Skip to comments.The "Bible Alone" is Not Enough
Posted on 03/15/2004 6:40:12 PM PST by narses
The "Bible Alone" is Not Enough
Answers to 25 Questions on the History of New Testament which completely refute the Protestants' "Bible Only" Theory.
Did Our Lord write any part of the New Testament or command His Apostles to do so? Our Lord Himself never wrote a line, nor is there any record that He ordered His Apostles to write; He did command them to teach and to preach. Also He to whom all power was given in Heaven and on earth (Matthew 28-18) promised to give them the Holy Ghost (John 14-26) and to be with them Himself till the end of the world. (Matthew 28-20).
Comment: If reading the Bible were a necessary means of salvation, Our Lord would have made that statement and also provided the necessary means for His followers.
How many of the Apostles or others actually wrote what is now in the New Testament? A few of the Apostles wrote part of Our Lords teachings, as they themselves expressly stated; i.e., Peter, Paul, James, John, Jude, Matthew, also Saints Mark and Luke. None of the others wrote anything, so far as is recorded.
Comment: If the Bible privately interpreted was to be a Divine rule of Faith, the Apostles would have been derelict in their duty when instead, some of them adopted preaching only.
Was it a teaching or a Bible-reading Church that Christ founded?
The Protestant Bible expressly states that Christ founded a teaching Church, which existed before any of the New Testament books were written.
Romans 10-17: So then faith cometh by Hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Matthew 28-19: Go ye therefore and Teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Mark 16-20: And they went forth, and Preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.
Mark 16-15: And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and Preach the gospel to every creature.
Comment: Thus falls the entire basis of the 'Bible-only theory.
Was there any drastic difference between what Our Lord commanded the Apostles to teach and what the New Testament contains? Our Lord commanded His Apostles to teach all things whatsoever He had commanded; (Matthew 28-20); His Church must necessarily teach everything; (John 14-26); however, the Protestant Bible itself teaches that the Bible does not contain all of Our Lords doctrines:
John 20-30: And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book.
John 21-25: And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
Comment: How would it have been possible for second century Christians to practice Our Lords religion, if private interpretation of an unavailable and only partial account of Christs teaching were indispensable?
Does the New Testament expressly refer to Christs "unwritten word"? The New Testament itself teaches that it does not contain all that Our Lord did or, consequently, all that He taught.
John 20-30: And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book.
John 21-25: And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
Comment: Since the Bible is incomplete, it needs something else to supplement it; i.e., the spoken or historically recorded word which we call Tradition.
What became of the unwritten truths which Our Lord and the Apostles taught? The Church had carefully conserved this 'word of mouth teaching by historical records called Tradition. Even the Protestant Bible teaches that many Christian truths were to be handed down by word of mouth.
2 Thessalonians 2-14: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Timothy 2-2: And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Comment: Hence not only Scripture but other sources of information must be consulted to get the whole of Christs teaching. Religions founded on 'the Bible only are therefore necessarily incomplete.
Between what years were the first and last books of the New Testament written? The first book, Saint Matthews Gospel, was not written until about ten years after Our Lords Ascension. Saint Johns fourth gospel and Apocalypse or Book of Revelations were not written until about 100 A.D.
Comment: Imagine how the present-day privately interpreted 'Bible-only theory would have appeared at a time when the books of the New Testament were not only unavailable, but most of them had not yet been written.
When was the New Testament placed under one cover? In 397 A.D. by the Council of Carthage, from which it follows that non- Catholics have derived their New Testament from the Catholic Church; no other source was available.
Comment: Up to 397 A.D., some of the Christians had access to part of the New Testament; into this situation, how would the 'Bible-only privately interpreted theory have fitted?
Why so much delay in compiling the New Testament? Prior to 397 A.D., the various books of the New Testament were not under one cover, but were in the custody of different groups or congregations. The persecutions against the Church, which had gained new intensity, prevented these New Testament books from being properly authenticated and placed under one cover. However, this important work was begun after Constantine gave peace to Christianity in 313 A.D., allowing it to be practiced in the Roman Empire.
Comment: This again shows how utterly impossible was the 'Bible-only theory, at least up to 400 A.D.
