Skip to comments.Where Is That Taught in the Bible?
Posted on 01/31/2010 2:03:15 PM PST by NYer
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:15
According to most Evangelicals, a Christian needs only to believe those teachings found in Scripture (a.k.a. the Bible). For these Christians, there is no need for Apostolic Tradition or an authoritative teaching Church. For them the Bible is sufficient for learning about the faith and living a Christian life. In order to be consistent, they claim that this "By Scripture Alone" (sola Scriptura) teaching is found in Scripture, especially St. Paul's Letters.
The passage most frequently used to support the Scripture-Alone belief is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. St. Paul writes:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect (complete, adequate, competent), equipped for every good work. [2 Tim. 3:16-17, RSV]
According to those that hold this belief, Scripture is sufficient since it is "profitable for teaching" and makes a Christian "perfect, equipped for every good work." On closer examination though, it becomes apparent that these verses still do not prove this teaching.
Verse 16 states a fundamental Christian doctrine. Scripture is "inspired by God" and "profitable for teaching" the faith. The Catholic Church teaches this doctrine (CCC 101-108). But this verse does not demonstrate the sufficiency of Scripture in teaching the faith. As an example, vitamins are profitable, even necessary, for good health but not sufficient. If someone ate only vitamins, he would starve to death. Likewise, Sacred Scripture is very important in learning about the Christian faith, but it does not exclude Sacred Tradition or a teaching Church as other sources concerning the faith.
St. Paul in verse 17 states that Scripture can make a Christian "perfect, equipped for every good work." In this verse he is once again stressing the importance of Sacred Scripture. In similar fashion, the proverb, "practice makes perfect," stresses the importance of practice but does not imply that practice alone is sufficient in mastering a skill. Practice is very important, but it presumes a basic know-how. In sports, practice presupposes basic knowledge of the game rules, aptitude and good health. Elsewhere in Scripture, "steadfastness" is said to make a Christian "perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." [James 1:4] Even though the language (both English and Greek) in this verse is stronger, no one claims that steadfastness alone is enough for Christian growth. Faith, prayer and God's grace are also needed. Likewise in verse 17, St. Paul presumes God's grace, Timothy's faith and Sacred Tradition (2 Tim. 3:14-15).
Verses 16-17 must be read in context. Only two verses earlier, St. Paul also writes:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it... [2 Tim. 3:14]
Here St. Paul suggests Tradition. Notice that Paul did not write, "knowing from which Scripture passage you learned it" but instead he writes, "knowing from whom you learned it." He is implying with the "whom" himself and the other Apostles. Earlier in the same letter, St. Paul actually defines and commands Apostolic Tradition - "what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." [2 Tim. 2:2] Also if St. Paul were truly teaching the sufficiency of Scripture, verse 15 would have been a golden opportunity to list the Books of Scripture, or at least give the "official" Table of Content for the Old Testament. Instead Paul relies on Timothy's childhood tradition:
...and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the Sacred Writings (a.k.a. Scripture) which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [2 Tim. 3:15, RSV]
Even though profitable in instructing for salvation (but not sufficient), St. Paul still does not list which Books. He also does not suggest personal taste or opinion as Timothy's guide. Instead Paul relies on Timothy's childhood tradition to define the contents of Scripture. Verses 14-15 show that verses 16-17 presuppose Tradition.
Verse 15 brings up the problem of canonicity, i.e. which Books belong in Scripture? Through the centuries the Books of Scripture were written independently along with other religious books. There were smaller collections of Books, e.g. The Books of Moses (Torah), that were used in Synagogues. The largest collection was the Greek Septuagint which the New Testament writers most often cited. St. Paul in verse 15 probably referred to the Septuagint as Scripture. Only after the Councils of Carthage and Hippo in the 4th century A.D. were all of the Books of Scripture (both Old and New Testaments) compiled together under one cover to form "the Bible." Already in Jesus' time, the question of which Books are Scripture, was hotly debated. As an example, Esther and the Song of Solomon were not accepted by all as Scripture during Jesus' day. The source of the problem is that no where in the Sacred Writings are the Books completely and clearly listed. Sacred Scripture does not define its contents. St. Paul could have eliminated the problem of canonicity by listing the Books of Scripture (at least the Old Testament) in his Letters, but did not. Instead the Church had to discern with the aid of Sacred Tradition (CCC 120). Canonicity is a major problem for the Scripture-Alone teaching.
