Where Does Scripture State That It Is the *Sole* Rule of Faith?


#1

In an earlier thread, it was stated that the Bible claims that it is the sole and sufficient rule of faith.

As that thread is now closed, I’d like to ask all members where I will find Scripture stating that it is the sole rule of faith.

A little help? Do I correctly assume the answer is that it doesn’t make that claim, which means that, by definition, Sola Scriptura is not found in Scripture and is therefore (by Sola Scriptura’s own definition) not binding on the Christian conscience???

DJim


#2

Almost universally the verse that is cited to support the notion of sola scriptura is 2Tim 3:16

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction and for training in righteousness so that the one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

The problem is that this verse doesnt claim that Scripture is the ONLY thing required. In fact, Paul, who is writing to Timothy in the first letter specifically says that he is writing to Timothy to instruct him in how to behave in the Church even though Paul acknowledges that Timothy knows all of Scripture(cf 2Tim3:14). It would seem a contradictory thing to do if Paul was trying to promote sola scriptura.


#3

The closest thing that comes to mind is this passage by the author of Hebrews:

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

(Hebrews 1:1-2)
I don’t have a problem with the idea that God might communicate His will for His kids through spiritual leaders today. That is, i see no problem as long as what these spokesmen and spokeswomen for God say does not contradict what Christ and his followers say in the words of the New Testament.

What do you think, Jim?


#4

Personally, I’ve never been able to understand how “useful” translates into Sola Scriptura…:confused:


#5

I don’t know where the Bible states that scripture is the only rule of faith, it probably doesn’t. However, that does not verify the rest of your claims. Just because the Bible doesn’t claim to be the only rule of faith doesn’t mean that Sola Scriptura is wrong. The reason is quite simple, really. The Bible doesn’t have to declare that it is the only rule of faith. If it did, what it would really be saying is that nothing else is a rule of faith, but there is no reason to specify that because the general rule is that you don’t accept something as a rule of faith until it proves it comes from God. Let me explain another way.

It is not the job of the Bible or any other source of God’s Word to say what isn’t God’s Word. It is the job of every source of God’s Word to demonstrate that it is truly speaking for God. For example, Jesus and most of the prophets used miracles as a witness to verify they spoke for God. The Bible we know is God’s Word because it was written by the Apostles, who were speaking for God. However, the Bible only has to demonstrate it’s own veracity, it doesn’t have to debunk or refute anything else. Anyone else who claims they speak for God must demonstrate it just like the prophets, just like Jesus, and just like the Bible. It’s not the Bible’s job to say what isn’t God’s Word. Instead, God proves it when He is speaking. He leaves no room for doubt.

It seems clear then that you can’t prove Tradition by disproving Sola Scriptura. Also, the fact that Sola Scriptura isn’t mentioned in the Bible in no way disproves Sola Scriptura. I believe in Sola Scriptura not because the Bible tells me to, but because I only believe those who demonstratively speak for God. Church Tradition must prove that it speaks for God just like Mormon tradition must prove it speaks for God, and just like the Watchtower has to prove it speaks for God. That’s all there is to it.


#6

I don’t have a problem with the idea that God might communicate His will for His kids through spiritual leaders today. That is, i see no problem as long as what these spokesmen and spokeswomen for God say does not contradict what Christ and his followers say in the words of the New Testament.

Precisely! God can speak to us through whatever method he chooses. You just better be sure that who you think is speaking for God really is speaking for God. As far as I’m concerned, the only way to know for sure is to compare against the Bible. There is nothing else that we KNOW comes from God. Since the Bible is one big written record, we can compare what we read with what was originally written down and know it to be accurate. Church Tradition has no such way to be verified. Oral tradition is, by it’s very nature, one big game of telephone, with no way to verify that what you hear now is what was originally said.


#7

But cmancone…the Church is what Jesus founded…a Church headed by people who were charged with “going forth to preach the Good News of Salvation” as in preach about Jesus…

Jesus did not say write a book. He said preach the Word.

Fact is; the written word [New Testament Scriptures] took more than 100 years to compile and almost three to be identified witht he New Testament recognized by the Church and accepted by most Christians.

Today, that recognition is not universal. And even among the majority of Christians who recognizes the New Testament Canon, how that Scripture is understood and interpreted is not universal. Hence the plethora of beliefs among various protestant churches today…


#8

Sola Scriptura does not claim that the Bible is the sole rule of faith. It says that the everything necessary for salvation is clearly set out in the Bible. The Bible is the final and sole infallible rule of faith.

This does not deny a role for the Church and tradition but they are subject to scripture.

