Practicality of sola scriptura

Hey guys, I have a question. We know that sola scriptura is a relatively new invention, but I’m beginning to think about something. We know that Christ taught nothing in secret, and that the goal he gave to his disciples was to spread the gospel. So, could it simply be logical that sola scriptura is true, if everything that Christ taught is in scripture, why would we need anything else?

God bless,
Potato1237 :slight_smile:

Interpretation, my man - *correct *interpretation! That is why we need the Church as the final authority.

Psst - are you still frequenting those Protestant websites? :tsktsk:

That’s true, we need an authority. And of course I have not been on any of those websites why in the world would you… ok it was because I searched up a question on CAF and some fundamentalist website came up. They use Google as a weapon. Blah blah blah 50 million people killed blah blah blah worship Mary blah blah whore of Babylon blah blah blah. I have however learned a lot from this forum and I’m able to refute some of these arguments in my head.

Thanks for taking the time to answer:)

First, why are you assuming that everything Christ taught is in scripture? Sure, we know that He taught nothing in secret, but he never commanded anyone to write anything down.

The argument that makes the most sense in favor of sola scriptura is that, while we know everything Christ taught was NOT written down, that everything we need for salvation is contained within scripture. This is the argument of formal sufficiency.

However, we still have the issue of interpretation. Without a formal, authoritative interpreter, we can all read scripture and come to differing conclusions.

He did say at one point “it is written” though right? Although we know he did not tell anybody to write anything down you are correct. However because scripture contains all we need for salvation, how and why do we need anything else? Salvation is the ultimate goal so why any extra stuff? Veneration of the Saints for example, while it is certainly not wrong, why do we need it for our salvation? If Christ taught everything in we need to know, why bother with it?

Did Christ
Not say that we should not add to the gospel?

I’m not trying to be challenging here, I’m just trying to see how we can justify it. You made an excellent point about interpretations.

Some problems with Sola Scriptura:

  • It is not taught in the bible

  • If it were true, then there would not be so many contradictory Sola Scriptura theologies

  • If it were true, then no Sola Scriptura communion would change basic beliefs. But some have, still claiming to be following Sola Scriptura.

  • In all Sola Scriptura communions there is some preacher, and writers, who interpret the bible for you. But if you can read, why should that be necessary?

  • The usual argument is that to be properly understood, “the Word” must be “rightly divided”. For instance you have to see a verse in context. But which context? Does this verse in Mathew refer back to this verse in Isaiah, or something else?

  • Romans has a verse referring to Salvation in one way. A verse in James could be interpreted in another way. Who decides, for this and many other issues? It should be emphasized that Sola Scriptura advocates often disagree among each other.

  • If God wanted Sola Scriptura, why wait a few centuries for a canon? The NT could have been handed over at the Ascension.

  • Nothing in Sola Scriptura supports the decision to have a New Testament; the decision to have an “Old Testament” for Christians; the decision to exclude the great majority of possible NT books, and to choose just 27. Those are awfully important things! Any theory (like Sola Scriptura) that does not account for those crucial steps must be a very weak theory.

I think these are excellent questions. I will admit I do not always understand these things, either, but since I have no question about church authority, I feel content to believe while I continue to learn.

There is a difference between material sufficiency and formal sufficiency. Scripture is materially sufficient, in that all we believe is contained or at least implied, in holy scripture, and we can, through it, come to the knowledge of all truth. Formal sufficiency, however, says that it is all contained AND we have no need of any additional interpreter or authority to help us in understanding it, and that is not the Catholic position.

The problem with Sola Scriptura is that it totally removes scripture from church tradition. It doesn’t look at how the fathers read it, it doesn’t look at how the early Christians or the jews of the OT looked at it. It takes scripture and lets everyone interpret it based on their modern day understanding, which very, very often leads someone to error. And at the very least, it removes a great deal of wisdom that is to be gleaned from the scriptures.

As to why we need those “extras”, because we have the Apostolic Deposit of Faith. Both oral teachings learned from Jesus and passed down orally, AND the written texts, are the Word of God. We do not dispose of those oral teachings just because they were not written down.

Veneration of the saints, you ask, do we need it for our salvation? One one hand no, and on another yes. We do not, as individual Catholics, need to venerate the saints, pray to them, have their images in our homes, or pray novenas in order to be saved. However, church tradition says that their prayers are incredibly powerful, and that without them, many may not be saved. Even if we do not invoke their prayers, they are praying for us, individually and for the world.

You should watch this clip from youtube by Catholic Answers about that passage:

Actually, He did not say that.

One could argue that the Epistles are “adding to the gospel”. If the Epistle to the Hebrews contains a long description encouraging us to be inspired by certain named saints, why should veneration be bad for us now?

If Christ had personally taught us in the recorded gospels all we needed to know, why did he have apostles? Obviously he taught teachers (and other roles in the community) not just bible readers. Why do the gospels and Acts of the Apostles contain an incredible amount about formation of the hierarchical Church, and little or nothing about the New Testament? (At least a fourth of the gospels are devoted to special formation of the single, united college of apostles.) Why are apostles so different from other Christians? Why apostles at all? Why trust the Church to a Magisterium for the first 3 to 4 centuries, until the NT was ratified, if you think a Magisterium is just an unreliable, man made system?

