Could you do an exhaustive defense of Sola Scriptura?  I heard Roman Catholics using arguments, claiming that Sola Scriptura is never mentioned in the Bible.   I also have heard that since the Bible doesn’t give us a list of what is inspired scriptures, we have to look outside to know what is inspired and therefore we contradict sola scriptura. Could you also refute the other arguments I haven’t mentioned against sola scriptura if you know more.   Could you also try to refute apostolic succession too and the authority of the papacy?

The second part of my question is about whether you could refute the supposed inspiration of the Book of Enoch, Jubilee and the Sefer Hayashar since the Cepher publishing house have their own arguments for supporting the inspiration of those books, so could you also read their arguments please, and I would also like that you refute the supposed 29th chapter of Acts.


Let me work on the first one.  To be honest, I believe that the burden of proof is on those who do not accept the Sola Scriptura argument.  Those who argue for Sola Scritpura (which means canonical scripture alone as the only authority for Christian doctrine and practice) have plenty of evidence for the authority of the Christian canon of Scripture.  Like Paul said, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking and training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.,” (2 Tim 3:16).  Note, not only does Scripture claim for itself that it is inspired, but that it is sufficient—it is all that is needed for godliness—it is complete.  It is no accident that very end of the entire Scripture—Revelation 22:18-19, includes the sternest of warnings that if anyone adds to the words of that prophecy, all the plagues described in Revelation would fall on that person.  Of course, this statement is applied to the book of Revelation in context, but I would argue that this is no coincidence, and God is pronouncing a curse on anyone who would add to the completed Scripture.   I can quote passage after passage, demonstrating that the Bible itself claims to be inspired and perfect.  The completeness of Scripture is implied by Daniel 9:24, which tells us that with Jesus (and presumably his immediate successors), prophecy will be sealed up.

For this reason, if anyone wants to argue against the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the burden of proof is on that person.  In other words, anyone claiming to have Bible-like authority for any particular writing, they must present an argument, either from Scripture itself, or perhaps for some kind of undeniable miracle, such as those which Jesus used to prove his right to speak authoritatively.  As the Hebrew writer tells us, the miracles performed by the apostles and those they laid theri hands on, performed signs, wonders and miracles, which confirmed that their message was from God. (Hebrews 2:4)  Where is the equivalent proof from someone else claiming to have authoritative revelation?   Who has authority to speak for God, other than those who produced the inspired Word of God?  Is anyone so bold as to claim that what they speak is inspired and authoritative?  Let that person speak and provide evidence for such authority.

It is not going to be a surprise to anyone that the chief Christian groups to argue against Sola Scriptura are the ancient faiths of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox and the Coptic Church.  These groups claim authority for their councils, their bishops and, in the case of the Roman Catholic Church, for its cardinals and its pope.  It is not my job to prove that these men and these councils do not have apostolic authority or that they are not inspired.  It is their job to prove that they have such authority.  As far as I know, they have no such proof at all.  They will use (actually abuse) certain passages out of context to imply that there is authority in “the Church,” but these passages are taken out of context, and, besides, the Roman Catholic Church claims authority, and so does the Eastern Orthodox, yet they disagree on which church has the apostolic authority.  So, who is it?  If Constantinople is authoritative, the Rome is not, and vice versa.  This is a circular argument, which relies on taking certain passages quite radically out of context.  Again, like I already said, those who claim such inspiration must provide their proof.  I do not have to prove that they are not inspired.  That is not how it works.

So, Scripture claims inspiration and authority.  Anyone else claiming to have equal authority with Scripture must present their evidence.  Given the lack of such evidence, the claims are definitively rejected. Sola Scripture does not need to be defended.  Those who reject this teaching need to provide their own evidence, and such evidence is totally lacking.

True, the expression Sola Scriptura is not in the Bible.  But then, Sola Scriptura is a Latin phrase, and there is no Latin in the Bible.  The question is not whether these words are in the Bible, they are obviously not, as, like I said, the New Testament is in Greek, not Latin.  This is not even an argument, but a diversion.  The question is whether the Bible claims for itself to have authority in its teachings.  The answer, as Catholics, Orthodox, Copts, and Pentecostal believers who belive in modern-day revelation will all agree.  So, the question is not whether this phrase is in the Bible, but whether these people can provide biblical or miraculous evidence to prove their claims of authority. This is lacking and therefore this argument is a red herring.

As for the fact that the New Testament does not contain a list of the inspired books, again, this is literally not even an argument, let alone a good one.  Obviously the books of the New Testament, which were written when the New Testament itself was not yet complete, does not include a list of the books!!!!  How could it?  This demand for an inspired list of the inspired books is nonsense!  Peter did call the writings of Paul inspired (2 Peter 3:15-16).  Peter, Paul, Jesus, James and others quote from every book in the Hebrew Bible except from Esther, but never from apocryphal books.  This alone establishes the Old Testament canon.  Obviously, the New Testament could not be canonized until after it was all written!!!  God chose the very early church fathers, by consensus, to decide which books belonged in the canon.  To add to that already-sealed canon is to add to God’s word, which is presumptuous and even sinful.  The demand for a New Testament list of New Testament books is silly and misplaced.

About “apostolic succession,” this concept did not exist, as far as we know, in the first century.  It was in the second half of the second century, specifically with Irenaeus, that church bishops began to point to a succession of bishops in order to lend credence to their emerging doctrine of authoritative church tradition.  To use their lists as evidence of apostolic succession is to make a circular argument.  They made these list, after the fact, to prove the idea of authoritative succession, but to use these very same lists as evidence of apostolic authority is to do circular reasoning.
Where is the biblical support for the idea of apostolic succession?  Is there even a hint of this idea in Scripture?  The answer is a clear no!  This was an argument created by people to defend an idea that they had created.  Acts 1 gives a biblical standard for those who would claim to have  the apostolic office, and it includes having been with Jesus during his ministry and being a witness of the resurrection.  The later bishops of Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Rome did not have these qualifications.  Besides, there is no evidence that these very early bishops claimed anything even remotely like apostolic authority.  This is an anachronistic and unbiblical argument.  By the way, many of the supposed successors of Peter in Rome were men of the most blatantly sinful and ungodly character.  The “popes” included men who committed heinous crimes and who were blatantly corrupt.  History is replete with examples of this.  Apostolic succession?  An unbiblical and unjustified doctrine.
I discuss Enoch at the web site.  Please do a search of the site, using the search word Enoch.  If you do not find sufficient answer to this question, please feel free to send a more specific question, and I will be happy to answer.  The other non-canonical writings you mention are also discussed elsewhere at the website.  My very quick response is that this is a Jewish fiction which the Jews themselves never considered to be part of the Jewish canon.  It was never considered part of the New or Old Testament canon by either Jew or Christian.  Whether it is in fact inspired is something we can debate (although I very strongly doubt it), but it is not authoritative for Christians, as it is not part of our canon. No sincere believing Christian accepts these books, but only unbelievers who are trying to make trouble for Christians.
John Oakes

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