I would use:

Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31 NASB)

Verse 30 indicates that not everything Jesus did is recorded by John. Without considering whether what is contained in the rest of the Bible supplies this deficit, this is not contrary to Sola Scriptura which freely admits that not everything is in the Bible.

Verse 31 goes on to say that despite not containing everything, the book was written by John so that we might believe and have life. His book contains what we need to know. If this is true of his book alone, then it must also be true of the whole Bible.


#9

Syd Carl

How can the Church be subject to scripture; as in your statement here:

This does not deny a role for the Church and tradition but they are subject to scripture.

How can this be when the New Testament Scriptures comes forth from the teachings of the Church? It is the Church who wrote, compiled, copied, preserved and determined what was ‘canonical’ or ‘inspired’’ and what was not.

A Profound Truth;

It was not the Holy Spirit through scipture who breathed life into the Church.

But it was the Holy Spirit, through the Church, who gives life to Scriptures! That is a reality and a historical fact.


#10

How can this be when the New Testament Scriptures comes forth from the teachings of the Church? It is the Church who wrote, compiled, copied, preserved and determined what was ‘canonical’ or ‘inspired’’ and what was not.

A Profound Truth;

It was not the Holy Spirit through scipture who breathed life into the Church.

But it was the Holy Spirit, through the Church, who gives life to Scriptures! That is a reality and a historical fact.

I think your biggest problem YADA is in applying these attributes to the church. The church is the body of believers in Jesus Christ, it isn’t an institution.

The Holy Spirit didn’t speak to us through scripture, and He didn’t speak to us through the church - He spoke to us through the Apostles. As an accurate recording of their teachings, scripture is the most reliable copy of what those disciples said. I also think you are mistaken in your attempts to throw doubt on scripture itself. The Bible is quite reliable in and of itself, and does not require any institution to approve it (as you seem to imply). It doesn’t require the Church’s stamp of approval, it stands on its own. Also, I don’t buy your opinion on how it was formed. I’ve heard the exact opposite from Catholics who were refuting the Da Vinci code. They claimed that the Bible was written very quickly after Jesus death (as is verified historically) and that it was established early on which books were scripture and which weren’t.


#11

But cmancone…the Church is what Jesus founded…a Church headed by people who were charged with “going forth to preach the Good News of Salvation” as in preach about Jesus…

Again YADA, I must disagree. The Church Jesus founded is the body of believers in Jesus Christ. There are no people at it’s head. The only person at the head of the Church is Jesus Christ himself:

Colossians 1:18
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Jesus charged everyone, not just the “leaders” of the church with spreading the Gospel. No, He didn’t order that they write down the Gospel, they did that because it was the quickest way to spread it around, and, as it turns out, the best way to preserve it in its original form.


#12

It doesn’t.

Martin Luther and his ilk made it up in order to be free from the Authority of the Church.


#13

]It is not my opinion of how the NT Canon was formed. Various writings and letters were written and preserved. The Church leadership gathered and considered the various writings, some made it into the canon and some did not. You are being disengenous to say that some catholics argue

the Bible was written very quickly after Jesus death (as is verified historically) and that it was established early on which books were scripture and which weren’t.

Quickly, as in the canon was fairly fixed by 394 AD +/- TRUE
Did it time in huan terms to compile…yes, no apostles were still alive in 394…their succcessors the bishops were. Why don’t we find the two Gospels of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Peter included in the NT? Why not the Didache? Who decided? How did they decide?

Was the written word really the best method and

the quickest way to spread it around, and, as it turns out, the best way to preserve it in its original form.

?

Until Guttenbergs printing press Bibles were precious and rare. The populace was mostly unable to read and few but religious institutions, royalty and extremely wealthy could afford bibles. Even with the printing press the average common person could not afford a bible even if they could read.

We have some very old manuscripts but no originals…

Yes, the Church is the community of believers. Scripture is an outgrowth of the communities faith…it was written by the believers for the believers. But scripture attests to a leadership: Presbyters, deacons, etc. Scripture tells us the Church is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth…we are to hold fast to the traditions that have been handed on, whether by word or letter. Peter and the Apostles and their successors [as in Acts and the choosing of a successor for Judas - even calling it an office with apostolic succession]

Jesus is our Head, the King of Kings, he established a Church a community of believers. He also gave that Church a earthly representative to ensure its care [as in Peter…Feed my sheep]


#14

I found it! Right here it states in :

**1 Timothy 3:15 **

15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

Oh my bad! It says the church is the pillar and support of the truth. Not the Bible. And the only reason St. Paul writes is only just “in case”. but he still plans on coming in person to teach orally.

