Concerning Sola Scriptura

Those who believe in Sola Scriptura assert that the Bible is the sole infallible rule of faith of the church. Adherents to this idea often site 2 Timothy 3:16 to support this view. The scripture says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”.

I just want to make a brief point about scripture and inspiration. When we are reading any book, including the Bible, we should remember that what we are reading is simply a set of markings on a page. There is no meaning intrinsic in these symbols; in order for them to have any meaning we need God to mediate between the markings on the page and our minds, to bring comprehension and understanding.

So I am saying that no understanding exists within material things. It would be absurd to suggest that the Bible somehow understands itself. Meaning only arises through the work of God (who is all-knowing) in our minds as we read.

2 comments

  1. Hi Steven!

    Thank you for an interesting post on Sola Scriptura.

    I noticed that you have quoted from 2 Timothy 3:16. The verses 14 -17 give a fuller view, and according to the Orthodox Study Bible notes, Paul is issuing a reminder of the depth of Timothy’s training, which combined both oral and written instruction. A part of this tradition was scripture and Paul was referring to the OT, or Torah, since the NT had not been compiled at that time.

    From a purely rational viewpoint, how can this piece, and other pieces of scripture, endorse all the rest of scripture? Consider Leviticus 20, which details the penalties for lawbreakers of the children of Israel, or the resident aliens dwelling in Israel:

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+20

    However you try to explain it, the naked truth is that some of the children of Israel would execute other children of Israel, or aliens who live among them, if they broke the laws as detailed in Leviticus 20. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is licensed murder, and goes against the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder.” I suspect that these punishments were humanly constructed, not God inspired, and were imposed by Moses to make the Israelites comply with the ten commandments. This is merely my opinion and I will not be offended if you and others disagree with me.

    Another point to consider is what we mean by God inspired scripture. When God revealed the truth to Isaiah, (796-767 BC), it is likely that the Trinity ‘informed’ the prophet in a way without words, which are a human construct. Also, the scrolls from which the book of Isaiah was derived, were probably written about 125 BCE, several centuries later. The link below is rather interesting:

    http://history.stackexchange.com/questions/10276/is-there-any-evidence-that-the-book-of-isaiah-was-written-before-cyrus

    My point is that anyone who participates with the Trinity in an extraordinary way would have tremendous difficulty to convey in words what he had experienced and what it means. I’m not sure that it can be done, faithfully; nor that God would necessarily help. I believe, then, that what we have is a sketchy description of that inspired experience, and that God’s revelation comes through participation with Him and not through words, however inspired. We believe in the Trinity for our own reasons and not necessarily due to the scriptures.

    Peace and love to all,

    Dinos

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