What Scripture is infallible?


I’ve been trying to do some reading on Protestant issues with Catholicism. I want to better understand the differences.

When 2 Timothy 3:16 is used as a defense of Sola Scriptura, as it is here-- equip.org/free/CP0805.htm what Scripture is being referred to? Those books that have already been written, just the Old Testament, or is this, in a sense, a defense of those books yet to be written and canonized? What about the other verses cited? With my Catholic glasses, I read this as showing the importance of scripture, not that scripture alone is all we need. I truly don’t understand, and I’d like to. Can anyone help me out?


The Hebrew scriptures are being referred to because there was no “New Testement” at the time Paul wrote to Timothy.
Also, the scripture only proves that scripture itself is USEFUL, NOT that it’s the sole authority.
There is no arguement since no matter how the verse is read, it still says the same thing; useful.


This is exactly what I think when I read that verse. However, very intelligent, strong Christians, like Hank Hanegraff interpret that verse to have what almost seems like “prophetic” powers to me, making it include the NT, thus making it to mean Sola Scriptura.

I guess what I’m hoping for is that someone who supports Sola Scriptura could help me out here. I’m not trying to be a smart alec and probably won’t even debate that person, I really just want a little more understanding of the issue.


Before going any further, just sit down for a second and pray to the Holy Spirit to help you discern the truth in this matter. I’ll Wait…

Welcome back! As you can see from thinking about this for even a minute in a prayerful state, this whole sola scriptura thing doesn’t make any sense. There HAS to be more than that to the reason why protestants happened. I sure hope so anyway. I was floundering in protestantism most of my life, and never could get my mind around anything except that I loved Jesus, I also floundered around in Buddhism for several years as well, but ironically, my voyage into Buddhism was MUCH more useful to me than my protestant (Lutheran/Baptist) years for teaching me how important Jesus was to me. It was through meditation, and reading books by the Dalai Lama that I was actually guided back to Christ. I finally have entered the Catholic Church at nearly 50 years old. I cry when I think of how much time I spent in my life without the sacraments, but I’m home now, after a blessed act of providence by God in my life, and an incredible RCIA journey.

I digress…As a protestant there was no authority to my biblical studies. There was no magesterium. No interpretive authority. It just doesn’t make sense. Just a couple minutes in prayer, and you can see it’s not practical or even sriptural!! The Church fathers, who wrote and put together the scripture of the New Testament said that the Church was the authority. The concept of sola scriptura seems to call for every Christian to be a highly educated philosopher, linguist, and theologian. There is no standard to match things up to. Which bible? What language? Whose translation? Which turn of the phrase? What books? Where do you turn to find out what something means if you don’t understand? Another sola scripturist? Then the other person is only giving THEIR personal interpretation. It just gets plain silly. Jesus spoke of the Old Testament first of all. The New Testament wasn’t written yet when Jesus was still in physical incarnation on earth. What he was telling us in His words, was that the scripture of the Old Testament was not obsolete by his incarnation, rather that the scripture had been fulfilled by his incarnation.

After his death and resurection, the New Testament was then written and was divinely inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. It was the Church, acting on authority from Christ through the Apostles that decided on the canon, which was never to be added to or taken away from, then, protestants, and those who spoke of sola scriptura were the very same people who removed canonized books from the bible and did the very thing that was never to be done. Then they start this concept that each individual person should just read the bible, ignore the Church, (that Jesus was the fulfillment of), and become, in essence, your own ultimate authority? It’s preposterous.

Please…it only takes a minute to think this through. Look how many protestant churches there are!!! Think about that!! There is no limit to how many protestant denominations there could end up being, because the relativism of sola scriptura could cause any two people who think the same way to be a church. We could end up with literally millions of “Christian” churches if this logic continues to play itself out. This concept is at the root of moral relativism which is very close to destroying all civilized culture left in the world. It is heresy of the highest and grandest order, and tossed around all day long in arguments as if it were a casual little topic like whether parking fines are too high in Nashville. God wants ONE Church with ONE magesterial authority to interpret scripture for the common man, and to glean positions on newly emerging world problems based on a scriptural and traditional rooting so that we can all practice and get home to God Together. One body of Christ. One heart. Peace be with you.


Then why do millions of Protestants hold deeply to this belief? What are the arguements used to support Sola Scriptura? Is this something that people believe without ever questioning?

I thought this was apparent in the way I phrased the question, but I’m guessing not–I DON"T believe in Sola Scriptura. I don’t think there’s a Biblical basis for the arguement. BUT, I know very intelligent Christians who do believe this. I’m hoping there are some of these very same intelligent Christians on this forum who might be able to help me out with the reasoning behind this belief.


