Why Catholics do not believe in Sola Scriptura


Why do Catholics believe that the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura) is NOT the sole rule of faith?

Catholics accept the Bible as an authority in matters of faith because it is God’s inspired Word. However, we do not believe it to be the only rule of faith.

Did you know that Sola Scriptura was unheard of before the Reformation, which was in the 16th century? (Hundreds of years after Christ was crucified.) Sola Scriptura is not biblical, it is not historical, and it is not logical. The doctrine of Sola Scripture is not even found in Scripture. In fact, the Bible tells us that we need more than just the Bible alone, for it says that not everything Jesus said and did is recorded in Holy Scripture. (John 21:25) and that we must hold fast to oral tradition – the “preached” Word of God. (1 Cor 11:2; 1 Pet 1:25.)

The Bible tells us that Jesus left us a Church with divine authority to govern in His name. (Matthew 16:13-20, 18:18, Luke 10:16). Christ also promised that the Church would last until the end of time. (Matthew 16:18, 28:19-20, John14:16). The Bible also tells us that Sacred Tradition is to be followed alongside Sacred Scripture. (2 Thess 2:15, 3:6).

Jesus left us a Church 2000 years ago to teach, govern and sanctify in His name until the end of time. The Bible clearly tells us that it is the Church that is the “pillar and bulwark of the truth.” (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.”

Papal authority also has strong support in Scripture, and can be traced back historically. Peter was appointed the first Pope by Christ Himself – he was given the “Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.” To no one else does Christ give this ruling power. The popes as Christ’s vicars are the visible heads of Christ’s Church while, of course, Christ is the invisible and supreme head.( On another note – for those who think Peter was not infallible, why do they accept his two letters (found in the Bible) as inspired, infallible?)

Leaving the Bible up for personal interpretation leads to thousands of different interpretations of Scripture. Think about the U.S. Constitution – – an authority (the Supreme Court) was established to guard, guarantee and officially interpret the Constitution. Without it there would be chaos and endless divisions as everyone would be acting as their own authority, interpreting it to fit their own agendas and lives. Remember, just because you can quote or make up your own interpretation of scripture, it doesn’t mean you are interpreting it correctly. Even the devil quoted scripture and used it to promote evil. Anyone today can take words from scripture and justify just about anything today to fit their own agendas or justify any behavior. Misinterpretation of Scripture can result in selective acceptance of the truths contained there. Without an authority (the Magisterium) to help us interpret scripture, scripture could be interpreted with having opposite meanings. God is a God of order, not disorder. Truth (God) does not contradict Himself.

Where did the Bible come from? It didn’t just fall out of the sky. And how do we know what books belong in the Bible?

It was the authority of the Catholic Church, in the fourth century, that determined which books were inspired and belonged in the Bible. Think about it. The Bible does not have an inspired table of contents. This list of inspired books is an essential religious truth not contained in the Bible. Therefore, at least one essential religious truth – the contents of the Bible – is found “outside” the Bible.

Jesus left us the Church, which came before the Bible. How did people learn about Jesus after he was crucified, but before the Bible was put together by Catholics in the fourth century? Oral tradition. We trust the Church, established by Jesus Christ, to tell us what books belong in the Bible, and assure us that everything in it is inspired.

Many people, including many Protestant pastors, have converted to Catholicism on the issue of authority. Today there is one Catholic Church, yet over 30,000 different Protestant denominations, which started breaking away from the church during the Reformation – hundreds of years after the Bible was compiled.

Among all the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots, each with their own man made traditions and various interpretations of the Bible.

Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history. Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches to which door-to-door missionaries belong are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus creates and builds His Church (not “churches”) on Peter, the Rock. Even hell can’t stop the everlasting existence of His Church. “And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Jesus left us a Church, giving our first Pope, Saint Peter, the “keys to His kingdom” (keys are a symbol of authority) to be the leader of His Church. In the following verse 19, Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom:

“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed, even in heaven.”

Despite humans messing things up at times, the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, and will FOREVER be guided by the Holy Spirit until the end of time, as quoted in scripture:

“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:12-13

Jesus would not have left His church without an authority to guide us in Truth. The Catholic Church existed long before the Bible. The Bible is the product of the Catholic Church. Catholic popes and bishops decided what books belonged in the Bible in the 4th century. This is why Catholics do not believe that the Bible is the sole rule of faith for Christians (Sola Scriptura), but rather, as mentioned above, “the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth” as it says in I Timothy 3:15.

The deposit of faith given the Church by Jesus Christ includes both Holy Tradition and Holy Scripture. The Gospel is both God’s unwritten and written word, not, rather, simply the written word only. As Pope Benedict observed, “Ultimately, it is the living Tradition of the Church which makes us adequately understand sacred Scripture as the word of God” (Verbum Domini, 17-18).

To trust the Bible is to trust the authority of the Catholic Church.


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