Is the Bible Enough?

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Beginning with the Reformation, Protestants have stuck to the principle that everything revealed by God as necessary for salvation is found in the Bible alone, without any need for the Church to show the authentic meaning of Scripture. The idea was a new one, and it was expressed in Latin by Martin Luther as sola scriptura, which means "by Scripture alone".

It is strange that the Bible nowhere says this. On the contrary, Scripture affirms the importance and authority of Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. ("Magisterium" means the teaching authority of the Church, i.e. the Bishops and those they ask to help them.)

Where does it do this?

     1. Matthew 16:18-19: "On this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

    2. Matthew 18:17-18: "If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

    3. Luke 10:16: "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

    4. 1 Thessalonians 2:13: "And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God."

As well as these New Testament passages which demonstrate that the New Testament does not say that the Bible alone is enough, we see that in the Old Testament God gave his priests authority to interpret his laws and issue decisions that were binding. You will find an example of this in Deuteronomy 17:8-13.

In the same way, the Lord gave the ministers of the Church authority to teach (Mt. 28:30); to interpret Scripture (Acts 2:14-36), where Peter explains authoritatively various passages from the Scriptures; to bind and loose (Mt. 18:18; Acts 15:28-29), and otherwise exercise teaching authority in his name (Lk 10:16)

Jude 10-11: "But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error, and perish in Korah's rebellion."

The "rebellion of Korah" (Korah was a great-grandson of Abraham) that Jude speaks of is described in Numbers 16:1-35. Korah and his cronies rebelled against the lawful authority of Moses and the priests.

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