Sola Scriptura: Looking for help in a debate

There is a debate on Sola Scriptura here:

(Edited to remove link to non-Catholic forum per CAF Board Swarm policy.)

Currently, the participants in the discussion involve several Protestants and but one Catholic. The Catholic is a friend of mine who is being a bit overwhelmed in the debate at this point. I’ve been following the discussion with interest, but am myself lacking in the necessary background to effectively argue against Sola Scriptura.(Edited to remove link to non-Catholic forum per CAF Board Swarm policy.)

Good place to start a discussion on Sola Scriptura is how do we have a bible (Canon of Scripture) Where did it come from?

Search not only Apologetics but the non-catholic religion threads as well

Thanks! Will you join the debate??

One of the forum rules states that we should not post asking for ‘swarming’ of a debate in order to get more people there from the forums.

Looks like a lot of people not interested in the truth to me.

In fact they are reveling in Catholic-bashing.

Why would anyone want to :banghead: ?

It seems to be simmering down over there now, but here’s what I’d say: sola Scriptura means scripture alone. Any verses they post are going to hold scripture in very high regard, but NO scripture is going to say that we are supposed to depend on it alone. In fact 1 or 2 Timothy , Ch 3, I think says that the CHURCH is the pillar of truth, not scripture.

But only the Holy Spirit can change people’s hearts, not spirited debate-- although He will use that as a means…

The OP comment was incredibly weak, maybe they were just baiting before going deeper. Anyway, sorry, but your friend really didn’t come out with anything useful to a debate and the whole thing devolved into a thread about hurt feelings. Im not sure where this forum came from but everyone seems to know each other from some other one, and they brought all there feelings with them. Anyway, your friend may find this tract helpful as it addresses the same verse the OP uses,

Fratus tuus in Christo

I myself take much interest in the debate, but like I said, I lack the knowledge to really engage in the debate. I honestly don’t see the weakness in BobRyan’s argument, although I really haven’t given the topic much thought.

Don’t see the weakness in BobRyan’s single line?
Acts 17:11 “They studied the scriptures daily to SEE IF those things spoken to them by Paul were so”

For one thing, we’re talking about Paul here.

When Peter spoke no-one questioned his authority (i.e. Jerusalem Council, etc.); but poor Paul’s authority was constantly questioned (2 Corinthians, etc.) .

Read that part of Acts. Paul is in Beroea. Actually, just read all of verse, 11.

Now these Jew were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

It speaks volumes that BobRyan re-worded the first part of his quote. He in fact misquoted sacred scripture to make it work to his favor.

There is in fact a distinction made between these Jews and others elsewhere (Thessalonica). It seems to be a special and unique trait of these Jews to behave in this way.

But let’s look at the bigger picture: Paul went to the synagogue. The very core and heart of Tradition in order to convince, not destroy the religious authorities. Paul and Silas very distinctly did not start a “house church”. They could have; it worked very well for John the Baptist to call people out. No. Paul very rightly saw Jesus as the fulfillment of all that the Jewish religion had brought out.

I could go on, but the only thing that really needs be said is:
Where in the Bible does it say that the Bible is the sole authority?
If the Gospels were so important, why does it not show anywhere Jesus asking if anyone is writing his words down?
Did Jesus say “on this rock I will set my book”?
When Jesus found the Temple defiled did he say to his disciples: “No big, let’s go down to Joe’s house and talk about scripture”?

The big lie that Protestants tell themselves is that they have separated themselves from tradition; but “Sola Scriptura” is in itself a very new tradition. They furiously reinvent the wheel and as time goes on they either fall to pieces or start to look more and more like the Catholic Church. The Baptists I study with are more Catholic than most Catholics I know, if only I could tell them that w/o offending them. :frowning:

I checked out the fourm and it appears to be a brand new venue. Anyway, your Catholic friend there seemed to be easily distracted from the topic. It started out as “Sola Scriptura” and led into types of heretics, mary-worship, transubstantiation, authority, tradition (as opposed to Apolstolic Tradition), personal insults, complaints about the moderator…

It seems like the OP wants to confirm his view on sola scriptura. The surest way to test it is NOT in whether that view can be supported in the interpretation of a verse or chapter in the Bible. He should focus on where in the Bible does the Bible claim to be the sole rule of Faith. The most common verse that is used to support this is 2 Tim 3:16 “* All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…”*

However, this verse says “profitable”, not “sufficient”. Similarly, food is profitable for my physical growth and health, but not sufficient. I also have to breathe, etc…

Then there are verses which warn against the “traditions of men”. Mt 15:3, Mk 7:9 and Col 2:8.

These verses also has to be taken into proper context. If all the Bible is God’s Word (which it is), then they must be reconciled with 1 Cor 11:2, 2 Thee 2:15, 2 Thess 3:16, Jn 21:25, Mk 13:31, Acts 20:35, 2 Tim 1:13, 2 Tim 2:2, 2 Pet 1:20, 2 Pet3:15-16, 1 Pet 1:25, Rom 10:17, 1 Cor 15:1-2, Mk 16:15, Mt 23:2-3…

What you see when you put it all together is that there is a distinction between “traditions of men” and Apostolic Tradition.

There is also the matter of fact that the earlist Christians did not subscribe to the notion of sola scriptura. (Refer to Athanasius’ Four Letters to Serapion of Thmius 1, 28 and Origen’s Fundamental Doctrines 1, preface, 2…about 360 AD and 230 AD respectively.)

