Objections to Sola Scriptura

How can we know the Bible is God's Word unless someone (the Church) tells us it is?
The church testifies that Scripture's 66 books are authoritative, but it does not make them so. Scripture is self-authenticating (2 Tim 3:16), and does not need an external authority to make them authoritative. A minister doesn't make a wedding by his authority, he announces that it happened and is now true; same with the church speaking of Scripture.

Doesn't the apostles' verbal or oral-tradition authority continue in the Church? See 2 Thessalonians 2:15 - "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter."
Apostolic authority continues only in Scripture, with the close of the canon, not with oral traditions as well. When the apostles died, they did not pass on authority to heal or to make verbal pronouncements equal to scripture - this is inferred from 2 Cor 12:12. The signs that marked apostles are not done by the pope or by supposed miracle workers today. (God certainly heals today, but no longer gives certain individuals the gift of healing, as he gave apostles.)

"Protestants told me that losing Sola Scriptura would destroy my love for the Scriptures. I have found the exact opposite."
That a Roman Catholic can love the Scriptures doesn't disprove sola scriptura.

Which is the ultimate authority: the Bible, or the Church?
Protestants say the Bible. Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy say the Church.


  1. More importantly than Protestants saying one thing and Roman / Eastern Orthodoxy saying another is that truth is true objectively. The Scriptures actually are authoritative and infallible; whereas, the church's authority is limited and the church authorities are not now, and never have been, infallible.

  2. I'd like to comment on some of what was said:

    (1) I don't see anywhere where Scripture says it is 'self authenticating', and Christian history goes against that notion as well. Luther had strong doubts about many books of Scripture (e.g. Hebrews, 2 Peter, etc), especially James. The Role of the authoritative Church is not to make a book inspired, but rather to authoritatively clarify should there be disputes. Think about it, what stops Luther from doubting James while you consider it inspired? Nothing. Only an authoritative Church can close the issue by authoritatively saying James is Scripture and Christians are bound to hold that.

    (2) You said Apostolic authority continues only in Scripture, yet I see no Biblical evidence for this. In fact, it goes against the 2 Thes 2:15 testimony. Where does the Bible say after the Apostles die all that will be left is Scripture? That's too big of an issue to simply assume.

  3. Nick,

    1. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" - 2 Tim 3:16. This is clearly self-authenticating. As to which books to include in the canon, just because isolated figures question Scriptural books, or include apocryphal ones occasionally doesn't undo the church's widescale acceptance of the canon we now have. There are more than the two choices you pose: authoritative church or chaos. There is also a church testifying almost universally to a higher authority than herself.

    2. "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." - Rev 22:18-19. I would also point to this article for more on this.

  4. Hi Steve,

    I'm not sure I understand your first point. The term "self-authenticating" means each individual book reveals itself to be "Scripture" in some way. Thus, 2 Tim 3:16 can't be self-authenticating, considering no such list or criteria is given for knowing which books belong.

    The reference you gave in your second paragraph is also not clear to me. The reference is speaking of the Book of Revelation, and that says nothing about whether Apostolic teaching was confined only to Scripture.