Sola Scriptura - what do you think is the BEST argument?


We have all heard many arguments against the Protestant concept of Sola Scripura. What do you think is the one, single, best argument against the concept and in favor of the Catholic position?



You might find the following link to an article on my website interesting:

Jeff S.

P.S. I grew up in Covington, LA. I graduated from Covington High School in 1985 and went to Southeastern LA University. If you want to touch base email me at


Certain approaches will impact certain people harder than others, so I wouldn’t say that there’s one single best reason.

I think the one that makes people stop in their tracks as soon as they hear it is pointing out that you cannot determine which books belong or do not belong in the Bible by going by the Bible alone.


[quote=cjaubert] What do you think is the one, single, best argument against the concept and in favor of the Catholic position?

36,000+ protestant divisions.:wink:


For this exprotestant who was Bible alone,or Sol***o*** Scriptura, the best argument was from the Bible. I would not even look at anything that wasn’t in the bible. Truly, history while interesting is not inspired. One thing I knew, with a supernatural grace from God, was that the Bible was His inspired word.

2Thess 2:15 hold fast to tradtions, whether oral or by letter

Jn 21:25 not everything Jesus said recorded in Scripture

These two verses sealed my walk back to the Catholic Church.

But as someone else says, each person is different, for others history may be the key.

God Bless,


Mickey put it in a nutshell. Let me expound on it.

The RCC which holds to Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition has unity.

The Protestant and non-denominationals hold to Sola Scriptura and they are divided over 30,000 times over, not even considering the thousands of denominations that have disolved over the last 500 years since the reformation.

Jesus once said if you do not believe what I have said, then believe in what I have done. I do not believe what Sola Scriptura says, because I have seen what it has done.

By the way, at the last supper, Jesus prayed for unity. Where does a man-made philosophy that brings nothing but division fit into the Lord’s plans?



To me the most obvious scriptural * argument is that the Bible nowhere teaches (or even implies) the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. It seems to me that if this doctrine were to be such a critical aspect in the life of the Christian, it would be spelled out both explicitly and in great detail. Paul or one of the other apostles would have wrote some thing to the effect of "You know, Timothy, after the last of the apostles dies, then from here on out the Bible will be your sole rule of faith to be interpreted by the individual Christian as the Spirit inspires him. In light of this, gather up all my letters and those of the other apostles, and put them in a definitive book. Let’s call this the Bible, and call the doctrineSola Scriptura*, and here’s the list…"

From a practical level, it’s even sillier. The concept of *Sola Scriptura * is simply unworkable. Jimmy Akin has a great article about this very thing. It concludes in summary:

Therefore sola scriptura presupposes (1) the existence of the printing press, (2) the universal distribution of Bibles, (3) universal literacy, (4) the universal possession of scholarly support materials, (5) the universal possession of adequate time for study, (6) universal nutrition, and (7) a universal education in a high level of critical thinking skills. Needless to say, this group of conditions was not true in the crucial early centuries of the Church, was not true through the main course of Church history, and is not even true today. The non-existence of the printing press alone means sola scriptura was totally unthinkable for almost three-quarters of Christian history!

Go to to see the whole article.


[quote=cjaubert]We have all heard many arguments against the Protestant concept of Sola Scripura. What do you think is the one, single, best argument against the concept and in favor of the Catholic position?

The many issues that arise from attempts to interpret the Scriptures and the inability of individual readers to come to a consensus. No document can be said to have a certain meaning
without an authorative interpreter.


For a Protestant who is not questioning his faith, those are great arguments against Sola Scriptura.

I would like to suggest, for non-Catholics who are looking into the Church but just aren’t convinced, to read the lives of the saints. They don’t argue against sola scriptura, but they attest to the divine origins of the Catholic Church, which is, essentially, the issue they are REALLY opposed to in firmly adhering to the Sola Scriptura concept.



Just tell them: you cannot defend that which cannot be defended.



[quote=cjaubert]We have all heard many arguments against the Protestant concept of Sola Scripura. What do you think is the one, single, best argument against the concept and in favor of the Catholic position?

You mean in addition to the Bible specifically and quite clearly stating that “not all is written here”, or the fact that nowhere inb the Bible does it say it is the “sole” source of the Word of God, or that the Bible tells us to follow oral tradition, or that the Bible specifically states the “Church” not the Bible is the pillar of truth, you mean in addition to these? Probably the fact that “Sola Sciptura” was not even invented (by man) until the 16th century.


Well, sola scriptura is
(b)–it doesn’t work.

If it did work, there would not be thousands upon thousands of denominations each professing to base their doctrines upon one and the same bible.

The fact is, no one can read the bible without at the same time also interpreting it. Most people simply interpret what they read according to the tradition–that word again–of their particular church, i.e. those ideas that have been handed on to them by their particular preachers.