As a final point, verse 15 suggests only the Old Testament as Scripture since the New Testament was written after Timothy's childhood. Taken in context, verses 16-17 apply only to the Old Testament. "All Scripture" simply means all of the Old Testament. If verses 16-17 were to prove that Scripture is enough for Christians, then verse 15 would prove that the Old Testament is enough!
Some Christians may cite 1 Corthinians 4:6 as more proof for the Scripture-Alone belief:
I have applied all this to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favour of one against another. [1 Cor. 4:6, RSV]
This verse does not condemn Sacred Tradition but warns against reading-between-the-lines in Scripture. The Corinthians had a problem of reading more into the Scripture text than what was actually there. The main question with this verse is which Sacred Writings are being referred to here? Martin Luther and John Calvin thought it may refer only to earlier cited Old Testament passages (1 Cor. 1:19, 31; 2:9 & 3:19-20) and not the entire Old Testament. Calvin thought that Paul may also be referring to the Epistle Itself. The present tense of the clause, "beyond what is written" excludes parts of the New Testament, since the New Testament was not completely written then. This causes a serious problem for the Scripture-Alone belief and Christians.
Bible verses can be found that show the importance of Sacred Scripture but not Its sufficiency or contents. There are Bible verses that also promote Sacred Tradition. In Mark 7:5-13 (Matt. 15:1-9), Jesus does not condemn all traditions but only those corrupted by the Pharisees. Although 2 Thessalonians 2:15 does not directly call Sacred Tradition the word of God, it does show some form of teachings "by word of mouth" beside Scripture and puts them on the same par as Paul's Letters. Elsewhere the preaching of the Apostles is called the "word of God" (Acts 4:31; 17:13; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 13:7). The Scripture-Alone theory must assume that the Apostles eventually wrote all of these oral teachings in the New Testament. At least for St. John, this does not seem to be the case (John 21:25; 2 John 12 & 3 John 13-14). Also no Apostle listed in the New Testament which Books belong in Scripture. Now these oral teachings were eventually written down elsewhere to preserve their accuracy, e.g. St. Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians, written 96 A.D. (Phil. 4:3) or St. Ignatius' seven letters written 107 A.D. Clement's letter is found in the Codex Alexandrinus (an ancient Bible manuscript) and was even considered by some early Christians to be part of Scripture.
Both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are the word of God, while the Church is "the pillar and bulwark of the truth." [1 Tim. 3:15] The Holy Spirit through the Church protects Both from corruption. Some Christians may claim that doctrines on Mary are not found in the Bible, but the Scripture-Alone teaching is not found in the Bible. Promoters of Scripture-Alone have a consistency problem, since this is one teaching not found in Scripture.
Sunday evening ping!
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 4:1
¶I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word;
be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Here is how the verses read from a better translation. Please note how Paul told Timothy that it was the Scriptures that made him wise unto salvation and that Timothy must preach the word, not the vain traditions of men.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Would to God that people would love Jesus Christ, who died to save their souls from an eternity in Hell, more than they love their vain traditions.
Oh good grief! What the passage in Timothy says is:
“14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Yes, Timothy was to continue in what he learned...from the Apostle Paul. No Protestant is denying Apostolic authority. However, many doctrines of the Catholic Church are not taught by anything we have handed down from the Apostles. We didn’t need 2nd, 3rd, or 27th generation unfolding because Paul taught the “whole counsel of God” - not part.
It then says the scriptures “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” So if we need it for salvation, it is there. Otherwise they would NOT be able, but would need help.
Then Timothy is told to use the scriptures because they have authority - they are God’s Breath - and he is to use them “for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. The result (the next verse starts with “so that”) is that the man of God “may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” “Thoroughly equipped”. “Every good work”.
Doesn’t leave much.
And in Jude we find that he is contending “for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.” ‘Once for all’ doesn’t leave a lot of room for development.
And in 2 John we read, “8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
Hard to abide in the teaching of Christ if you don’t HAVE the full teaching of Christ. And we are told “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God...”
Sounds serious. And we read further, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house...for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
Just show us where Apostolic succession is taught or promoted in scripture ..
Tradition that has a biblical base is accepted by most Protestant churches.. it is just the ones from thin air that cause us a problem.
Hmm...the odd thing is, and my Faith is Sola Scriputeral, if one looks at that reference do you ask yourself
The Scriputres when Paul wrote that Epistle were the Old Testament?
Man can say many things, the Scriptures say only one thing and have for 1,700 yrs or more.
What traditions would Rabbi Paul have taught ? Would Rabbi Paul have taught the traditions surrounding the Or Would Rabbi Paul have taught the Babylonian Paganism of Nicea ?
Question : shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
celebration of YHvH commanded Feasts ?
What traditions would Rabbi Paul have taught ?
Would Rabbi Paul have taught the traditions surrounding the
Would Rabbi Paul have taught the Babylonian Paganism of Nicea ?
2 Tim. 2:2
To refer to the Nicean Creed as paganism is an affront to the Word of God and to the millions of Christians who believe it. Saul of Tarsus, who later became known as Paul, was never a Rabbi. His only role was to spread and add clarity to the Gospel of Christ; that Christ completed the Covenants of the Old Testament. He did not legitimately add anything new.
John 20:30 tells us only that the Bible was composed so we can be helped to believe Jesus is the Messiah. It does not say the Bible is all we need for salvation, much less that the Bible is all we need for theology; nor does it say the Bible is even necessary to believe in Christ. After all, the earliest Christians had no New Testament to which they could appeal; they learned from oral, rather than written, instruction. Until relatively recent times, the Bible was inaccessible to most people, either because they could not read or because the printing press had not been invented. All these people learned from oral instruction, passed down, generation to generation, by the Church.
Yah'shua fulfilled the "Law" in order to be the sinless Lamb of G-d. To believe that Yah'shua did away with the Law Yah'shua rebuked the Pharisees who created traditions
Are you completely ignorant shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
of the fact that Saul(Paul) was a student of Gamaliel ?
suggests that He was not YHvH.
which impugned His Holy Word.
Yah'shua fulfilled the "Law" in order to be the sinless Lamb of G-d.
To believe that Yah'shua did away with the Law
Yah'shua rebuked the Pharisees who created traditions
Well, seeing as how your religion doesn’t allow you to know for sure that you are saved, even in spite of the Bible’s direct statement that Christians CAN and DO know they are saved, I guess that would preclude you from discussing the surety of salvation?
OT .. NT had not yet been compiled.
Paul was miraculously spoken to by Jesus himself and had his life completely transformed, so much so that he went through many trials willingly for the rest of his life. Peter was personally with Jesus throughout his earthly ministry. Oral instruction from such men is one thing. Doctrines fabricated by a bunch of "clerics" in some conclave are another thing entirely.
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
Scripture teaches that ones final salvation depends on the state of the soul at death. As Jesus himself tells us, "He who endures to the end will be saved" (Matt. 24:13; cf. 25:3146). One who dies in the state of friendship with God (the state of grace) will go to heaven. The one who dies in a state of enmity and rebellion against God (the state of mortal sin) will go to hell.
This is what the Catholic Church teaches. Do you disagree with this?
Not going to let myself get drawn in too deep here, but a few Q’s I have are; is the word being translated for “traditions” always translated traditions? or can it have other meanings... I’m not quite equipped to answer that myself. And if it always means traditions, Paul knew very well that “traditions of men” was an enemy to the truth of God. So what traditions?
In the Apostle’a era (shortly after the life, death and resurrection of Christ), what traditions could have sprung up and flourished such that they were canonized as a part of our Christian practice and heritage other than what is taught in scripture? Could it be that the traditions being spoken of here refer simply to the teachings of Christ and his disciples that we now have canonized as scripture but were not yet canonized back then?... letters and stories of the life of Christ, being written and shared back and forth between church fathers and the flock? Back then, could it not be, that the traditions were simply the sharing of the various letters and stories and then being admonished to go out and live as unto Christ?
One of us is and it ain't me. Everything good in Paul's writings is not new and everything new in Paul's writings is not good. Paul was not a Pharisee and actually demonstrated a very imperfect understanding of rabbinical Judaism, which was a much livelier and more humane affair than he made out. He was, by his own admission, an agent of the Sadducee High Priest, who was a Roman collaborator loathed by the Jewish population. I do not question his faith after his conversion, but I cannot accept a distortion of who he was prior to it.
It says all or every scripture - the canon wasn’t under discussion, but the role of scripture.