Sola Scriptura quesiton

We’re all familiar with the “it’s not in the Bible” argument. I’ve read the Bible, I don’t remember a verse or passage stating the Bible as the end all be all of God’s message for us (granted when the books were written there WAS no Bible)…

My question; what verse or passage has been misinterpreted by Protestants who believe in Sola Scriptura? Because I can’t find THAT in the Bible.


Many resources on the subject are available from Catholic Answers. Here is one:

According to Scripture By: Tim Staples

“One cannot prove the inspiration of Scripture, or any text, from the text itself.”

Patrick Madrid’s DVD “Where is that in the Bible?” is an awesome source of major misconceptions…

Probably the most used verse is 2 Tim 3:16…
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”
It’s part of the larger passage:
14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.


This comes mostly from a misunderstanding of Martin Luther coupled with a desire to be free from Rome. Luther argued that in all matters on which the Bible does speak it is to be believed over Pope or Council. I am not arguing for or against that assertion I merely stating it as bald fact. However this understanding was never a part of what Luther himself called the “ecstatics” who insisted God Himself would lead them into Scriptural truth. Luther firmly believed in the authority of the Church to teach and guide the belief of the laity, he disagreed however with the Church at THAT time because he felt that Rome had departed from the faith of the Fathers and the Apostles.

Again I do not off this as a for or against argument merely as the reasoning behind the German Reformers complaint against Rome.

However following Luther were people like Calvin and the Anabaptists who insisted that ALL authority and tradition and Church teaching could/should be set aside in favor of private personal interpretation. Which of course is exactly what Cardinal Cajetan warned Luther would happen if he persisted in his course of arguing with Rome.

So following on this history this teaching has been further simplified/corrupted to be “We don’t need any information except the Bible and what we personally think it says to lead us” which is why there are some 3000 Christian denominations and (in Texas at least) twenty different types of Baptist Churches in every city of any size.

So you are correct, the teaching that we only need the Bible to learn about the Bible is not found in the bible, but it did not spring up from nowhere.

God Bless

It’s true that this is trotted out as the Scriptural basis for ‘sola scriptura.’ The problem is, it doesn’t substantiate the claim, which isn’t ‘Scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness’, but is rather is ‘the only thing profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness is Scripture’…!

Since 2 Tim 3:16 asserts only the first, and not the second, that’s the reason that it doesn’t prove ‘sola scriptura’…! :wink:

The idea that the Bible is the only final rule of faith (or however you want to define it) is nowere stated in the Bible, and honest Protestants will admit this. It’s really a presupposition, viz., presupposing the inspiration of the Bible while denying the authority and infallibility of the Church. It is not un-Catholic to maintain that everything doctrine should have basis in the Scriptures (to what extent is a disputed matter), but Catholics also maintain the real authority of the Church.

As for prooftexts of sola scriptura, some point to 1 Corinthians 4:6, which states, “But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes: that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written” (DRA). Admittedly this is an obscure phrase and there is no one certain reading, but there is nothing in the context which lends support to sola scriptura.

You are correct any Protestant would have to admit that it is a supposition, but it is a supposition drawn from the logic of Scripture. Namely that Scripture is by the Church’s own confession inspired and infallible. Therefore those writers of Scripture having been carried along by the HolySpirit have handed down to us writing which carry with them the promise of the Authority of Cod Himself. And so Luther’s point, which again is not the crass definition of SS as it defined by Evangelicals today, is in the case of dispute (and only in the case of dispute) if Scripture has spoken clearly then we should rest on the clear word of Scripture.

However one need only read the Augsburg Confession to see that Luther and the German Protestants readily appealed to tradition to defend their case and unlike Calvin and those who followed after him, their contention was not that Rome need to be abandoned but return to the ancient Faith.

Again I do not offer this as a for/against proposition I am merely stating the difference between between what Sola Scriptura meant at first to what it has come to mean today.

God Bless

The above article explains it quite well. It is about half way into the article.

I liked it when Paul said “scripture is useful”. It’s useful. End of story. Yes, I’m kind of laughing, but why dig further? The only interesting dig is Paul was referring to the OT written at the time plus perhaps a book or two, so only that can be useful? The whole bible contains added books! haha, where was I as a protestant before…

One popular evangelical, Harold Camping, used to defend sola scriptura on the basis of Rev 22:18-19, that nothing should be added or taken away from ‘this book’ which he broadly interprets as the entire Bible.

