What is Scripture alone?
Scripture alone is the Protestant doctrine which says that Scripture is the sole rule of faith. It was originally known as Sola Scriptura. The word “sola” is the Latin word for “alone” and the word “scriptura” means “scripture”. In English it is called the doctrine of Scripture alone or sometimes, the Bible alone.
In layman’s terms, Scripture alone is the doctrine which says that if you have problems understanding some Christian idea, you don’t turn to the Church for answers, you turn to the Bible. How many times have you heard a Protestant say?
If it is not in the Bible, I don’t believe it!
This is why. Their purported authority is Scripture alone. Let me give you an example of how this usually plays out.
I’ll take the Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory for an example. If you mention Purgatory to a Protestant, he will immediately pounce and say, “Where is the word, purgatory, in the Bible? Unless you can show it to me, I won’t believe it, because if it isn’t in the Bible, it is an unbiblical invention of man!”
Take any other Catholic Doctrines and they’ll do the same. “Where’s the Pope in the Bible?”, they’ll ask. “Where’s the Eucharist in the Bible?” “Where’s the Communion of Saints?” On and on, just fill in the blank, “Where’s the (Catholic Doctrine)_________ in the Bible?”
It sounds logical, right? In fact, many Catholics have been hoodwinked into believing that there is something wrong with Catholic Doctrine because you won’t find the words, “purgatory, pope, or eucharist” in the Bible. But, it isn’t a logical conclusion.
The fact is that there is far more evidence for purgatory, pope, eucharist and any other Catholic Doctrine than there is for Scripture alone. Even though the words are absent, the Catholic Doctrines are confirmed in Scripture.
Example, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. When you tell Protestants that this verse is speaking of Purgatory, they immediately retort, “That doesn’t say purgatory!”
Granted, the word “purgatory” is not there. But this excerpt describes a place in the after life where men’s souls are purged with fire. So, if that's not Purgatory, what is it?
In the Bible vs not in the Bible
There is a big difference between what Catholics and Protestants consider to be “in the Bible”. Let’s go back to our example of Purgatory. As you can see, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 describes a place in the after life that corresponds to what we call Purgatory. Therefore, we believe that the Catholic Doctrine is confirmed in the Bible. For Catholics, a Doctrine may be in Scripture, directly explained or merely implied.
For Protestants, the line between what is in the Bible and what is not in the Bible is kind of gray. That is because they purport or claim that their sole rule of faith is Scripture. But in effect, their sole rule of faith is the gray matter between their ears. Let me give you an example. You won’t find many Protestants to deny that the Trinity is a true Doctrine. But have you ever heard a Protestant say, “Where is the word, Trinity, in the Bible?” It’s not in the Bible. But they believe it. So, you won’t hear that objection from them on that Doctrine.
Here’s another example. Where does the Bible say, “Scripture is the sole rule of faith?” It's not in the Bible, but Protestants believe it. That brings us to the three objections to Scripture alone which Protestants can’t overcome.
Scripture alone is not in Scripture at all
1st. Where does the Bible say, “Scripture is the sole rule of faith”?
It doesn’t. It doesn’t even imply it.
Believe it or not! The doctrine which says that everything you believe must be in the Bible, is itself, not in the Bible. Scripture alone doesn't meet its own criteria.
Scripture alone contradicts Scripture
Scripture actually says that;
1. We must listen to the Church (Matt 18:17).
Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
2. We must obey our Priests (Heb 13:17).
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
3. We must keep Traditions (2 Thess 2:15).
2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Scripture does not say we must keep Scripture alone. Scripture alone contradicts the Word of God.
Protestants contradict Scripture alone
I saved this for last because you don’t need Scripture to prove it. The way that Protestants behave doesn't make sense in light of their purported belief in Scripture alone. Think about it, Protestants have made an entire market system out of telling us how to interpret the Bible. If they believe Scripture is the sole rule of faith, why do they do that? After all, they used Scripture alone to deny authority to the Catholic Church. Only to substitute their own? They object that the Catholic Church puts itself above Scripture by interpreting Scripture. Yet, they don’t hesitate to interpret Scripture themselves, ever. Really?
Next time a Protestant tries to tell you what Scripture says, ask them, “Isn’t Scripture the sole rule of faith?” The answer will be, “Yes!” Then follow up with, “then why are you telling me what to believe? If you really believed in Scripture alone, you would simply hand me a Bible. But you don’t believe in Scripture alone. In fact, you are putting yourself above Scripture by interpreting Scripture.”
So, even Protestants can’t keep their own doctrine of Scripture alone.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.