PROTESTANT ERRORS ON SCRIPTURE ALONE
"Let us note that the very tradition,
teaching, and faith of the
Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached
by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers On this was the Church founded;
and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian." -
St. Athanasius, Letter to Serapion of Thmuis, 359 A.D..
WHAT IS SOLA SCRIPTURA?
This is the error whereby a person believes that the Bible is THE rule of Christian faith. Sola Scriptura is Latin for Bible Alone. It is that primary principle in the faith of every Protestant that the individual believer is the sole interpreter of Holy Scripture, the single authority as to what the Bible is and contains. This little treatise will attempt to show how this mistake in faith-mathematics just doesn't add up.
OUGHT WE TO BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE?
Of course we ought to! The Bible is the Word of God, written by
God Himself using willing human utensils. The Bible is the only text in the
world that is "inspired." Inspired means that there is no other book in
existence that we can accept as true, without doubt or question. We know that
the Bible is inspired because it was so
declared by the Catholic Church. Anyone, therefore, who accepts the Bible as inspired, necessarily accepts the judgment of the institution who deemed it so. Catholics believe in the Bible because they believe in the authority of that Church who composed it and presents it to its faithful: It is because outside the Bible that we believe what is inside the Bible!
We have the Bible today because the Catholic Church assembled it, protected it and transmitted it through time. The Bible belongs to the tradition of the Catholic Church. Sola Scriptura, therefore isreally an argument in favour of the Tradition of Holy Mother Church, and in favour of the ac ceptance of that same Church's
BUT DOESN'T THE HOLY GHOST HELP US UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE?
You bet He does! Not, however, in the way the Protestants think.
They will try to convince you that the Holy Spirit interiorly guides your
interpretation, and that whatever you come up with is good for you! They say
that you will know when He has helped you because you "feel good" about
it. But understanding Scripture doesn't have anything to do with feelings.
Catholics know that the Holy Ghost resides in the Church, guiding Her and
keeping Her from error. Like a good mother, She doesn't leave her children alone
with such an important tool, but instructs him on how to use it. She gives us
the gift of the Scriptures and then tells us what they say and mean.
Consider how Saint Phillip, a deacon trained and chosen by the Apostles, and
thereby a representative of the Church, asked the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts
8:27-35), "Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?" and the
Eunuch answered, "How can I lest someone shew me?"
HOW DOES THE HOLY GHOST RESIDE IN THE CHURCH?
The Holy Ghost is in the Church the same way that a soul is in
the body. In this way, God oversees the security and continuity of that
Institution (the Church) which He uses to bring Salvation to mankind. Christ
founded that Church on the rock of Saint Peter "And 1 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. (Matthew 16:18)." Then He promised to send the Holy
Ghost, the Paraclete to live in it, "But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come,
he will teach you all truth...(John 16:13)." And Saint Paul tells Timothy that
this Church is: "...the pillar and ground of the truth. (la Timothy 3:15)" When
mankind appeals to this singular authority, they find themselves in union with
one another in all aspects of the faith. This union of faith is the work of the
BUT THE PROTESTANTS SAY THAT THE CHURCH TRIES TO HIDE THE
There would be no sense in it! Holy Mother Church loves Her
Scriptures! She presents to us at every Mass an excerpt from the Epistles and
Gospels. The writings of the Saints are full of Scripture quotes, and the
Fathers quote them most extensively. For the Church to hide the Scriptures would
be like a truck-driver who transports cargo, but tries to hide his trailer.
HOW DID THE CATHOLIC CHURCH COMPILE THE BIBLE?
Here is a brief schema of how the Canon of the Bible (the official catalogue of inspired books) was officially declared.
All books that were considered for the Cannon, but not included
were called Apocrypha, and thus declared not inspired. 362
A.D. Catholic Church's Council of Rome defines the Canon of Holy Scripture.
382 Pope Damasus issues a listing of the present OT and NT Canon of 73 books
383 Saint Jerome translates the Latin Vulgate from Greek & Hebrew
393 Council of Hippo (North Africa) approves the present Canon of 73 books
397 Council of Constantinople produces first bound Bible (the Vulgate: previously, all
were separate books)
397 Council of Carthage (North Africa) approves the same OT and NT canon
405 Pope Saint Innocent I approves the Canon again and closes it (with 73 books)
WHAT ABOUT THOSE EXTRA BOOKS IN THE CATHOLIC BIBLE?
