Questions for a “Bible Only” Christian

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Having spent time in a Southern Baptist Church for 7 years before returning to the Catholic Church, I thought it would be interesting to ask myself how, as a “Bible only” Christian, would I answer certain questions about my faith if all I relied on was the Bible to find the answers. As a Catholic, I rely not only on Scripture, but also Sacred Tradition. I rely on the living teaching authority of the Catholic Church. The Church that was entrusted with the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly. So, let’s get started.

Question # 1

Could you show me where in the Bible does it say that we should go by the Bible alone when it comes to all matters pertaining to faith and morals? Is there a Scripture verse?

The correct answer is: There is no Scripture verse.

But, I as a “Bible Only” Christian might point to a couple of verses in Scripture to prove Scripture alone. For example, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof…that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17).”
Well, Catholics agree with that passage whole-heartedly! But, nowhere does it say in the passage, “Scripture alone is the sole rule of faith for Christians.” This passage also doesn’t say, “That Scripture is the only thing that the person of God needs to be complete.” What it does say is that Scripture is inspired by God and that Scripture is needed by the person of God to be complete.

Question #2

Could you show me where in the Bible does it list the books which should be part of the Bible? Is there a Scripture verse?
The correct answer is: There is no Scripture verse.

The table of contents does not count, because it was added by the publishers to make it easy to find what books you are looking for. The Bible was put together by the Catholic Church, led by the Holy Spirit. The Church had the authority to accept or reject certain books that would make it into the final draft. It has been given to every Christian through the Church’s “Tradition.”
But, if I am a “Bible Only” Christian, then I believe that my sole authority when it comes to faith and morals is Scripture alone. I would refuse to accept Catholic teachings based on “tradition.” Because if not, then I would be admitting that if it were not for the Church Jesus established and gave His authority to speak for Him until He returns, then I would not have a Bible to know what books are inspired. So, then I would be agreeing that there is an authority outside the Bible that everyone relies upon. Because of this, I would be admitting the “Bible Alone” is a logical inconsistency.

Question #3

Do you believe the writer of the Gospel of Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit? If so, why do you believe that? What verse in Scripture tells us?
The correct answer is: Yes, every Christian believes the writer was inspired. The th[7]second part of the question is where it gets interesting. You see, nowhere in the Bible does it tell us the answer, but every Christian believes him to be inspired. Why?
If the Bible is the sole authority on matters of faith and morals for me as a “Bible Only” Christian, I would have to ask myself why would I believe it?
This is yet another “tradition” that people who don’t think they believe in tradition, believe in. As for the verse in the Bible, again, there is no such verse. No matter what verse a “Bible Only” Christian could point to, nowhere does that verse even come close to saying that the writer of the Gospel of Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Question #4
Do you believe the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews was inspired by the Holy Spirit? If so, what Scripture verse?
The answer is: Same answer as question # 3.

Question # 5
Could you tell me where in the Bible does it tell us who the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews was? What Scripture verse tells us?
The correct answer is: There is no such Scripture verse.
The reason for the question is to point out the fact that the reason everyone believes Hebrews is the inspired word of God is because of Tradition and not Scripture. If the Bible can’t even tell us who the writer of Hebrews is, then how can a person know that this writer was inspired when he wrote the letter? Well, if you rely on the Bible alone, you can’t. This is a logical contradiction for the “Bible Only” Christian.

These questions might start to give the “Bible Only” Christian a chance to pause for a moment and maybe look at “tradition” in a new light. I know when I practiced my faith through the eyes of a “Bible Only” pair of Baptist glasses, this kind of reasoning never was examined. As a practicing Baptist, I had just took it for granted about certain beliefs and thought all of those beliefs came straight from the Bible. In my next post, I will take a look at the authority to interpret Scripture.

Until next time, God bless.

6 thoughts on “Questions for a “Bible Only” Christian

  1. I have never attended any Catholic Bible study groups, but I have known some great people who were Catholic. I have studied with many Protestant denominations including Southern Baptists. It has been my experience that the Associate Reformed Presbyterians are quite scholarly, and the Westminster Larger Catechism is quite helpful in understanding path of the logic that many Protestants follow…at least the ones with Calvinistic leanings such as myself. I have copied what they say concerning the Bible and are pasting it below.

