Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An Articulation of Sola Scriptura: The Biblical Basis for the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures


By S. S.


Sola Scriptura is the belief that the Holy Scriptures are the sole, sufficient, infallible rule of faith. The importance of affirming and defending this doctrine stems partly from the need to know God personally for salvation and to know his will in order to carry it out in our lives:

“This is what the LORD says: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

“‘If you love me, you will obey what I command’… Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him’… Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.’” John 14:15, 21, 23-24

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3

The Holy Bible teaches that there are grave consequences in failing to know and obey God:

“my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” Hosea 4:6


What Sola Scriptura Does Not Teach

Before presenting the biblical basis for Sola Scriptura, we first need to explain what Sola Scriptura does not teach or deny. Sola Scriptura:

1. Does not deny that God’s Inspired Word was transmitted orally.

When there were inspired prophets and apostles walking this earth, God’s inspired word was being transmitted both orally and through written letter:

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” 1 Corinthians 2:13

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15

After the death of the last Apostle, God consummated the revelation of his word and has preserved it in the inspired Scriptures.

2. Does not deny the ultimate importance of the Holy Spirit.

It is only by the Holy Spirit’s illumination that a person is able to understand and believe in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the one who enables a person to accept the inspiration, sufficiency, infallibility and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures: 

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:13-14

“Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:3

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:17-18

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth… I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-just as it has taught you, remain in him.” 1 John 2:20, 26-27

3. Does not deny the use of General Revelation.

General Revelation refers to God revealing himself through creation and conscience:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”  Psalm 19:1-4

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:18-20

“(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” Romans 2:14-16

Yet General Revelation does not save apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. God saves through the Spirit along with the preaching of the Gospel:

for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’ Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:13-17

4. Does not deny the importance of pastors, teachers and evangelists.

“And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?” 1 Corinthians 12:28-29

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it… It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:7, 11-15

What Sola Scriptura teaches is that all pastors, teachers and evangelists are subject to God’s ultimate authority, the God-breathed Scriptures:

“As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:10-11

5. Does not claim that all of its parts are equally clear and understandable.

“Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:15-16

Rather, it teaches that the message of salvation is clear enough that the person empowered by the Spirit is able to understand and accept it. As Paul told the Corinthians:
“For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end;” 2 Corinthians 1:13
Furthermore, the Scriptures exhort the man of God to make sure that he carefully and rightly divides the word of truth:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

6. Does not claim that the Scriptures are exhaustive, that everything God ever said or did are contained within the Holy Bible.

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25


What Sola Scriptura Does Teach

It teaches that:

1. The Holy Scriptures are the sole, infallible rule of faith by virtue of it being breathed out or inspired by God. As such it is completely sufficient in and of itself to thoroughly equip Christians in all things necessary for salvation and sanctification.

2. The Bible is the only certain norm, since it is the only revelation that can be demonstrated to have come from inspired men of God. This cannot be said of oral traditions.

3. Finally, the central focus of the Scriptures is to reveal and make known the risen Lord and immortal Savior Jesus Christ, God’s eternally beloved Son, who alone grants eternal life to all who believe. 

The following citations demonstrate that the foregoing points are thoroughly scriptural in nature.

“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31

John states that not everything Christ did was recorded, and yet what has been recorded is sufficient to obtain eternal life. If Scriptures are sufficient to lead a person to eternal life, then nothing else is needed.

“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19-21

Peter claims that the Holy Scriptures were produced as a result of God’s Holy Spirit moving men of God to write. Hence, the Scriptures are both divine and human in origin. In other words, the Bible is God’s Word which is communicated through human vessels, using human language.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are ABLE (ta dunamena) to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God (theopneustos) and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent (artios), equipped (exertismenos) for EVERY GOOD WORK.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV

Paul teaches that:

A.     The Scriptures make one wise for salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus.

The word translated here as “able” conveys the idea that Scriptures have an inherent ability, an inherent sufficiency to accomplish its purpose. Again, if the Scriptures are capable of leading one to salvation, what need is there for anything else?

