Reply to Lucas Banzoli: 2 Tim 3:16 & Sola Scriptura

Reply to Lucas Banzoli: 2 Tim 3:16 & Sola Scriptura May 31, 2022

Lucas Banzoli is a very active Protestant evangelical apologist in Brazil, who writes quite a bit in opposition to the Catholic Church and Catholic doctrine. He has a Master’s degree in theology, a degree and postgraduate work in history, a license in letters, and is a history teacher, author of 25 books, as well as blogmaster for six blogs. He’s also active on YouTube.

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The words of Lucas Banzoli will be in blue. I used Google Translate to transfer his Portugese text into English.

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This is a reply to Lucas’ article, “2ª Timóteo 3:14-17 e a Sola Scriptura” [2nd Timothy 3:14-17 and Sola Scriptura (Abridged Version)] (9-11-12).

One of the strongest passages in favor of the biblical Christian principle of Sola Scriptura is found in 2 Timothy 3:14-17, where Paul says:

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (RSV) But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [15] and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Here Paul attests and confirms the complete sufficiency of the Scriptures, for he says that the Holy Letters:

“…are able [dunamai] to instruct you for salvation” (v.15)

Paul here employs the Greek word dunamai, which denotes power. He is saying that Scripture is powerful enough to make man wise for salvation. “Sage” here is the translation of the Greek word sophizo, which means:

4679 σοφιζω sophizo of 4680; TDNT – 7:527,1056; v 1) to make wise, teach. 2) to become wise, to have understanding.

No Catholic has any problem with any of that. We (overwhelmingly) believe in the material sufficiency of Scripture (all that is necessary for salvation is found in Holy Scripture, either explicitly, implicitly (in kernel or primitively developed form), or by direct deduction from other passages. I just engaged in a lengthy exchange about this with Brazilian Portugese apologist Pedro França Gaião, entitled, “Material Sufficiency of Scripture & Anti-Catholic Sophistry” (5-23-22). So far (after a week, he has chosen not to counter-reply, and to instead participate in a series of insults and ad hominem attacks against Catholics. Apparently, he’s not confident enough to defend his theological positions. ‘Tis a pity.

Secondly, before we go further, we must carefully define exactly what sola Scriptura is. Lucas doesn’t seem to do that anywhere in this paper, yet it’s crucial to do so, because there are so many misunderstandings on both sides of the debate. Here is the standard definition:

Reformed Baptist apologist James White (already mentioned by Fr. James in his video) defines sola Scriptura as I have myself defined it for 31 years as a Catholic:

The doctrine of sola scriptura, simply stated, is that the Scriptures alone are sufficient to function as the regula fidei, the infallible rule of faith for the Church. (The Roman Catholic Controversy, Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1996, 59; the original was all italics)

Reformed Protestant Keith A. Mathison concurs:

Scripture . . . is the only inspired and inherently infallible norm, and therefore Scripture is the only final authoritative norm. (The Shape of Sola Scriptura, Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, 2001, 260)

So does the late Protestant apologist Norman Geisler:

What Protestants mean by sola scriptura is that the Bible alone is the infallible written authority for faith and morals. (Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1995, 178; co-author, Ralph E. Mackenzie)

Lutheran pastor Jordan Cooper agrees as well:

Sola Scriptura . . . recognizes that there are many authorities, but Scripture is the sole infallible authority, so Scripture has preference over all other authorities we might have. (“An Explanation of Sola Scriptura,  3-11-19)

As does Baptist pastor Gavin Ortlund:

Sola Scriptura has always been maintained as the view that the Bible is the only infallible rule for theology. (“Sola Scriptura DEFENDED”, 12-15-20).

London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689): The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, . . . [very first sentence].

Since Scripture is the only infallible norm for theology, then it follows that the Church (including the papacy and ecumenical councils) and tradition (including apostolic succession) can never be infallible. This proposed exclusivity of infallible authority in the Bible is what the proponents of sola Scriptura cannot prove (and have not ever proven) from Holy Scripture itself. Yet it is essential in its definition, and this is their burden to establish, in order to prevent their view from becoming self-defeating.

