"Scripture Alone" Is Insufficient

A prominent Roman Catholic priest recently reasserted the Catholic Church’s belief that Scripture alone—apart from the interpretation and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church—is insufficient to bring a person to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In an article titled “Bible Alone?”, Father David J. Endres addressed the issue of Sola Scriptura—a hallmark of the Protestant Reformation—and argued that “since Scriptural passages can be cited to uphold various beliefs, even contradictory ones, certain passages, especially those from which doctrine can be deduced, must be interpreted by the Church” (Catholic Digest, “Bible Alone?” 10-31-17). He cited various arguments to support his assertion (the first century church did not possess the complete canon; the apostle John desired to speak face-to-face to believers rather than write everything he wanted to tell them, etc.), and yet each argument denies what the Scripture says concerning itself—“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). And, nowhere in Scripture do we find a particular religious system to be the arbiter of Truth. Yet despite this fact, Endres concludes, “Catholics, while affirming the importance of the Scriptures, do not view the Bible alone as sufficient for an understanding of revelation.” He adds, “The Bible and tradition together are the font of God’s self-communication to humanity.” This is the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and Bible-believing Christians today must understand that this belief has not changed.