The point (and the problem) is that scripture is true from the moment it is written. Therefore, if one adopts the standard Protestant understanding of these verses, then the only scripture that is needed is the scripture that existed at the moment these verses were written. It’s really even more restrictive than that, since it speaks of the sacred writings known from childhood. Now, the audience for this letter may have included people in e.g. their 70s, which means that the sacred writings referred to would have to have been written at least 60 years before. That definitely lets out all of the NT!


You would think 2 Tim 3:16 would prove sola scriptura but obviously not to the catholics. According to these verses, believe the Word of God or die.

Hbr 4:12
For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

2Ti 3:16
All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Pro 15:32
He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Pro 15:10
Correction [is] grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: [and] he that hateth reproof shall die.



None of your quotes say that Scripture is sufficient, or that **only **Scripture is useful. Paul tells the Thessalonians in his second epistle (2:15) to “stand fast to the traditions you have been given, either by word of mouth or by letter.” So Paul considers his oral teachings to be as binding as his letters.
Furthermore, Scripture doesn’t tell us which books should be in Scripture. If Scripture, and Scripture alone is to be our guide, then you need to answer the following four questions using Scripture alone:

  1. Where does it say that the number of books in the New Testament is supposed to be 27?
  2. Where does it say the names of the books that belong in the New Testament?
  3. Where does it say the correct version of the books that belong in the New Testament? For example, there was a version of Matthew with 8 chapters worth of text, another with 18, and a third with 28.
  4. Where does it say the correct translation of the books that belong in the New Testament?

Fact: By accepting the 27-book canon of the New Testament, you implicitly accept the authority of the Catholic Church which determined the canon.


Well that sounds proud. To believe the Gospel is to accept the authority of the Catholic Church? And you actually believe this to be fact?

I believe that God is sovereign. All knowing and all powerful without limits. You boast and glorify your Mother church when you should be boasting and glorifying God. You should be thankful for His Word and how He preserved it. He may have used the Catholic church but that doesn’t mean the Catholic church has any authority.


If you believe that there is such a thing as “the New Testament” then you are believing an infallible Papal proclamation that was made by Pope Innocent I some time between 400 and 405 AD. Nothing more, and nothing less.

I believe that God is sovereign. All knowing and all powerful without limits. You boast and glorify your Mother church when you should be boasting and glorifying God. You should be thankful for His Word and how He preserved it. He may have used the Catholic church but that doesn’t mean the Catholic church has any authority.

If Pope Innocent I had had no authority from God through God’s Church to promulgate the canon of the New Testament to the Church, and if no one else had had this authority, then we today would have no New Testament. Sure, the books would have been written, and the Holy Spirit would know where they are and which ones they are, but no human being would know, with any degree of certainty.


I think most Non-Catholics are unaware that the Church gave us the Bible. How else did you get the 27 NT text in the first place? Those books weren’t added until Council of Hippo.

At the order of pope Damasus I, Jerome translated the 27 books into Latin (Vulgate). Augustine in the fifth century listed the 27 books in his work, “On Christian Learning”. Those 27 books were later declared at the Council of Hippo in 393 CE and at Third Council of Carthage in 397 CE. The same councils also declared the list of Old Testament books which now become Catholic Old Testament. The sixth Council of Carthage in 419 CE repromulgated the (same) canon of Bible. It can be said that the 27 books of New Testament (together with Catholic Old Testament books) were determined in the fourth century. Among the 27 books, seven (James, Jude, Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John and Revelation) books entered the list after some disputes.

They are more or less the same as “deuterocanonical” books of Catholic Old Testament (which were dropped from most of Protestant Old Testament). The above councils also show the authority of the Church to define which books belong to Old and New Testaments. It is true that those councils were not ecumenical councils, hence they did not speak for the whole church. This fact was shown by the existence of different list of books in some of early manuscripts made in and after 4th century. The reason why no ecumenical council decided the canon in and before 4th century is because the issue of canon of scripture is not an issue which divided Christianity (compare to Arianism which prompted ecumenical council of Niceae in 325 CE).


As St Augustine said, “I would not believe the gospel if not for the Catholic Church.”

I boast and glorify the Church because it is the bride of Christ. The Church came before the New Testament. It created, codified and preserved the New Testament, so yes it does have authority.


Thanks for the references. But, believers, what about the NT books written after Paul’s letter to Timothy? Do those not count as scripture that is “profitable” because they didn’t exist? This is what I’m really having a hard time understanding and want help with it.


What is it about these or any other passages that lead you to believe that Catholics don’t believe, use, read and trust scripture? Catholics LOVE the bible. It’s a Catholic Book!!! No Catholic will tell you anything is wrong with the bible. We just know that BESIDES the bible, there is the Church. Jesus set the Church up, so that we wouldn’t be fudging around with things much, and to provide authoritative interpretation for all time for the Word. It all works together. That’s all. Heck…Catholics even use ALL the books of the bible. We didn’t toss any out, as some of the reformers did. It is regarded as the sacred Word of God.

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