Failing to prove these things, they then do a sort of sleight of hand and act as if proving material sufficiency of the Bible (which Catholics agree with) in Scripture is proving sola Scriptura. It’s not. They are two different things. So what we see is an endless parade of Protestants proving material sufficiency of Scripture and casually assuming that this is the same thing as sola Scriptura. It’s a pathetic, pitiful display.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 is almost always considered the quintessential proof of sola Scriptura, and Lucas acts no differently.  But it doesn’t prove any such thing, as I will show. Even Reformed Baptist pastor and five-point Calvinist Gavin Ortlund admitted that it doesn’t, in his video, “Sola Scriptura DEFENDED” (12-15-20):

I’d also admit that verses like 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, and John 10:35 don’t in themselves get you to sola Scriptura, . . . [between 13:55-16:05 on the tape].

Lutheran pastor Jordan Cooper takes this lack of biblical proof even further in his video, “A Defense of Sola Scriptura (3-12-19):

I think the question that we have is: do we have to find a particular Scripture that says Scripture is the only authority? And I just don’t think we have to. We don’t. There’s nothing in — you can’t find — in any of Paul’s letters, for example, . . . “by the way, Scripture is the only authority and traditions are not an authority and there is no magisterium that is given some kind of infallible authority to pass on infallible teachings.” It seems like a lot of Roman Catholic apologists think that for Protestants to defend their position, that they have to find a text that says that.” [1:39-2:14]

Protestants don’t have to find one text, but anything; several texts taken together, through deductive logic, that teaches such a thing. They can’t, and because they can’t, we see a remarkable, mind-boggling concession like this: a prominent Lutheran pastor and theologian admitting that the Bible doesn’t teach the central tenet of their rule of faith: the Bible as the only infallible authority. This being the case, he throws in the towel and claims that there is no necessity to even look for such (nonexistent) proofs. Protestants are determined to believe in this principle, even though it’s clearly not in the Bible. That makes it (plainly) a self-defeating belief. One of the two “pillars of the Reformation”: as Protestants call them (the other being sola fide: faith alone) isn’t in the Bible (nor do I think their other pillar is, either). It’s an extrabiblical tradition of men. But they seem not to care about this.

So Pastor Cooper, in light of this, does what Protestants always do: he says Scripture is uniquely inspired (of course it is; no one disagrees), and finds material sufficiency in the Bible and plays the illogical game of acting as if this is sufficient to in effect support sola Scriptura and the Protestant rule of faith and to refute the Catholic “three-legged” rule of faith (Bible-Church-Tradition). One can’t disprove a competing point of view by producing “evidence” for things that the other side already believes. But that’s the route Pastor Cooper decided to take:

I think, more so, what we have to do is just speak about the unique authority of Scripture and the unique nature of Scripture, and just to say that Scripture does present itself as God-breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16 is kind of the famous text that says this . . . [2:15-2:35]

Amazing, but not surprising to me (one who has been debating this issue for 31 years). Once closely scrutinized, Protestants really isn’t “totally biblical” at all. In fact, it’s far less Bible-based than Catholicism is. The present issue is a prime and classic example of that. And these two influential Protestant pastors on YouTube (nice and sincere and good and admirable Christian examples both, as men) spectacularly help to prove my point. See my full replies on this issue, to Gavin and Jordan.

I will now proceed to show that Lucas plays the very same game: he proves material sufficiency (that we agree with) but not sola Scriptura from Scripture. And this was his best chance for proving sola Scriptura, according to widespread Protestant proclamation that 2 Timothy 3:16 is the very best proof of that false and novel doctrine. If there is one passage that they always bring up, it’s this one.

In other words, Holy Scripture is powerful {dunamai} to make a man wise, understanding {sophizo} so that he may be saved {soteria}. If the Scriptures were not sufficient for salvation, Paul would not have said that they were powerful in making man wise for salvation. They would be incomplete, insufficient, without oral tradition. Therefore, they would not be powerful enough, or at most it would make the man of God wise for many things, but not for salvation, in case the Scriptures were insufficient for salvation, as Catholics preach. Then Paul says: “…all Scripture is inspired by God [theopneustos]” (v.16)

Yes, of course Scripture is sufficient in that way. Praise God! But it’s not the topic at hand. If Lucas wants to defend material sufficiency rather than sola Scriptura, he ought to indicate that in his title and an introduction. Instead, we get the same old tired routine.

“Divinely inspired” is the translation of “theopneustos”, which means:

2315 θεοπνευστος theopneustos of 2316

and a supposed derivative of 4154; TDNT – 6:453,876; adj

1) inspired by God.