What other problem confronted those who wished to determine the contents of the New Testament? Before the inspired books were recognized as such, many other books had been written and by many were thought to be inspired; hence the Catholic Church made a thorough examination of the whole question; biblical scholars spent years in the Holy Land studying languages of New Testament writings.
Comment: According to the present-day 'Bible-only theory, in the above circumstances, it would also have been necessary for early Christians to read all the doubtful books and, by interior illumination, judge which were and which were not divinely inspired.
Who finally did decide which books were inspired and therefore belonged to the New Testament? 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.
Either the Church at this General Council was infallible, or it was not.
If the Church was infallible then, why is it not infallible now? If the Church was not infallible then, in that case the New Testament is not worth the paper it is written on, because internal evidences of authenticity and inspiration are inconclusive and because the work of this Council cannot now be rechecked; this is obvious from reply to next question.
Comment: In view of these historical facts, it is difficult to see how non-Catholics can deny that it was from the (Roman) Catholic Church that they received the New Testament.
Why is it impossible for modern non-Catholics to check over the work done by the Church previous to 400 A.D.? The original writings were on frail material called papyrus, which had but temporary enduring qualities. While the books judged to be inspired by the Catholic Church were carefully copied by her monks, those rejected at that time were allowed to disintegrate, for lack of further interest in them.
Comment: What then is left for non-Catholics, except to trust the Catholic Church to have acted under divine inspiration; if at that time, why not now?
Would the theory of private interpretation of the New Testament have been possible for the year 400 A.D.? No, because, as already stated, no New Testament as such was in existence.
Comment: If our non-Catholic brethren today had no Bibles, how could they even imagine following the 'Bible-only privately interpreted theory but before 400 A.D., New Testaments were altogether unavailable.
Would the private interpretation theory have been possible between 400 A.D., and 1440 A.D., when printing was invented? No, the cost of individual Bibles written by hand was prohibitive; moreover, due to the scarcity of books, and other reasons, the ability to read was limited to a small minority. The Church used art, drama and other means to convey Biblical messages.
Comment: To have proposed the 'Bible-only theory during the above period would obviously have been impracticable and irrational.
Who copied and conserved the Bible during the interval between 400 A.D. and 1440 A.D.? The Catholic monks; in many cases these monks spent their entire lives to give the world personally-penned copies of the Scriptures, before printing was invented.
Comment: In spite of this, the Catholic Church is accused of having tried to destroy the Bible; had she desired to do this, she had 1500 years within which to do so.
Who gave the Reformers the authority to change over from the one Faith, one Fold and one Shepherd program, to that of the 'Bible-only Theory? Saint Paul seems to answer the above when he said: 'But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1-8 (Protestant version).
Comment: If in 300 years, one-third of Christianity was split into at least 300 sects, how many sects would three-thirds of Christianity have produced in 1900 years? (Answer is 5700.)
Since Luther, what consequences have followed from the use of the 'Bible-only theory and its personal interpretation? Just what Saint Paul foretold when he said: 'For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. 2 Timothy 4-3 (Protestant edition). According to the World Almanac for 1953 there are in the United States 20 different organizations of Methodists, 22 kinds of Baptists, 10 branches of Presbyterians, 13 organizations of Mennonites, 18 of Lutherans and hundreds of other denominations.
Comment: The 'Bible-only theory may indeed cater to the self-exaltation of the individual, but it certainly does not conduce to the acquisition of Divine truth.
In Christs system, what important part has the Bible? The Bible is one precious source of religious truth; other sources are historical records (Tradition) and the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost.
Comment: Elimination of any one of the three elements in the equation of Christs true Church would be fatal to its claims to be such.
Now that the New Testament is complete and available, what insolvable problem remains? The impossibility of the Bible to explain itself and the consequent multiplicity of errors which individuals make by their theory of private interpretation. Hence it is indisputable that the Bible must have an authorized interpreter.
2 Peter 1-20: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2 Peter 3-16: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Acts 8-30: And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Isaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31. And he said, How can I, except some men should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Comment: Only by going on the supposition that falsehood is as acceptable to God as is truth, can the 'Bible-only theory be defended.
Who is the official expounder of the Scriptures? The Holy Ghost, acting through and within the Church which Christ founded nineteen centuries ago; the Bible teaches through whom in the Church come the official interpretations of Gods law and Gods word.
Luke 10-16: He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.
Matthew 16-18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Malachias 2-7: For the priests lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
Comment: Formerly, at least, it was commonly held that when individuals read their Bibles carefully and prayerfully, the Holy Ghost would guide each individual to a knowledge of the truth. This is much more than the Catholic Church claims for even the Pope himself. Only after extended consultation and study, with much fervent prayer, does he rarely and solemnly make such a decision.
What are the effects of the Catholic use of the Bible? Regardless of what persons may think about the Catholic Church, they must admit that her system gets results in the way of unity of rule and unity of Faith; otherwise stated, one Faith, one Fold and one Shepherd.
Comment: If many millions of non-Catholics in all nations, by reading their Bible carefully and prayerfully, had exactly the same faith, reached the same conclusions, then this theory might deserve the serious consideration of intelligent, well-disposed persons -- but not otherwise.
Why are there so many non-Catholic Churches? Because there is so much different interpretation of the Bible; there is so much different interpretation of the Bible because there is so much wrong interpretation; there is so much wrong interpretation because the system of interpreting is radically wrong; you cannot have one Fold and one Shepherd, one Faith and one Baptism, by allowing every man and every woman to distort and pervert the Scriptures to suit his or her own pet theories.
Comment: To say that Bible reading is an intensely Christian practice, is to enunciate a beautiful truth; to say that Bible reading is the sole source of religious Faith, is to make a sadly erroneous statement.
Without Divine aid, could the Catholic Church have maintained her one Faith, one Fold, and one Shepherd? Not any more than the non-Catholic sects have done; they are a proof of what happens when, without Divine aid, groups strive to do the humanly impossible.
Comment: Catholics love, venerate, use the bible; but they also know that the Bible alone is not Christs system but only a precious book, a means, an aid by which the Church carries on her mission to 'preach the Gospel to every living creature and to keep on preaching it 'to the end of time.
Were there any printed Bibles before Luther? When printing was invented, about 1440, one of the first, if not the earliest printed book, was an edition of the Catholic Bible printed by Johann Gutenberg. It is reliably maintained that 626 editions of the Catholic Bible, or portions thereof, had come from the press through the agency of the Church, in countries where her influence prevailed, before Luthers German version appeared in 1534. Of these, many were in various European languages. Hence Luthers 'discovery of the supposedly unknown Bible at Erfurt in 1503 is one of those strange, wild calumnies with which anti-Catholic literature abounds.
Comment: Today parts of the Bible are read in the vernacular from every Catholic altar every Sunday. The Church grants a spiritual premium or indulgence to those who read the Bible; every Catholic family has, or is supposed to have, a Bible in the home. Millions of Catholic Bibles are sold annually.
During the Middle Ages, did the Catholic Church manifest hostility to the Bible as her adversaries claim? Under stress of special circumstances, various regulations were made by the Church to protect the people from being spiritually poisoned by the corrupted and distorted translations of the Bible; hence opposition to the Waldensians, Albigensians, Wycliffe and Tyndale.
Comment: Individual churchmen may at times have gone too far in their zeal, not to belittle the Bible, but to protect it. There is no human agency in which authority is always exercised blamelessly.
Taken from The Catholic Religion Proved by the Protestant Bible
Reprinted from the Juluy 1995 edition of
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Is the Bible Enough?
Our Lord Jesus Christ tells of two men, a rich man who rejects God and a beggar whose trust is in the Lord (Luke 16:19-31). Both of them die, and the beggar goes to heaven, while the rich man goes to hell. One reason he tells this story is so that we may know something of what comes after death. Many will enjoy the pleasures of heaven, but others will suffer the horrors of hell.
This rich man who is suffering the torments of hell makes two requests of Abraham. First, he asks to be relieved of his torment, which is unbearable. But Abraham tells him that that is impossible, saying in effect, "All your lifetime you received your good things; you were reminded of the certainty of death and judgment; you were warned to flee from the wrath to come; you had been told of the mercy and long-suffering of the grace of God; you were told to seek that mercy and find peace through the gospel." But after death it is too late.
The second request of the man in hell deals with his five brothers. They are still in the world, so the man in the pit devises a scheme by which they will not join him there (because their presence, no doubt, would make his hell five times worse). He devises a plan of evangelismwhich many human beings do. He imagines a way of delivering his siblings from the place of woe. The five brothers all know the beggar who lived his life at the gate of their rich brother's house, and they all know that he died. So the rich man says to Abraham, "Send that man, Lazarus, from your side back to my brothers to show himself to them as one raised from the dead. The result of that will be that they will all become believers, especially when he tells them about hell. If a man should be raised from the dead and tell them what is happening to me, they will change. They will no longer curl their lip and say, 'Nobody's ever come back,' but they will believe in God and escape hell." That is the wisdom of a man in hell. That is his proposal.
That request sparks a debate between Abraham and the man in hell. Abraham argues one side, and the man in hell argues the other. Abraham defends the position of those who believe in God through the Lord Jesus Christ, and the man in hell defends the position of those who use human reason and never trust the Savior in this world or the next. This argument is still going on. It is important for us to see what this argument consists of and the difference between the two approaches.
The Position of Faith
On one side, there is Abraham and all who believe as he did. One thing is true of every one of them: they are satisfied with the Bible. Theologically, we would say that they hold to the sufficiency of the Scriptures to save any person from hell. Abraham says: "They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them" (vs. 29). Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. There is Genesis, which tells us that God is a personal God, an almighty Lord, and how he made the world, and why the world is in the state it is. It speaks of the great answer to man's rebellion in the Christ who one day will come and bruise the serpent's head. Then, in Exodus, we are told of the Passover, of those for whom a lamb had died substitutionally, and how the angel of death had passed over all of them. Because of the lamb whose blood had been shed, they were forgiven. The book of Leviticus tells us that "without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins" (Heb. 9:22). It points to the sacrifices of redemption instituted by a loving God. The book of Numbers tells us of the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness, and that if men obediently look on who and what that represents, they will have life. The book of Deuteronomy tells us of the covenant relationship between God and his peopleJehovah, the great I Am, pledging himself to be their God and Savior for ever and ever.
"They have Moses," Abraham says, and the rich man's brothers also have all the rest of the Old Testament written by the prophets, who together speak of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is there in it all. So Abraham says, "Let them listen to them." How much more should we today listen to those who were eyewitnesses of Jesus' majesty, who were with him in the upper room, and who heard his cry, "Peace be still!" and saw the waves obey him, and who helped unloose risen Lazarus from his graveclothes. Should we not listen to those who by the Holy Spirit were led into all the truth in what they wrote? Do you see Abraham's argument? The Scriptures are enough to bring a man to faith in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures themselves are more than sufficient to save a man from hell.
Then Abraham adds, in words to this effect, in verse 31: "If they do not listen to the Bible, nothing else will convince them; nothing else will do any good, not even the specter of a resurrection before their very eyes." So the question is, Do you agree with Abraham? On one side of the debate, the man in hell says that it seems a great idea to him to send a man back from the grave to the world of the living to warn them (vss. 27-28). But Abraham replies, "They have the Scriptures, let them hear them." "No," the rich man says, "the Bible is not enough." He has no confidence in the Word of God. He is saying, "They need something more than the Bible if they are going to be saved from hell." This man thinks that the Bible is an ineffective book, that you cannot expect anyone to get serious about eternal life and flee from the wrath to come simply by reading the Bible, or by hearing sermons from the Scriptures.
The Position of Unbelief
Now, it is very interesting that the man in hell addresses Abraham respectfully and calls him "father Abraham" (vs. 24), and that the patriarch acknowledges that and responds to him with the word "son" (vs. 25). In other words, this man was a fellow Jewa member of the Old Testament covenant people. He had been circumcised, and ethnically and outwardly he was a son of Abraham. The Lord Jesus in Luke 16 is speaking to fellow countrymen. He is addressing the Pharisees who are sneering at him"And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him" (vs. 14 kjv). They could not imagine that they themselves were in any danger of hell. Even when they saw Lazarus raised from the dead, they continued their plotting to kill the Lord Jesus Christ.
This rich man, then, grew up in the synagogue, memorizing the Scripture, hearing it week by week. But he never obeyed it, nor did he love it. He found it boring. He never dreamed for a moment that he would end up in hell. He never thought that one day there would be a great chasm fixed between himself and Abraham. There are many like him who hear the Word of God preached with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. Judas heard it; Ananias heard it; Sapphira heard it; Demas heard it; the Judaizers heard itbut all were lost.
Now you see what the rich man is saying from hell"If the Scriptures are the only thing that you are going to give my brothers, well I had them, and what good did they do me? They didn't change me." In fact, he is saying in hell: "It is perfectly understandable that I didn't believe and that they don't believeall we had was the Bible. I know my brothers; I am aware how they live; I know where they are going. The Bible is not going to touch themmen like them need something more." In effect, he is saying, "I should be excused. If only I had seen a miracle that thrilled me, I would have believed. If only a man had been raised from the dead and spoken to me, then I would have paid attention. If only I could have gone to a meeting where amazing things happened, it would have been different. But all I had was the Bible. The Bible!"
That is what many people say still. "You can't expect the world to be attracted by the Bible, by preaching the Scriptures, by texts outside chapels, and verses on billboards, and tracts with Scriptures on them, and memorizing the Bible, and lessons from the Bible to children in Sunday school, and camps where young people are taught the Bible, and conferences where the Bible is proclaimed. You can't expect people to be attracted by that! We need concerts! We need drama! We need costumes! We need bands! We need choreography! Bring in the drums and the synthesizers. Send in the clowns! Then the people will come. We need superstars and celebrities to give us their testimoniesnot just the Bible alone!" But, you see, Abraham was unyielding. "The Bible is sufficient," he said.
Is the Bible Enough?
Not a few religious people argue just like that man from hell. The Roman Catholic Church says that the Bible is not enough, that we must have sacred tradition, too. The Quakers say that the Bible is not enough, that there must be an inner voice in the congregation. Modernists say that Scripture itself is not enough, that it must be interpreted by "the assured results of modern criticism." They say that we must go back to sources "behind" our present gospel narratives to find the "authentic" sayings of Jesus. Cultists say that the Bible is not enough, that men must obey another bookthe Book of Mormon, or Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, or the Watchtower productions of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Many charismatics say that the Bible is not enough, that it needs to be supplemented by miracles and signs. All such people are saying that the Bible is not enough. They say, "It's a good start, but it needs a bit of help from us."
A preacher has written that when the apostle Paul was preaching in Athens, he slipped up and as a result few were converted. Paul used wrong methods; he simply preached the Word of God to the philosophers who were gathered there on Mars Hill, and only a few were converted. So Paul went to Corinth and drastically changed his methods. There he performed miracles, and many were converted. But the conversion of one of the members of the Greek supreme court named Dionysius, and a woman named Damaris, as well as a number of other people (Acts 17:34) would be considered by us to be very encouraging for the first meeting in a community that had never heard the gospel before. But people are taught that this is not "power evangelism." "Unless we can do miracles, there will be no converts."
"No, father Abraham," says the man in hell, "not the Bible alonethe Bible plus something else. The Bible plus informal entertainment. The Bible plus background music. You choose the "plus." You enthuse about it. You give lectures about it, and write books about it. You can grow rich on it"How I found the plus that helps the inadequate Bible." You can hold seminars and conferences and tell the world the method that you discovered to compensate for the failure of the Scriptures. You can be like this man in hell who had no love for God, but thought of a way to make up for the inadequacies of the Bible.
Now remember that Abraham was in heaven before Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. Abraham had a unique perspective on the books of Moses and the Prophets. Abraham was there in the presence of God when the Lord gave the Word to Moses and to the prophets. He was listening to the Lord on those occasions when God commanded the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of illumination, "Go to Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and assist them to understand my Word, proclaim it, and write the Scriptures, to the very jots and tittles." Abraham heard God speak, and he knew the source and power of that which had come from the throne of the universe. From the lips of the living God had come those words. Abraham knew and loved them: they were Spirit and life. They were powerful words, as effectual as when God had said "Let there be light" and there was light. The Almighty has broken the silence of the heavens. God has spoken to sinners. He has opened his heart and revealed his inmost Being. He is there and he is not silent. We have his Word.
