Sola Scriptura-- Do I have this right?


Adapted from an article by Dave Armstrong.

The Catholic Position:

  1. The Bible is authoritative and binding.
  2. The Church’s teaching is authoritative and binding.
  3. Sacred Tradition is authoritative and binding.

The Protestant Position:

  1. The Bible is authoritative and binding.
  2. The Church’s teaching is authoritative.
  3. Sacred Tradition is authoritative.

I understand that the word “Church” in the Protestant’s Position does not refer to the Catholic Church.

Do I understand the two positions correctly?


in my opinion the Catholic position is accurate.

For the Protestant position -

The Bible is authoritative and binding - yes
The church’s teaching is authoritative - not really - only for a particular denomination. A denomination will believe that other perspectives are wrong.
Sacred Tradition is authoritative - no. Various denominations believe all kinds of different, even conflicting things, because they don’t follow tradition, only the Bible.

Sola Scriptura = scripture only.


On the Catholic position, I would readjust a few things.

1)Christ established a Church with His authority.
2)This Church received a Deposit of Faith called “Sacred Tradition” from the Apostles who witnessed to Christ. The Church possesses the authority to interpret, express, and proclaim this Deposit of Faith to the world in its entirety.
3)This Sacred Tradition includes the Scriptures And the Oral Tradition and worship that the Church received from the Apostles

On the Protestant position you might say this:

  1. The Bible is the only authority and the sole rule of faith for all Christians
  2. Any conflict in belief must be decided by Scripture alone.
    (I can’t think of a # 3 because they objectively do not hold to the idea of a Church or tradition having any authority at all.)


The late celebrated church historian Yaroslav Pelikan once quipped that “scriptura” has never been “sola.”

The famed early reformers, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, didn’t agree with each other.

One of the Protestant objections to the Catholic Church is disbelief that the voice of the Pope is equivalent to the voice of scripture. But, that’s not nearly the teaching of the Catholic Church.

from my point of view, the Protestants who are committed to sola scriptura should just pass out Bibles, and leave matters at that. It was recognized in the lifetimes of the so-called reformers, that what they had done was not to destroy the papacy, but to erect a pope “on every dunghill.”


Very true.

For a long time after Wittenburg Luther tried to be a unifying factor for Protestantism, but he eventually wound up being criticized and attacked for trying to be a “pope”.


Who was it that said, “You become what you hate”?


In “Enders Game” there is a theme in regards to that story which says, “you eventually come to love what you hate.”

Could that be what you’re thinking of?


Or “You eventually become what you love to hate”?


This is good news. It means that eventually I’ll be a teenager again! :smiley:


A vessel filled with nothing but hormones? :eek:


After reading Dr. Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus:The Story of Who Changed the Bible and Why”, it is obvious that there is not a single version of the Bible that everybody agrees is authentic. So, how can we practice “Sola Scriptura” if we can’t agree on which version of “Scriptura” we are following? Even the many scholars that have been trying to identify the most authentic Biblical manuscripts for hundreds of years cannot agree on which ones are the most authentic. The number of variations of books, chapters, and verses has been numbered in the hundreds of thousands. One man back in the beginning of the eighteenth century spent thirty years cataloging all the variations he found.

English speaking Catholics follow a version that was translated into English from the Latin version that was in turn translated into Latin from the original languages, (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic) and redacted over the centuries by various monasteries and scribes until a final version was printed in the sixteenth century that had so many differences compared to the oldest manuscript from St. Jerome that determining authenticity was daunting. Thus the Catholic Church had to choose which scripture to teach and which to ignore.

Ever since the early seventeenth century, Protestants have conventionally used the King James Version translated mostly from Hebrew and Greek. When practicing “sola scriptura”, a standard accurate version has to be cited in order to be sure that it is the real scripture and not an edited form with probable changes, omissions, and additions.

Nothing in scripture is 100% authentic, so much of the time we are not sure that what we are reading is the original truth.


Hey if anyone has any input on my original post, please let me know!
I’m interested in any replies that answer my original post. :smiley:


Well, “protestantism” is so fractured that there is, and can be, no official position - they are all over the map on this as well as innumerable other positions.


I will let Catholics respond to their position, and other non-Lutherans reply as they choose. From a Lutheran point of view, your description is generally,correct, except that there are non-scripture writings that we do consider binding. For example, from our confessions :

3] 2. And because directly after the times of the apostles, and even while they were still living, false teachers and heretics arose, and symbols, i. e., brief, succinct [categorical] confessions, were composed against them in the early Church, which were regarded as the unanimous, universal Christian faith and confession of the orthodox and true Church, namely, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, we pledge ourselves to them, and hereby reject all heresies and dogmas which, contrary to them, have been introduced into the Church of God.

Here we pledge ourselves to the creeds. Additionally, we do hold ourselves to our confessions.



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