1a) the content of the scriptures. Therefore, Paul points to Scripture as being divinely inspired (theopneustos) of God, not an extra-biblical oral tradition. And he continues: “…and profitable for teaching [didaskalia]” (v.16)

Yes, the Bible is inspired. DUH! Christianity 0101. After stating the obvious, and a thing that no serious, educated trinitarian Christian disagrees with, he then throws in the obligatory misrepresentation of the Catholic and Orthodox positions. Neither contends for an “inspired” Church or tradition: only an infallible Church and tradition (and that, under very particular specified conditions). This is the real debate. Is anything besides Scripture an infallible authority? Protestants say no. Catholics, Orthodox, and the Bible say yes.

“Teach” here is the translation of the Greek term “didaskalia”, which means:

1319 διδασκαλια didaskalia

from 1320; TDNT – 2:160,161; n f

1) teaching, instruction.

2) teaching.

2a) that which is taught, doctrine.

2b) teachings, precepts.

Indeed, Christians learn from the Bible. I’ve been intensely studying it and massively using it in my writings for these past 45 years. Again: DUH! What else is new?

Paul is pointing out the sufficiency of Scripture for the indoctrination of man for salvation. He had just pointed out the point of wisdom from the Scriptures for salvation (v.15), and now he points out that these very Scriptures are what constitute the Christian’s indoctrination (v.16), the teaching, the instruction, the precepts of genuine faith.

In other words, material sufficiency . . .

Again, the oral tradition is left out of the way and the Scriptures alone are pointed out as being the center of human indoctrination with a view to salvation.

This passage is specifically about the Bible. It doesn’t follow that everything it doesn’t mention is excluded. I’ll prove that from another of Paul’s inspired writings shortly.

And Paul goes on to say:

“…for the rebuke [elegchos]” (v.16)

“Rebuke” (or “reprove”) is the equivalent of the Greek “elegchos”, which means:

1650 ελεγχος elegchos

from 1651; TDNT – 2:476,221; no

1) verification, by which something is proved or tested.

2) conviction.

In other words, Paul points to Scripture as the material by which something is tested and verified to be true or false. The verification of the plausibility of any doctrine must pass through the sieve of Scripture, which Paul points out as being the “elegchos” of the Christian faith, that is, the means by which we verify (test, prove) whether the doctrine taught by someone proceeds or not. .

Yes, Scripture must be agreed with, in any proposed tenet of theology. No one disagrees. If something is contrary to Scripture: not harmonious with it, it’s false.

Catholics cannot say the same thing, for they care little or nothing whether a given doctrine is biblical or unbiblical, since their scapegoat (also known as oral tradition) serves as the basis for all non-biblical teachings. Biblical from them.

Nonsense. As I just said (repetition is a good teacher): “Scripture must be agreed with, in any proposed tenet of theology. . . . If something is contrary to Scripture: not harmonious with it, it’s false.” This is Catholic teaching, and always has been. There are truths not included in the Bible, but they must never ever contradict the Bible, like the extrabiblical tradition of men and falsehood sola Scriptura does.

In my apologetics, I defend absolutely every Catholic doctrine and belief as in harmony with Holy Scripture.

And Paul continues:

“…for correction [epanorthosis]” (v.16)

“Correction” here comes from the Greek word “epanorthosis”, which means:

1882 επανορθωσις epanorthosis

from a compound of 1909 and 461; TDNT – 5:450,727; n f

1) restoration to a correct state.

2) correction, improvement of life or character.

Scripture, being inspired revelation, can obviously correct false doctrine. That’s exactly what I do with regard to sola Scriptura. I utilize Scripture in order to correct the false and unbiblical doctrine of sola Scriptura. Hence my books: 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura (2012) [now also available in Portugese] and Pillars of Sola Scriptura: Replies to Whitaker, Goode, & Biblical “Proofs” for “Bible Alone” (2012).

Therefore, the improvement of our character in our Christian life, with a view to restoration to a right state, comes from the Holy Scriptures and not from any other writing or tradition.

The Bible simply never says that. Lucas is (like so many Protestant defenses of sola Scriptura) assuming without any evidence that what the Bible asserts about itself in this one passage somehow excludes anything other than itself. It does not.

