Bible-Only Christians
< | >

By The Publisher, March 21, 2009

Bible-Only Christians sometimes "attack" me with emails stating their Protestant beliefs and quoting Scripture to support their case against the Catholic Church.  Millions of people adhere to these Protestant beliefs and are likely to be lost for all eternity, because their beliefs are false.  So, I feel compelled to speak out, to show the truth:

The Catholic Church is the means for our salvation and not the Bible.

Since these people accept only the Bible as their authority, I will use quotations from the Bible to prove my case.  The most fundamental concept, which forms the basis for all of their false beliefs, is:

1. The Bible alone is the Word of God.

What the Protestants mean is that the complete deposit of Faith, or that which is sufficient for salvation, is contained in the Bible and one does not need the Catholic Church.  In short, the Bible alone is sufficient.

The problem with this concept is that it cannot be found anywhere in "The Bible".  (I'll use the Douay-Rheims Bible and you may use the King James Version.  If there is a difference in meaning, then we have a serious problem.  Which version is true to the original Greek and Hebrew texts?  Well, that's just another nightmare you encounter with the Bible-Alone concept.  Let's hope there is no difference in meaning with the quotations I am using here.)  Here are three quotations that are used quite often to support the Bible-Alone concept:

1a. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every WORD that proceedeth from the mouth of God.
[Matthew 4:4; Jesus is speaking to Satan.]

1b. But God is true; and every man a liar, as it is written, "That thou mayest be justified in thy WORDS, and mayest overcome when thou art judged."
[Romans 3:4; St. Paul is quoting Psalm 50:6; David speaking to God.]

1c. Sanctify them in truth.  Thy WORD is truth.
[John 17:17; Jesus is speaking to His Holy Father.]

Where is the term "Bible" or "Scripture" in these quotations?  Not there!  Where is the term "alone" or "only".  Not there! 

The term "word" is used in the Bible 848 times.  Most of the time it means "the spoken word".  Sometimes it means "the Word made flesh" (Jesus Christ).  It's doubtful that it ever means "written word only".  When talking about the "written word", the Bible uses the term "Scripture". 

Are there better quotations found in Scripture that support the Bible-Alone belief?  No.  The words "Scripture" and "alone" exist nowhere in the Bible in the same verse.  Neither can one find "Scripture" and "only" in the same verse.  The quotation sometimes used is this:

For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book.  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book. [Apocalypse/Revelation 18-19; St. John is speaking.]

People use this to criticize the Catholic Church for adding to the Word of God with all of their extra-Biblical teachings.  However, St. John was not speaking about the whole Scripture.  He was only speaking about the Apocalypse.  Most important of all, he does not say that this book alone is sufficient for our salvation and easy to understand.  In fact, this book is the most difficult to understand, of all the books in the Bible. 

The real battle here is against the Church.  The Protestants reject the Catholic Church.  That leaves them with the Bible only and then they are forced to figure it out for themselves.  This concept is called "private interpretation" and it is condemned by the Bible itself.

Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation. [2 Peter 1:20]

As also in all his [St. Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. [2 Peter 3:16]

And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias.  And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?  Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me?  And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. [Acts 8:30-31]

Notice that St. Peter does not say that the people need to keep on reading until the Holy Sprit englightens them.  He says that private interpretation leads to "their own destruction".  Clearly, the Bible itself is not sufficient.  If the Bible is not the final authority, then what is?  The Church! 

And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my CHURCH, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven.  And whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. [Matthew 16:18-19]

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the CHURCH of the living God, the PILLAR AND GROUND OF TRUTH. [1 Timothy 3:15]

And if he will not hear them: tell the CHURCH.  And if he will not hear the CHURCH, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. [Matt 18:17]

Where does the Church get the authority and where do the extra-Biblical concepts come from?  The authority comes from Jesus Christ Himself, the founder of the Church.  He is the head and the Church is His mystical body.  The teachings come from traditions and new inspirations from the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to teach us all truth.

And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.  Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. [Matthew 28:18-20]

And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: [Colossians 1:18]

Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle. [2 Thessalonians 2:14]

Conclusion.  There is absolutely no support for the Bible-Alone concept in the Bible itself.  The Bible condemns private interpretation.  The Bible says Jesus founded a Church and remains with it as the head of it's body for all time.  Jesus and St. Paul say that the Church is the authority.  It's past teachings come from traditions: spoken word and written word.  It's future teachings come from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as shown below.

But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. [John 14:26]

I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. [John 16:12-13]