A Different Way of Understanding How 2 Timothy 3:16 Is Not about Sola Scripura

“Bible-only” friends,

In my experience, your groups refer to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 more than any other Bible passage as a proof for sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity. This passage, you think, is the silver bullet, the cleanup hitter, the biblical proof of all proofs! The passage reads:

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

You interpret the passage as, essentially, “The Bible is all Scripture, and the Bible alone contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness.” And as your most often-used proof for sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity, I will give it more attention than your others. (I’ve addressed your lesser-used passages here, here, and here.) Let us begin by addressing the full passage beginning from verse 14 through verse 17.

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 to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 

To properly understand the passage, you will need to sedate your Protestant individualism; please try to think “Catholic-ly” and not “Private-ly”, contextually and not proof-textually, and with an open mind. The passage (vs. 14-17), not the proof-text that your group focuses on (vs. 16-17 only), is a literary unit that is comprised of seven parts. I will review each part of the passage, show how its very structure presupposes Catholic ecclesiastical order, show how the subject of the passage is not about Scripture, but salvation in Christ Jesus, and how it in no way supports sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity. I will then bring all of the passage’s parts back together, and hope that you are able to understand St. Paul’s message for the beauty that it truly is, and for the beauty that it truly reflects: that together, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition act in concert for the salvation of souls. And to best illustrate the passage, I will assign to each part a symbol (A through AA), which will expose the passage’s chiastic (symmetrical) structure of St. Paul’s words to St. Timothy, and which I think is a useful way to illustrate the elements and the apex of the passage. Continue reading

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Home Gym Happiness

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a “happiness” post. So here’s what has brought me “happiness” (however superficial) this week.

I’ve been working on my home gym, and I’d like to share two links that home gym enthusiasts should appreciate.

I’m casting pearls here!

FLOOR: A good gym floor (like what you would see at a good gym – duh) is made of rubber. Rubber protects your equipment and your joints. Most home gyms are in garages or basements, and people usually just work on the concrete or a rug. I’ve played around with home gyms for twenty years, and the easiest and cheapest flooring solution that I’ve found is from an industry that isn’t even related to gyms! Horse stall mats from Tractor Supply co. are 4′ by 6′, 3/4″ thick. They’re heavy (about 100 lb.), so they stay put, and you can trim them with a jigsaw or a utility knife. They only cost about $40 each, which is a fraction of what rubber flooring tiles would cost that are made specifically for gyms. Its low price allows you to spend a little more on good equipment… such as a power rack.

POWER RACK: I just bought my second power rack, and chose one from Rogue Fitness. I’ve found Rouge to be the best equipment for gyms, period. I have some background in metal fabrication, so trust me when I tell you these things are tough! If you want to be a serious athlete, don’t buy the stuff from [big box store]; get something that will last you a long time.

Now go, work out, and be happy!

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Popular Fundamentalist Proofs for a Self-Authenticating Canon Actually Support Catholic Inspiration and Authority

Scott Shifferd jr.Fundamentalist preacher Scott Shifferd jr. insists that the Christian canon of Scripture is self-authenticating.

Shifferd thinks I “struggle” with this topic and that I’m a “son of Satan” because I acknowledge the fact that human beings were intrinsically involved with the Bible’s formation, and he set out to prove that I’m stooopid by sending me Fundamentalism’s often-used list of verses that, in their own minds, prove how the Bible established the Bible’s contents. (I know. That makes no sense, but he reeeaaallly gave it a shot here: godsbreath.net/2014/08/01/how-to-establish-the-canonicity/ …bless his heart.)

The following essay is a response to what I’ve found to be Fundamentalism’s favorite proof-texts for its theory of a self-authenticating Christian canon. This essay is addressed to “Bible-only” Christians (not only Shifferd and others in his sect). If you are in dialogue with Fundamentalists, this might be a worthwhile read for you. Continue reading

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The Berean/Catholic Model Is More Noble Than the Thessalonian/Protestant Model

This is a re-post. I recently learned that apologist superstar Dr. Bryan Cross linked to one of my [unfortunately] deleted articles over at his holy grail of apologetics websites Called to Communion. This, to me, is just about the best endorsement of my work that I can imagine. In comment #69 Dr. Cross grouped my article with articles by apologist superstars Steve Ray and Jimmy Akin! Thank you, Bryan!

Continue reading

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OK. Fine. You Got It. I’m Keeping This Blog.

Why not!

Posted in SANITY | 3 Comments