Very true. And no one is “adding” anything. They are living the Gospel.

It’s a system of beliefs.

You can’t say i believe in mathematics, but not in addition.

Throughout the ages the Church has spent a great deal of effort refuting heresy. And with human beings, when you give a inch they take a mile. So the Church must be firm on all Church teaching, no compromise.

The passagee you refer to about adding to the gospel doesnt exist. Paul warns about those preaching a different gospel than him…and Revelation says you dont add or subtract to “this book”…meaning the singular book of Revelation imo

Clearly, if you read the very end of John’s gospel it’s evident thst not everything was written down. Jesus ministry was 3 years…read the gospels and then tell me if they honestly cover everything in that 3 year period?

And also, Paul points to Tradition and the Church. 1 Tim 3:15. And the doctrines dont conflict with scripture…they may conflict with protestants fallible understanding of it, but that’s not our problem. Truth is truth.

Christianity is not a religion of the book, it’s a religion of the God man, Jesus Christ who ascended and left us a Church, not a book. If it were a religion of the book i would imagine the early church was in big trouble then since we didnt have a complete bible till like 405 AD.

Thankfully we have a book but it needs correct interpretation. Think about this…God is omnipotent…had he intended Sola Scriptura he very easily could have dropped bibles out the sky thst were in TEXTBOOK form. That way there would not be any room for difffering interpretation and really no need for a authoritative Church. You just pick it up and go to work. But he didn’t do that!

I understand why protestants practice SS…it’s their safety net. But at the same time, this practice will lead to a truncated view of our 2000 year old faith which is rich in tradition and deeper understanding on a variety of topics.

Hi, Potato!
…there are holes in your premise since Jesus Christ Himself states that:

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (St. John 16:12-15)

We also have the development of the Church right from Scriptures: a) Foundation (announcement), b) establishing of Church’s head (I give you the Keys of the Kingdom), c) delegation of Authority (whatever you bind/loosen on earth is bound/loosen in Heaven), d) Sending of the Holy Spirit to the Church, e) acknowledgement of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ, f) acknowledgement of the Church as the recipient of Christ’s Authority, g) acknowledgement of God’s creation of the Church’s hierarchy, and h) establishment of physical gathering places for the Believers–churches (known today as parishes).

Finally, when important issues would arise the Apostles did as Jesus Commanded: they brought it to the Church!

Conversely, the only examples that we have about using Scriptures (yet not ‘sola Scriptura’) is of two-fold: a) search Scriptures and compare with Apostolic Teaching, and b) foreigners searching for the truth in Scriptures but needing others to explain Scriptures to them (ie: the magi and the eunuch).

Further, it has been proven that when the premise of ‘sola Scriptura’ is put to effect the parties involved adopt multiple understandings of what is deemed as Revelation since their understanding is not fully based on Scriptures but on their interpretation of Scriptures.

Finally, note that not once did any of the Sacred Writings stipulated to ‘sola Scriptura;’ rather, we find that Believers adhered to Apostolic Teaching and to Breaking of the Bread on… here it comes… Sunday!

Maran atha!


Hi, Potato!
…actually no; here’s what He said:

4 Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

7 Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

10 Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. (St. Matthew 4:4, 7, 10)

13 And he saith to them: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves. (St. Matthew 21:13)

I cannot recall a single passage where Jesus states “it is written” as to mean that all things are found in Scriptures.

However, I think that the passage you are connecting with is the following:

30 Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost. (St. John 19:30)

Some Bible versions have “it is finished” instead of consummated.

This passage is speaking to Jesus’ Mission: the Lamb of God Who takes away the Sin of the world.

Maran atha!


Sola scriptura (SS) produces nothing but division. That is its fruit, and Jesus taught that “by their fruits you shall know them.” Division is the evil one’s work. Jesus founded a Church and gave it all authority. Saint Paul teaches that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. Saint Peter wrote that the ignorant and unstable twist and distort the scriptures. We are surrounded by evidence of that.

Sola scriptura, incited in the unstable mind of the chief of the reformers, has produced the greatest damage to the Body of Christ that has ever occurred. It is “divide and conquer.” SS denies the Church that Christ founded and places the individual ego in charge of interpreting God’s will for us. That is an epic fail.

Who told you that everything that Jesus taught is in the scriptures? That person was not telling the truth and ignored the scriptures themselves. Read John 20:23, John 21:25, Acts 2:40, Luke 3:18 for starters. The bible tells us that it is not a complete record.

That’s true. No church father ever believed in sola scriptura. Thanks for the insight!

Thank you! This was helpful.


Hey buddy. :slight_smile: It’s not true and can be easily shown directly from the Word of God.

Mark 4 [34] he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

***This is the same reason that we know that Our Blessed Lord meant what He said in John 6…because had He meant anything but what He literally said there we know from the above verse that he would have explained it…yet He did not.

Have a blessed Sunday at Mass.:signofcross:

Did He? You’ll have to show me where then because I’ve read the Bible several times and I’ve never seen that. I’ve seen verses ripped out of context and used to preach that but the context always shoots them down.

By 1577, a book "200 Interpretations of ‘This is My Body’ was published in Germany…

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