Is the Bible the sole authority for teaching Christianity? And, if our Holy Scripture is the sole authority for Christian teaching, then, where does it say that in our Holy Scripture? In fact, how is it even possible, given that Christianity itself predates the Bible, which means that someone had to write the first Bible, without benefit of a Bible as a reference?
Of course, the Old Testament existed, and we know from nuances of language that the version quoted by our Lord and His Apostles and the Evangelists in the New Testament was the 73-book Septuagint, the first one-book Old Testament, written in Greek. But the New Testament did not exist yet. After the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Assumption, over time, letters (epistles) were penned by Paul (or his scribes,) Peter, John, James and Jude, written to various newly established Churches. Many of these were held and preserved, and would eventually be included in the Church’s canon to be part of the New Testament. Years after the events, the Gospels and Acts were written by the Evangelists, and finally, Revelation was written by St. John.
But even in those days, neither Christians nor Jews depended entirely or solely upon even the existing Old Testament for their salvation and enlightenment. That’s why they had teachers and rabbis. The Word of the Lord was handed on long before it was ever written. There was a very, very long oral tradition in Judaism. The Law – the first five books of the Old Testament – began with Moses. The keepers and protectors and teachers of The Law were the sons of Aaron and the sons of Levi. Everybody didn’t have his own copy, and those who did, did not exercise their own interpretation.
Many Catholics, Orthodox and Jews have participated in “inter-denominational” Bible study groups, which always seem to be Protestant controlled. Although we may be allowed to participate and even to argue, none of us may ever “facilitate” or lead a meeting or Biblical discussion, because of a prerequisite promise we cannot make. The oath or affirmation is of the form,
No Catholic or Orthodox or Jew can say that. Only Protestants can say that, because Sola Scriptura is a strictly Protestant dogma, invented by Martin Luther. Even those Protestants who call themselves non-denominational are still Protestants if they adhere to this strictly Protestant dogma. So, virtually all “inter-denominational” Bible study groups that I have ever heard of have rules to exclude us from any sort of leadership role in Scripture study.
The Bible is indeed inerrant and inspired by God. But, if the Bible is the sole authority of all theology and morality, then, by what authority is that claim even made? By the authority of Martin Luther? Luther alone? If so, that is an extra-Scriptural authority, and it defeats the rule that the Bible is the sole authority.
I submit for your consideration the argument that it is quite impossible for the Bible to be the sole authority of any denomination, form or variation of Judeo-Christian theology if the Bible itself nowhere makes that claim.
The Basis for Sole Authority. The Lutheran / Protestant argument for Sola Scriptura (sole authority of Scripture) always seems to primarily revolve around 2 Tim 3:16-17, as follows:
… which says nothing whatsoever about sole authority. I don’t even see why these verses are even brought up in any discussion on the authority of correct teaching of Christian theology or doctrine. They are quite correct, of course, in what they say, but they say nothing whatsoever about sole authority.
Authority, yes, but not sole authority. Christianity stands on three pillars, and 2 Tim 3:16-17 establishes one of those pillars as Scripture. Then we have 1 Tim 3:14-15 that firmly establishes the Church as another pillar:
… and then 2 Thess 2:15 establishes the third pillar, which is Tradition:
Here we have the three pillars of Christian faith, all firmly established in Scripture, and they are:
Of course, our Lord selected His Apostles for a reason, and He gave them authority for a reason. We see in Matt 18:18 that He granted them to power to make and enforce rules of doctrine,
… and that He granted the same power uniquely to Peter, and to Peter alone He gave the Keys to the Kingdom, in Matt 16:
We discussed all this in more detail, including the meaning of the Keys, in the Infallibility Webpage, and I shouldn’t need to belabor those points again here.