It is the Scriptures that have the power to restore man to the image and likeness of God.

Yes, they do have that power. Amen!

And Paul goes further and says:

“…for instruction in righteousness” (v.16)

“Instruction in justice” is, in Greek, “paideia ho in dikaiosune”. The first word means an “instruction which points to growth in virtue” (Strong’s Concordance, 3809), and the second means:

1343 δικαιοσυνη dikaiosune

from 1342; TDNT – 2:192,168; n f

1) in a broad sense: state of what is as it should be, justice, a condition acceptable to God.

1a) doctrine dealing with the way in which man can reach a state approved by God.

1b) integrity; virtue; purity of life; justice; right thinking, feeling and acting.

2) in a restricted sense, justice or virtue that gives to each his due.

Of course it does all that, too. No Christian in their right mind denies this. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether sola Scriptura is true and biblical or not. But it sounds impressive, doesn’t it (if one doesn’t know that it is a total non sequitur)?

It is very clear, therefore, that the standard of justice (in doctrinal and moral terms, such as integrity, virtue, purity, thoughts and actions) is achieved through the instructions we receive in Holy Scripture. It would be very strange for Paul to point to the Scriptures as being all these, if they were merely what Catholics say about it: insufficient!

It is sufficient; just not exclusively so.

But the bigger bomb comes in verse 17, which says:

“…that the man of God may be perfect [artios]” (v.17)

“Perfect” here comes from the Greek word “artios”, which means:

739 αρτιος artios

of 737; TDNT – 1:475.80; adj

1) provided, supplied.

2) complete, perfect.

Therefore, Paul here attests and confirms that the Scriptures make man “complete, perfect, provided, supplied” (meanings of artios) for salvation (v.15), teaching (v.16), correction (v.16), reproof (v.16) and instruction in righteousness (v.16)! If the Scriptures were insufficient, then the Bible would not make the man of God “complete,” but incomplete; it would not make him “supplied”, but lacking an oral tradition; and it would not make him “perfect,” but imperfect, since man would only be complete and perfect for salvation if he were supplemented with oral tradition.

So we see that Paul’s language, from beginning to end, attests to the superiority and complete sufficiency of Scripture for the Christian walk.

I’m delighted that Lucas brought up this aspect of artios. Now I shall make my reply proper to all of this, regarding 2 Timothy 3.

In 2 Timothy alone (context), St. Paul makes reference to oral tradition three times (1:13-14, 2:2, 3:14). In the latter instance, St. Paul says of the tradition, knowing from whom you learned it. The personal reference proves he is not talking about Scripture, but himself as the tradition-bearer, so to speak . . . The “exclusivist” or “dichotomous” form of reasoning employed by Protestant apologists here is fundamentally flawed. For example, to reason by analogy, let’s examine a very similar passage, Ephesians 4:11-15:

Ephesians 4:11-15 And his gifts were that some should be apostle, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are able to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

If the Greek artios (RSV, complete / KJV, perfect) proves the sole sufficiency of Scripture in 2 Timothy, then teleios (RSV, mature manhood / KJV, perfect) in Ephesians would likewise prove the sufficiency of pastors, teachers and so forth for the attainment of Christian perfection. Note that in Ephesians 4:11-15 the Christian believer is equipped, built up, brought into unity and mature manhood, knowledge of Jesus, the fulness of Christ, and even preserved from doctrinal confusion by means of the teaching function of the Church. This is a far stronger statement of the perfecting of the saints than 2 Timothy 3:16-17, yet it doesn’t even mention Scripture.

Therefore, the Protestant interpretation of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 proves too much, since if all non-scriptural elements are excluded in 2 Timothy, then, by analogy, Scripture would logically have to be excluded in Ephesians. It is far more reasonable to synthesize the two passages in an inclusive, complementary fashion, by recognizing that the mere absence of one or more elements in one passage does not mean that they are nonexistent. Thus, the Church and Scripture are both equally necessary and important for teaching. This is precisely the Catholic view. Neither passage is intended in an exclusive sense.

And the apostle concludes by saying:

“…and fully equipped [agathos] for every good work” (v.17)

Scripture is powerful to make man “fully prepared”, which in Greek is “agathos”, which means:

18 αγαθος agathos

a primitive word; TDNT 1:10.3; adj

1) of good constitution or nature.