B.     The Scriptures are God-breathed or breathed out by God. In other words, the Scriptures originate from God and not from man, although God used men to write it.

C.     The Scriptures thoroughly, completely furnish or equip the man of God not just for some or many good works, but also for EVERY good work that is necessary for the Christian life.

Exertismenos is the participial form of exartizo. Thayer’s Lexicon defines it as “to complete, finish, to furnish perfectly.”  Louw & Nida, in their Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, Volume 1, p. 680, write:

“… to make someone completely adequate or sufficient for something- ‘to make adequate to furnish completely, to cause to be fully qualified, adequacy.”

Thayer defines artios as “complete, perfect.”

Bauer&Gingrich&Danker’s A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christianity Literature, second edition, defines it as “complete, capable, proficient=able to meet all demands.”

Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones with the assistance of Roderick McKenzie, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1940, states:

artios , a, on (os, on Aristid.Quint.1.25): ( [arti] ):--complete, perfect of its kind, suitable, exactly fitted, a. allêloisi sponduloi Hp.Art.45 ; artia bazein speak to the purpose, Il.14.92, Od.8.240; hoti hoi phresin artia êidê thought things in accordance with him, was of the same mind with him, Il.5.326, Od.19.248; artia mêdesthai Pi.O.6.94 ; meet, right, proper, Sol.4.40, Thgn.946; a. eis ti well-suited for . . , IG14.889.7 (Sinuessa); artiôtatên echein taxin most perfect, Philostr.VS1.21.3. (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2315683)

This last point is extremely important and crucial in demonstrating the sole sufficiency of the Scriptures. If the Scriptures are able to make the man of God complete or perfect, as well as thoroughly adequate or sufficient for EVERY GOOD WORK, then what else does he need apart from the God-breathed revelation?

In fact, can those who deny Sola Scriptura produce a good work that is necessary for either salvation or sanctification that are not found in the Scriptures? Obviously not, since if they could they would be falsifying Paul’s claim here and attributing error to the inspired Scriptures.

4. The Holy Bible teaches that what God says the Bible says and what it says God says. In other words God’s words and the words of Scripture are one and the same.

A. What God says the Bible says

Example 1

Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.’” Genesis 12:1-3 RSV

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’” Galatians 3:8 RSV

Example 2

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let my people go, that they may serve me… but for this purpose have I let you live, to show you my power, so that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.’”’” Exodus 9:13, 16 RSV

For the scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.’” Romans 9:17 RSV

B. What the Bible says God says

Example 1

“Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24 RSV

“He answered, ‘Have you not read that HE who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”?’” Matthew 19:4-5 RSV

Example 2

“Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain?” Psalm 2:1 RSV

“And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say by the Holy Spirit, “Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things?”’” Acts 4:24-25 RSV

Example 3

“For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit.” Psalm 16:10 RSV

“And as for the fact that HE raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, HE spoke in this way, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ Therefore he says also in another psalm, ‘Thou wilt not let thy Holy One see corruption.’” Acts 13:34-35 RSV



SOME OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED

We next address three main objections often leveled against the sole, sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures. It is claimed that if 2 Timothy 3:14-17 proves the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, then it proves too much. It proves that the NT is not needed since the Scripture that Timothy was familiar with was the OT.

This argument misses the point. Paul is not talking about the canon of Scripture, but about the origin and purpose of Scripture. Since the Holy Scriptures originate from God they are able to accomplish God’s purpose of equipping the saints. In principle, this would apply to EVERY book that God inspires or breathes out, not just to the OT canon. In fact, Paul himself provides evidence for this interpretation in his first epistle to Timothy:

“For THE SCRIPTURE says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’” 1 Timothy 5:18

Paul quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 AND LUKE 10:7:

“Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.” Luke 10:7

Here, Paul calls Luke’s Gospel Scripture and places it on the same level of Moses’ writings! Additional evidence that Paul is citing Luke's Gospel can be seen from a comparison of the Greek:

Luke 10:7 –         axios gar ho ergates tou misthou autou.
1 Timothy 5:18 – axios ho ergates tou misthou autou.
   
