The Bible Alone (Sola Scriptura): During the Protestant Reformation the theology of the "Bible Alone" was created. Though Sola Scriptura it is believed that the Bible alone is all that is needed to come to Christ. Through the belief of Sola Scriptura most Protestants believe that they are able to come to an infallible understanding of the Bible by taking a personal interpretation of the scriptures. This personal interpretation may or may not be the correct meaning of the Bible passage as the author intended. The biggest flaw in this theology is that it creates many false and conflicting doctrines; hence the thousands of different churches that have sprung up since the Protestant Reformation. These different churches all teach different versions of the Truth and there is no unity between them. These same Protestants will often condemn Catholic teachings based on their personal interpretation of certain scripture passages, however by doing so they are contradicting there own doctrine of personal interpretation. The Bible clearly supports the Catholic Church's teaching that it is the Church's role to spread and teach the entire word of God which is contained in both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.
Reading the Bible: When we read the Bible as with any book it is extremely important to understand the message that the author was trying convey. If we interpret the author’s words incorrectly then our understanding of what was written would not be the same message that the author intended to convey. It is also very important that we understand the customs, traditions, laws, and language usages of the period. Without this understanding, it is very easy to come to the incorrect meaning of the Bible.
Lastly, it is important to remember that without the Catholic Church we would not even have the Bible. After all, it was the Catholic Church who put the canon of the Bible together in the year 385. No other Church was calling councils together to protect and spread the word of God. Without these Catholic Councils, the world today would be without the Bible! From studying history it is easy to see that the Bible came from the Catholic Church and it was this Church that Jesus Christ founded to lead us to the means of salvation. Jesus Christ did not leave his people a “book” and tell each one of us to figure out his salvation according to his own interpretation of the Bible. If this were true then even the Christian sects which deny the Trinity would be teaching the "truth" as they see it. Nowhere does the Bible tell us that our own personal interpretation will guide us to the truth. If the Bible did say this, then every Bible based religion would have to be as valid as the next.
2 Major Problems with The Bible Alone Theology: 1. Not all Christian Beliefs are found directly in Scripture. Example: “Trinity” is not in Scripture. The Catholic Church defined the dogma in 325 at the Council of Nicea against the Arian heresy.
2. The Bible is NOT the sole rule of faith & nowhere in the bible does it say this. The theology of Sola Scriptura is not biblical and is found nowhere in the Bible – It’s a man made tradition!
Question: Since non-Catholics claim "the Holy Spirit is guiding them", how can the Holy Spirit be 'telling' each of them a different 'truth'? Answer: It would seem to me that if all taught the same “truth”, then there would be only one Church, not tens of thousands as we now have.
Some Bible Verses that confirm what the Catholic Churches teaches regarding the Bible:
“But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) The Bible itself states that it alone does contain everything. Oral tradition is also important!
“First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Not everyone is always guided by the Holy Spirit when interpreting scripture.
“So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless some one guides me?” (Acts 8:30-31) Why did he need a guide when all he had to do is rely on the Holy Spirit? Doesn't sound like Bible Alone theology.
“In these epistles there are certain things difficult to understand, which the unlearned and unstable distort, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures also, to their own destruction.”(2 Peter 3:16)
“ And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.” (Acts 15:7)
“Hold to the form of sound teaching which thou hast heard from me…….” (2 Tim 1:13)
“...yet in the Church, I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may also instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (1Cor 14:19) The true Church is a teaching Church and it does not leave scripture to personal interpretation.
“ and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings All Scripture is inspired by GOD, and useful for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for instructing in justice; that the man of GOD may be perfect, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:15-17) This verse does not say that scripture is sufficient for salvation as protestants would have you believe and is actually referring to the Old Testament and not the New Testament since it had not been completed yet. Also, in light of Sola Fide why should we be equipped for good works? According to Sola Fide they are not required for our salvation.
“How then are they to call upon Him in whom they have not believed? But how are they to believe Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear, if no one preaches? And how are men to preach unless they be sent?” (Rom 10:14-15)
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” (Mark 12:14) Can everyone’s personal interpretation of scripture be correct? No.
“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God, …” (1 Thes 2:13)
“We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:6) How do Protestants know that they are not being influenced by the spirit of error when they take a personal interpretation of scripture?
“Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink, but I hope to come to see you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 1:12).
“I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink;” (3 John 1:13) What happened to these teachings if they were not written down?
“ For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:28-29) Why didn’t they just consult the scriptures? Instead the Apostles, in the First Church Council (the Council of Jerusalem) made the decision without the Bible!
“But Saul (Paul) was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” (Acts 8:3) Saul became Paul as a Christian convert so obviously the Church had to exist before the Bible if this verse is true. Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Philemon, and Romans all after Christ was crucified. The Bible comes out of the Church not the Church from the Bible.