Further…if 2 Tim 3:16 is the justification for soal scriptura, then there is the problem of the New Testament to deal with. If 2 Tim 3:16 really means that the Scriptures alone are sufficient then we must toss out the entire NT because the written Word at that time that was accepted as Scripture was the Old Testament. And then you have to study which version of the OT Scriptures were being used by the Aposltles and even Christ. What you find is that most of the quotes were from the Septuagint. So now the Bible of the Reformers would only be allowed to contain, not only the OT alone, but it would be the OT that Catholics use.

Another problem with accepting the Bible as the sole rule of Faith, or the final authority in matters of Faith, is that the Bible itself does not claim to be this. In fact, the very Bible you may be holding in your hands right now is a product of Apostolic Tradition. It is the letters, books, testimonies and gospels written by the first Christians that were placed into our “Bible”. How did the early Christians decide which letters or accounts to include? Who decided which books were inspired and which were not? The Scriptures did not provide an index.

Protestants have the duty to prove that the scriptures teach ‘sola scriptura.’ This is an impossible task because the Bible supports the Catholic understanding of apostolic tradition leading to the writing of the scripture, which is to be taught and interpreted by members of the magisterium who have been ordained through apostolic succession.


Notice in the verse quotes, Acts 17:11 that “they received the word with all willingness”. Meaning they believed Paul’s testimony and accepted the traditions he taught readily. They made use of scripture because it is always “profitable” to do so, but it would not have been “sufficient” for them to believe it on their own. This precedence is clearly established 2 chapters before at the Council of Jerusalem.

Acts 15, the Council of Jerusalem. The council essentially creates the Tradition of not circumcising the Gentiles and they have no direct revelation from Jesus or scripture to support it. There is no indication that God would have wanted to put away the knife, but the Apostles came to that conclusion, and quoted Amos 9 11:12,
“James responded, “My brothers, listen to me. 14Symeon* has described how God first concerned himself with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name. 15The words of the prophets agree with this, as is written: After this I shall return and rebuild the fallen hut of David;from its ruins I shall rebuild it and raise it up again, 17so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord, even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked.Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things,18known from of old.’…”

They did not use this and say, “we have found in scripture where we no longer have to circumcise”, because scripture was not enough to make the decision. Instead they used a verse that does not explicitly say that, but conclude that scripture agrees with the decision, not the other way around, placing Authority and now Tradition equally with Scripture.

Anyway, the point is that the OP cherry picked a verse and shortened it to make his point. Its dishonest and a distortion of the inerrant word. The Council of Jerusalem clearly established the Authority of the Church and demonstrates Apostolic Tradition, both profit from Scripture but you can see that Scripture was/is not enough. The same is true for the Beroeans, they accepted the the word willingly and found that scripture agreed. Paul had the right, from the Council to teach things not explicit in scripture as well as things for which there was no scripture. It was not the scripture that convinced them, it was the HS working through Paul who spoke the WORD.

Please correct me if I have misspoken in any of this, I tried to pull my thought into a cohesive post but if I missed the mark let me know:)

Fratus tuus in Christo

Honestly, in searching the thread you linked, I didn’t see a legitimate proper use of sola scriptura, particularly in regards John 6, since the prediction of the Eucharist made there is confirmed in the Gospel accounts of the Lord’s Supper, and Paul in Corinthians.

Don’t know if that helps.


I would ask him my Infamous 4 questions.

Using Scripture alone, please tell me:

  1. Where it says that the number of books in the New Testament is officially 27?
  2. Where does it say what books belong in the NT?
  3. Where does it say what versions of the books belong in the NT? For example: There was a version of Matthew’s Gospel that had 8 chapters worth of text. Another with 18. A third with 28. Which one is the correct one, using Scripture alone?
  4. Where does it say which TRANSLATION of the books in the NT is the correct one?
    The answers to these infamous 4 questions were determined infallibly, and correctly. If they’re not, then there’s no way to practice the principles of Sola Scriptura, since there’s no “Scriptura” to be the “Sola” authority.
    According to Sola Scriptura, there must be a scriptural basis for these infallibly determined beliefs. So I look forward to the Bible verses that answer these 4 questions.

Thanks to the two of you who joined. I am really enjoying the exchanges over there. If anyone else would like to join, please do!

I have been trying…but am having trouble with the password.

It appears to me in at least one of their threads that some of the members are not looking for debate with Catholic teaching. One of the mods mentioned a troll of sorts and I am beginning to get the impression that their site is intended to discuss what some Christians agree on, rather than what we don’t.

Perhaps we can invite them to visit CatholicAnswers Forum when they have a particularly Catholic topic they want to discuss. While I realize the importance of speaking the Truth, I also recognize the importance of a place to get away from the “battlegrounds” so to speak.

This is what you might research we belive in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Doctrine, Sacred Doctrine is essential to the full intended meaning of the Scriptures and especially to the determinant moral codes that the church teaches as the ideal of Christian goodness, Christian living that is. Read through the New Testament with a mind to notice any Sacred Doctrines being made which more fully reveal previous scripture, those are Sacred Doctrines which I’m sure the Sola Scripturists will agree are Sacred but only because they immediately become Scriptural. That’s fine, that is still a support for the chosen church to make (valid) doctrine before the birth (retrospective doctrines of the faith) during the life, and after the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus, and until His day of returning in glory.

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