By the Bible Alone?

Do Catholics follow the Bible?

Catholics have used the Scriptures for their faith for as long as they have existed. The Bible has not always existed in its current form. In fact, it was not put together as a compiled work until well into the 4th century!

However, some people, particularly non-Catholics, feel that the Bible is the only thing that should guide their Christian faith even though the Christian faith existed before the Scriptures and was originally transmitted orally and through tradition.

Catholics believe that the Bible was written by God and by human authors. Here’s a quote from the NAB footnotes on 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

“In this classic reference to inspiration, God is its principal author, with the writer as the human collaborator. Thus the scriptures are the word of God in human language. See also 2 Peter 1:20-21.”

Scripture alone?

Sola Scriptura simply means “Scripture (or Bible) alone.” It was one of the battlecries of the Reformation. It’s not something evil, it’s just something not completely correct. Today, “Bible alone” is usually meant that the Bible, all 66 books (in the non-Catholic Bibles), is the be-all, end-all, rule of faith for all Christian doctrine and practice.

It is a composite of holy Scripture that all doctrines of Christianity should be compared against. If a matter of faith or morals is anti-Biblical then that is a bad sign.

Unfortunately, Sola Scriptura or Bible alone is nowhere to be found in the Bible! If this were to be true, according to Sola Scriptura, then this statement would have to appear somewhere in the Bible in one form or another implicit or explicit. In fact it is anti-Biblical!

A common claim in support of Sola Scriptura is the reference of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says:

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

Let’s break that down.

  1. All scripture is inspired by God
    • We know that God’s truth stands the test of time and all subsequent Scripture must be inspired by God as well. But, the important thing to keep in mind is that this verse does not say that Scripture is the only thing inspired by God.
  2. All scripture…is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction…(and the list goes on).
    • I emphasized the word “useful” for a reason. Notice how it says “useful” and not something like “the only thing” or “the only means”. In other words, scripture is helpful, it is a resource, an aid (add your own synonym here). This verse, nor the word “useful”, nor its synonyms imply that it is the only rule of faith. It says that it is something useful for one’s faith.
  3. …so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
    • Meaning that Scripture is a good tool for learning to live out the Gospel.

By carefully studying this verse it is clear to see that it does not say that the Bible alone is our sole rule of faith. If one is able to produce other Biblical evidence that the Bible implicitly or explicitly says that it is the sole rule of faith please leave a comment below.

Then what is our guiding principle?

So, what does the Bible say is the rule of faith or the foundation of truth?

Not one single thing is our guiding principle or rule of faith; it is a combination of what we have done in the past and what was handed on to us (called Tradition) and the Bible. In order to find out what the foundation of truth is we only need to go back a few pages to 1 Timothy 3:15:

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.”

1 Timothy 3:15 explains that the church is the pillar and foundation of truth. “The pillar and foundation of truth” refers only to “the church” in that sentence. Some will contest that it depends on one’s definition of “church.” That is a valid argument, but is why it works under any of the accepted definitions of church.

One argument against is that “the church is not a building, it is just the believers.” Well, it is correct, but only in a particular sense. No, the church is not just a building and the Catholic Church clearly recognizes that. In fact there is no one, single Catholic church building, it is an amalgam churches worldwide that recognize appointed authorities just like in the time of the apostles!

Jesus appointed specific people, 12 to be exact, to carry out his mission. Even though Jesus has many, many followers, he called out 12 specific indivuduals to guide his flock. Even in Jesus’ time there was a structured church. In fact the church could not exist if Jesus had not been around to start it himself and he did, but he left it in the hands of Peter (Mt 16:13-19).

So, we see that there was a church, with a specific structure of leaders that were called by God to lead the church. This is the Catholic definition of church.

Now, if the church is founded upon the leaders then it is safe to say that “the church” can also mean “the leaders” or “the one’s with teaching authority” called the Magisterium.

Another way of looking at it is that the pillar and foundation of truth is the Magisterium, since they are the ones with the teaching authority (Mt 16:19, 18:18) commisioned by Jesus Christ himself. Jesus handed us the church, not the Bible or Scripture.

The Bible is not the sole rule of faith, but it is the people called and commissioned by God and the holy Scriptures along with our Tradition (capital “T”). Neither is separate or greater from the other since both were given to us from God.

