Why NOT the Bible Alone?

Thank you for your questions. I am very happy to answer them because there is so much misinformation floating around about the Catholic Church and what she believes. I hope in this conversation to clear up some erroneous ideas and explain our point of view, which is indeed different than a Protestant point of view, but a person of good will can acknowledge it’s legitimacy even though they are not in agreement with it.

Also, this is going to be very long. You have asked some very good questions. A one sentence question can take a paragraph, essay or even sometimes a whole book to answer. So, I am taking your questions seriously and will give you serious answers.

Q. I don’t understand why you use more than the bible.

A. There are several reasons:

Our Lord never commanded for us to do this. The idea of using the Bible alone is only 500 years old. Christianity is 2000 years old. Let’s take a look at the history.

1. For 400 years after the birth of Christ, the New Testament, as we know it today, was non-existent. The books of our present New Testament were in existence, of course, but, so were hundreds of other writings, both Gospels, epistles, and histories. There was a lot of debate about what was worthy of canonization and what was not worthy of trust. List of trustworthy writings were begun in the 150’s A.D. but the New Testament Canon was not definitively and finally defined and closed until the early 400’s.

2. Since there was no canon of sacred scripture for nearly 400 years, it would have been impossible for all Christian theology to be based on something that did not exist.

The Church evangelized the world after Pentecost with Oral TRADITION. This was nothing less than the teaching of the Apostles, who were taught by Christ, and after they died these teachings ( of Jesus Christ) were preserved in what the Catholic Church calls Sacred Tradition (with a capital “T”) . Of course, the writings of Apostles were available and used in the liturgies of the mass. But we know historically that some Churches used writings that later were NOT canonized. Every Church from the beginning DID NOT have a complete set of the Gospels let alone all the epistles. They used what they had. They did not use writings that conflicted with what they knew to be the teaching of the Faith.

The Church taught, for the FIRST 400 years, from the Deposit of Faith or Teachings given to the Apostles by Jesus. Then as the need arose to write epistles or the memoirs of the Apostles (Gospels) these were written, SECONDARILY. So, Sacred Scripture, is derived from the teaching of the Apostles or Sacred Tradition. Not the other way around as in most Protestant Churches.

But Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and King Henry VIII cut themselves free from much of historical Christianity so they were left with nothing except the Bible. Therefore they draw their theology OUT of the Bible. And because, interpretations, cut off from historical Christianity vary wildly, there are now thousands of Protestant sects in direct opposition to Jesus’ prayer:

“that all of them may be oneJohn 17:21

3. The only Christian Church in the world for over 1400 years based theology on both Sacred Scripture and Tradition (teaching of the Apostles) until the advent of Martin Luther.

4. There is nothing in Sacred Scripture that commands the faithful to base theology on Scripture Alone/Sola Scripture. Nothing….

5. Until some time after the invention of the printing press, the Bible, was an extremely costly book. At today’s minimum wages of $8/hr and only counting the time for one monk to write the whole Bible, it would take 10 months at a cost of $16,640!!! But that doesn’t count the second monk who checked the pages for accuracy, which would raise the cost of one Bible in today’s US Dollars to $30,000 And that still does not include the cost of materials, or for the time for another monk to decorate the pages and for someone else to bind the pages together and put on a cover. At these prices it is easy to see why every person could not have their own personal Bible for study and devotions. It also becomes clear why Churches chained the Bible in the Church to prevent the theft of this precious possession used every day at every Catholic Mass.

6. The idea of the necessity of Scripture alone for personal reading, salvation, and growth in holiness was a very late invention by Martin Luther etc. It could not be an eternal Christian principle because the majority of people, until the last several hundred years could not read. Even today, 20% of the world population cannot read. So, Our Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom and mercy would never have made salvation dependent upon personal reading of the Bible, as some Protestant sects teach.

Now I would like to gently ask you a question. Why do you use only the Bible?

Q. In Jude 3 and 1 Cor. 13:10, it says the bible is complete.

A. Let’s take a look at these passages.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

1 Corinthians 13:10 …but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away

Where does it say that “the Bible is complete” in either of these passages? You may have been taught to interpret it that way but it doesn’t actually say that. And, it can’t possibly be talking about the Bible or the New Testament; since, it was not in existence as we know it, at the time these scriptures were written.

Q. In 2 Tim. 3:16-17, and 2 Peter 1:3, it says the bible is all we need.

A. Let’s take a look at these passages also.

2 Timothy 3:16-1716 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

This passage says “all scripture is inspired and profitable for teaching etc.” But it just doesn’t seem to say anywhere that the Bible is all we need. Sacred Scripture is a wonderful source for all that St. Paul lists here. He just simply does not actually say anything about scripture being “all we need.” If something is profitable it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the only thing we need.” For example, water is profitable for us to stay alive but it isn’t all we need.