2) useful, healthy.

3) good, pleasant, kind, cheerful, happy.

4) excellent, distinguished.

5) honest, honorable.

That is: fully honest, honorable, excellent, distinguished, useful, healthy, good, pleasant, kind, cheerful, happy! It is difficult to see the limits of the benefits of agathos in the life of the Christian. And Paul says that Scripture makes man “fully agathos”, that is, completely all that which is the meanings of agathos!

Therefore, it becomes naive and unreasonable to infer that Scripture is not sufficient in the life of the Christian, if Paul says that it makes the man perfect and fully prepared. It makes man all that we see above in its fullness; therefore, never, never and under no circumstances can we say that it is insufficient in the life of the Christian!

It is sufficient, but so is the Church, as the Ephesians passage above shows. Two other passage clearly indicate an infallible Church:

In the Jerusalem Council, described in Acts 15, apostles (including Paul, Peter, and James) and elders got together to resolve a controversy over the place and function of circumcision, which foods were clean, and in a broader sense, how much Mosaic Law would apply to Christians. Here’s what it decided:

Acts 15:28-29 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: [29] that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.

Here is the authority that this letter had, as seen in how Paul viewed it:

Acts 16:4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem.

This is the universal and authoritative (and in this case, infallible) Church. A decision reached at Jerusalem was regarded as binding and in effect, “infallible” and was to be observed not just locally, but by Christians all through Asia Minor (Turkey), where Paul was preaching. This is essentially the equivalent of an ecumenical council.

1 Timothy 3:15 . . . the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

This may not seem compelling at first: just seven words at the end. But I believe that if we analyze it more deeply and think through it, that it provides a rock-solid argument for the infallibility of the Church. Here’s how I myself did that in my book, 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura (pp. 104-107, #82):

Pillars and foundations support things and prevent them from collapsing. To be a “bulwark” of the truth, means to be a “safety net” against truth turning into falsity. If the Church could err, it could not be what Scripture says it is. God’s truth would be the house built on a foundation of sand in Jesus’ parable. For this passage of Scripture to be true, the Church could not err — it must be infallible. A similar passage may cast further light on 1 Timothy 3:15:

Ephesians 2:19-21 . . . you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [20] built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, [21] in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord;

1 Timothy 3:15 defines “household of God” as “the church of the living God.” Therefore, we know that Ephesians 2:19-21 is also referring to the Church, even though that word is not present. Here the Church’s own “foundation” is “the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” The foundation of the Church itself is Jesus and apostles and prophets.

Prophets spoke “in the name of the Lord” (1 Chron 21:19; 2 Chron 33:18; Jer 26:9), and commonly introduced their utterances with “thus says the Lord” (Is 10:24; Jer 4:3; 26:4; Ezek 13:8; Amos 3:11-12; and many more). They spoke the “word of the Lord” (Is 1:10; 38:4; Jer 1:2; 13:3, 8; 14:1; Ezek 13:1-2; Hos 1:1; Joel 1:1; Jon 1:1; Mic 1:1, et cetera). These communications cannot contain any untruths insofar as they truly originate from God, with the prophet serving as a spokesman or intermediary of God (Jer 2:2; 26:8; Ezek 11:5; Zech 1:6; and many more). Likewise, apostles proclaimed truth unmixed with error (1 Cor 2:7-13; 1 Tim 2:7; 2 Tim 1:11-14; 2 Pet 1:12-21).

Does this foundation have any faults or cracks? Since Jesus is the cornerstone, he can hardly be a faulty foundation. Neither can the apostles or prophets err when teaching the inspired gospel message or proclaiming God’s word. In the way that apostles and prophets are infallible, so is the Church set up by our Lord Jesus Christ. We ourselves (all Christians) are incorporated into the Church (following the metaphor), on top of the foundation.

1 Peter 2:4-9 Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; [5] and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [6] For it stands in scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.” [7] To you therefore who believe, he is precious, but for those who do not believe, “The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner,” [8] and “A stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall”; for they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. [9] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (cf. Isa 28:16)

Jesus is without fault or untruth, and he is the cornerstone of the Church. The Church is also more than once even identified with Jesus himself, by being called his “Body” (Acts 9:5 cf. with 22:4 and 26:11; 1 Cor 12:27; Eph 1:22-23; 4:12; 5:23, 30; Col 1:24). That the Church is so intimately connected with Jesus, who is infallible, is itself a strong argument that the Church is also infallible and without error.

