Search the Scriptures

Pure Words Sufficient
Blind Eyes The Logos
Unbroken Doctrine of the Trinity
To What Purpose? Tradition

Pure Words

What does the Bible say about the Bible? This question sounds circular. Atheists wonder why it is asked; your feet will never touch ground walking on a tread-mill. Bible quotes cannot establish the Bible's authority. Nevertheless Catholics and other liberals raise objections on this point. For these groups, who have some remnant attachment to the sacred scriptures, as well as for the children who feed on God's word, it is worthwhile to collect those verses which speak to this point.

The Bible says that God's words are "pure:"

  • “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
  • (Psalm 12:6).

  • “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.”
  • (Psalm 119:140).

  • "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
  • (Proverbs 30:5-6).

'Pure' means without admixture of foreign material. There are plenty of quotations in the Bible, expressing the thoughts of such unreliable speakers as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, Nebuchadnezzar, and the fool whose says in his heart 'there is no God,' also the complaints and lamentations of men like David and Jeremiah, as well as the very words of God: 'thus saith the Lord.' Nevertheless these disparate threads are woven together by one Author's hand into a harmonious whole. One Author inspired the whole:

  • “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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 Timothy 3:14-17).

The word translated 'inspiration' is 'θεοπνευστος,' 'God-breathed.' The men who wrote the books of the Bible were not operating off of their own store of information, rather,

  • “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
  • (2 Peter 1:21).

Some inspired authors, like Luke, report calmly sitting down and doing research; but even these are serving as an instrument, in the way Philo describes, "He, with great energy, forbids his disciples to apply themselves to such sources of knowledge; and he says, that if they are truly pious they shall not be deprived of a proper knowledge of the future; but that some other prophet [Deuteronomy 18:18] will appear to them on a sudden, inspired like himself, who will preach and prophesy among them, saying nothing of his own (for he who is truly possessed and inspired, even when he speaks, is unable to comprehend what he is himself saying), but that all the words that he should utter would proceed from him as if another was prompting him; for the prophets are interpreters of God, who is only using their voices as instruments, in order to explain what he chooses." (Philo Judaeus, On Monarchy, Book I, Chapter IX).

In Philo's view, the prophet's words are truly God's words, not his own, his very mind being displaced:

"As long therefore as our mind still shines around and hovers around, pouring as it were a noontide light into the whole soul, we, being masters of ourselves, are not possessed by any extraneous influence; but when it approaches its setting, then, as is natural, a trance, which proceeds from inspiration, takes violent hold of us, and madness seizes upon us, for when the divine light shines the human light sets, and when the divine light sets this other rises and shines, and this very frequently happens to the race of prophets; for the mind that is in us is removed from its place at the arrival of the divine Spirit, but is again restored to its previous habitation when that Spirit departs, for it is contrary to holy law for what is mortal to dwell with what is immortal." (Philo Judaeus, Who is the Heir of Divine Things? Chapter LIII).

Like they say, "The Bible is the oldest book in publication whose author is still alive." (Making Sense of the Bible, David Whitehead, p. 14). God used men like David as an instrument:

  • “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.”
  • (2 Samuel 23:1-2).

  • “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.”
  • (Acts 1:16).

The human authors of scripture are mouth-pieces speaking for God, as Jeremiah experienced:

  • “Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.”
  • (Jeremiah 1:9).

As we have seen, neither is this revelation above human understanding: "For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand [επιγινωσκω]." (2 Corinthians 1:13 NKJV). This word means:

1) to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly
1a) to know accurately, know well
2) to know
2a) to recognise
2a1) by sight, hearing, of certain signs, to perceive who a person is
2b) to know i.e. to perceive
2c) to know i.e. to find out, ascertain
2d) to know i.e. to understand (Online Bible Dictionary).

Modern Roman Catholics and several main-line Protestant churches routinely deny these Bible truths in the present day:

Bishop Spong
Bishop John Shelby Spong
Bishop Robinson
Bishop Robinson

Therefore there has had to be a division:

Scroll of the Law

  • “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
  • (John 5:39).

  • “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
  • (Acts 17:10-11)

Believers search the scriptures and find therein the way of life. Unbelievers scoff and find fault.


Is the Bible adequate on its own terms, or does it require supplementation from outside? The scriptures are given for instruction:

  • “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
  • (Romans 15:4).

  • “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”
  • (Psalm 19:7-11).

  • “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life. . .”
  • (Proverbs 6:23).

  • “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.”
  • (Psalm 119:98-99).

  • “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
  • (Psalm 119:105)

  • “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
  • (Psalm 119:130).

Since it is scripture itself which enlightens and makes wise the simple, what role is there for 'inspired' interpreters?— though some have volunteered for the position. The law itself illumines; the law itself instructs. Some want to shine a flashlight on the sun, thinking to be helpful. God's word is not distant and inaccessible:

  • “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”
  • (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).

  • “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.”
  • (Psalm 119:18-20)

There is no missing piece of the puzzle:

  • “For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end; . .”
  • (2 Corinthians 1:13).

This information is not given at random, but purposefully:

  • “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
  • (John 20:31).

That purpose is accomplished:

  • “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
  • (Isaiah 55:11).

  • “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”
  • (Psalm 18:30).

God's word does not require the encircling 'protection' some have given it. The Lord has already spoken concerning that tendency:

  • “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
  • (Matthew 15:9).

Blind Eyes

To be sure not all see what is in front of their faces. The Catholic Church believes it is the solution to that problem, but there is no solution:

  • “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”
  • (Isaiah 6:9-10).

The Logos

There are many scriptures which are clearly speaking, not only of the written scroll or book we hold in our hands, but also of a Person, who is the 'Word of God.' This Person is eternal and active:

  • “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
    Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.”
  • (Psalm 119:89-90).

  • “The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
  • (Isaiah 40:6-8).

The Word was God Identity
Philo Judaeus Creation
Anomalies Life-Giver
Lamp Unto My Feet Interaction
Theophanic Angel God's Reason
God's Wisdom

The Word of God 
The Logos

Parable of the Sower, John Everett Millais

It is mystifying that Catholics perceive this as a way out of their difficulty: they can continue to express contempt for the written Word of God, compiling 'Bible contradictions' alongside the atheists, while professing reverence for the eternal Word of God. But does scripture apply the same title to both to demean the written Word of God, or to exalt it? There is a connection between these two things which is not accidental nor adventitious; you cannot lift up the one while disparaging the other.

  • “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
  • (Hebrews 4:12-13).

When they find their 'Bible contradictions,' they obey neither the word of God nor tradition; like the critic Lactantius derides, they are way off-base: "For contradiction is as far removed from the sacred writings as he was removed from faith and truth." (Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, Book 5, Chapter 2). Scripture is a treasure-house that is available for free. Sit down and sort through your jewels, all at no cost:

Need a Bible?

Download a freebie!

     Online Bible
   The Sword Project


  • “If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; . . .”
  • (John 10:35).

Jesus said that the "scripture cannot be broken." This is where the liberals and the Catholics part company from Him. In Jesus' world the scriptures must be "fulfilled"; things will happen a certain way, and we know this because thus they were prophesied: "How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done?" (Matthew 26:54). But the way liberals and Catholics read the Bible hangs on the assumption that scripture can never be "fulfilled" unless it was written after the events it describes: this is why they date the second and third parts of Isaiah to the return from the exile. Otherwise, how could Isaiah possibly know about events which did not take place during his lifetime? If Jesus is right, then their way of studying the Bible is worthless. And if Jesus is Lord, how can He be mistaken on this point?

The Doctrine of the Trinity

Roman Catholics often advance the doctrine of the Trinity in defense of their deconstruction of scripture. This doctrine, they claim, is not present in scripture nor derivable from scripture. Is their allegation true? What is the doctrine, and from whence does it come?

Biblical Proof:

Only One GodThe Father is GodThe Son is GodThe Holy Spirit is God

The four propositions proven above: that

a.) There is only One God;
b.) The Father is God;
c.) The Son is God;
d.) The Holy Spirit is God.

-- are at the heart of the fifth-century Athanasian Creed: "So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.  And yet they are not three gods: but one God." All four are scriptural; none can be confuted or discarded without doing violence to scripture.

At this the Catholics protest, 'Yes, but there are heretics; surely there would be no Arians unless their ideas were every bit as defensible from the Bible as the ideas of the orthodox!' How defensible are their ideas, which revolve around equivocation on the census of 'the gods?' Their merit is more apparent to Roman Catholics than to Bible-believers.

To What Purpose

What is ultimately the work of the Word of God?:

  • “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
  • (James 1:21).

From Robertson's Word Pictures:

"The implanted word (τον εμφυτον λογον). This old verbal adjective (from εμφυω to implant, to grow in), only here in N.T., meaning properly ingrown, inborn, not εμφυτευτον (engrafted). It is "the rooted word" (verse #18), sown in the heart as the soil or garden of God (#Mt 13:3-23; 15:13; 1Co 3:6)."

Verse 18 refers to the seminal word: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures." (James 1:17-18), as Peter also says: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:23).

The living Word of God is Jesus Christ. The seed the farmer sows, on rocky soil or on rich soil, is His gift and vehicle.

Gospel Authors


In discrediting the truth, coherence and perspicuity of the Bible, modern Roman Catholics are simultaneously discrediting the testimony of the early church writers, who held a far higher view of God's word. These early writers did not stress the supposed inadequacy and need for human interpretation of God's revelation, they found it sufficient.

"But since holy Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us, therefore recommending to those who desire to know more of these matters, to read the Divine word, I now hasten to set before you that which most claims attention, and for the sake of which principally I have written these things." (Letter to the Bishops of Egypt, Chapter 1:4, Athanasius, p. 626 ECF 2.04).

They found it without error:

  • “You have searched the Scriptures, which are true, which were given by the Holy Spirit; you know that nothing unrighteous or counterfeit is written in them." (First Clement, Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians, Section 44, The Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoot, Harmer and Holmes, p. 53).

  • “We must try therefore and that most straitly, writings on the Divine doctrines, and if any should go along with the sacred Scriptures and speed its clear and most unerring way therein, let it be acclaimed by us too with testimonies to its orthodoxy: but if it form its language cold and astray and amiss, yea rather giver of destruction to the readers, let it hear from every mouth, 'But ye are uttering and telling us another error '.”
  • (Cyril of Alexandria, Five Book Contradiction of the Blasphemies of Nestorius, Tome 1, page 2).

  • “There is, brethren, one God, the knowledge of whom we gain from the Holy Scriptures, and from no other source. For just as a man, if he wishes to be skilled in the wisdom of this world, will find himself unable to get at it in any other way than by mastering the dogmas of philosophers, so all of us who wish to practice piety will be unable to learn its practice from any other quarter than the oracles of God. Whatever things, then, the Holy Scriptures declare, at these let us took; and whatsoever things they teach, these let us learn; and as the Father wills our belief to be, let us believe; and as He wills the Son to be glorified, let us glorify Him; and as He wills the Holy Spirit to be bestowed, let us receive Him. Not according to our own will, nor according to our own mind, nor yet as using violently those things which are given by God, but even as He has chosen to teach them by the Holy Scriptures, so let us discern them." (Hippolytus, Against the Heresy of One Noetus, Chapter 9).

  • “We however, who extend the accuracy of the Spirit to the merest stroke and tittle, will never admit the impious assertion that even the smallest matters were dealt with haphazard by those who have recorded them, and have thus been borne in mind down to the present day: on the contrary, their purpose has been to supply memorials and instructions for our consideration under similar circumstances, should such befall us, and that the examples of the past might serve as rules and models, for our warning and imitation.”
  • (Gregory of Nazianzen, Orations, Oration 2:105, p. 434, ECF_2.07).

Instead of finding scripture so lacking in clarity as to be worthless without an authoritative interpreter (themselves), as do modern Roman Catholics, the early writers agreed with the Bible that God's word makes wise the simple:

  • “Tarry not, I entreat, for another to teach thee; thou hast the oracles of God. No man teacheth thee as they; for he indeed oft grudgeth much for vainglory’s sake and envy. Hearken, I entreat you, all ye that are careful for this life, and procure books that will be medicines for the soul. If ye will not any other, yet get you at least the New Testament, the Apostolic Epistles, the Acts, the Gospels, for your constant teachers. If grief befall thee, dive into them as into a chest of medicines; take thence comfort of thy trouble, be it loss, or death, or bereavement of relations; or rather dive not into them merely, but take them wholly to thee; keep them in thy mind.”
  • (John Chrysostom, Homily on Colossians, Homily 9, ECF 1.13).

