After my parents dropped the bombshell that they were considering the Catholic Church, my husband and I were on a mission to change their minds. One Sunday evening over dinner we were debating a Catholic doctrine and I threw out my “trump” card. “But Dad, that’s no where to be found in Scripture which means it can’t be true.” To which he replied, “according to whose interpretation of Scripture, Amy?…And where exactly does the Bible teach that issues of faith and morals are to be determined by Scripture alone? “Aha,” I thought, “now we have him.” After all, Sola Scriptura is an easy doctrine to prove.
For anyone not familiar with this doctrine it is the belief that the Scriptures alone are sufficient to provide all knowledge that God wanted Christians to have for salvation, the Church and the Christian life. It is one of the bedrocks of the Reformation and the Protestant faith because it denies that any ecclesiastical authority can be binding and Scripture alone is binding. Of course, without a binding authority outside of Scripture, Sola Scriptura inherently suggests that the Bible interprets itself and anyone can acquire a full knowledge of God’s Word and all truth by help of the Holy Spirit, in other words through individual and private interpretation/judgment of the Scriptures.
Answering my father’s question, I quoted what I’d always been taught was the Biblical proof text for the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura, or Scripture alone.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
My father looked unimpressed with my proof text. But instead of arguing with me he simply suggested I go home and read those verses in their context and carefully consider what they were saying. And, he further suggested we look for other verses in the Bible that taught we were to rely on Scripture alone as our authority on issues of faith and morals. So that’s what Scott and I did. And boy were we surprised.
I’m running out of time to write today so I’ll have to stop here. Meet be back here for my next installment and I’ll share what we found and more importantly what we didn’t find in the Bible.