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (Heb. 1:1-2 KJV). He is a speaking God, but now in these last days he has spoken by his Sonthe Lord from heaven, the speaking Savior, the Prophet, God's final Word. The Lord Christ has said that no one knows the Father except the Son, who alone has that infinite acquaintance. There is the immensity of the Almighty, and only the Son knows him comprehensively. When at the end of his life he is praying, he thanks the Father for all the help that he has had to discharge the commission which the Father gave him. He has omitted nothing, and when Jesus sends his apostles into the world, he gives them the Holy Spirit to lead them into all the truth, and they also omit nothing. Everything has been provided for all that is needed for the over two thousand years of church history. When Paul acknowledges himself as an apostle, he says, "And then last of all to me also" (1 Cor. 15:8). In other words, Paul was the last apostle. No more apostles are needed. No house needs more than one solid foundation (Eph. 2:20).
We have Moses, we have the Prophets, we have the Gospels, and we have the Epistles. We have them all in our own English language. We may hold them in our hands, and we can read them. When John Jewel, one of the great English Reformers, who became the bishop of Salisbury, was preaching on the Scriptures, he ended by rousing his congregation: "Are you a father? Have you children? Read the Scriptures. Are you a king? Read the Scriptures. Are you a minister? Read the Scriptures. Has God blessed you with wealth? Read the Scriptures. Are you a usurer? Read the Scriptures. Are you a fornicator? Read the Scriptures. Are you in adversity? Read the Scriptures. Are you a sinner? Have you offended God? Read the Scriptures. Do you despair of the mercy of God? Read the Scriptures. Are you going out of this life? Read the Scriptures."
Abraham was saying words to this effect: "Do you want your brothers to see a miracle? Your brothers have got a miracle! They have in their hearing at every visit to the synagogue Moses and the Prophets. They may purchase for themselves Moses and the Prophets. They may read and memorize Moses and the Prophets."
We who live twenty centuries later have more, having the Gospels, the Acts, the Letters, and the book of Revelation. These new covenant writings are the miracle which leads the church into the new millennium. When I take this Bible in my hand, I am holding a mighty work of God. I have something absolutely unique. Here is something miraculous in its independence of thought, in the comprehensiveness of its theme, in its utter and invincible confidence that it is the most relevant word to my own life and to that of every man. Sometimes, in moments of doubt, our minds must rest in this: "I have the Bible." I have this great intrusion from heaven, this book that comes from another world in which men may hear the unique utterances of the Son of God. I have read much of human literature at its best, but I find here in this book something that is discontinuous with everything else. Here is a book that is absolutely unique. The Bible is a word from God that knows me, that describes me, that searches me, that finds me. The Scripture speaks to man's deepest needs. Here is a book that contains concepts of unsurpassable grandeur, in words that are invincible in their sheer originality. Every Sunday, when gospel churches meet, they do so around this miracle. Every single service has at its center this miraclenot just those red letter Sundays, when everything is just right. Not merely when the Holy Spirit moves and convicts, but every time we are gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and this book is in the center of our gathering, then we are meeting in the presence of a miracle. Do you say you want a miracle and then you will believe? Well, here is a miracle! Abraham says "No!" to signs and wonders as the means of saving sinners today, because here is the Bible and it is a miracle. "So then, faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17).
Abraham knew that this was God's method. So then, you must go to a church where there is a man sent to preach the word of Christ. That has been and always will be the means of saving anyone. Not since the apostolic age has a single person come to faith in Christ through seeing someone raised from the dead, but millions have become believers through hearing the word. Abraham knew that all the children who were there with him in the presence of God had been saved through the Bible, and that the millions more who would join him there would get to heaven in the same way. It was the Scriptures which made them all "wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15 NKJV). God in mercy has said, "I have as many people coming into the kingdom as the sand on the seashorethey are all going to share heaven with me. They are corrupted rebels. They provoke me dreadfully, but I will forgive their sins, and I will do this for all who believe in Jesus Christ. And this will be my way: by bringing my word to them. I will send them a Christian neighbor. I will put them in a university, and there they will meet witnessing students. I will work through a member of their family, or through the woman who works in that office with them. And I will bring them all to a congregation where they will hear the Word of God preached. That is the way I will rescue them from hell. They don't have to be scholars to understand the Scriptures, but I will open their understanding to know the way of salvation through faith in Christ as that is found so plainly in the Bible. "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple" (Ps. 19:7 KJV). Ordinary folk can read or hear this message of the gospel and understand it. It tells us that we deserve eternal hell because we are sinners, but that Jesus, because he loved us, died to save us. We have God's message. If men will not listen to it, they will not be convinced even if God should change teeth fillings from amalgam to gold.