There are few things more obnoxious about modern Roman Catholics than the list of 'Bible Contradictions' they carry about with them. Most Bible-believers have seen a similar list — indeed, the same list — from the atheists. Did the early writers believe there were any? No more than their modern heirs:

  • "And thus it is fully demonstrated that there is no obscurity or contradiction in the holy Gospels or between the evangelists, but that everything is plain."
  • (Epiphanius, Panarion, Section IV, 31 [51], 15.13, p. 41).

  • "And I have often said, and do not deny, that God has appeared to men. For if I deny the sacred scriptures I am not truthful, but guilty of abandoning the truth — or, if I reject the Old Testament, I am no longer a member of the catholic church. . . Is there any contradiction in the sacred scripture? Never! Prophets and apostles did see God, and this is true. . . And there can be no discrepancy in the sacred scripture, and no text will be found in contradiction to another."
  • (Epiphanius, Panarion, Section VI, [50] 70, 7.1-9, pp. 408-409).

Irenaeus heard only harmony, if we avoid the number-crunching favored by the gnostics:

"If, therefore, according to the rule which I have stated, we leave some questions in the hands of God, we shall both preserve our faith uninjured, and shall continue without danger; and all Scripture, which has been given to us by God, shall be found by us perfectly consistent; and the parables shall harmonize with those passages which are perfectly plain; and those statements the meaning of which is clear, shall serve to explain the parables; and through the many diversified utterances [of Scripture] there shall be heard one harmonious melody in us, praising in hymns that God who created all things." (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 2, Chapter 28, Section 3, p. 797, ECF_1_01).

The same was true of Origen:

"But the Word is the one Shepherd of things rational which may have an appearance of discord to those who have not ears to hear, but are truly at perfect concord. For as the different chords of the psalter or the lyre, each of which gives forth a certain sound of its own which seems unlike the sound of another chord, are thought by a man who is not musical and ignorant of the principle of musical harmony, to be inharmonious, because of the dissimilarity of the sounds, so those who are not skilled in hearing the harmony of God in the sacred Scriptures think that the Old is not in harmony with the New, or the Prophets with the Law, or the Gospels with one another, or the Apostle with the Gospel, or with himself, or with the other Apostles. But he who comes instructed in the music of God, being a man wise in word and deed, and, on this account, like another David — which is, by interpretation, skillful with the hand — will bring out the sound of the music of God, having learned from this at the right time to strike the chords, now the chords of the Law, now the Gospel chords in harmony with them, and again the Prophetic chords, and, when reason demands it, the Apostolic chords which are in harmony with the Prophetic, and likewise the Apostolic with those of the Gospels. For he knows that all the Scripture is the one perfect and harmonised instrument of God, which from different sounds gives forth one saving voice to those willing to learn, which stops and restrains every working of an evil spirit, just as the music of David laid to rest the evil spirit in Saul, which also was choking him. " (Origen, Second Book of the Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew, p. 679, ECF_1_10).

Like today's fundamentalists, Augustine believed there could be no contradiction in scripture: "In order to leave room for such profitable discussions of difficult questions, there is a distinct boundary line separating all productions subsequent to apostolic times from the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. The authority of these books has come down to us from the apostles through the successions of bishops and extension of the Church, and, from a position of lofty supremacy, claims the submission of every faithful and pious mind. If we are perplexed by an apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, The author of this book is mistaken; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood. In the innumerable books that have been written latterly we may sometimes find the same truth as in Scripture, but there is not the same authority." (Augustine, The Complete Works of Augustine, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book XI, Chapter 5, Kindle location 178268).