That isn’t what you wanted to hear, is it?

Oh maybe this one:

**2 Thessalonians 3:6 **
6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

Oh wait that is about living according to apostolic tradition. Tradition is a “bad word” for sola scriptura right?

So then this isn’t what people who believe in scripture alone want to hear either?

**2 Peter 1:20 **

20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,

Is that why they had Rabbis?

**Acts 8:30-31 **

30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Are there “Torah Alone” believers?

1 Thessalonians 2:13

13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

St. Paul did not say “which you read from us” he said “heard” as in orally.


#15

Prominent evangelical anti-Catholics will admit Scripture does not itself claim to be the sole rule of faith, the sole “Word of God”, or the all-sufficient and only infallible authority while the apostles were alive, or before Scripture was “complete” :

“Contrary to persistent charges by Roman apologists, Protestant Evangelicals do affirm the binding authority of apostolic tradition as delivered by the apostles. What they preached and taught in the first century Church was authoritatively binding on the consciences of all Christians…To be sure, all special revelation given by God is authoritative and binding. There can be no doubt that the oral teaching of the apostles and their approved representatives was both (1 Thess 2:13).” (David King, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith [2001] volume 1, page 55,145)

“Let it be stated as clearly as possible: Protestants do not deny that the oral teaching of the apostles was authoritative, inerrant truth, binding as a rule of faith on those who heard it…the apostolic message…was as inspired and infallible and true as Scripture itself…So the written words of Scripture are binding. Apostolic preaching was equally binding for those who heard it from the apostles’ own mouths.” (John MacArthur in Don Kistler, Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible [1995], page 171,178,182)

“…the doctrine [of sola scriptura] speaks of a rule of faith that exists. What do I mean by this? …You will never find anyone saying, ‘During times of enscripturation – that is, when new revelation was being given – sola scriptura was operational.’ Protestants do not assert that sola scriptura is a valid concept during times of revelation. How could it be, since the rule of faith to which it points was at that very time coming into being? One must have an existing rule of faith to say it is ‘sufficient.’ It is a canard to point to times of revelation and say, ‘See, sola scriptura doesn’t work there!’ Of course it doesn’t. Who said it did?” (James R. White, A Review and Rebuttal of Steve Ray’s article [1997] on the Bereans)

What they claim is that, sometime after the apostles died, when the church was in its “normative” state (whatever that means), Scripture became the sole rule of faith, the sole “Word of God”, the self-sufficient and only infallible authority for Christianity. I recommend The Shape of Sola Scriptura (2001) by Keith Mathison, or Scripture Alone (2004) by James White to see whether that logic holds up. I say No. :cool:

Phil P


#16

Unfortuently if you look at the previous verse this passage only applies to the OT since it was known by Timothy from “infancy”.


#17

This may be a bit off-topic, but I love bringing this up:

Matt 16: 16-19…

16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

Now compare that to Isaiah 22: 20-23

20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliacim the son of Helcias, 21 And I will clothe him with thy robe, and will strengthen him with thy girdle, and will give thy power into his hand: and he shall be as a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Juda. 22 And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23 And I will fasten him as a peg in a sure place, and he shall be for a throne of glory to the house of his father.

Now maybe it’s just me but is sure seem to me the Our Lord was using the terminology of Isaiah…and for a reason. He was making Peter “prime minister” to shepherd the flock while the King (of Kings) was no longer here on earth in the same way Eliakim was made prime minister over Judah for King Ezechiah (the handing on of the keys). This certainly implies a visible unified Church with a leader (not mention that it is implied that the office will be filled when the current prime minister dies).


#18

<< This certainly implies a visible unified Church with a leader (not mention that it is implied that the office will be filled when the current prime minister dies). >>

Changing the topic of the thread, but Yes it does:

In summarizing the above Protestant scholars (I cite M. Eugene Boring, Francis Wright Beare, Eduard Schweizer, R.T. France, Joachim Jeremias, George Arthur Buttrick, Willoughby C. Allen, and the Lutheran-Catholic study by Raymond Brown/John Reumann), the authority of the “keys” and the power of “binding and loosing” stand for the following –

(A) The keys of the kingdom represent authoritative teaching, and Peter’s role as holder of the keys is fulfilled now on earth as Christ’s chief teacher;

(B) The keeper of the keys, according to the background of Matthew 16:19, has authority within the house as administrator and teacher (cf. Isaiah 22);