Where does proper faith come from? Any good Protestant would answer that question with an immediate quote from 1 Rom 10:17, as follows:
Note well that the verb used is heard and not read. The Sacred Word was preached – not written – by specially chosen men who were moved by the Holy Ghost. And all of it was not written. We know this from the end of John, as we see in John 21:25:
Where did all that teaching go? Into what Catholics call large-T Tradition. And it is recalled by His Church with the aid of the Holy Ghost, as promised by our Lord Himself in John 14:26:
He was speaking to His chosen Apostles, and to their successors: His Church.
All Catholics know, or should know, that blessed Peter gave us the First Rule of Scripture Study that we see in 2 Pet 1:19-21:
… which takes Scripture interpretation completely out of the hands of the laity. We laymen are free to read, think about, discuss and argue all those points not officially settled by the Church, but we are not free to come up with new or personal interpretations at variance with settled doctrine. The unchanging Gospel is preserved unchanged and protected forever by the authority of His Church with the Holy Ghost.
This follows the ancient pattern set by the Jews, renewed after the return from the Babylonian exile, as we see in Nehemiah. There, Ezra read aloud and interpreted for the people, the Book of the Law, after the long exile, in Neh 8:5-8:
… and continued by the Christians, as we see in Acts 8:26-40:
Like the rest of us, the Ethiopian needed someone to correctly interpret what he was reading, lest he be led astray by his own imaginings. We cannot have every-man-for-himself Scripture interpretation, for that would mean every-man-for-himself theology and every-man-for-himself morality. The Gospel message is not random; it is fixed forever.
So the answer is no, the Bible is not the sole authority, although it is one of the three pillars of Christian faith. At least, that’s my answer to the question, and I am just a layman and no theologian; I simply base my answer on Scripture itself, since that’s what Protestantism claims for pure authority. I back my argument up with Scripture, as it has been taught to me by my Church.
What’s your answer, and what do you back it up with?
Return to What's New page
Return to HOME PAGE
Hover-Link Footnotes: For the convenience of those readers using devices that lack a mouse, these footnotes are provided for all webpages, in case any webpage contains any hover-links. (If you don't have a mouse, you can't "hover" over a link.)
Respond to This Article Below The Last Response
Date: Sun Feb 19 15:12:54 2012
I agree with everything below the 2 Timothy 3:16-17. But I am still confused about the sole authority of the Bible. It says that a man may be complete, thoroughly equipped for all good works. It's saying that man is complete (definition: not lacking anything) with scripture, right?
Date: Mon Feb 21 05:32:42 2012
From: Vic Biorseth
People think in different ways, and they interpret what they read in different ways; as a matter of fact, one man may read the same passage three times and get three different interpretations. There are other factors to consider, including extreme youth and various mental states.
To say that “ … that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Is not to say that we should just pass out Bibles and everyone would become complete. Every field of study requires training, and training requires trainers. Teachers. You could not simply hand a text book, or a stack of them, to someone and say “Go off and make yourself a brain surgeon.” Or an engineer; or a mathematician, or a farmer.
If the Bible, in and of itself, made us complete, then there would never be any need for Bible study. Our “trainers” are our priests; men of God who have studied Theology and made it their life’s work. There are millions of ways to interpret various Bible verses, but there are generally far fewer interpretations that are correct, and as the inspired authors intended.
The average layman is not likely to hit every interpretation correctly on his own. Reading the Bible, however, is extremely valuable to make sure someone who is teaching it to you is not getting wildly off base. Your own reading should somewhat insulate you from being led too far astray. In that sense, it makes you more complete.
Different interpretations are precisely what make all of the different Protestant denominations.
The beautiful thing about reading the Bible, beyond getting closer to God, and to what is right and what is wrong, is simply this: It is a very good read. It is a series of wonderful, captivating, spell-binding stories, all wrapped up in history and backed up by archeological history.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Converted Page to SBI! Release 3.0 BB 2.0.
Date: Fri Nov 14 2014
From: Vic Biorseth
Changes pursuant to changing the website URL
and name from
Thinking Catholic Strategic Center to
Catholic American Thinker.
Pulled the trigger on the 301 MOVE IT option June 1, 2014. Working my way through all the webpages. .