    Blessings,
    Theresa

    Q. 3. What is the Word of God?
    A. The holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God,5
    the only rule of
    faith and obedience.6
    Q. 4. How doth it appear that the Scriptures are of the Word of God?
    A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty7
    and purity;8
    by the consent of all the parts,9
    and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to
    God;10 by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up
    believers unto salvation:11 but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in
    the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.12
    Q. 5. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
    A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty
    God requires of man.13
    WHAT MAN OUGHT TO BELIEVE CONCERNING GOD.
    Q. 6. What do the Scriptures make known of God?
    A. The Scriptures make known what God is,14 the persons in the Godhead,15 his decrees,16
    and the execution of his decrees.

    Q1 Q4
    a Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 10:31. g Hos. 8:12; I Cor. 2:6-7, 13;
    b Ps. 73:24-28; John 17:21-23. Ps. 119:18, 129.
    h Ps. 12:6; Ps. 119:140.
    Q2 i Acts 10:43; Acts 26:22.
    c Rom. 1:19-20; Ps. 19:1-3; k Rom. 3:19, 27.
    Acts 17:28. l Acts 18:28; Heb. 4: 12;
    d I Cor. 2:9-10; II Tim. 3:15-17; James 1:18; Ps. 19:7-9;
    Isa. 59:21. Rom. 15:4; Acts 20:32.
    m John 16:13-14; I John 2:20,
    Q3 27; John 20:31.
    e II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:19-21.
    f Eph. 2:20; Rev. 22:18-19;
    Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31;
    Gal. 1:8-9; II Tim. 3:15-16.

    Q5 c Ps. 139:1-13.
    n II Tim. 1:13. d Rev. 4:8.
    e Heb.4:13; Ps. 147:5.
    Q6 f Rom. 16:27.
    o Heb. 11:6. g Isa. 6:3; Rev. 15:4.
    p I John 5:7. h Deut. 32:4.
    q Acts 15:14-15, 18. i Exod. 34:6.
    r Acts 4:27-28.

    • Theresa, thanks for your input on this subject.
      As a practicing Southern Baptist Christian, I never gave it much thought on where the Bible came from or why did I think it was inspired. I mean, who had the authority to say? Did it just drop down to earth from heaven? Most people do not even consider these questions, but just take it for granted that the Bible is what it is. Well, if we look to the Bible for answers, we find that there is no “inspired” table of contents. That was put there by the publishers. If we rely on the Bible as bearing witness to itself for being inspired, then we would have to recognize the claim of other writings being inspired from God. For example, the Koran claims to be the inspired Word of God, but do we as Christians accept what it says, just because it says it is? Well, the same goes for the Bible.

      Who decided which books were inspired and therefore belonged to the New Testament? Well, shortly before 400 A. D. a General Council of the Catholic Church, using the infallible authority which Christ had given to His own divine institution, finally decided which books really belonged to the New Testament and which did not. But, before it was put together, there was a lot of disagreement among Christians as to what books actually belonged and was truly considered inspired Scripture. Books such as the Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, the Letter of Barnabas, the Acts of Paul, and the Acts of Peter, were thought to be inspired by some, but didn’t make the cut. But, books such as Revelation, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter, Hebrews, and others were thought by some , not to be inspired, but they were included.

      The Bible that every Christian holds in their hand today, was given to them by the authority of the Catholic Church, whether they know it or not. The Bible is a Catholic book. The Catholic monks; in many cases spent their entire lives to give the world personally-penned copies of the Scriptures, before printing was invented in the 1500’s. Up until then, 90-95 percent of the people were illiterate. So, if someone wanted to know what Scripture said, for the first 1500 years the Church existed, they had to go to Mass. Bibles were so valuable, many Churches had to keep them chained and locked.

      • I understand that. I took World Civilization 1 in the spring 2012 and World Civilization 2 in the spring of last year at the university here in the city where I live, and we studied a little about that. Please know that I am not any kind of Presbyterian either. I just studied with them for a couple years. I just shared that because it explained the role that the written word plays in the believer’s experience in a way that reflects what many Protestants believe.

        I hope it didn’t come across as an attack on the Catholic point of view. If it did, please accept my apology. That wasn’t my intention.

        Looking Unto Jesus,
        Theresa

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