Using the Bible to authenticate the Bible

One might ask, “why does this guy quote the Bible when trying to prove the authenticity of the Bible?” Good question! Circular logic will not work. If I say that I am Miss America does that mean I am because I said so? No! I would need another recoginized authority or governing body to declare that I am such before it can be recognized by others.

In other words, something outside the Bible has to verify the sacredness of the Scriptures. What was that sanctioned body? The Catholic Church, the one started by Jesus Christ, the one whose leaders can trace their office back to one of the 12 Apostles. The only reason that any Christian today has reverance for the Bible is because the Catholic Church has said that the books contained therein are sacred Scripture.

Just the simple fact that we revere Scripture and follow what is contained within is a Tradition of the Catholic Church. Some people follow Catholic teachings and don’t even know it!

“Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,” said St. Jerome.


  1. Tina says

    The catholic church DID NOT give the world the bible. The Old testament is fulfilled in the new. Just study the sanctuary. It’s the longest prophecy of Jesus ministry, death and resurrection and goes all the way to the second coming. If you study the passover Jesus was chosen as the passover lamb on the exact day the OT lamb was chosen, was crucified on the exact day, almost down to the hour the passover lamb was to be sacrificed and rose on the day predicted in the festival of the first fruits.
    All the OT festivals where predictions of Jesus. The new testament is a fulfillment of the old and the Catholic church DIDN’T write the old. The Catholic church using the name “Catholic” doesn’t mean they are the same church as ancient times. It doesn’t even come close to resembling the original catholic church in Apostolic time. Most of the current doctrines of the catholic church today were implemented starting around 300AD well after the apostles were dead and gone.
    There is nothing in the NT that is not given in the old. Jesus and the apostles witnessed to other people USING the old testament because the NT hadn’t been written yet.

  2. Mike Pitre says

    No where in the bible does it say bible alone. It’s simple and no one can refute that fact. Who came up with that. As far as I understand…Martin Luther. Martin Luther wanted to remove James from the bible along with other new testament inspired scriptures. And then he wanted to add the word alone to Paul’s writings on justification. So is it not ironic that someone who started the “bible alone” mantra wanted to remove what he alone decided should not be in the bible. It is actually somewhat humorous. So then we ask where does it say “bible alone” in the bible? So by questioning those who maintain this position we are actually defending the bible. Don’t take a position that is unbiblical is the point.

      • Ryan McElmurry says

        The very last sentence of the Christian Bible says do not add or detract from the Bible. Are you kidding me!? This story is a bunch of lies. It says things of that nature several times!

  3. APA says

    Mary rejoiced and said, “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior(Jesus)”. Luke 1:47
    Mary knows that only Jesus could save her from the bondage of satan which is on all flesh, she confessed his name as her personal Savoir, Savior is the only one who saves from bondage of death.

    John says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an(one) advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2
    Jesus intercedes for every flesh, he interceded even for mary and for you and me too. He is the one and only righteous advocate and interceder for every flesh.

    “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Jesus Christ does not belong to him”. Romans 8:9, Everyone belongs to him, even mary belongs to Jesus, because those who belongs to Jesus surely has his spirit. Those who have spirit of Jesus they are called saints, Those who does not posses spirit of Jesus will not enter Heaven, since they have not become saint by possessing Jesus spirit.

    Mary received Spirit of Jesus on the day of Pentecost, becuase she knows her personal savior.

    “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” John 3:13
    “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also”. John 14:3
    Please understand no one entered heaven except Jesus, he will come again and everyone will go at same time in heaven after he comes and takes us. Even mary does not enetered heaven.

    “we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive in spirit, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.
    All saints have not precede before us into heaven, because all are waiting for the coming of the Lord, even mary who is alive in spirit waiting for Jesus for his second coming. Everyone will enter heaven at the same time.

    “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die,[m] but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Yes everyone will receive this when Jesus comes in his second coming, even our beloved mary have to receive this gift like everyone.

    “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35
    let the beloved Sisters in christ becomes mother(like mother mary) and sister for Jesus by following his words and brothers let us become brother for Jesus, he is every relationship for us, he is also a good friend for us.

    Let us worship only God and Holy Spirit is the only one who interced for us, from within us, Wish every saints. Halleluiah

  4. APA says

    God,The Almighty said, “So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any image or form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Mt.Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female. Deuteronomy 4:15-16.