Please note the language and tone of this monitored Website. This is not the place to stack up vulgar
one-liners and crude rejoinders. While you may support, oppose or
introduce any position or argument, submissions must meet our
standards of logical rigor and civil discourse. We will not
participate in merely trading insults, nor will we tolerate participants merely
trading insults. Participants should not be
thin-skinned or over sensitive to criticism, but should be prepared to
defend their arguments when challenged. If you don’t really have a
coherent argument or counter-argument of your own, sit down and don’t
embarrass yourself. Nonsensical, immoral or merely insulting submissions will
not be published here. If you have something serious to contribute to
the conversation, back it up, keep it clean and keep it civil. We humbly
apologize to all religious conservative thinkers for the need to even say
these things, but the New Liberals are what they are, and the internet is what it is.
If you fear intolerant Leftist repercussions, do not use your real name and do not include email or any identifying information.
Leftists cannot tolerate freedom of speech.
Never be lukewarm.
Life itself demands passion.
He who is indifferent to God has already forfeited his soul.
He who is indifferent to politics has already forfeited his liberty.
In America, religion is not mere window dressing and citizenship is not a spectator sport.
Do not allow our common destiny as a whole people to just happen without your input.
Welcome to my website.
Catholic American Thinker Free E-zine Subscription
Do you Know something?
Does it need to be said?
Click the image above to
publish your essay or article here,
to be included among those below.
Special Articles and
(Note: copyrights on these articles wherever present will supersede the WebSite copyright at the bottom footer of every WebPage)
Faith, from the Easter series on the Three Theological Virtues. The virtue of Faith; One of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.
Hope, from the Easter series on the Three Theological Virtues. The virtue of Hope; One of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.
Love, from the Easter series on the Three Theological Virtues. The virtue of Love; One of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.
Prudence, from the Lenten series on the Four Cardinal Virtues. The virtue of Prudence; One of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.
Justice, from the Lenten series on the Four Cardinal Virtues. The virtue of Justice; One of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.
Temperance and Fortitude, from the Lenten series on the Four Cardinal Virtues. The virtues of Temperance and Fortitude; Two of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.
On the word Consubstantial, the Trinity and Infinity. On the Consubstantial (Single Substance) of God, and the mathematically impossible number of Infinity.
The challenge describes Capitalism as illusory and Marxism as solid. The mixture of religion just adds to the confusion of all good realists.
The Obama Ethos: Who is Barack Obama? What is his grounding, his ethos? The Obama Ethos explores Obama's grounds of being; his religious, moral and political guiding principles.
Obama the Moslem: Introducing Comrade Obama (peace be upon him.) Obama the Moslem: anti-Catholic; anti-Chrisitan; anti-Jew; anti-American.
Freedom, yes – but from whom, and to do what? Is freedom from God enslavement to the world? Is freedom from the world enslavement to God? Which is better?
The Room: Born of that still inner voice. A story about a small church pastor who erects a small room to serve as a mediation room for his parishioners.
Are Catholics Saved, by having been Born Again? The theology of salvation: Catholic vs. Protestant.
Love thy neighbor as thyself: the Law in One Sentence. Can one simple sentence contain the whole of the moral Law of God?
The Catholic call is universal; it goes out to everyone. Although the Catholic call goes out to all, man’s free will means that all will not respond.
God’s Perfect Unconditional Love meets man’s Free Will. Perfect Unconditional Love can be rejected. Liberty and free choice may be a blessing or a curse.
Of Weeds and Wheat growing together, and the eventual separation. - Weeds and wheat in the field differs from in human kind, where either one can become the other.
Why Should I Believe in God? - an article by Eugene Rudder.
On Losing You - a poem by Rosemarie A. Stone.
Our Beautiful Love - a poem by Rosemarie A. Stone.
Catholic Communism: Similarities between Church Hierarchy and Pure Bureaucracy. Mises said that Communism equals Bureaucracy; the Church is a bureaucracy, therefore we have Catholic Communism. True?