"But who can fail to be aware that the sacred canon of Scripture, both of the Old and New Testament, is confined within its own limits, and that it stands so absolutely in a superior position to all later letters of the bishops, that about it we can hold no manner of doubt or disputation whether what is confessedly contained in it is right and true; but that all the letters of bishops which have been written, or are being written, since the closing of the canon, are liable to be refuted if there be 786 anything contained in them which strays from the truth, either by the discourse of some one who happens to be wiser in the matter than themselves, or by the weightier authority and more learned experience of other bishops, by the authority of Councils; and further, that the Councils themselves, which are held in the several districts and provinces, must yield, beyond all possibility of doubt, to the authority of plenary Councils which are formed for the whole Christian world; and that even of the plenary Councils, the earlier are often corrected by those which follow them, when, by some actual experiment, things are brought to light which were before concealed, and that is known which previously lay hid, and this without any whirlwind of sacrilegious pride, without any puffing of the neck through arrogance, without any strife of envious hatred, simply with holy humility, catholic peace, and Christian charity?" (Augustine, On Baptism Against the Donatists, Book 2, Chapter 3, Section 4).

"For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honor only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error." (Augustine, Letter 82 to Jerome, Section 3).

The prevalence of liberal thought in today's Roman Catholic church is foreign, not only to the early church, but even to the medieval church, which believed, "Hence it is plain that nothing false can ever underlie the literal sense of Holy Writ." (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, P(1)-Q(1)-A(10)). Thomas Aquinas explains why there cannot be any error in the historical sense of scripture. Error involves the divergence of two things, a.) the narrative, and b.) the underlying historical facts which form the raw material for the narrative. But both fall under the same management:

"I answer that, The author of Holy Writ is God, in whose power it is to signify His meaning, not by words only (as man also can do), but also by things themselves. So, whereas in every other science things are signified by words, this science has the property, that the things signified by the words have themselves also a signification." (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, P(1)-Q(1)-A(10)).

Any merely human narrator can be surprised or disappointed at how things turn out, so he must improvise and 'fix' the story to make it come out right. But if God had wanted it to come out differently, it would have come out differently because He would have made it so. Benedict XVI explains in his scholarly work on Jesus of Nazareth that 'Matthew' (some unknown person writing after 70 A.D.) had to 'fix' the story to make it conform to prophecy: "Matthew is certainly not recounting historical fact here. . .Here we may agree with Joachim Gnilka, who argues that Matthew, going beyond historical considerations, is attempting a theological etiology with which to account for the terrible fate of the people of Israel in the Jewish War, when land, city and Temple were taken from them. . ." (Joseph Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth, excerpt quoted on "Irish Catholic" web-site). But God, who is both the Narrator and also holds history in His hand, can never possibly be in that position, of fudging or trimming to make history and prophecy coincide. He writes both the story and the facts. How could they ever diverge?

Justin Martyr thought the Bible cannot contradict itself:

“And I answered, 'If you spoke these words, Trypho, and then kept silence in simplicity and with no ill intent, neither repeating what goes before nor adding what comes after, you must be forgiven; but if [you have done so] because you imagined that you could throw doubt on the passage, in order that I might say the Scriptures contradicted each other, you have erred. But I shall not venture to suppose or to say such a thing; and if a Scripture which appears to be of such a kind be brought forward, and if there be a pretext [for saying] that it is contrary [to some other], since I am entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another, I shall admit rather that I do not understand what is recorded, and shall strive to persuade those who imagine that the Scriptures are contradictory, to be rather of the same opinion as myself.'” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 65).

Is he on to something, or are people like Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll on to something?

An elder brother concurs with the Christians on this point: "And there are evidences of these assertions to be seen in the holy scriptures; which it is impossible should be convicted of false witness. . ." (Philo Judaeus, On Abraham, Chapter XLIV).

Those modern-day Roman Catholics who insistently impute error and contradiction to the Bible have diverged, not only from Bible-believing Christianity and the early church tradition, but also from their own 'infallible' authorities:

  1. “But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. . . For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican.” (Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, On the Study of Holy Scripture, Section 20, Papal Encyclicals Online, November 18, 1893).

  2. “These errors are being daily spread among the faithful. Lest they captivate the faithful's minds and corrupt the purity of their faith, His Holiness, Pius X, by Divine Providence, Pope, has decided that the chief errors should be noted and condemned by the Office of this Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition. . .Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error.” (Error 11, Pope Pius X, Lamentabili Sani, Papal Encyclicals Online, July 3, 1907, Syllabus Condemning the Errors of the Modernists).

How long can a house so far divided against itself stand?