Paul also claims that his own writings are inspired:

"If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am WRITING to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored." 1 Corinthians 14:37-38

"Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus… Therefore, he who rejects THIS instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2, 8

"But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by LETTER from us." 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15 NASB

Finally:

"If anyone does not obey our instruction IN THIS LETTER, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed." 2 Thessalonians 3:14

When we keep in mind that these letters all preceded the writing of 1 and 2 Timothy, we can safely infer that these epistles would have also been included among the Scriptures that Paul said were breathed out by God; an inference which the apostle Peter himself makes:

“Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:15-16

Noted Evangelical Scholar Douglas J. Moo comments:

The implicit point Peter is making emerges from his claim that the false teachers distort Paul's letters ‘as they do the other Scriptures.’ The word ‘other’ (loipos) shows that Peter considers the letters of Paul to belong to the category of ‘Scripture.’ Some scholars think that this means no more than that Peter considered Paul's writings to be authoritative. But the word ‘Scriptures’ (graphai) ALWAYS REFERS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT TO THOSE WRITINGS CONSIDERED NOT ONLY AUTHORITATIVE BUT CANONICAL- in a word, it refers to the Old Testament… Peter therefore implies that the letters of Paul have a status EQUIVALENT to that of the canon of the Old Testament itself. (Moo, The NIV Application Commentary: 2 Peter, Jude [Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids MI 1996], p. 212; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Therefore, it becomes rather evident that 2 Timothy 3:16 is not limiting inspiration to the OT canon but also includes ALL the writings that God would breathe out, such as the 27 books of the NT.

The second argument leveled against the sufficiency of Scriptures is the assertion that the Bible itself refers to other things that are necessary for Christian maturity such as perseverance, purity etc. Cf. James 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:21

Some go so far as to claim that Ephesians 4:11-15 states that the apostles, prophets, teachers and evangelists which Christ gave the Church is what brings about the complete maturity and unity of Christ’s body, not the Scriptures.

Apart from the fact that none of these passages use the Greek words artios or exartizo, this actually proves our point. How would a person know that perseverance, purity and all the different offices that Christ instituted for the Church are essential for Christian maturity if the Scriptures hadn’t stated this? In other words, since it is in the God-breathed Scriptures that we find these qualities listed as necessary for successful Christian living, this then proves that the Bible contains everything needed for the Christian life! There is nothing else that needs to be added to it.

The third and final argument used to undermine Sola Scriptura is that the Bible supposedly does not teach this doctrine. It is stated that the Bible exhorts believers to follow traditions which have been passed on either orally or through letter:

“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.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15 ESV

A couple of responses are in order. First, the context shows that the traditions that Paul had in mind weren’t teachings such as the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, the Bodily Assumption of Mary etc., but to the Gospel:

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ESV

Elsewhere, Paul refers to the tradition of passing on the Gospel which was in accord with the Holy Scriptures:

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

And since the Gospel has been inscripturated within the inspired pages of the New Testament, nothing else is needed.

Second, Paul speaks of the traditions which have been passed on. This means that any tradition claiming to be Apostolic in nature must be shown to have come from the Apostles and their immediate companions. The only way to do this is to consult the God-breathed Scriptures since these are the only records we have that can be shown to have come from the Apostles and their followers.

 

Appendix A 

1 Corinthians 4:6 and the Sufficiency of Scriptures


In 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul commanded the Corinthian believers to imitate his example, and that of Apollos, by not going beyond what is written, which is simply another way of saying that believers must adhere to the principle of Sola Scriptura. Seeing how important this particular text is we have decided to include various translations of it here.

