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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

5 Reasons We Can't Go By The Bible Alone - & 3 Questions for Thought

Our Protestant brothers and sisters for the last 500 have said that all we need as an authority is the Bible. They reject Sacred Tradition and the teaching authority of the Magisterium. Instead they have been replaced by man's traditions (such as "saved by faith alone" 1517 A.D. and "the rapture" 1830's) and self appointed authority.

But here are (at least) 5 reasons why we can’t go by the Bible alone.

#1 The idea that we can go by the Bible alone – Isn’t Biblical.
#2 Scripture doesn’t teach which books belong in it.
#3 For all historical purposes it couldn’t have worked.
#4 No one in the first 1400 years of the church taught that we can go by the Bible alone.
#5 For all practical purposes it doesn’t work.

I chose these 5 because I thought they were the best of all the arguments and you can remember them on one hand. The first two are biblical the second two are historical and the last one you can remember on your thumb is practical.

#1 The idea that "we can go by the Bible alone" – isn’t Biblical.
If you are going to go by the Bible alone you had better find some Biblical ground for teaching that or you don’t have a leg to stand on. Now of course folks who go by the Bible alone feel as though they have found some verses that support their view point but upon further investigation, they are taken out of context or just made to say something they aren’t saying.

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.
Amen – this verse as well as all the verses in the Bible are true and inspired by the Holy Spirit. But is this verse teaching me – you only need to follow and obey the written word of God? no.

Didn’t Jesus teach us to go by the Bible alone in Matthew chapter 4 when he said three times to the devil – it is written, it is written, it is written. He appealed to scripture alone to refute the devil.
Again Amen – In THIS particular he did refer to scripture, but other times he referred to himself as an authority outside of scripture – He told the demons – I rebuke you. And we need to come back to the question – is he teaching us here - you only need to follow and obey the written word of God? no.

Here is the most popular verse referred to. St. Paul tells Timothy -
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Amen – I have no problem with this verse. But the context is problematic for this kind of interpretation. If we look at the context and back up one verse to verse 2 Timothy 3:15 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Wait a second – St. Timothy knew these sacred writings – these scriptures from childhood. This reference to scripture isn’t concerning the New Testament, this is concerning the Old Testament.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
St. Paul here is in context referring to the Old Testament which points us to Jesus.

#2 Scripture doesn’t teach which books belong in it.
The Bible doesn’t have an inspired table of contents anywhere. There is no inspired list of books – these are the books which make up the Bible. So to find out which books belong in the Bible we have to go outside of the Bible to the teaching authority of the Church and tradition to see which books are in fact inspired.

#3 For all historical purposes it couldn’t have worked.
Where the apostles to go by the Bible alone, because they were the ones who wrote the New Testament and they took their time doing it also. You would think that if they knew about this going by the Bible alone doctrine that they would have been more systematic in their writings. Instead they assume that their readers have already heard the Gospel and they are referring to specific problems in these early communities. Also the Bible as we know it today wasn’t formally canonized until 381 at the Council of Rome – No – Constantine was not there.

#4 No one in the first 1400 years of the church taught that we can go by the Bible alone.
Church history is unaware of this doctrine of going by the Bible alone for the first 1400 years of her existence. Sounds like a relatively new doctrine.

#5 For all practical purposes it doesn’t work.
In brief this doctrine teaches that any believer who is a true believer in Jesus Christ and is filled with the Holy Spirit, can understand easily what the Bible teaches. They themselves are the interpreter guided by the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately many people are confused and don’t follow the Holy Spirit as closely as I myself do who alone holds the true interpretation.
- So we see that this doctrine leads to nothing but division and more division. Too many competing interpretations.

I have a 3 question solution that we as Catholics can use to focus our friends and neighbors attention.

#1 Do you believe the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit? – they should say – yes. This is good because we do too. Reaffirm this and add that it is 100% infallible.

#2 So the Holy Spirit inspired the books to be written – do we need the same Holy Spirit to recognize which books are inspired? Do we need the Holy Spirit to recognize which books belong in the Bible?
- They will say yes – ADD, good because it is a historical fact that in 381 A.D. the Catholic Church at the Council of Rome was the one to put the Bible together. So they at that time MUST have had the Holy Spirit to recognize which books were inspired.

#3 Now since it took the Holy Spirit to write the Bible. It took the Holy Spirit to lead the early Church to pick out those inspired books. Certainly we need the Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible. Since you trust that the Holy Spirit was leading the Church to choose the right books, why not trust that the Holy Spirit was leading the Church to choose the correct interpretation?

IN BRIEF – The Holy Spirit inspired the writing.
The Holy Spirit guides the choosing.
The Holy Spirit guards the interpretation.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good reference. Love Sungenis's books. His Bible series is excellant as well.