And, I think he was quoting from the ‘pillars of fundamentalism’ that only the Bible in its entirety is the word of God.

Of course, he treated all questions with his answers that harmonized with those beliefs. So, (I don’t recall him explicitly using this argument, but it would be typical of the ones that I heard from him) if you asked him about Jesus statement that whoever hears you (presumably the apostles) hears me, he would probably say, yes, that is true (but then qualify it) when you preach only the Bible.

I was a Protestant before. The fact was I never looked into it. I just let my pastors tell me what to believe. Then I would defend it. I learned to read the scriptures, and it proved I was deceived.

But you do the very same still. Instead of your pastor telling you what to believe, you now allow the RCC to do so. :shrug:

Basically we cannot be sure who to trust when oral tradition goes too far. I believe it was John of Damascus who admitted there was no written practice of using icons but it has been an oral tradition handed down.

When such is the case we can have multiple Apostolic Church’s that make the same claim that they are right in their traditions not found in Scripture. Rome isn’t the only Catholic Church that believes in tradition, there are others and some have come to different conclusions.

So it would make sense that we can all agree on what was recorded by those who were Apostles or Disciples of the Apostles who wrote authoritatively the true teachings of Christianity.

I can’t get over how hard it was to be a Pharisee. One had to be extremely intelligent in matters of the Law and even they would get caught up in tradition and stand condemned. Even the Talmud has tradition that Christians don’t accept… there’s just too many traditions.

I have to disagree in large part with you here.

There is a considerable difference between allowing a pastor (individual) tell you what to believe and allowing the Church (group) to do this.
In this, it is Scripture itself that supports the position that the Church has the authority to bind and loose. That individuals need to submit their own wills to that of the Church on matters of teaching, interpretation etc.

Don’t get me wrong - the above does not relieve the individual from responsibility for study and growth but where there is conflict, misunderstanding, error etc., Scripture tells us to “tell it to the Church” and to Listen to the Church.
In this we have both instruction from Christ Himself (Mt 18:15-18) and a demonstration of these instructions in action (Acts 15).


James the basic idea is still true. Subscribing to a pastor/denominations teachings is no different then being in communion with Rome.

Agreed - Oral tradition can be tough - especially where one is sure if it is being taught as “Doctrine” (even bordering on dogma) or if it is taught as practice and pious devotion.
In many of these things and discussions I think of Paul’s comment in 1 Cor 10:23-24
All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
We know how Paul viewed the need to keep of the Mosaic law. The above puts it rather bluntly. He is saying that we are not bound by the letter of such law. He goes on to speak, using food offered to idols as an example, of a higher consideration which is our Love for God and our concern for our neighbor. In short - our duty to uphold in our hearts, the two great commandments (Mt 22:36-40)

I often think that many of our discussions here about “traditional” things tend to turn around this idea of all things being lawful but not all things building up.

Just some thoughts


Understood and I agree that there is a fundamental and personal decision that leads one in a given direction.
However - there is (IMHO) also a very basic and fundamental principle in Protestantism that elevates this personal decision over the Biblical principle (and instruction from Christ) to submit to the authority of His Church.
This principle stems, I believe, from the very foundation of Protestantism. The Protestant reformation is founded on the principle of the rejection of ekklesial authority. The denial of the unified authority of the Church. I don’t believe this is quite what the original reformers had in mind, but this is what came out of it.

If Luther need not submit to Rome, then Zwingli need not submit to either Rome or Luther, and Calvin can likewise go his own way etc…Each believing the others are wrong and none of them calling for a council (ala Acts 15) to resolve the differences between them. This principle has, after 500 years, resulted in so many different teachings that a person can find a “church” to fit pretty much anything he/she chooses to believe without the need for any submission to authority whatsoever.

It is my belief, and my experience, that this fundamental principle (AKA Tradition is so deeply embedded in Protestantism that. like Sola Scriptura, most protestant Christians never consider or - indeed - ever even recognize it.


Kind of like the snow ball tumbling down the hill effect.

As an Episcopalian, we see the OHCAC as having authority in our lives. We also believe firmly in Tradition as well as Scripture.

I, personally, believe that someone can reach Heaven without Tradition by simply going by what Scripture states. I also believe one can reach Heaven by Scripture and Tradition. If a certain Tradition goes against what Scripture states then I question that tradition. I do not believe that if a Tradition is not stated in Scripture then one must believe it to be against Scripture.

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