The Source of Anxiety: Improper Priorities. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
“I, Pencil … ”; Capitalism in a Nutshell. Leonard E. Read
Endless Concessions to the Palestinians Pamela Levene
The Peace Treaty Sajid Ali Khan
Leftist Politics in Catholic Mass Mark Brumbaugh
The USCCB Flip-Flop Mark Brumbaugh
Open Letter to Daniel Cardinal DiNardo Mark Brumbaugh
The Gift Bearers Michael from Florida
Dear Vic And Others ... John Felland
The Church Is Rotten To The Core Michelle Lobdell
Hatred of Palin Janet Morana
Proper Catechesis Susan Greve
Who is Barack Obama? Pastor Robert Legg Greve
Limited War Doctrine Colonel Thomas Snodgrass
Rabbi Meir Kahane's Letter Rabbi Meir Kahane, OBM
Solzhenitsyn Speaks Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn addresses the AFL/CIO.
The American Constitution (American Founding Fathers)
American Democrat Party Platform Karl Marx and Frederick Engles
Re The Sin Of Scandal Phil Lange
Marxist Infiltration into Catholic Thought Nancy Libert
New "race and racism" thread begun by Stephen from VT. On race and racism: the ever changing definition and generic usage of the word "racism."
The Bush War Doctrine Revisited: a fresh look at our horrible situation. A reproduction of the "Bush War Doctrine Revisited" article and discussion points by David Yerushalmi; there is much food for thought here.
Resignation of Benedict XVI and the Immediate Media Firestorm. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and Rev. Marcel Guarnizo's interview with the author that caused the international media frenzy.
The Jewish Shabbat. Description of Jewish Shabbat (Sabbath) from my Holy Land item supplier.
Kerry's Lies: The Old, Vietnam-Era Anti-War Chickens are Comming Home to Roost. POW Lawsuit Could Force Kerry To Come Clean - by George "Bud" Day, Chairman, Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation.
Just Laws for a Godly Nation. Many nations today still lack a core of just laws for a Godly nation.
What does the World Wildlife Fund have to do with World Youth Day? An unholy alliance between the Leftist WWF and the Vatican?
False Flag: Serious-minded fiction creating a better understanding of 9/11. Can serious-minded fiction play a role in creating a better understanding of critical contemporary social/political issues like 9/11?
Bringing the Liturgy Back to the Real Vatican II. Cardinal Burke Comments on Sacra Liturgia Conference
Layman letter to all bishops. Letter to Bishops from Mariann / Mary's Child
Fetal-Microchimerism gives new meaning to the bonding of Motherhood. How the unborn child blesses the mother and physically changes her, for the rest of her life.
Ars celebrandi et adorandi - Pastoral Letter from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. With Ars celebrandi et adorandi, all Springfield IL Catholic Parishes move Jesus back to the center of life! YES!
To be, or not no be lukewarm; that is the question. Whether tis nobler to fight the good fight, or just smile and be nice ...
Technology: a Two Edged Sword. Technology can be used for good, or for evil.
More American Imperial Edicts Issuing Forth out of Obamunism. Archbishop Schnurr joins Rick Santorum in identifying American Imperial Edicts from this administration.
Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum; Apostolic letter on 1962 Rite.
The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum confirms the 1962 Latin Rite as the 'Extraordinary' Roman Liturgical Rite.
The Pope's Letter to Bishops on Summorum Pontificum. Benedict XVI's Letter to Bishops on Summorum Pontificum issued the same day as the Motu Proprio.
The Explanatory Note on Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. An 'Explanatory Note on Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum' issued by the Vatican.
A concerned Catholic spotlights Catholic funded Alinsky organizations. The Alinskyite Gamaliel Foundation underpins multiple Catholic funded Alinsky organizations.
From Shane Leslie Mattison, whose father was Elden Mattison Woolliams. Annecdotes from Shane Leslie Mattison.
If you can't find the page you're looking for, try the