The Catholic Bible (the English version is the Douay-Rheims and
is translated from Saint Jerome's Latin Vulgate) does not have any extra
books in it. It has only those books that the Catholic Church established as the
official Canon of the Bible. The Protestant Bibles (such as the King James,
Authorized Version, SRV, etc.) lack: the Books of Tobias, Judith, Wisdom,
Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Machabees I and II, and various parts of other books.
There were no Protestant Bibles till there were Protestants starting in the
1500's with Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Henry VIII. The Catholic Church
condemned the Protestant versions for having anti-Catholic sentiments, and
therefore those versions do not have the Catholic Church to vouchsafe their
SOME USEFUL SCRIPTURE QUOTES TO ARGUE AGAINST SOLA SCRIPTURA:
1 Cor 11:2 Saint Paul insists on his Apostolic Authority, not on a book: "Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things
you are mindful of me and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you."
2nd Thess. 2:15 •"Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by
our epistle. 2nd Thess 3:6 "And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw
yourselves from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the tradition which they have received of us.
Acts 8:27-35 Saint Phillip asks the Ethiopian Eunuch, "Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?" and the
Eunuch answered, "How can I lest someone show me?"
2nd Peter 3:16-17 Saint Peter warns people about reading Saint Paul's epistles! "As also in all his epistles, speaking in
them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do
also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, take heed, lest
being led aside by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness.
2nd Peter 1:20-21 "Understanding this first: That no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation. For prophecy
came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost."
1st Peter 1:25 "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel hath been preached
Matthew 23:2-3 Jesus says to obey those in charge over religious matters: ".. .The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten
on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do..."
Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus commands many actions to His Apostles which cannot be in a book: "And Jesus coming, spoke to them,
saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And
behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world".
Matthew 18:17 The authority of the Church: "And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and
publican. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall
loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE BIBLE BEATERS?
1. The Bible isn't in the Bible! Nowhere in the Bible does it
say we must believe in the Bible! Sola Scriptura contradicts itself, saying:
"Any religious truth must come from the Bible alone" - except that this "truth"
is not found anywhere in the Bible!
2. Jesus never wrote anything (except once he wrote in the sand), and never asked anything to be written, but rather said, "And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican (Matthew 18:17-18)!" If the Bible alone were necessary, then Jesus would not have instituted an authoritative Church.
3. It wasn't till the 4th Century that the Bible was bound
between two covers! If it is necessary to believe in the Bible to be saved, then
all the early Christians are lost -even the Apostles!
4. Before the 16th Century, nobody ever believed in Sola Scriptura! "Christian" and "Catholic" were synonomous; Luther and Calvin were the first Bible Beaters.
5. There are over 1,000 Protestant Sects! That means over 1,000 differences in opinion as to what Scripture says! This is because they all interpret Scripture in a different way; but there is only ONE Catholic Church, and has been only one and will ever be only one!
6. Anyone who decides for himself what Scripture says effectually establishes himself as his own private sect. He establishes a belief system peculiar to himself alone.
7. If, believing in Sola Scriptura, you find yourself differing in opinion with your neighbour as to the meaning of some scripture passage what can you do? If this same difference in opinion chances upon two Catholics, they simply appeal to the teachings of their 2,000 year old Catholic Church for the correct understanding!
8. What happens if an adolescent differs in opinion with his father about what Scripture says? The father, who knows Scripture much better cannot override the "Holy Ghost" who tells this adolescent what he seems to believe! This is the problem of not having the authority of the Church to appeal to! Sola Scriptura gives each person their own authority in matters of faith and morals!
9. How are we in the 24th Century supposed to know that Jesus lived and died for us? Unless God comes down from Heaven to speak to every Christian personally, then we need for this revelation to be passed down to us through the generations (this is called Tradition). We also need to see that it was always taught and practiced throughout the preceding times, for this is the guarantee that it was always believed, even from the start, and that we ought likewise to believe it.