Sire?

EMPEROR: Well, I mean occasionally it seems to have, how shall one say? [he stops in difficulty; turning to Orsini-Rosenberg] How shall one say, Director?

ORSINI-ROSENBERG: Too many notes, Your Majesty?

**EMPEROR: Exactly. Very well put. Too many notes. **

MOZART: I don’t understand. **There are just as many notes, Majesty, as are required. Neither more nor less. **

EMPEROR: My dear fellow, there are in fact only so many notes the ear can hear in the course of an evening. I think I’m right in saying that, aren’t I, Court Composer?

SALIERI: Yes! yes! er, on the whole, yes, Majesty.

MOZART: But this is absurd!

EMPEROR: My dear, young man, don’t take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It’s quality work. **And there are simply too many notes, that’s all. Cut a few and it will be perfect. **

**MOZART (desperately): Which few did you have in mind, Majesty? **

EMPEROR (dismissively): Well. There it is.

Yes. That the Bible is a final authority is a tradition. It is a false and unbiblical tradition but a tradition nonetheless because you have to hold on to it from outside the Bible.

The same thing goes for the inspiration of the 66 books of the Protestant canon. That is a tradition too. It is a partially correct tradition as all those books are indeed inspired but they have to also hold on to that from outside scripture.

This is why in the basis of pure reason alone, sola scriptura cannot stand. To adhere to sola scriptura, one has to adhere to at least one extrabibilical tradition.

What about the Pope?

That will part of Tradition. The Pope does enjoy an authority that works well for the Church of Rome. Yet his authority must work with the will of the Holy Spirit. Well this is so for the Church of Rome the Eastern Orthodox still abide to the authority of Tradition by working as well with the Holy Spirit. In either case (The Church of Rome and the Eastern Churches) Tradition must be involve when handling the Holy Scriptures.

It’s a tradition and a practice.

They don’t break up??? The very existence of your communions is one big “break up”. If you’re Orthodox, Catholics broke from you, if you’re Catholic, Orthodox broke from you. If youre Oriental, everyone else broke from you…and so it goes…

Thank you to everyone for your input and thank you Salusa for your response.

I guess I felt a little like my question wasn’t really answered with the response that I was originally given. I spose that bothered me a bit and I shouldn’t have let it.

Thanks again to all who responded.

I do not know who you are meaning what Church you belong to but if you have read my post more clearly you would see that each Church whether it was the Church of Rome or the Eastern Churches did not break up within themselves. I never refer to the Church of Rome alongside the Eastern Churches for that is a different matter. Try to understand what my post was referring to. The Church of Rome still exists as well as the Eastern Churches. They did not break up “within themselves” as do the Protestant Churches. God only knows how many thousand of Protestant Churches are and it is because the Protestant does not live by the authority which is contained within Tradition. Had the Eastern Churches and the Catholic Church only followed the Scriptures as an authority these Churches would have “within themselves” broken up a thousand times.

A reformation tradition yes.

Though I think advocates of sola scriptura would argue it is the precise formulation of what was already the practice in the church from the start.

Hence, like the trinity needed defining, the protestant might say Sola scriptura and the bible being the only final authority, needed to be defined.

I think the protestant has a large case to make however if they believe the teaching binding on people, like something as important as the trinity.

I would simply think that any body (body In this case being the Catholic Church) that has the authority to determine what is actually inspired scripture, or what is not, is in reality the final authority. Take for instance Hebrews, it has no authority if the Church had not said it was inspired.

The Deuterocanonicals are said not to be inspired by Protestants, not because the rest of the bible says they are not inspired, but because some Reformers said they were not inspired. Ergo, they made themselves the final authority.

The Reformation was responsible for restoring to the Church the principle of sola Scriptura, a principle which had been operative within the Church from the very beginning of the post apostolic age.

(Source)

Another poor argument by Webster taken apart here catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/10/william-websters-astonishing-claims.html?m=1

And some Iinteresting facts about oral Tradition here. catholic-legate.com/articles/ssreasonable.html

I would suggest his is the answer

John 16:12"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.…

One would have to consider this following passage, to put the above quote in the correct time frame

Daniel 12:4But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Regards Tony

2 Thessalonians 2:15
If the Bible is the final authority then be aware the Bible is “good to go” with tradition.

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.