Scripture without Tradition

If sola scriptura Protestants (hereinafter called Scripturistas :smiley: ) object to Sacred Tradition because they think our lived understanding of the Deposit of Faith includes the possibility of error, I need answers to two questions:

First, when the Four Evangelists were writing the Gospels (years later), did God (a) grant them perfect knowledge of everything that happened, or did He (b) grant them perfect memory of all that they saw and heard?

Second, if (b), given that Jesus wrote no books in His own hand, isn’t all New Testament Scripture dealing with Jesus and His teachings secondhand (although eyewitness) testimony? (Not saying invalid, just not from a first-person viewpoint.)

If the answer to the second question is yes, then I think that one cannot refute the idea that without Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture loses vital perspective, and that the Scripturista’s efforts to interpret Scripture by themselves must of necessity be doomed to introduce division and heresy.

It seems that Tradition and Scripture are not complementary; they are integral to each other. Separate them and you’re lost.

Am I making sense? I’m new to the study of Apologetics, but I’m getting really interested in helping lead lapsed Catholics and curious non-Catholics into the Church.

Slava Isusu Christu!

The Word of God is Transferred Orally

Mark 13:31 - heaven and earth will pass away, but Jesus’ Word will not pass away. But Jesus never says anything about His Word being entirely committed to a book. Also, it took 400 years to compile the Bible, and another 1,000 years to invent the printing press. How was the Word of God communicated? Orally, by the bishops of the Church, with the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:15 - Jesus commands the apostles to preach the Gospel to every creature. But Jesus did not want this preaching to stop after the apostles died, and yet the Bible was not compiled until four centuries later. The word of God was transferred orally.

Mark 3:14; 16:15 - Jesus commands the apostles to preach (not write) the gospel to the world. Jesus gives no commandment to the apostles to write, and gives them no indication that the oral apostolic word he commanded them to communicate would later die in the fourth century. If Jesus wanted Christianity to be limited to a book (which would be finalized four centuries later), wouldn’t He have said a word about it?

Luke 10:16 - He who hears you (not “who reads your writings”), hears me. The oral word passes from Jesus to the apostles to their successors by the gracious gifts of the Holy Spirit. This succession has been preserved in the Holy Catholic Church.

Luke 24:47 - Jesus explains that repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached (not written) in Christ’s name to all nations. For Protestants to argue that the word of God is now limited to a book (subject to thousands of different interpretations) is to not only ignore Scripture, but introduce a radical theory about how God spreads His word which would have been unbelievable to the people at the time of Jesus.

Acts 2:3-4 - the Holy Spirit came to the apostles in the form of “tongues” of fire so that they would “speak” (not just write) the Word.

Acts 15:27 - Judas and Silas, successors to the apostles, were sent to bring God’s infallible Word by “word of mouth.”

Rom. 10:8 - the Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart, which is the word of faith which is preached (not just written).

Rom. 10:17 - faith comes by what is “heard” (not just read) which is the Word that is “preached” (not read). This word comes from the oral tradition of the apostles. Those in countries where the Scriptures are not available can still come to faith in Jesus Christ.:blessyou:

[font=Arial]It seems that Tradition and Scripture are not complementary; they are integral to each other. Separate them and you’re lost.


Yes, I get the jist of what you are saying, but take out the word “not”, and the sentence would be perfect. Being integral to each other is the same as complimentary. Check out these helpful links on apologetics in general.

Stop It! Apologetic Bad Habits and Their Remedies By Greg Krehbiel



Or you can take a course in apologetics if you have lots of time and money and live near a reputable Catholic university.

Another option is to spend half as much, take the course in your own time all on line with one-on-one tutoring with the staff of Patrick Madrid. (last I heard he is an admin here) Enrollment is limited. I’m saving my nickels.


I think perhaps what I should have said was that Tradition and Scripture are not complementary, they are identical - in that what is recorded in Scripture is part of the Deposit of Faith. If you discard Tradition on philosophical grounds, you are (perhaps unconsciously) throwing away Scripture as well.

I guess I’m saying that you can’t have one without the other.

I recently saw Patrick Madrid’s tapes advertised; I may ask for them (and Scott Hahn’s and Gerry Matatics’s) for Christmas. Gotta have Alton Brown, too; food for the soul is great but it doesn’t stop your stomach from growling. :smiley:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit