Skip to comments.Essays for Lent: Scripture Alone
Posted on 03/07/2012 9:08:53 PM PST by Salvation
by Sebastian R. Fama One of the pillars of the Protestant Reformation is the doctrine of "Sola Scriptura," or "Scripture alone." The reformers taught that the Bible was the sole rule of faith, and that there was no need for an authoritative church. Now if this were a true teaching, as some still contend, we would expect to find it in the Bible, but we don't. The verse usually used to justify Sola Scriptura is 2 Timothy 3:16: "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 complete, equipped for every good work."
One of the pillars of the Protestant Reformation is the doctrine of "Sola Scriptura," or "Scripture alone." The reformers taught that the Bible was the sole rule of faith, and that there was no need for an authoritative church. Now if this were a true teaching, as some still contend, we would expect to find it in the Bible, but we don't. The verse usually used to justify Sola Scriptura is 2 Timothy 3:16: "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 complete, equipped for every good work."
Note that this passage nowhere says that Scripture is the sole rule of faith. It says that it is profitable, and that is true. But that doesnt make it the sole rule of faith. It says that it can make you complete, and that is also true. However, in order for Scripture to make us complete, we must accept all that it teaches. And Scripture teaches that Christ established an authoritative church. That is why Paul tells Titus, who headed the church at Crete, to "Exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you" (Titus 2:15). Indeed an authoritative church is necessary in light of 2 Peter 1:20: "You must understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation." So Scripture makes us complete by showing us that we need it and that we need the Church to teach us what it means. Only a church whose teachings are authoritative and unchanging can qualify as "The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Timothy 3:15).
Cardinal Newman noted some years ago that 2 Timothy could not support the doctrine of Sola Scriptura because Paul's statement to Timothy would have to apply to him at that time. At that time there was only an Old Testament. If 2 Timothy were true in the sense that Bible Christians claim it is, it would rule out the New Testament, something that no Bible believing Christian would ever do.
Bible Christians claim that the Holy Spirit teaches them directly. They would point to 1 John 2:26-27, which says, "I write this to you about those who would deceive you, but the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you, as His anointing teaches you about everything." At first glance, this might appear to support their argument. However, putting it in context reveals something quite different. Note that John begins by saying, "I write this to you about those who would deceive you." These are the teachers that John tells us we have no need of. Read verses 21-25, and the context becomes even clearer. "I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what He has promised us, eternal life."
The anointing that John speaks of is an anointing that we posses by virtue of our Christianity. It is an anointing by which we receive grace grace that enables us to do just what John asks us to do, to hold on to what we were taught from the beginning despite the enticements of the deceivers. He speaks of the truth as something that was received from the Church and not something that was personally received from the Holy Spirit.
While it is true that the Holy Spirit can and oftentimes does guide us personally, it is equally true that we are not always listening. Sometimes our own thoughts or the deceptions of others can be mistaken for the Holy Spirit. That is why God wouldn't choose this as the way to present the faith. After all, if we are to make a choice for Christ, we must know and not imagine what that choice entails.
The book of Ephesians addresses 2 Timothy and 1 John beautifully, "And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipment of the saints...so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (4:11-12, 14). Remember earlier in 2 Timothy, we found the phrase, (concerning Scripture) "that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." First Paul tells us that we need Scripture to be equipped, then he tells us that we need teachers to be equipped. Is there a contradiction here? Not at all as Scripture without the proper interpretation is of no value. That is why the Ethiopian Eunuch, despite his genuine desire for God, needed Philip to explain the Scriptures to him (Acts 8:26-40). Note that it was God who sent Philip to the eunuch. Why do you suppose He did that?
The claim that we don't need teachers fails not only on the theological level, but in its practical application as well. If John believes that we don't need any teachers, why is he sending a letter that teaches? In fact why were any of the epistles written and preserved? Are they not the authoritative teachings of Church leaders? It is also interesting to note that most Bible only pastors attended seminary where they were taught the Bible. On Sundays they give sermons in which they teach the Bible. They have Bible studies where again they teach the Bible. If we really don't need teachers why is all of this going on?
The early Christians couldn't have believed in Sola Scriptura even if they had wanted to, as they didn't have any Bibles. The printing press wasn't invented until 1450. Before that time Bibles were hand written and a copy would have cost the modern day equivalent of about $8000.00. Even if they had access to Bibles it wouldn't have been much better as 99% of the people were illiterate. So the type of Christianity that Bible Christians say Jesus established wasn't even possible for fourteen centuries after he supposedly established it. Even today many countries have a low literacy rate. Didn't Jesus die for everyone? How are those who cannot read to know the Gospel? An authoritative church is the only logical and Biblical answer. Also worthy of note is the fact that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is not found in any of the creeds from the early Church. If it were such an important doctrine that would have been unconscionable.
There are over 28,000 Bible only denominations all with different interpretations of the Bible. All of them claim authority from the Bible but they can't all be right, as the Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself. Therefore we can conclude that a good part of what they teach is the product of their own reasoning. The book of Proverbs advises us well when it says, "Lean not on your own understanding" (3:5). As long as humans are flawed creatures their reasoning will be flawed. Maybe not on every issue, but certainly on some. Who among us has not seen his or her errors in retrospect? Unfortunately it is not uncommon for the illusions of men to be presented as the Will of God.
Oftentimes those who reject Church authority do so in the name of freedom. But their concept of freedom is seriously flawed. Freedom is accompanied by responsibilities. As Bishop Donald Wuerl points out, "Freedom is not just about making choices but about making right choices. To place one's hand in an open fire is to exercise human freedom irresponsibly." In other words, freedom is not achieved by doing what you want; it is the result of doing what is right. An honest alcoholic knows this well.
Sola Scriptura and the accompanying idea of private interpretation bear a striking resemblance to New Age thought. The New Ager says, "I am God." The Bible Christian in effect says, "I speak for God." A major tenet of the New Age Movement is that there is no ultimate reality. Each individual must decide for himself what reality is. Thus "every man does what is right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6). With the private interpretation of Scripture each individual decides for himself what Christian reality is. This is a far cry from the Biblical view of, "One Lord, one faith, one Baptism" (Ephesians 4:5). We would do well to heed the warning of Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."
Some may see that as extreme. After all, we are told that the differences between Bible Christians are minor. But is that really the case? One of the areas of contention is the subject of salvation. Some say that you can lose it some say that you can't. This is something that needs to be clearly understood as it will be key in determining the eternal destination of millions. This is hardly a minor issue. Also, theological disunity is a scandal to the world and a stumbling block for many. Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one so that the world would know that the Father sent him (John 17:20-22). If the world does not know that the Father sent Jesus it is because we are not one. How many more souls would have come to Christ but for our disunity? It has been said that Jesus would have died for even one of us. If this were true then it would follow that every soul is precious. If every soul is precious how then can we so glibly write off millions of them in the name of freedom?
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For Further Study
Books - Scripture Alone? by Joel Peters and Reading God's Word Today - A Practical Approach to Scripture by George Martin
Cassette - Does the Bible Teach Sola Scriptura Patrick Madrid vs. James White
CD - The Bible Alone? by Scott Hahn
You’ve given me something to think about salvation. Thank you for not abandoning me. I still feel as I do about Islam though. That won’t ever change. It can’t.
That is a great intellectual argument and discussion I must confess but it seems to lack the SPIRIT! [and heart]
The Lord Jesus taught: “Ye worship ye know what: we know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:22-24)
Again Jesus said: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profitheth nothing, the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
Jesus teaching in John 15:26: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me.”
Look at Romans chapter 8: “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (vs 6)
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” vs 14)
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” (vs 16)
WE KNOW THERE ARE MANY MORE; BUT HERE WE ARE BUT HIGHLIGHTING THAT WHICH SO EASILY TO BE UNDERSTOOD, EVEN BY BABES!
OH! SCRIPTURE ALONE! SCRIPTURE NEVER WAS ALONE, AND SCRIPTURE NEVER CAN BE ALONE!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
the constant drum beat of sola scriptura, the bible alone, etc, is rediculous, as its adherents try to use the scripture alone to prove the scripture alone....assuming SS is true, then doing scriptural somersaults, and shoehorning, or using a handy-dandy Bible Alone Scripture taffy puller, to twist ‘prooftexts’ to try and support what they are already assuming.....really?
thank God for the catholic church, we have the Word, the teach church devinely appointed by Christ to teach in his name, and Sacred tradition, they all together support each other without resorting to twisting ourselves into pretzel and yoga knots trying to make bible verses alone support what we are already assuming...
and on top of all that, the readily available history of the early church, put together by the church fathers, they were there, they witnesses and particpated in a one holy catholic and apostolic church, not with any hint of SS.
Reading 2 Peter 1 starting at verse 19 and continuing on to 21 reveals a rather different meaning than the intended “you can’t read the Bible and understand its truths”.
In context it says that we should rely on the prophesies of the Bible since they are the product of the Holy Spirit.
There is a quite strongly worded warning about speaking ill of the power of the Holy Spirit in Luke 12...
What 'can' &' oftentimes'?? Only those who rely on 'man', would make such a statement.
The Holy Spirit DOES and ALL THE TIME!
See how 'man' swayed from TRUTH with just one sentence for their own agenda. Let's keep it honest 'man' and get back to THE HOLY SPIRIT INSPIRED WORD!
As a Catholic who has pondered the Sola Scriptura belief a great deal I have to say that first, we Catholics have to put aside the notion that Protestants are willfully ignorant had are deliberately choosing to follow a path that does not lead to Salvation. Quite frankly, I have found many Protestants who love Jesus and God more and live their lives in greater harmony with the Gospels than many CINOs. There is a lot we can learn from them too.
I see the Sola Scriptura movement largely as a failure of trust in the Church and its Apostolic Tradition. When you know what they believe about the Church and its history it is more than understandable, it is expected. They see this as having to rely on the word of an institution that they believe is evil. Were the distortions and mischaracterizations they state true I too would not trust the Church.
We know that the Scripture proceeded from the Tradition and that for 300+ years there was no Scripture beyond the Old Testament. Remember, that the Canon of Scripture given by the Church is largely accepted by Protestantism. When they cite the Bible we need knowingly ask "says who" since the Early Christians could not agree on whether Revelations and the Epistle of Barnabas should be in or out.
We Catholics must therefore, with patience and love, correct their errors and overcome their doubts. This must be done with objective facts, respect, and the example of beatitude.
I wonder what makes you think that these folks WANT to be corrected and that theirs ARE errors. They actually have NO doubts as to THEIR faith.
Respect, etc., are nice but I don't assume to correct people who don't WANT correcting because THEY don't think that they are in error.
Change has to come from WITHIN. People will change only when it hurts more NOT to.
I have more concern for those who remain indifferent than those who are passionate but wrong or incomplete in their faith. We are all to varying degrees earthen vessels. Even the most pious among us are on a life long conversion to holiness and all will fall short. I really believe that those who spend so much of their time in the Religion Forum, even if to abuse the Church and Catholics, are responding to a call from God that puts them in a place to be exposed to His truth. We who believe have a similar call to evangelize and forgive.
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. - Luke 5:32
An appalling ad-hominem assault on a solid, widespread doctrine. Culminating with equating Protestantism with New Age cults is repulsive.
The errors therein are prolific, requiring far more response than time & space available for an efficient objective retort in a hostile thread.
Suffice to say Christ himself had low esteem for “tradition”, and for those leading any astray (not mitigated by an authoritarian unified front). Insofar as printed scripture may have been unavailable in the past, it is prolific now. Teachers of scripture facilitate the word of God, and do not augment as equals bearing new additional words.
The Choosing of the Seven
1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews[a] among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.
5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, Who Prayed and Laid their hands on them.
7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of PRIESTS became obedient to the faith.
YOU EVER GO TO AN ORDINATION OF A PRIEST.
All the priests put hands on each other and back from bishops to priests. This has been going on for two thousand years since the days of ACTS 6. THE Bishop explains this at every ordination. HMMMM
Luke writes these because it is stupid I guess by the Holy Spirit about a church lasting any length told by a Jewish leader. The Church for Two Thousand Years.
34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while.
35 And he said to them, Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.
37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too Perished, and all who followed him were Scattered.
38 So in the present case I tell you, Keep Away from these men and let them alone, for IF this Plan or this undertaking is of Man, IT will Fail; 39 but if it is of God, you Will Not be Able to Overthrow them. You might even be found Opposing God! So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
38 "So in the present case I tell you, Keep Away from these men and let them alone, for IF this Plan or this undertaking is of Man, IT will Fail; 39 but if it is of God, you Will Not be Able to Overthrow them. You might even be found Opposing God!
GEE ALL THROUGH OUT HISTORY.
I just Believe it all comes from an existing visible Church first for two thousand years.
Also in around the third century to fourth century like we have succession of Presidents from Washington to LIncoln to all the way to Obama(Forgive me for mentioning! LOL!!) recorded for history we also have a believer record the successor of Peter.
Augustine of Hippo:
Letter 53 (A.D. 400) For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!
The SUCCESSER of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius..
Notice successor of Peter.
Yet, the Lampstand is still there for Two thousand years. Strange indeed. Why does it last so long!! Hmmmm
What do you do when the indifferent are indifferent to YOUR concerns? One can only pray for them. Forcing yourself on them or nagging won't break the walls their indifference.
The first thing we must do is see them as individuals, not as a group. No one ever said evangelism would be easy or the effects immediate.
I used to share your opinion on the anti-Catholics and that provoked me to anger and sin. Now I simply feel sorry for them. If their positions are based upon ignorance of the Truth or minds shaped by the way they were raised then kindness, not aggression will eventually change their hearts. If they are motivated by hatred then they are harmed by their words far more than we and they are in need of our prayers.
If we are only kind to those who are kind to us then we are exercising an indirect form of egotism. Where the Holy Spirit is you will find the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we are not exhibiting these we should ask ourselves why and reassess ourselves>
You have heard that it was said, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:43-48
Scripture can never stand alone, if the person reading is a believer.
Scripture are letters written by GOD through people from different lands. So, even when one reads, it’s source is still only GOD.
Scripture should be read in faith. When read with faith in GOD, then, it can not possibly make a believer want to just stay home or stand on it alone.
After or while reading in faith, there is the presence JESUS left with us called the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can come whenever it wants to the person that believes from their heart. Some are blessed to know the HOLY SPIRIT; and some are not. This is a key thing in faith. The ones that hear the Holy Spirit, “ seem” to have an independence that the ones that dont hear the holy spirit can’t understand. Yet, the ones that are issued out of the church building by the Holy Spirit, still have to hold to the laws of GOD in the WORD that built the church building and the church of faith in our hearts. There is no difference.
Reading and believing, then scripture is never standing “ alone”.
When a person just reads scripture without faith? Well, then, not are they living on scripture alone, but, they are living on ego. Scripture enforces us to go to and be a “ church” in some way by spreading the news, living according to the WORD, changing our lives, being baptized by water and or spirit, and making fellowship with others; building or not can do this.
When a believer reads with faith, then, the Holy Spirit will send them to a church building or to become some kind of church themselves in their travels, because of their need to spread the good news of CHRIST!
