Sola Scriptura is the Protestant doctrine that relies on the bible alone as the sole rule of faith for Christians. There is no outside authoritative body that can settle differing opinions, explanations or teaching of the word of God written on the pages of this most holy book. Each individual is autonomous in their understanding and interpretation of the bible.
The result of this flawed doctrine is the formation of some 40,000 plus protestant denominations in existence today. Each one of these denominational churches believes something different regarding their interpretation and understanding of the bible and in their definition of the rule of faith; the resulting disagreements cause separation among them. The fact is that they cannot agree on a universal doctrine and come to a common truth. This end result is a testament to the failure of sola scriptura.
Let’s look at some of the problems that make the doctrine of sola scriptura unreliable and inconsistent in its theology.
The first question I would ask is this, how can all the various denominations come to an agreement on the teaching of their faith, and come together as the embodiment of all truth concerning the gospels?
Well the answer is They Can’t.
Keep in mind also that each individual has the right to interpret the bible as they understand it and believe that they were guided by the Holy Spirit to come to their own understanding and interpret the readings accordingly.
The problem is that there could be multiple differing interpretations among them, and each individual can claim that their understanding of a passage is correct. I am not saying that the person cannot come to some understanding of the content they read, and we should ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to aid in our comprehension, but the fact is that there are some very difficult passages that need guidance to understand properly as St. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:16-17
(2 Pet 3:16-17) There are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures. Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability.
(2 Pet 1: 20) Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation.
The doctrine of sola scriptura is defined as follows: scripture is the sole rule of faith, and in order for an article of faith to be substantiated as truth it must be supported by the bible itself.
The problem here is that nowhere in the bible is it written or that an assumption can even be made to support the doctrine of the bible alone as the sole rule of faith.
Protestants will use the following passage of 2Timothy 3:16 to validate their support for this doctrine:
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful, (profitable KJV) for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work”. (The scripture being referred to in this passage is from the Old Testament, the New Testament as we know it today did not exist in the time of the Apostles).
This is just one example of a misinterpretation of a bible passage. Somehow they interpret the word useful or profitable as meaning the same as necessary or absolute.
There is no hint what so ever in this passage to suggest that scripture alone is the sole rule of faith.
There is however a passage written in the bible that tells us that the church is the upholder and defender of truth:
1Timothy 3:15 “if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth”.
History teaches us that this doctrine of sola scriptura has no biblical foundation. From the time of the apostles, the early Church Fathers and the saints, there is no evidence of its teaching, no existing documents or any other historical evidence to support that this doctrine ever existed. As a matter of fact sola scriptura and its accompanying doctrine of sola fide (salvation by faith alone) were born out of the protestant reformation in the early 16th century by Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism.
So as you can see and again supported by history, that before this man made doctrine come into existence the Catholic truth managed just fine for 1600 years and continues to this present day as the pillar and bulwark of the truth in the church established by Jesus himself.
Jesus made a promise to his church, the apostles and their successors in the following passage:
(Jn. 16: 15-19) “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also.
The Commissioning of the Disciples.
Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
In conclusion the spirit of truth lives in the Catholic Church, through apostolic succession from Peter to our present day Pope, Bishops and Priests. It is this church armed with the scriptures that has the authority to teach, explain and interpret the word of God and does so with the promised Holy Spirit as her guide to come to the fullness of truth.
Note: This commentary was an exercise in learning. I do not pretend to be much of a writer, but I do find it beneficial to use a forum like this to help comprehend and gain a deeper understanding by putting my thoughts and what I have learned down in the form of the written word. It really does help with retention of the content being studied.
If someone comes across this article on my blog or website and it inspires them to investigate the truth for themselves and helps lead them back to the Catholic Church, well that would just be fantastic.