Scripture remains the saint's criterion of truth:

  • “He, then, who of himself believes the Scripture and voice of the Lord, which by the Lord acts to the benefiting of men, is rightly [regarded] faithful. Certainly we use it as a criterion in the discovery of things. What is subjected to criticism is not believed till it is so subjected; so that what needs criticism cannot be a first principle. Therefore, as is reasonable, grasping by faith the indemonstrable first principle, and receiving in abundance, from the first principle itself, demonstrations in reference to the first principle, we are by the voice of the Lord trained up to the knowledge of the truth.
  • “For we may not give our adhesion to men on a bare statement by them, who might equally state the opposite. But if it is not enough merely to state the opinion, but if what is stated must be confirmed, we do not wait for the testimony of men, but we establish the matter that is in question by the voice of the Lord, which is the surest of all demonstrations, or rather is the only demonstration; in which knowledge those who have merely tasted the Scriptures are believers; while those who, having advanced further, and become correct expounders of the truth, are Gnostics. Since also, in what pertains to life, craftsmen are superior to ordinary people, and model what is beyond common notions; so, consequently, we also, giving a complete exhibition of the Scriptures from the Scriptures themselves, from faith persuade by demonstration.
  • “And if those also who follow heresies venture to avail themselves of the prophetic Scriptures; in the first place they will not make use of all the Scriptures, and then they will not quote them entire, nor as the body and texture of prophecy prescribe. But, selecting ambiguous expressions, they wrest them to their own opinions, gathering a few expressions here and there; not looking to the sense, but making use of the mere words. For in almost all the quotations they make, you will find that they attend to the names alone, while they alter the meanings; neither knowing, as they affirm, nor using the quotations they adduce, according to their true nature.
  • “But the truth is not found by changing the meanings (for so people subvert all true teaching), but in the consideration of what perfectly belongs to and becomes the Sovereign God, and in establishing each one of the points demonstrated in the Scriptures again from similar Scriptures.”
  • (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 7:16).

Gregory of Nyssa explains why custom and tradition cannot be used to resolve theological disputes: namely, that both sides can claim its sanction. Some people accused him of heretical innovation because he used the formula 'One God in three hypostases:'

"But they now accuse us of innovation, thus formulating their charge against us because we confess three Persons [hypostases]; and they charge us with asserting one Goodness, and one Power, and one Godhead. And not without truth do they say this, for we do so assert. But they accuse and make this charge, that their custom does not contain this and Scripture does not so formulate. What then do we reply to this? We do not consider it right that the custom which prevails among them be made the law and canon of orthodox doctrine. For if custom is valid in furnishing proof of orthodoxy, it is entirely possible for us also to hold forth in our defense the custom prevailing among us. And if they reject this custom, it is not at all necessary for us, either, to follow them." (Gregory of Nyssa, Letter CLXXXIX, p. 53 Loeb edition, St. Basil, The Letters, Volume III).

In other words, what is the point of citing Origen and Dionysius? The other faction need say no more than, 'they were heretics.' So the contest comes down to God's word:

  • “Accordingly, let the divinely-inspired Scripture arbitrate between us, and the doctrines of whichever side are found to be in harmony with the words of God, to that side will surely go the verdict of the truth.”
  • (Gregory of Nyssa, Letter CLXXXIX, pp. 53-55 Loeb edition, St. Basil, The Letters, Volume III).

The idea of the primacy of scripture has never entirely lacked witnesses, though in some eras they were more flammable than in others:

"Therefore, it follows that these doctors are themselves anathema, and it is clear that religious faith is not held by them so far as these points are concerned unless they prove them plainly or show them to be founded in sacred Scripture or in clear reasoning, for Augustine says, Ep. ad Hieron., Decretum, Dist. 9: 5: 'I have learned to give only to those writers, who are now called canonical, honor and regard, so that I would not dare to believe that any of them erred in writing. But other writers I will read as far as they seem to excel by sanctity or true doctrine but I will not regard as true what they say because they have felt it to be true, but because they have been able to convince me by other writers, or by canonical or probable reasons, that they do not differ from the truth.'

"Inasmuch as these doctors are not writers of sacred Scripture—it being granted that they excel by their sanctity—the faithful are not, therefore, to think a thing is true because they feel it to be true unless by other writers of Scripture or for canonical or probable reasons they prove that these points do not deviate from the truth." (Jan Hus, The Church, Chapter XIII).

 Click To Bookmark This Page!