It’s all about faith and believing in the heart that is first. After, this will implement obedience and the path of the “ church “ of worship that we must attend; building or body ( our temple), or both.
In HIS Holy Word, we will find those that are in the church building.
Then we find those that are a “ walking “ church “, who are issued to go from country to country, door to door to spread His Holy Name! Making fellowship with so many.
With the technology that GOD has allowed today, there is fellowship every where; as you all here can easily realize. Some of you dont go to the same church building, some dont go to the church building at all, and some just read the WORD. But, all here are talking over GOD’s beautiful and loving Word. All ( prayfully and hopefully) trying to inspire and edify one another. All we pray and hope are doing their best to live according to HIS word ( only GOD knows)! Here, on this site, is a church for some of you.
Some of the prophets went to the sanctuaries, some did not. Some of the disciples went to church buildings and some did not.
JESUS did ministry in and out of the church buildings.
Still on this earth, do we realize that there are people that can’t read, write, walk, and dont have the means to do so. There are believers that GOD sends to meet them and pray with them and tell them who JESUS is. They believe in their heart, die, and are saved.
For example, like the criminal on the cross with JESUS that repented and JESUS said that he will be in heaven. What church did he go to?? Where was he baptized once he believed? He was in the church of the spirit.
Both churches are equal. Just obey where GOD sends you and be a judge of no one’s process.
All have to believe, pray, and listen to what GOD has them to do and make sure it aligns with HIS WORD!!
Church buiding brings fellowship, edification, correction, accountability, and inspiriation. The walking church brings fellowship, edification, correction, accountability, and inspiration.
Both are amazing!!
Where ever we are, GOD has to be in our hearts or it doesnt matter where we sit, listen, read, or live; there is no church if it’s not in the heart.
If HE sends you and tells you to be obedient by constantly going to a church building every day or every Sunday, then you must do it.
If HE tells a person that they can read and follow in their home. Then must go out and spread the good news to others. Then they must do that.
It all aligns with GOD’s WORD and WILL which we will all follow; those that believe. Even those that dont believe are used by HIM. HE is in control. Not us.
25 Yahweh descended in the cloud. He spoke to him and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the spirit came on them they prophesied — but only once.
26 Two men had stayed back in the camp; one was called Eldad and the other Medad. The spirit came down on them; though they had not gone to the Tent, their names were enrolled among the rest. These began to prophesy in the camp.
27 A young man ran to tell Moses this. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’
28 Joshua son of Nun, who had served Moses since he was a boy, spoke up and said, ‘My lord Moses, stop them!’
29 Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous on my account? If only all Yahweh’s people were prophets, and Yahweh had given them his spirit!’
19 ‘In truth I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them.’
15 Please give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea and to Nympha and the church which meets in her house.
40 For on my holy mountain, on the high mountain of Israel — declares the Lord Yahweh — is where the whole House of Israel, everyone in the country, will worship me. There I shall accept and there expect your presents, your choicest offering and all your consecrated gifts.
41 I shall welcome you like a pleasing smell when I bring you back from the peoples and gather you from the countries throughout which you have been scattered, and through you I shall display my holiness for all the nations to see.
24 It makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church,
25 of which I was made a servant with the responsibility towards you that God gave to me, that of completing God’s message,
26 the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his holy people.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-16
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come with any brilliance of oratory or wise argument to announce to you the mystery of God.
2 I was resolved that the only knowledge I would have while I was with you was knowledge of Jesus, and of him as the crucified Christ.
3 I came among you in weakness, in fear and great trembling
4 and what I spoke and proclaimed was not meant to convince by philosophical argument, but to demonstrate the convincing power of the Spirit,
5 so that your faith should depend not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
6 But still, to those who have reached maturity, we do talk of a wisdom, not, it is true, a philosophy of this age or of the rulers of this age, who will not last long now.
7 It is of the mysterious wisdom of God that we talk, the wisdom that was hidden, which God predestined to be for our glory before the ages began.