    God,The Almighty said, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me. (Deuteronomy 5:8-9), “IN HEAVEN” which is given in this scripture does not include “God, The Almighty” in HEAVEN?

    God,The Almighty said, “To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol? —A workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains. As a gift one chooses mulberry wood —wood that will not rot —then seeks out a skilled artisan to set up an image that will not topple. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?. Isaiah 40:18-21.

    “Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”. Acts 17:29-3.

    Dear brothers and Sisters, Let us repent for our ignorance and shall walk in the TRUTH of Life Giving Spirit.

  5. Lili says

    There is NOTHING in the Bible about praying to statues. There is NOTHING in the Bible about not eating meat on Fridays. There is NOTHING in the Bible about worshipping the dead. There is NOTHING in the Bible about digesting Jesus’ flesh and blood……there is though…..idolatry, vain repetitions, false prophets…
    “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves for it is a gift from God, not as a result of works that no one should boast ” Efes. 2: 8-9

    • Eric Perusek says

      Lili, Catholics neither pray to statues nor worship the dead. Catholics have statues to remind them of the history of Christ’s covenant family, just as family photographs remind us of loved ones. John 6 says “Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Yes we are saved by faith, but not by faith alone. We do not EARN our salvation, but we must have faith and works to abide in it. As James writes, “We see that a man is justified by works and NOT BY FAITH ALONE. When Paul writes we are saved by faith and not works, he is talking to Jews claiming that men are justified by works of the law (circumcision, rituals etc.). He is not saying that good deeds have nothing to do with salvation. You are taking the verse out of its historical context and interpreting it in a way that no Christian did until the 1500s.

  6. Angel says

    y u people worshiping or praying to Mary? Whether tradition can bring u to heaven? Jesus came, to save us from sin, not to build a church with some rules..its a place to worship him.

    • says

      The “church” is the people God has gathered for himself to worship him bring to heaven. Of course God has rules that he wants us to follow. Rules define what the limits are. God is objectively good while the opposite of God is objectively evil. Rules help people understand what God wants from us to keep us away from evil and on the narrow path to heaven.

  7. lovely ken says

    JOHN 19:30 Jesus said it is finished….. so clear that there is no other sacrifice for our sins to be forgiven.the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ was enough.there is only one way,one truth,one name for us to reach heaven.Jesus christ alone.Acts 4:12,John 14:6 so in Acts 2:38-39 says repent and be baptize everyone of you in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sin and you will recieve the gift on the Holy Spirit.Romans 10 :9 was so clear too,Acts 16:30,mark 1:15 same meaning believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved..thank you Jesus Christ the Lord and savior of the world was enough for us to be set free from our sin.Repent and trust alone in Jesus and read your Bible daily in order for you to grow in the knowlege of jesus Christ……….

    • Mike Peterson says


      How do you know that? Is that the infallible interpretation of scripture that the holy spirit gave you? You know there are 3 spirits out there. The holy spirit, the human spirit and the evil spirit. As you know there are many verses in the Bible that would refute exactly what you said. There are 30,000 denominations or non-denominational churches who say a spirit told them the infallible truth of the Bible.

      I think I will believe what Jesus called the pillar and bulwark of the truth . The Catholic church which gave the world the bible 350 years after Jesus died.

      When he said it is finished, could he have meant that he had finished the passover meal from the night before when he instituted the Eucharist in the Mass?

      If you are a Bible or history scholar, you might have known that in the Passover meal, the Jews had to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and sprinkle its blood on the doorway. They also had to eat other things like bitter herbs and there were 4 cups of wine to drink from. After the 4th cup, the sacrificial lamb had to be eaten. Jesus changed the bread to his body and the 3rd cup of wine in the meal into his blood and gave it to his apostles and said eat and drink this for this is my body and blood.. He then told them it was time to go the Garden of Gethsemane,

      On the Cross, he first refused to drink the vinegar wine that was offered , but right before he died, he did drink. Why did he drink it when he knew he would soon be dead and that was the last thing he did before he died. That drink represented the 4th and final cup of the Passover meal from the night before. The unblemished lamb had been scarified.

      He knew that the next thing all Christians had to do was eat his body to complete the Sacrifice. Do you eat his body and drink his blood as he commanded us to do? Or are you part of his disciples, who said that teaching is hard and left him. Grape juice and crackers as a memorial does not count and doesn’t come from the Bible either.

      Come home to the Catholic Church.

      Peace be with you.

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