Hi – Sola Scriptura Questions

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Andres Ortiz 3 years, 1 month ago.

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    Hi there, my name is Patrick and I’m a student at Durham. How are you?

    Essentially, I’ve been brought up Catholic and have never been questioned about it, but at uni I have been talking to many Christians who believe that many of the Catholic doctrines are incorrect. They are Protestants who believe in “Sola Scriptura” and I am having trouble in trying to explain some things (e.g. purgatory, transubstantiation etc…) as they just say “Where is it in the Bible”

    So I’ve registered so that I could receive advice on this sort of thing and to be of use to anyone.





    Welcome Patrick:

    Just as an introduction, Most Protestants believe in the Doctrine of the Trinity, even though the word Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible, and it is only illuded to, but never explicitly taught. It was a Council of the Catholic Church which defined, and expounded on the doctrine in part from the illusions to it in the Bible, and by the Oral Tradition which was passed from Christ to the Apostles. So much for the Protestant idea that something needs to be spelled out explicitly in the Bible to be doctrine. I chose this because your Saint’s name Patrick honors the great Apostle of Ireland, who proved the Trinity to the Pagans by the three leaf clover.

    There are any number of things that Protestants do and believe that they got from the Catholic Church, the fact that later they rejected some of what their forefathers believed until the founding of Protestantism in the 16th Century, a full 1500 years after the founding of the Catholic Church by Jesus, upon the Apostles is something that most Protestants and many Catholics are unaware of. You will be able to seek out the answers to their questions here.

    You may want to start with Jon’s article at this link….


    Thank you LARobert for your kind welcome.

    I’m not sure whether nor not to start the discussion here, but here goes. Me and a few friends have found a major disagreement in Scripture. It refers to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Anglicans translate it as “All Scripture is God-Breathed” whereas others translate it as “All Scripture is inspired by God”.

    I have tried looking up the original translation in Greek/Hebrew but there does not seem to be a definite translation for the word “God-Breathed/Inspired by God”.

    It would be great to have this made clear, as this is their main argument for going on Scripture alone and not the Traditions of the Church.


    Andres Ortiz

    Welcome, Patrick. I’m not sure what the actual difference is between “God-breathed” and “inspired.” To me they read the same. The Catholic Church affirms that the Scriptures are indeed inspired by God through the work of the Holy Spirit.

    If I recall correctly, the word for Spirit is the same or similar to the word for breath (in Hebrew) therefore meaning the same thing. I just don’t see how this strengthens one’s argument that the Christian faith is one by Scripture Alone.

    The whole verse is, [quote:3mmghi9k]”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.”[/quote:3mmghi9k]
    I just don’t see how this proves that we are to be using the Bible alone. The truth is that Sola Scriptura isn’t even biblical – it’s not in the Bible!

    The interesting thing about 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is that when it was written the only Scriptures were the Hebrew Scriptures (i.e. the Old Testament). There wasn’t a New Testament to refer to the teachings of Jesus yet. Check out Romans 15:4 and 2 Peter 1:19-21. Romans basically affirms the “all previous Scripture” argument I am making. Peter is even more interesting. Read it http://www.usccb.org/bible/2pt/1:19, especially verse 21, and the footnotes from the New American Bible http://www.usccb.org/bible/2pt/1:19#69001020-1. I think it really helps clarify what “God-breathed” means.




    One of the battle cries of Protestantism when it was founded by various individuals around five hundred years ago was that they wanted to restore the Church to the way it was pristine in the days of the ancient church. Along with this came the non-biblical idea that the Bible itself was the only source we could use for doctrine or moral teachings. The cry of Evangelicals today when they denounce the Catholic Church is that the Catholic Church is not the Biblical Church, and does not follow the Bible.

    Historically we see something different. Jesus is never quoted in the Bible as telling the Apostles to write anything. He simply commissions them to Preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. He instructs them to baptize. He commands at the Last Supper that they do what He has just done in anmensis of Him. He lays His hands on the Apostles, (the scriptures do not relate that He did this to anyone else, so Sola Sciptura folks have to prove outside the Bible that anyone else was authorized at the time.) He breathed on them and told them they have the right to forgive or retain sins. He tells Peter that He will found His church on him. Nowhere is it documented in the NT that He tells them to write down one word.

    As Catholics we do believe that God inspired the Bible, that it is His word, and that the information it gives us is true, and as the 2 Timothy verse tells us is [i:2kjve6k2]useful[/i:2kjve6k2], or in some translations [i:2kjve6k2]profitible[/i:2kjve6k2] for settling doctrinal questions. But it’s a big jump to say that being useful is the same as being the only source. By isolating individual passages of the Bible, while ignoring the rest of the Biblical and extra-biblical teachings we have been given a distorted understanding of what Jesus said and did leads us to Protestantism. Sticking just with the Bible, we are instructed that Jesus is the Keystone and Foundation of the Church. We believe that to be true. The Scriptures also tell us that the Apostles are the foundation of the Church. We believe that to be true too. We also read that Peter was to have the Church founded on him. This is also true. So when we look at the big picture, we can either take the Protestant approch and isolate those texts that we find compelling, while ignoring the rest, or we can as Catholics have done for almost 2000 years, since Jesus founded the Church around 33AD, accept that Jesus who is our foundation gave the Apostles a special mandate and authority, entrusting in them the mission He came into the world for in a special way. St. Paul tells us that we should be subject to the authority of those who were placed above us in the Church. He also writes about how he has laid hands on Timothy and Titus, and that they are by this action the leaders of the Community who’s words they should accept as they do his own.

    We also have three very prominent passages that show us not everything Jesus taught can be found in the Bible. St. Paul tells us that we should hold fast to the teachings he has given to the Church be it in letter or by word of mouth, (Scripture or Oral Tradition). We read that after the crowd left Jesus because many could not accept what he told them about the Eucharist, He took the Apostles aside and gave them further instruction on the doctrine. St. John tells us that not everything Jesus said or did was recorded, if they had, not all the books of the world could contain them. .

    Protestants mistake their mythical “Biblical Church” for what the early church really was, the Apostolic Church. One Church which was founded by Jesus on the Apostles. Jesus told us that ALL Authority was given to Him by the Father, and then He clearly shares that authority with the Apostles. We see in the NT that before the first words of the NT were written down, as there were even in the earliest days of the Apostolic Church those who disregarded the teaching and authority of the Apostles, that it was the Apostles who met in Jerusalem to determine how the disputes that arose would be settled, not by the aid of the Bible Alone, (remember they taught the fullness of the Faith, before the NT was written down) but by the promise that Jesus gave them that the Holy Spirit would guide them, and the authority that Jesus had given them.

    I could go on, but I’m afraid soon I’ll put you to sleep with my long posting.


    Andres Ortiz

    Excellent post, LARobert!

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