8 None of the rulers of the age recognised it; for if they had recognised it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
9 but it is as scripture says: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualise; all that God has prepared for those who love him;
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through the Spirit, for the Spirit explores the depths of everything, even the depths of God.
11 After all, is there anyone who knows the qualities of anyone except his own spirit, within him; and in the same way, nobody knows the qualities of God except the Spirit of God.
12 Now, the Spirit we have received is not the spirit of the world but God’s own Spirit, so that we may understand the lavish gifts God has given us.
13 And these are what we speak of, not in the terms learnt from human philosophy, but in terms learnt from the Spirit, fitting spiritual language to spiritual things.
14 The natural person has no room for the gifts of God’s Spirit; to him they are folly; he cannot recognise them, because their value can be assessed only in the Spirit.
15 The spiritual person, on the other hand, can assess the value of everything, and that person’s value cannot be assessed by anybody else.
16 For: who has ever known the mind of the Lord? Who has ever been his adviser? But we are those who have the mind of Christ.
14 How much more will the blood of Christ, who offered himself, blameless as he was, to God through the eternal Spirit, purify our conscience from dead actions so that we can worship the living God.
15 This makes him the mediator of a new covenant, so that, now that a death has occurred to redeem the sins committed under an earlier covenant, those who have been called to an eternal inheritance may receive the promise.
16 Now wherever a will is in question, the death of the testator must be established;
17 a testament comes into effect only after a death, since it has no force while the testator is still alive.
18 That is why even the earlier covenant was inaugurated with blood,
19 and why, after Moses had promulgated all the commandments of the Law to the people, he took the calves’ blood, the goats’ blood and some water, and with these he sprinkled the book itself and all the people, using scarlet wool and hyssop;
20 saying as he did so: This is the blood of the covenant that God has made with you.
21 And he sprinkled both the tent and all the liturgical vessels with blood in the same way.
22 In fact, according to the Law, practically every purification takes place by means of blood; and if there is no shedding of blood, there is no remission.
23 Only the copies of heavenly things are purified in this way; the heavenly things themselves have to be purified by a higher sort of sacrifice than this.
24 It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was merely a model of the real one; he entered heaven itself, so that he now appears in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 And he does not have to offer himself again and again, as the high priest goes into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own,
26 or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began. As it is, he has made his appearance once and for all, at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself.
27 Since human beings die only once, after which comes judgement,
28 so Christ too, having offered himself only once to bear the sin of many, will manifest himself a second time, sin being no more, to those who are waiting for him, to bring them salvation.
1 Give a welcome to anyone whose faith is not strong, but do not get into arguments about doubtful points.
2 One person may have faith enough to eat any kind of food; another, less strong, will eat only vegetables.
3 Those who feel free to eat freely are not to condemn those who are unwilling to eat freely; nor must the person who does not eat freely pass judgement on the one who does — because God has welcomed him.
REMINDER ( the heart):
1 So no matter who you are, if you pass judgement you have no excuse. It is yourself that you condemn when you judge others, since you behave in the same way as those you are condemning.
2 We are well aware that people who behave like that are justly condemned by God.
3 But you — when you judge those who behave like this while you are doing the same yourself — do you think you will escape God’s condemnation?
4 Or are you not disregarding his abundant goodness, tolerance and patience, failing to realise that this generosity of God is meant to bring you to repentance?
5 Your stubborn refusal to repent is only storing up retribution for yourself on that Day of retribution when God’s just verdicts will be made known.
6 He will repay everyone as their deeds deserve.
7 For those who aimed for glory and honour and immortality by persevering in doing good, there will be eternal life;
8 but for those who out of jealousy have taken for their guide not truth but injustice, there will be the fury of retribution.
9 Trouble and distress will come to every human being who does evil — Jews first, but Greeks as well;
10 glory and honour and peace will come to everyone who does good — Jews first, but Greeks as well.
11 There is no favouritism with God.
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