One Question to Ask a Group of Protestants About the Bible?


Hi all,

So I’m a long-time Protestant on a journey into the Catholic Church. I’ll enter the Church at Easter and I’m currently going through RCIA.

I write about it on my blog.

Next week, the Protestant church that my wife and I have been attending for nearly 12 years is hosting an open forum discussion about the authority of the Bible. Our closest friends and the pastor know all about my journey and have invited me to take part and be a participant in the discussion.

I obviously hold very unique views on the authority of the Scriptures compared to most of my Protestant friends, and the vast majority of the people in our church.

Rather than get too deeply involved in the discussion I feel strongly led to simply pose a question to the group and let that question work on the hearts and minds of those there—and let the Holy Spirit work in them, too.

My question for this forum is, if I can drop one “bomb” in the room, if I can ask one question in love and charity that will really get folks thinking in a new way, what do you think it should be?

Thanks in advance.


It depends a lot on what kind of Protestant group it was. Maybe “Where did the Bible come from?” or “What did Christians do before there was a Bible?” or “Why do we know what books belong in the Bible?” or “Why did Jesus create a Church rather than writing the New Testament Himself? What does that mean to us?”


I like your style! :thumbsup:

Here is the seed I would plant:

"Since we’re talking about the authority of the Bible, I think it’s fair to say that most people agree that the Bible is the pillar and foundation of the truth, right? (watch for nodd) Yet, in 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul wrote:

[INDENT]15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.(1 Timothy 3:15)

So, if Paul tells Timothy that it is the Church and not the Bible that is the support of the truth, why do so many people adhere to the idea that the Bible Alone is the sole infallible rule for faith? Stating my question another way, where exactly does the Bible teach the doctrine of sola scriptura? Because without that, isn’t *sola scriptura *a self-refuting idea? [/INDENT]


Where did the bible come from or who composed the bible?

I think that is the biggest one. Changed my heart. :slight_smile:


That’s a good one too!

Op, you can only ask one question?

  1. The Bible doesn’t tell us what books belong in the Bible. So someone/something outside the Bible has authority to declare what is and is not in the Bible. What is that someone/something?

  2. Wouldn’t this authority noted above have to at least be equal to the authority in the Bible, since one cannot grant authority greater than the authority they possess

  3. The Bible mentions many traditions and oral teachings that we are commanded to hold to. But these teachings are specifically never written down. How are we to know what these teachings are?

  4. If there is ONE faith, then why are there so many contradictory teachings in Christianity?

  5. What/who is the pillar and foundation of truth? The Bible or the Church?

  6. When did the authority Paul grants to Timothy, those Timothy will ordain, and those that those men will ordain, when did that authority end? Please cite where this is noted in the Bible.


If your old church didn’t put much importance in communion, they might find this interesting.

1 Cor 11:23-25 reads "23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

The word covenant here is diathēkē. In KJV, it’s translated as testament. If you were talking to Paul about the new testament, he’d assume you were talking about the Eucharist (which comes from the Greek for thanksgiving - when Jesus gives thanks and breaks the bread, the word used for giving thanks is eucharistēsas).


Paul using testament and eucharist in Greek in 1 Cor 11:24-25:


I absolutely love this. I heard, or read, this from Scott Hahn before and it was an incredible revelation.

He said, “The ‘New Testament’ according to the New Testament is the Eucharist.”

Exactly what you’ve hit on here. Brilliant. Thank you.


Thanks for all the responses so far, guys.

To answer a question, I can ask more than one question. In fact, I can take full part in the dialogue and ask and answer lots of questions but I don’t want to be an overwhelming presence in the discussion.

My idea was to simply pose a question, and let others chew on it and work it out.

There are lots of great meaty questions here so far, so thank you!


My biggest questions have always been:

“What did the early Christians do before the writings we now call “Scriptures” were written, compiled and canonized? How did they know the Teachings of Christ?”

“In lieu of the above question, what authority was given, and to whom was it given, to compile and canonize such writings?”

“If Christ literally stated, ‘This IS My Body, This IS My Blood’, then why is Communion only done symbolically in remembrance?”

And finally, “By what authority do you preach and teach? Show me proof of your succession from Christ Himself to go forth into all the world and preach the Gospel of the new and everlasting covenant.”


You’ll also want to be familiar with this, since Protestants claim 2 Timothy 3:16 teaches sola scriptura. It doesn’t, and here’s why:

2 Timothy 3:14-17 – Tradition + Scripture + Magisterium

When non-Catholics are asked to provide biblical support or their belief that the Bible Alone is the sole rule of faith for the believer, they usually cite 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which states that “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful”. However, they somehow miss the fact that the two verses immediately prior stress the importance of oral teaching and the teaching authority of the Church. Here is the entire passage with context added:

2 Timothy 3:14-17
14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of (Timothy had learned the Gospel and become convinced that it was true by Paul’s ORAL preaching and teaching. This oral preaching and teaching is known to Catholics as Sacred Tradition.), because you know those from whom you learned it (Timothy had learned the gospel from Paul, an Apostle (and Bishop) of the Church, and possibly from other Church leaders whom Timothy had heard preaching and teaching. The teaching authority of the Church is known to Catholics as the Magisterium.) , 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures (Timothy would have known only the Old Testament scriptures from his infancy since the New Testament had not been written or completed at the time Paul’s letter to Timothy was composed. However, the New Testament is recognized as part of the Bible, the written Word of God. This is known to Catholics as Sacred Scripture.), which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (Only after commending the Tradition “handed on” from the Magisterium does Paul go on to discuss the nature of Sacred Scripture in the following verses.)16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Viewed this way, we can see that 2 Timothy 3:14-17 does not support the doctrine of sola scriptura at all. In fact, the opposite is true.