If one reads the very early Church fathers, such as Clement, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Iranaeus, you will find them combatting early heresies from Marcion, the gnostics, and others, not by an appeal to scripture. First of all, the new testament was still in the process of formation, and secondly, the heretics tried to use the gospels themselves to support their own ideas of a watered-down Christ.

Rather, you will hear these Church fathers appealing again and again to what was handed down: that which was handed down from God the Father to Christ, and from Christ to the Apostles, and from the apostles to their successor bishops in the One Church.

Repeatedly, these early writers urge the faithful to hold fast to what is taught by their bishops, presbyters, and deacons.


[quote=cjaubert]We have all heard many arguments against the Protestant concept of Sola Scripura. What do you think is the one, single, best argument against the concept and in favor of the Catholic position?

There are still many other things that Jesus did, yet if they were all written about in detail, I doubt there would be enough room in the entire world to hold the books to record them!!
John 21-25


Chris, the argument from history is perfectly valid but many people are not historically minded. The best argument has to be tailored to the hearer’s experience. Many Protestants are only too aware of many of their own family and friends differences on fundamental beliefs. A good approach is to ask how can a sincere person who prays for guidance to the Spirit come away from the Scriptures with fundamentally different beliefs on Divinity of Christ, Salvation, Trinity, Baptism, etc. Is the holy Spirit not doing His job or is there something wrong with the principle being used. There is no answer to this argument except to fall back on gross subjectivism.


[quote=cjaubert]We have all heard many arguments against the Protestant concept of Sola Scripura. What do you think is the one, single, best argument against the concept and in favor of the Catholic position?

The best argument is the late emergence of the New Testament. For 350 years, the Church taught based on tradition, and it wa tradition that led to the acceptance of the documents currently in the New Testament and the rejection of others.

Without Tradition, there is no New Testament. Therefore, if Tradition is invalid, so is the New Testament.


Thank you all for these responses. I really appreciate having these different reasons in one place. In fact, I’m going to cut and paste the replies to my file for future use!


Fathers knwo best (from irenaeus, against heresies, book 3)

Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question3319 among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches? 2. To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition,3320 believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God; who, because of His surpassing love towards His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and having been received up in splendour, shall come in glory, the Saviour of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth, and despise His Father and His advent. Those who, in the absence of written documents,3321 have believed this faith, are barbarians, so far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed; and they do please God, ordering their conversation in all righteousness, chastity, and wisdom. If any one were to preach to these men the inventions of the heretics, speaking to them in their own language, they would at once stop their ears, and flee as far off as possible, not enduring even to listen to the blasphemous address. Thus, by means of that ancient tradition of the apostles, they do not suffer their mind to conceive anything of the [doctrines suggested by the] portentous language of these teachers, among whom neither Church nor doctrine has ever been established.


[quote=cjaubert]We have all heard many arguments against the Protestant concept of Sola Scripura. What do you think is the one, single, best argument against the concept and in favor of the Catholic position?


Sola Scriptura cannot be practiced.

They don’t practice sola scriptura anyway. They have their own tradition and magisterium.


I think showing them that it was impossible for the early Church to have been practicing Sola Scriptura at least until John died. To say “scripture alone” while having some things still passed on orally is contradictory.


hello cjaubert,

Martin Luther had to remove five books from the bible before he preached solo scripture. He wanted to remove James also because it did not fit into what he wanted to preach solo scripture. So they are down to solo scripture minus five books.

Some Protestants say that the Old Testament is obsoleted by the new Testament. So they are down to solo scripture minus the five books and the entire Old Testament.

Jesus tells us, “If you wish to enter into life, obey the commandments”. This does not fit into what the Protestants want to teach in solo scripture so some Protestants say that after Jesus died everything changed. In the post ressurection perioid, Jesus is out because He preached in a pre-ressurection period, they say. So now the Protestants are down to solo scripture minus five books, minus the Old Testament, minus the gospels of Jesus.

Now we are down to primarily the writings of St. Paul. St. Paul sometimes tells us that we must obey the commandments, so some of his writings are in question.

So in reallity, the Protestants are down to solo some of St. Paul’s writings which say exactly what they want to preach. The next time you hear a Protestant minister preaching what to do to go to heaven, count how many times he quotes St. Paul compared to quoting Jesus.

Can you see how solo scripture works out for them?

Basically the Protestants missinturpet St. Paul’s writings to base their religion on the concept of “faith alone” not works. They have to do a lot of triming of scripture, and outside of scripture, to get there. What is most upsetting is that they disregard the teachings of Jesus.

NAB MAT 19:16

The dangers of riches. Another time a man came up to him and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to possess everlasting life?” He answered, “Why do you question me about what is good? There is One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." “Which ones?” he asked. Jesus replied “You shall not kill”; ‘You shall not commit adultery’; ‘You shall not steal’; ‘You shall not bear false witness’; ‘Honor your father and mother’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

NAB MAT 25:31

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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