Saturday, June 1, 2013

QUICK NOTES ON SOLA SCRIPTURA (Part 4)



“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.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 – NASV) 

Today, we will address another common objection to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (“Bible Alone”):

ARGUMENT #4 – IF 2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17 PROVES THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE, IT WOULD PROVE TOO MUCH, BECAUSE WHEN PAUL MENTIONS SCRIPTURE, HE WAS SPEAKING OF THE ONLY SCRIPTURE THAT WAS AVAILABLE AT THAT TIME:  THE OLD TESTAMENT.  SO, IF SOLA SCRIPTURA APPLIES HERE, WOULDN’T WE HAVE TO SAY THAT THE *OLD TESTAMENT* IS ALL WE NEED AS A RULE OF FAITH?  AND WOULDN’T THAT MEAN THAT THE NEW TESTAMENT IS *UNNECESSARY*?

The premise in this argument is that Paul could only have been talking about the Old Testament.  While it is true that only part of the New Testament was available when Paul wrote 2 Timothy, this argument is using very poor logic.  In the context of this passage, Paul is describing the nature and purpose of “ALL Scripture,” not “all-Scripture-given-to-us-up-until-this-point-in-time.”

This is like someone saying, “All birds have wings.”  But this would not mean that only birds existing UP TO THIS POINT have wings, and it is not saying that birds that hatch in the future will not have wings.  It’s simply saying that it is characteristic of ALL birds to have wings.

For an example that’s closer to home, it is like a Catholic saying, “All infallible / ‘ex-cathedra’ statements of the Catholic Church are true.”  Would any Catholic think that this means that ONLY the ones proclaimed UP TO THIS POINT are true, and that future ones may be FALSE?  No, he would argue that “all” means all.

So when the Apostle Paul said “All Scripture…”, he meant All Scripture, past, present and future (from his perspective).  Is not the New Testament also considered Scripture?  Isn’t it part of the whole?  Absolutely.  No true Christian would deny the inspiration of the New Testament. 

There is nothing in the context to indicate that Paul had only the Old Testament in mind, since he was also addressing the needs of the church of the future, as well (3:1, 13).  When Paul said, “All Scripture,” there is no reason to think he meant otherwise, or to limit his description of the sacred writings to only what was available at that time.

Since the Bible equips us for EVERY GOOD WORK, the problem is not “…IF it would be sufficient, it would prove too much…”  No, the point is that the whole of Scripture IS INDEED SUFFICIENT as the only infallible Rule of Faith for the church today, but Catholic teaching doesn’t line up with this … that’s the problem.  They are using a faulty premise in verse 16 which distorts the conclusion and true meaning of verse 17.

So, this is an illogical and absurd objection that falls flat, since it is just another in a long line of weak attempts to deny the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

7 comments:

  1. Russ,

    Actually, the original translation of 2 tim 3:17 says that scripture equipts us for MOST good works, not all. The Catholic Bible also has it translated the same way.

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  2. Hello Anonymous,

    Could you please give me an example of a translation that says “most” good works? The Catholic New American Bible (NAB) that I have says “every good work,” and so do the great majority of Bibles on the market that I know of. So, I would say that your argument is with them.

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    1. What is find really odd is that all the oldest churches existing today are Roman Catholic like, and that all history textbooks agree that Peter was the first pope who passed on successors. So your argument is with them, and not with me.

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    2. Anonymous,

      Ok, so most of the oldest churches today are “Roman Catholic like.” What does that prove? Longevity, in and of itself, is not a valid test for the truth. Judaism and Hinduism have been around far longer than Christianity has. Does that mean that these hold the truth while Christianity does not? Of course not.

      Concerning your argument that “all history textbooks” agree that Peter was the first pope, all I have to say is that our INSPIRED “history textbook” called the Bible tells us nothing of a “pope” position in the church. There is no single (merely) human ultimate authority over the church on earth. There is only one Head of the church, and His name is Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18; 2:10). I think / hope that you would agree that the Scriptures are more reliable than any textbook.

      Anonymous, you are treading on dangerous ground, because now your argument is with the Sacred Scriptures and not with me.

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  3. also the jews never believed in sola scriptura or sola fide

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    1. wow no answer from answering catholic claims

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    2. Anonymous,

      Your point about the Jews never believing in Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) is irrelevant because they were never required to. They had some Scripture, but Divine revelation was also still coming in through the prophets, etc., at that time.

      Concerning Sola Fide (Faith Alone), perhaps their understanding of the concept was not fully clear, but the apostle Paul says that they (Old Testament Jews) had Abraham as their example (Romans 4:1-5, 9-10) of how man is saved by faith, apart from his works.

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