Shazia: Hi, my name is Shazia and I am starting your book “The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith.” I am on the chapter regarding Sola Scriptura, and I am coming across some questions based on things you have said in this chapter so far.
1) You said that the presence of oral Apostolic Tradition makes the argument of Sola Scriptura invalid because this means that the Gospel was orally transmitted for three centuries or so before it was officially compiled into writing. But if Sola Scriptura states that anything that is not explicitly stated in the Bible is invalid, doesn’t the Oral Tradition (albeit unwritten) count as Scripture, if most of it eventually became disseminated in written format? It does not seem that Oral transmission of the Gospel is necessarily in conflict with Sola Scriptura if that Oral transmission became what is now our Gospel. Is Sola Scripture confined to written Scriptures alone? Because Protestants could very well argue that the Oral Tradition that existed before the Scriptures were compiled were consistent with what is in the Bible now, and therefore there is no difference between Oral Tradition and written Scripture; only the means of communication is different.
2) You had said that Jesus taught many things that were not recorded in the Bible, but in John it said that Jesus DID many things that were not recorded in the Bible, not “taught.” Does “did” and “taught” mean the same things? Should they mean the same things? Does the fact that he did many things that were not written in the Bible, mean that he also taught many things that were not in the Bible?
3) You also said in a Bible quote that no prophecy is a matter or private interpretation; therefore Scripture itself is a matter of public interpretation. But is it prophecy alone that is not to be subject to private interpretation, or does “prophecy” imply the entirety of Scripture? To me it makes a big difference.
1. No where does the Bible say that all or even most of the oral tradition was committed to Scripture, so your premise is erroneous. The major dogmas of Christianity, such as the Trinity, is not explicitly stated in Scripture, for example. Same for the two wills and natures of Christ, the hypostatic union, the canon of Scripture, etc. That God commands us to obey both the oral and written tradition through St. Paul also demonstrates that sola Scriptura is invalid.
2. There is no difference between “did” and “taught” because what the Savior “did” and “taught” were for our salvation. That means they are both part of divine revelation, but not all of these things were recorded in Scripture. Scripture accounts for only about 100 days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Moreover, Jesus never commanded any of the apostles to write anything down during His ministry, and only five of them chose to write at the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Jesus commanded all of them to hand on the gospel orally, which is Sacred Tradition.
3. If no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private interpretation, then that means Scripture itself is not a matter of private interpretation because Scripture is divinely inspired and hence must be interpreted by a divine authority. The countless divisions among Protestantism prove the point. Neither Christ nor any of the apostles ever intended for Scripture to be our only authority. In fact, sola Scriptura was a concept unheard of until 1500 years after Christ’s ascension into heaven.