© The authority of the keys is likened to that of the teachers of the Law in Jesus’ day, and the correct interpretation of the Law given by Jesus is accessible to the early community (the Church) through the tradition of Peter;

(D) The authority of the keys of the kingdom (Matt 16:19) are not different from the key of David (Isaiah 22:22; Rev 3:7), since Jesus controls and is in possession of both;

(E) Therefore, the keys (or “key” singular) represent FULL authorization, FULL authority, PLENARY authority, SUPREME authority;

(F) The keys of the kingdom are NOT to be understood as merely entrance keys (or “opening the door of faith” to the Gentiles), but rather to the bundle of keys carried by the chief steward who regulated the affairs of the entire household (cf. Isaiah 22), which in the New Covenant is Christ’s universal Church (cf. Matt 16:18; 1 Tim 3:15);

(G) Peter, as holder of the keys, is not merely the “gatekeeper of heaven” or “doorkeeper” but is therefore the Chief Steward of the Kingdom of Heaven (the Church) on earth;

(H) Further, the power of the keys can represent baptismal or penitential discipline, excommunication, exclusion from the Eucharist, legislative powers or the power of governing the affairs of the Church;

(I) The language of “binding” and “loosing” is Rabbinic terminology for authoritative teaching or a teaching function (or “Halakhic” pronouncements), denoting the authoritative declaration that an action is permitted or forbidden by the law of Moses, and in the Church the authority to pronounce judgment on unbelievers and promise forgiveness to believers;

(J) The “binding” and “loosing” refers to the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the early community, which Jesus was establishing through His apostles in His Church) to declare a commandment or teaching binding or not binding, forbidden or allowed, and God in heaven will ratify, seal, or confirm that decision made on earth (cf. Matthew 16:19; 18:18).

And further, The Anchor Bible commentary on Matthew by William F. Albright/C.S. Mann, the Evangelical New Bible Commentary, the Lutheran-Catholic study on Peter by Brown/Reumann, the Brethren/Mennonite commentary by Richard B. Gardner, and F.F. Bruce specifically connect Isaiah 22 to Matthew 16:

“And what about the ‘keys of the kingdom’ ? The keys of a royal or noble establishment were entrusted to the chief steward or majordomo [or “prime minister”]; he carried them on his shoulder in earlier times, and there they served as a badge of the authority entrusted to him. About 700 B.C. an oracle from God announced that this authority in the royal palace in Jerusalem was to be conferred on a man called Eliakim …(Isaiah 22:22). So in the new community which Jesus was about to build, Peter would be, so to speak, chief steward.” (Bruce, The Hard Sayings of Jesus [Intervarsity Press, 1983], 143-144, cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 41)

Back on topic: Bible teaches Bible is sole rule of faith where? :smiley:

Phil P


#19

Thanks to all for the replies on this thread–they have been magnificent.

Here is what I’ve gleaned so far–tell me if I’m accurately reflecting comments so far:

  1. The Bible does NOT state it is the sole rule of faith of the Church.

  2. But the Bible IS the sole and infallible rule of faith of the Church.

  3. Even though the Bible has not ALWAYS been the sole and infallible rule of faith of the Church.

  4. Rather, it BECAME the sole and infallible rule of faith of the Church some time after the conclusion of Apostolic preaching.

Obviously some non-Catholics who have replied believe the above statements, but Catholics would not.

Well, I think the biggest questions raised are:

A. Who DECIDED that the Bible would become the sole and infallible rule of faith, and when???

B. If it was the Apostles who decided this just after they finished writing the last word of the last written book of the New Testament, why didn’t they ADD a teeny tiny little phrase to that last book that said “Here you go, Christians–the sole and infallible rule of faith for all time–it’s all yours.” Even if it wasn’t part of the inspired text, this presumed apostolic decision was at least as newsworthy as the Council of Jerusalem, and that got written about. …

C. Why does the written “sole and infallible rule of faith” keep telling believers to believe apostolic preaching in both written AND oral form?? Confusing at best if the work is designed to guide Christians for the rest of time…

D. In order for Scripture to have become the sole and infallible rule of faith at some point in time, it would have required an external infallible source of authority to designate it as such. Where is the historical or Scriptural evidence that this external authority has ceased to exist in the Church today and has been replaced by the Bible?

E. Given the fact that the Canon of Scripture was not firmly decided by the Church until about 200 years after the presumed death of the last Apostle, how did that external infallible authority survive for all those years after the Apostles were already gone???

Inquiring minds want to know…please keep the wonderful replies coming!

DJim


#20

Except, perhaps, by having faith that when Jesus declared that the Church would not fail, He actually meant it.


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