Therefore, the Church is built on the foundation of Jesus (perfect in all knowledge), and the prophets and apostles (who spoke infallible truth, often recorded in inspired, infallible Scripture). Moreover, it is the very “Body of Christ.” It stands to reason that the Church herself is infallible, by the same token. In the Bible, nowhere is truth presented as anything less than pure truth, unmixed with error. That was certainly how Paul conceived his own “tradition” that he received and passed down.

Knowing what truth is, how can its own foundation or pillar be something less than total truth (since truth itself contains no falsehoods, untruths, lies, or errors)? It cannot. It is impossible. It is a straightforward matter of logic and plain observation. A stream cannot rise above its source. What is built upon a foundation cannot be greater than the foundation. If it were, the whole structure would collapse.

If an elephant stood on the shoulders of a man as its foundation, that foundation would collapse. The base of a skyscraper has to hold the weight above it. The foundations of a suspension bridge over a river have to be strong enough to support that bridge.

Therefore, we must conclude that if the Church is the foundation of truth, the Church must be infallible, since truth is infallible, and the foundation cannot be lesser than that which is built upon it. And since there is another infallible authority apart from Scripture, sola scriptura must be false.

And Paul also says that it makes a man fully equipped for “every good work,” which in the Greek is “exartizo,” which means:

1822 εξαρτιζω exartizo
de 1537 and a derivative of 739; TDNT – 1:475.80; v
1) complete, finish.
1a) to supply with perfection.

That is, the Scriptures perfectly supply our spiritual needs, in all the senses seen in the previous verses. In the face of all this, it is incoherent and even absurd to say that Scripture is insufficient and lacking in an oral tradition for man to be sufficiently indoctrinated for salvation. Paul does not even cite oral tradition here, and he attests to the complete sufficiency of Scripture in several possible ways.

Likewise, Ephesians 4:11-13 states: “And his gifts were that some should be apostle, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” without ever mentioning Scripture.

To claim that the quotations pertain only to the Old Testament is a weak and superficial objection, since Paul was referring to the nature of Scripture, not a list of books. Therefore, being a reference to the essence or nature of the Holy Scriptures, it encompasses “all Scripture,” that is, all divinely inspired writings which would be recognized as being equally Holy Scripture.

In fact, we have strong indications that the apostles themselves already considered the New Testament divinely inspired as much as the Old, for Peter affirms that Paul’s writings are part of the Scriptures (2Pe.3:16), and Paul quotes in 1st Timothy 5 :18 a passage from the gospel of Luke (10:7), calling it “Scripture” (1 Tim.5:18), along with quotations from the Old Testament.

Therefore, Paul’s reference in 2 Timothy 3:14-17 concerns the nature of the Scriptures which encompasses all the books that we recognize as being “divinely inspired” by God, which evidently includes not only the Old Testament but also the New. 

I agree. I haven’t used that argument here.

I also recommend reading this article [link], in which I clarify this passage with much more breadth and depth.

And once again the Catholic claims against Sola Scriptura fall to the ground.

Not in the slightest. In fact, Lucas (as I explained) never properly defined that which he was supposedly defending, and that is the first task of any rebuttal. I did, from six solid Protestant sources. I proved that Lucas was defending material sufficiency and not sola Scriptura. Then I showed from Ephesians 4 that 1 Timothy 3:14-17 is not an exclusive passage. The Church (without mentioning Scripture in that passage) is also said to “equip” in almost all the same ways.

Lucas’ task was also to show that an infallible Church and tradition are not taught in the Bible. He never did that. He merely made a bald claim with no supporting references. I, on the other hand, gave two very strong arguments from Scripture itself, to the effect that an infallible Church is taught in the Bible. If so, sola Scriptura collapses. Lucas didn’t positively establish it, and I shot it down with two biblical arguments that are diametrically opposed to it.

Let readers judge who has the better and more biblical (and true) case!

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Photo credit: Lucas Banzoli, Facebook photo as of 5-3-22, dated 15 January 2018.

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Summary: Brazilian Protestant apologist Lucas Banzoli attempts to show that 2 Timothy 3:14-17 supports sola Scriptura, but succeeds in only defending material sufficiency.

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