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. NIV

And these things, brethren, I did transfer to myself and to Apollos because of you, that in us ye may learn not to think above that which hath been written, that ye may not be puffed up one for one against the other, Young's Literal Translation

And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. KJV

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. NKJV

Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not [to go] beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other. ASV

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. NASB

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. ESV

and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, so that through us you may learn "not to go beyond what is written," so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other. NET

I have applied all this to myself and Apol'los for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. RSV

I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so that you may learn through us the meaning of the saying, "Nothing beyond what is written," so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of one against another. NRSV

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the saying: "Nothing beyond what is written." The purpose is that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over another. Holman Christian Standard

But, these things, brethren, have I transferred unto myself and Apollos, for your sakes, that, in us, ye might learn the lesson - Not beyond the things that are written…! that ye do not puff yourselves up, individually, for this one against that. The J.B. Rotherham Emphasized Bible

But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes: that in us you may learn that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written. Douay-Rheims

Now these [things], brothers [and sisters], I transformed [fig., applied] to myself and to Apollos for your* sakes, so that in us you* shall learn not to be thinking beyond what has been written, so that you* shall not become conceited one on behalf of one against the other. Analytical-Literal Translation (ALT)

Now I have applied all this [about parties and factions] to myself and Apollos for your sakes, brethren, so that from what I have said of us [as illustrations], you may learn [to think of men in accordance with Scripture and] not to go beyond that which is written, that none of you may be puffed up and inflated with pride and boast in favor of one [minister and teacher] against another. Amplified Bible

Now I have applied these things, brothers, to myself and to Apollos as an illustration for your benefit, so that you might learn to "follow the written message." [Note: This is thought to have been a common way of referring, in that day, to the importance of adhering to Old Testament Scripture]. New Testament: An Understandable Version

And, brothers, I transferred these things to myself and Apollos because of you, that in us you may learn not to think above what has been written, that you not be puffed up one over the other. Literal Translation of the Holy Bible

And these [things], brothers, I have applied to myself and Apollo on your account, in order that you learn among you the [thing] not above what is written, in order that you not be being puffed up above the other against the other. The New Testament: A Faithful Translation

Brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself as examples so you could learn through us the meaning of the saying, "Follow only what is written in the Scriptures." Then you will not be more proud of one person than another. New Century Version

Now in what I have said here, brothers, I have used myself and Apollos as examples to teach you not to go beyond what the Tanakh says, proudly taking the side of one leader against another. The Complete Jewish Bible

Brothers and sisters, I have applied this to Apollos and myself for your sake. You should learn from us not to go beyond what is written in Scripture. Then you won't arrogantly place one of us in opposition to the other. GOD'S WORD

I have applied all this to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that you can learn how the saying, 'Nothing beyond what is written' is true of us: no individual among you must become filled with his own importance and make comparisons, to another's detriment. New Jerusalem Bible

Now brothers, I have applied these things to myself and to Apollos on your account, so that from us you might learn not to be more than what was written, so that none would be puffed up about one person, against another. A Non-Ecclesiastical New Testament

Now these things, brothers, I have transferred in figure to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us the matter of not going beyond what has been written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one, against the other. The Recovery Version New Testament

These and, brethren, I figuratively applied to myself and Apollos on account of you, that by us you may learn that not above what is written to think, so that no one on behalf of the one you may be puffed up against the other. Emphatic Diaglott

Now, brothers, these things I have transferred so as to apply to myself and A·pol´los for YOUR good, that in our case YOU may learn the [rule]: "Do not go beyond the things that are written," in order that YOU may not be puffed up individually in favor of the one against the other. NWT (The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible) 

I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, so that you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written, 2 so that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over against another. New American Bible

The footnote for the above translation states:

2 [6] That you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written: the words "to go" are not in the Greek, but have here been added as the minimum necessary to elicit sense from this difficult passage. It probably means that the Corinthians should avoid the false wisdom of vain speculation, contenting themselves with Paul's proclamation of the cross, which is the fulfillment of God's promises in the Old Testament (what is written). Inflated with pride: literally, "puffed up," i.e., arrogant, filled with a sense of self-importance. The term is particularly Pauline, found in the New Testament only in 1 Cor 4:6, 18-19; 5:2; 8:1; 13:4; Col 2:18 (cf the related noun at 2 Cor 12:20). It sometimes occurs in conjunction with the theme of "boasting," as in 1 Cor 4:6-7 here. (http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/1corinthians/1corinthians4.htm#foot2; bold emphasis ours)

Just to be clear here, the Apostle wasn’t warning the Corinthians against accepting traditions which he and others preached orally. Rather, the point he is making in this verse is that anything which contradicts what is written must be rejected, since all teaching that is related to the faith must conform and perfectly agree with God’s written Word. Hence, not going beyond what is written simply means that no teaching or tradition can conflict with the inspired Scriptures.
 

Appendix B

The Bible on Itself


We conclude our short discussion by presenting a list of passages that highlight some of the many qualities of God’s Word. We are quite aware that many of these passages do not refer exclusively to God’s written Word. Nonetheless, these descriptions equally apply to the Holy Bible since it is indeed the very revealed and inscripturated Word of God. All citations taken from the English Standard Version:

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;” Psalm 19:7-8

“Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” Psalm 119:89

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

“I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.” Psalm 138:2

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6

“And when they say to you, ‘Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.” Isaiah 8:19-20

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

“For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’ For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:8-9

“Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.” Luke 16:17

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24

“If he called them gods to whom the word of God came--and Scripture cannot be broken-” John 10:35

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” John 12:47-48

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” John 15:3

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

“that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,” Ephesians 5:26

“and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Ephesians 6:17

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

“Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” James 1:18

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” 1 Peter 1:22-23

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

Recommended Reading


The following books are essential reading:

1. David T. King, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume I: A Biblical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura, Christian Resources, Inc., October 2001, ISBN 1893531023.
2. William Webster, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume II: An Historical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura, Christian Resources, Inc., October 2001, ISBN 1893531031.
3. William Webster, David T. King, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume III: The Writings of the Church Fathers Affirming the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura, Christian Resources, Inc., October 2001, ISBN 1893531058.
4. Sola Scriptura! The Protestant Position on the Bible by Don Kistler, general editor, Soli Deo Gloria Pubns, June 2003, ISBN: 1573580287.

The first 3 books can be ordered from here: http://christiantruth.com/store_books.php


The last one can be purchased at this web site: http://store.aomin.org/


3 comments:

  1. THREE EXAMPLES OF WHY MEN SHOULD USE THE BIBLE ALONE

    Should mankind use the Bible and the Bible alone for teaching faith and practice? If God's truth is the template for you, then the Bible should be your source for truth.

    THREE EXAMPLES OF WHY EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCES ARE NOT RELIABLE SOURCES FOR GOD'S TRUTH.

    1. Quote from Pope Francis May 22, 2013: "The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not evil. All of us. "But Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.' Yes he can..."The Lord has redeemed all of us,all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us not just Catholics Everyone! Father, the atheist? Even the atheists. Everyone! ....We must meet one another doing good. ' But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist! But do good:we will meet one another there."

    2. Quote from Billy Graham October 20, 1997: "I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ......He's calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world,or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ,because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in heaven."

    3. Quote from Doctrine of Covenants -section 130:22 (Mormon supposed divine revelations): The "Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were is not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.


    GOD'S WORD IS FOUND IN THE BIBLE AND THE BIBLE ALONE.


    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who the heck is Douglas J. Moo? And how is he smarter than the Pope of Rome?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Douglas J. Moo is one of the foremost Paul scholars today. He has produced many high level technical commentaries from some of the most respectable sets such as NICNT, BCNT, PNTC, ZEC etc. He knows more on these issues than the pope because instead of focusing on later Latin writings of irrelevant men you guys honor, he focuses 100% on careful exegesis of the Greek text of the New Testament and all the surrounding material connected to it.

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