The Scriptures are sufficient to make the man of God perfect. How far can the Scriptures take you? They can take you to total maturity, that is, to be "thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17 NKJV). What lies before us? What duties, challenges, and sacrifices will we be called upon to accept? The Bible will completely equip us for them. How can we grow and put away childish things? How can we become mature men and women? How can we become wise? How can we become conformed to the image of Christ? Through the Biblethat is God's way. The Scripture sanctifies and perfects what is imperfect. It thoroughly enables us for the challenge of every good work in whatever God asks us to do. Every mountain God asks us to climb, every burden he asks us to bear, every service he asks us to give, every pressure he asks us to endure, every sacrifice he asks us to makethe Scriptures can enable us to do it all by preparing us comprehensively for every good work. They tell us how to do it and why we should do it; they give us strength for the task and warn us how not to do it. The Scriptures will complete that good work which God has begun in us. The Bible helps us to put away childish things. The Bible saves a man from being a wimp and delivers him from being a nerd. It transforms him into being "the man of God ... thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17 NKJV). It is a supernatural blessing to have the Bible.
Our Lord Jesus Christ ends the Sermon on the Mount by speaking about a wise man who built his house upon a rock. And the storms, winds, and floods came, and the house still stood. That man was building his life on the teaching of the Lord Jesus and it stood. Christ was looking forward down the centuries, even looking into the hideous modern era in which we have lived for so long. Christ knew all the storms that would be hurled at little Christian boys or girls; the gales of scientific pretension, of philosophy and humanism, of materialism and fleshliness. Yet every young Christian who stands on the teaching of Jesus will survive any storm. The Savior is absolutely confident about it.
The professing church is in a hopeless, demoralized state whenever its members begin to believe that the Bible is insufficient for the task before us. The Roman Catholic Church, the Quakers, the modernists, the cults, and the charismatics are all looking for some additional signs and voices. None of them is in a healthy state. None of them is convinced about the sufficiency of God's truth. The issue confronting you is, Are you content with the Bible or not?
The author is the pastor of Alfred Place Baptist Church in Aberystwyth, Wales. Unless otherwise indicated, he provides his own Bible translations. Reprinted from New Horizons, January 2002.
I guess the church for 1500 years was in a hopeless, demoralized state. If I were a Protestant, I would have a tremendously difficult time trying to explain how Christians living in the early years of the church could be "saved", when they relied purely on spoken word and tradition.
To paraphrase your post #10, I wanted our beloved, if somewhat heretical,
protestant Catholic brethern to have the full story.
Where is your faith? In my heart.
Can you not defend what you believe? Sure. See my home page.
Well, that is an improvement over your first answer:
Why should I?
But since this thread is here, why can't you answer the objextions here point by point?
Did the apostle then and there begin the arduous task of writing the entire NT and then writing even more so there would be enough copies to go around? How does that verse have anything to do with the other NT authors, who weren't personally called to pick up their quills?
Actually, yes it was. Would you have preferred a brood of vipers?
BTW, don't you have enough to worry about without antagonizing Proddies?
Kind of like when the early Christians listened to church fathers and the apostles before them, seeing as how there was no Bible to refer to. You can also call it oral tradition.
Because I have better things to do than answer a poorly written piece of garbage. Like pick my belly button lint.
How was he previously "taught"? Luke was writing an epistle to clarify what was taught by others. Obviously, the message had been conveyed to Theo another way and Luke wanted him to have a more permanent record of the teachings. I have no problem with that.
 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass: and signified, sending by his angel to his servant John,...
 I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
 Saying: What thou seest, write in a book, and send to the seven churches which are in Asia, to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamus, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.
 And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks:
 And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
 And his head and his hairs were white, as white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire,
 And his feet like unto fine brass, as in a burning furnace. And his voice as the sound of many waters.
 And he had in his right hand seven stars. And from his mouth came out a sharp two edged sword: and his face was as the sun shineth in his power.
 And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: Fear not. I am the First and the Last,
 And alive, and was dead, and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell.
 Write therefore the things which thou hast seen, and which are, and which must be done hereafter.
This was a vision well after the crucifiction, not Jesus in His Living Ministry on earth.
Actually, yes it was. Would you have preferred a brood of vipers?