Sola Scriptura and knowing the whole Bible

Doesn`t the notion of Sola Scriptura imply that a person must have read and retained a solid knowledge of all of Scripture in order to arrive at any doctrine of faith? I realize the doctrine does not exclude Church authority and Government, but it still leaves the individual responsible to first read and consider all of Scripture before accepting any given doctrine, right?

Well, yes - but a Lutheran is not to rely on personal interpretation. We have pastors and theologians to exegete the Scriptures. I have a Lutheran Study Bible which has notes and explanations verse by verse. Certainly not a pocket-sized Bible!

And yes, yes, yes - you can point to that and say a-HAH! Tradition!

Not necessarily, no. It depends upon the individual claim the person holding to sola scriptura is making. One doesn’t need to read every word of Scripture to have an understanding of what Scripture’s main purpose is; that is, to reveal Christ and His gospel.

No, I am not concerned about accusing. And I have learned there is a level of significance given to Tradition. Maybe its what exactly constitutes as formal Tradition that we would dissagree about. But I am more interested in how all these Christians who claim Sola Scriptura are able to do so, without first examining Scripture in its entirety before subscribing to any doctrine.

I know many have and many do, but huge amounts of Christians take the word and interpretations of the pastor who best convinces them of such and such from peices of Scripture and have probably read a very small percentage of the entire Canon. It seems a little contradictory.

But im not going to the extreme to say that someone cant see and hear the simple Gospel message to believe in Jesus as the Son of God without painstakingly reading and referencing the whole of Scripture. Just that the nature of Sola Scriptura seems to imply this.

As I kinda mentioned already, I can definitely see this. I agree. But when it comes to applying Scripture to our doctrine, belief and practice, wouldnt someone subscribing to Sola Scriptura first need to know all of Scripture, then go from there?

Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that everyone should read all of Scripture. No, in that Scripture doesn’t reveal all knowledge of all doctrine, faith or practice. Nor do we claim that it does. I realize there are some Protestant groups that disagree with that. I can only speak for myself there.

Thanks bro, :thumbsup:

It requires the Church as a whole to know the whole Bible.

hmmm… then we need to know what the Whole Church constitutes, and where is that explained in Scripture.

I’m curious as to what you think sola scriptura actually entails. Why don’t you tell us?

One could have the whole Bible memorized. The fatal flaw in Sola Scriptura is exegetical. It inevitably leads to a number of mutually-exclusive hermeneutics with no way to declare a winner.

Right now, without looking up anything…

Sola Scriptura is the doctrine that Sacred Scripture (which is comprised of 66 books) is the sole highest authority which the Church contains for defining doctrine.

That`s about as far as id venture, since I think the definition is probably broken apart from there among the denominations. And this in itself is not so far from Catholic faith. Yet, there is a recognized authority by the magisterium that can define and interpret Scripture with the same level of authority that the Scriptures have in themselves. Also, there are Traditions which have been held as being Apostolic which were not axplicitly written in Scripture which are also from the same source of authority as Scripture.

Oh, and 7 more books which constitute Sacred Scripture in the OT.

Right, but im looking at it from their own perspective. And that seems to me to lead to the problem that those who believe in Scripture alone ought first to have read and come to a sound knowledge of the whole of Scripture before determining which Church to commune with, or which doctrines to accept or reject.

So while Catholics and non Catholic Christians can each admit that most of us have not read the whole bible, Catholics can still have confident trust in a Deposit of Faith which has an the same level of authority as Scriptures itself.

Yet, this would not imply that the Catholic should neglect reading both Scripture and Church Teachings about the Word and deposit of faith.


I’m not 100% sure that RC theology would normally express itself in such terms; I’d be interested to hear from experts here whether this is the case.

Hi, All

Luke 24

30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.
31 And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.
32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?”

Christ opened OT scripture concerning Himself. There was no written new testament at that time. I would guess we had better be steeped in the knowledge of the OT concerning Jesus; and apply that knowledge to the written new testament. When Jesus opened the scriptures to them it was only, at the breaking of the bread they recognized Him and if I may guess; His teaching unwritten, was recognized. We should just remember that Jesus appointed twelve to spread the Gospel and someone needs to be sent after they pass away. A successor indeed happens in the Acts of the Apostles this requires authority to teach.1Corinthians 14:12. says to edify the church. I think there are to many things that are accepted by most Christians that are not in the bible making sola un-tenable.

God Bless:)

RCism has a different understanding of the meaning of the word faith hence the necessity of the doctrine of implicit faith (that is, assenting to and believing the doctrines of the church that one is not even aware of). In Protestantism, faith isn’t the same thing.

That makes sense, but have you applied this same argument to your own epistemology? In other words, do you not have to know the entire content of Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium in order to determine that you should be Catholic?

Rome teaches the doctrine of fides implicita to cover this. This doctrine indirectly led to the pseudo-universalist statement at Vatican II that those who “through no fault of their own” fail to be properly joined to the RCC (including non-Christians) can be saved. This contradicts the Scriptures, which teach that salvation can be found in Christ alone.

I did not realize that Lutherans recognized some sort of Tradition. Are some theologians to be considered authoritative? What place does Martin Luther hold in this hierarchy, if it is a hierarchy?

I don’t wish to throw the thread off topic, but I am particularly curious about how Lutherans view Martin Luther’s expressions of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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