2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

This is a very beautiful passage but I don’t see it saying anywhere that the Bible is all we need. Do you?

2 Responses

  1. Hello, I would take this from a different perspective and ask the question – where are we told in scripture that the Word of God is NOT sufficient as an authority to which we turn for all guidance in the Christian life? The word ‘trinity’ is not mentioned in the Bible and yet we understand this to be a fundamental Christian teaching – from the scriptures.
    Jesus Himself, as did His followers, constantly referred to scriptures in their discourse – they did not refer to the decrees of men.
    Jesus said: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12v48)
    In the last day – we will be judged by God’s Word. Not the words or declarations of men.
    2Cor. 3v5 declares that “our sufficiency is of God.”
    To me the Bible (although I had respect for it and even attempted to read it) was once a book which I did not understand. It was only when I came to a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour, that I had spiritual discernment. This did not happen through a communal Bible study, but in my own quiet times with the Lord in His Word.
    One thing puzzles me about Roman Catholicism…
    In 1545 Rome decreed that man’s tradition was to be equal in authority to the Bible, yet almost all of the Roman Catholics that I know (and I know many and am related to many) would see it as unnecessary to read the Bible at all.
    In fact, not so long ago they were discouraged from doing so by the heirarchy. Why is this?

  2. Dear Bfhu and whoever may be concerned,

    I wanted to repost the below and ask you to consider the fact that the early Ecumenical Council’s called together by the Emperor of Rome were intended to establish what was God’s inspired revelation of Truth to the exclusion of all other things. Notice that they did not say, “Let’s ask the Pope!” and they did not say, “Let’s consult the ‘Traditions’!” This is because those things did not exist, they were later fabrications. They did not look to such things as their authority. They looked to the Scriptures. They gave their testimony as to what are the Scriptures inspired by God and they considered these God’s Word and the standard of religious Truth to the exclusion of all other things.

    1. Joseph Duran, on June 23, 2010 at 8:33 pm Said:
    Dear bfhu,
    First, you claim to be the True church of God. This is the entire dispute. Your claim that Acts 15 contains a record of the first Roman Catholic Church Council is just untrue. There was no Roman Catholic Church at that time. It is also untrue that the Roman Catholic Church wrote the Bible.
    The Apostles and their close companions wrote the New Testament (which is our authority in the New Covenant) and commanded that a man who desires the office of a bishop MUST BE, AND MUST CONTINUE TO BE, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE BEFORE BEING CONSIDERED FOR THE OFFICE (1 Timothy 3: 1-2). They also warned of those who would forbid men to marry and to abstain from eating certain foods (1 Timothy 4: 1-3). The Popes and the other Roman Catholic bishops do not qualify to be bishops according to God, and they do fit the description of those whom the Bible authors warned us.
    The men of Acts 15 that you mention came together of their own accord and looked to what God had already said and done to come to their conclusions. Note that they looked to the Scriptures and to what they had personally witnessed God accomplish. They did not merely trust what some man claimed was so. Note that the things Peter testified to were witnessed by six other Jewish Christians of good report. Those eyewitnesses were available for cross-examination when the issue first arose back in chapter 11 and likely at least some in chapter 15. The issue was probably well settled and established back in chapter 11.
    This is not what the later Ecumenical Councils that began in the fourth century did. They came together at the commandment of the Roman Emperor, and they judged using the available evidence and logical reasoning to discern what was God’s Word to the exclusion of other things. If they were not attempting to exclude anything from being God’s Word, what were they doing? If they merely said, “this is God’s Word ALSO,” then there was no statement about what was NOT God’s Word. If that is the case, then everyone else in the world would be legitimately allowed to teach and to include anything they wanted as being “from God,” as long as they included the books that the “Council” said was from God “ALSO”.
    However, that is exactly what they came together to stop from happening. There were many false teachers and false doctrine popping up, and the unlearned were not able to discern what was true from what was untrue. They intended to establish what was true to the exclusion of all other things so that the “church” would be able to know that ANYTHING ELSE that someone presented to them was NOT God’s Word.
    Notice this as well, if there were a Pope who could not err when teaching the entire church, why did all of those bishops come together and throw their two cents in? That would be vanity of vanities. If the Pope could simply say, “These books are the Word of God,” and that would be that, there would be no need for any council. However, they did not believe in a Pope, so they needed the testimony of as many “bishops” as possible.
    This is logical. Please accept this.
    Much more could be said. Non-biblical sources for my information will have to wait, as it is not in front of me, although I am quite sure that you know of what I speak.
    May the Lord bless your continued study.

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