Another point to consider is that Paul’s disciple, Timothy, was a Greek, and the Old Testament that Timothy would have been most familiar with from the time of his youth was the Greek Septuagint. Because of his travels outside of Israel, Paul, too, would have been familiar with and would have used the Greek version of the Old Testament writings. Therefore, in this passage of scripture, Paul encouraged Timothy to continue in what he had learned from the Septuagint.

This has important implications for a controversy concerning seven books of the Old Testament now known collectively to Catholics as the “Deuterocanonicals” and to Protestants as the “Apocrypha”. Catholics consider the Deuterocanonicals to be inspired scripture while Protestants reject them. The Greek Septuagint contains these seven books while the Hebrew version of the Old Testament does not.

There is no doubt that the Septuagint was known to and used by Jesus, Paul and Timothy and yet, in the 16th century, Martin Luther removed these seven books from the Bible because they contain passages that support distinctly Catholic doctrines like praying for the dead and purgatory—doctrines which he rejected. Luther justified his action in part upon the fact that the Jews themselves rejected the Deuterocanonicals as part of their canon.

This development in the history of the Jewish canon is interesting in itself. Beginning as early as 90 A.D. at the so-called “Council of Jamnia”, Jewish leaders began to re-think which books of the Bible should and should not be considered scripture. In the second century, the Jews finally removed the Deuterocanonical books from their canon of scripture, and this was due in large part to the fact that the early Christian Church was using the Deuterocanonicals to support the Christian belief in the resurrection from the dead. The Jewish scriptures were being used to win converts to the Christian faith! Consequently, the Jews ultimately rejected the Deuterocanonical books some two centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection. Martin Luther used their decision to justify his own.

This leads to a couple of obvious questions: “Why would the Holy Spirit guide a group of rabbis on matters related to the Old Testament canon when there was already a Christian Church in existence that was under His infallible guidance as Jesus had promised? And why should Luther accept the revised Hebrew canon instead of the canon of the Septuagint that had been in continuous use in the Church for over fifteen centuries?

Luther picked that truncated canon for the same reason the rabbis did: in order to undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church which did not fit his new theology.


BOOM! :dancing: :bowdown2:

That’ll leave them dead. Whoo hoo!



the christian prayer group and bible study assembly i go to-- we pray for people and then ask the Holy Spirit if there is a word of prophecy – for them – that would be edifying comfor or

1 Corinthians 14:3 But the one who prophesies speaks to …

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Holman Christian Standard Bible But the person who prophesies speaks …

1 Corinthians 14:25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid …

as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” New Living …

And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
1 Corinthians 14:25 -

the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you…

So if you can not do this-- and are not led by the Holy Spirit-- they i would leave it alone–

becasue Born again christians – or charasmetic catholics can do this–

if you can not-- they it is just your OPINION–


Welcome home.

Since you feel “strongly led to simply pose a question…”, I wonder if it isn’t best to just wait upon the Holy Spirit to lead you to the proper question when the time comes.

Many fine questions have been suggested, and I can certainly add my own to the mix but I think that much depends on 1) the particular tradition and views of the group and 2) the particular reason you have been invited to participate.

On the one hand, if you are invited because they want to “win you back” from us horrible Catholics…they may not really be interested in any question you ask…their minds will be closed. In such a case you will likely have little opportunity to talk - let alone communicate.

On the other hand, if they are more open minded they might be truly interested in the whys of your journey and you may find yourself the center of conversation. They will be full of questions about your particular journey and what has led you to where you are. These answers only you can know.

All that said, for me, the most telling aspect for me is the very real and consistent call to unity that we see in the NT. Here are a few…

John 17:20-21
20 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Rom 15:5-6
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 1:10
I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

2 Cor 13:11
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Php 1:27
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

Eph 4:1-6
1.I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2. with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, 3. eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5. one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6. one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

1 Pet 3:8
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

Phil 2:2
complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

All of these call for a deep and profound unity…not a loose, “agree to disagree”, “invisible church” unity.
Then there is Jesus instruction for settling issues - “tell it to the Church and to listen to the Church” (Mt 18:15-18) and the example of that instruction that we find in Acts 15…the Church acting universally and in council to settle a doctrinal matter.

I have - on a number of occasions - shown this evidence to protestants and then asked them to show equally compelling biblical evidence for the “protestant” church model (locally independent etc). I am almost always met with a profound silence.

It might be interesting to see how your protestant group would react to this weight biblical of evidence for a visible and authoritative Church.

But that is just me…:smiley:

you really need to go with what you are most comfortable with…and what the Spirit leads you to…



I joined the Church at age 49. I have a seminary degree from a Protestant Seminary. I attended and studied the doctrines of all the major branches of Protestantism in my search for “the Church”.

In the end, many things drew me to the Church but one question I had to answer was “What came first…Tradition or the Bible?”

The answer of course is that Catholic Tradition {Big “T”} gave us the Bible. It is a Catholic book.

And another question is: "How can a Protestant say they value Scripture as authority when they threw away large portions of the Bible Jesus and the Apostles used? By whose authority did they do THAT?

Many Protestants who know “something” about Canon history will point to St Jerome and say “I use the ‘Bible’ St Jerome favored”. {i.e. minus the deuterocanonical books}.

The response to that is;

Thank you. You just proved the authority of the Pope as well as made clear the Bible is a Catholic book. For St Jerome bowed to that authority in translating…and including…all of them in his Vulgate.


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