Sola Scriptura from and Orthodox perspective

ziapueblo

Active member
Why do we believe in God, the most Holy Trinity, the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ? Because of a verse written in Scripture? Orthodox Christians believe these things because of the witness of the early Church. What was the witness of the early Church? Of course, first and foremost, their martyrdom. Christians who died for Jesus, the anointed one, in the most horrific ways possible. Second, the apostolic Tradition of the Church. What is apostolic Tradition? St. Irenaeus, an early Bishop born in Smyrna cira 130 A.D., wrote in his famous work Against Heresies, "As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same." It is what is handed down, paradosis in Greek, meaning a handing down or over, a tradition. Tradition comes in two forms as seen in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions (paradosis) which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."

I have been curious about forum members views on Sola Scriptura. From my understanding, Sola Scriptura is that the Bible and the Bible alone are all a Christian needs in order to find doctrine, teaching, etc. No other sources than Scripture. This idea comes from Martin Luther. He wrote, ". . . A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it.…Neither the Church nor the pope can establish articles of faith. These must come from Scripture. For the sake of Scripture we should reject pope and councils . . ." Of course I understand Martin Luther is writing in protest of the Catholic Church, for he mentions the Pope of Rome, yet, the words, "a simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council." Luther also writes, "I will confidently confess what appears to me to be true, whether it has been asserted by a Catholic or a heretic, whether it has been approved or reproved by a council." It seems to me that he is saying "I am so sure that I have discovered true Christianity in my reading of Scripture that nothing will shake my opinion."

Am I wrong to think this? If sos, what is Sola Scriptura and what is it that I do not understand about it? What does it mean? I open and honestly as an Orthodox Christian ask this question.

We Orthodox, of course, do not believe that the Bible and the Bible alone is sufficient. Orthodox believe that we must have a lens in which to interpret the Sacred Text and that lens is our Liturgical worship, the councils of the Church and writings of the early Fathers of the Church.

It is not my intent to convince others or even to say that the Orthodox Church absolutely right (this is of course what I believe) and everyone else is wrong. This is just the Orthodox perspective.

Thanks,
 

Timket

Active member
I agree with Zia in everything, and also add this quote:

"Someone may ask, is not the canon of Scripture sufficient for everything, and why should we add to it the authority of Tradition? It is because not everyone understands the Scriptures in the same way, but one explains them this way and another that way, so that it is possible to get from them as many thoughts as there are heads. Therefore it is necessary to be guided by the understanding of the Church. What is tradition? It is that which has been understood by everyone, everywhere and at all times - that which you have received, and not that which you have thought up. So then, our job is not to lead the faith where we wish it to go, but to follow it where it leads, and not to give that which is our own to our heirs, but to guard that which has been given to us."
-- Saint Vincent of Lerins
 

RiJoRi

Well-known member
My opinion is that "All Scripture is God-breathed note and is valuable for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16,17 WPNT
That said, there are teachings that are profitable. As to Traditions, I have no problem with written traditions, those which can be compared to scripture - effectively the same as teachings. However, the RCC has "oral traditions" which remain unknown until they are trotted out to support some hithertofore unknown doctrine. This is no better than an open canon!

Just my 2 scents,
--Rich
 

ziapueblo

Active member
My opinion is that "All Scripture is God-breathed note and is valuable for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16,17 WPNT
That said, there are teachings that are profitable. As to Traditions, I have no problem with written traditions, those which can be compared to scripture - effectively the same as teachings. However, the RCC has "oral traditions" which remain unknown until they are trotted out to support some hithertofore unknown doctrine. This is no better than an open canon!

Just my 2 scents,
--Rich
Thanks for your response Rich!

When we Orthodox speak of Tradition along side Scripture is our Liturgical worship, the Councils, the Creed and the Fathers.
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
I'm deleting some of your text for brevity, not to dismiss your words. If I do not respond to something directly that you would like me to, please let me know and I will.
I have been curious about forum members views on Sola Scriptura. From my understanding, Sola Scriptura is that the Bible and the Bible alone are all a Christian needs in order to find doctrine, teaching, etc. No other sources than Scripture. This idea comes from Martin Luther.
I believe the idea comes from scripture itself and Luther was simply echoing that thought. If it was from an uninspired man as its source, I wouldn't give it a second thought. I am not Lutheran nor Protestant so Luther's words and thoughts are not authoritative for me.
Am I wrong to think this? If sos, what is Sola Scriptura and what is it that I do not understand about it? What does it mean? I open and honestly as an Orthodox Christian ask this question.
I have no formal training and so I don't really get into all the fancy names and words for things unless someone wants me to. Scripture only simply means that the Bible, the Word of God is all I need to be saved. A person, any person, can pick up a Bible with no outside influence whatsoever and come to an understanding of the truth, obey the gospel, and be saved. It means that when someone asks me a question about spiritual things, I turn to the Bible only for the answer. It means that when there is a dispute between men on spiritual matters, what the Bible says is not just the deciding factor, but the sole standard by which the dispute can be settled.

I'm sure you are familiar with the passages usually referenced in such a discussion, but I will list some of them nonetheless. Psalm 119; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:17; James 1:21; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; John 17:17; Acts 17:2, 11 and so on.
We Orthodox, of course, do not believe that the Bible and the Bible alone is sufficient. Orthodox believe that we must have a lens in which to interpret the Sacred Text and that lens is our Liturgical worship, the councils of the Church and writings of the early Fathers of the Church.

It is not my intent to convince others or even to say that the Orthodox Church absolutely right (this is of course what I believe) and everyone else is wrong. This is just the Orthodox perspective.

Thanks,
And I'm not really here in this thread to analyze your belief, but to answer your question and allow you to analyze mine. I am open to your questions and look forward to a peaceful, kind, and fruitful discussion.

In Truth and Love.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
Thank you for your response @Kade Rystalmane, greatly appreciated!

Just a question, what Christian faith tradition do you belong to?

And I'm not really here in this thread to analyze your belief, but to answer your question and allow you to analyze mine. I am open to your questions and look forward to a peaceful, kind, and fruitful discussion.
Amen!
 

YeshuaFan

Well-known member
My opinion is that "All Scripture is God-breathed note and is valuable for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16,17 WPNT
That said, there are teachings that are profitable. As to Traditions, I have no problem with written traditions, those which can be compared to scripture - effectively the same as teachings. However, the RCC has "oral traditions" which remain unknown until they are trotted out to support some hithertofore unknown doctrine. This is no better than an open canon!

Just my 2 scents,
--Rich
The scriptures, as in the 66 canon books, are the only inspired source for doctrines and practices!
 

ziapueblo

Active member
I am a member of the church of Christ.
Cool! We have a very active Church of Christ where I live. They do wonderful things in the community! Our priest at my parish is actually a former Church of Christ, although, not from where we live. He's originally from Texas.

I do not mean to come across as being arguing or being combative, as am a Reformed Baptist!
Nice! My mother-in-law and her husband are Southern Baptist. She was born and raised SB then converted to Catholicism when she married my father-in-law. After they divorced she went back to the SB Church. Her Church actually housed the school my daughter goes to, it's an ecumenical Christ centered classical education school. Really nice! Has about 300 kids from probably 100 Churches in our city (Catholic, Orthodox and non-Catholic/Orthodox Christians). I do not see that you have come across combative. Our faith is central to our lives and so I understand being passionate :)

I was raised Roman Catholic and in my early 20s as an undergraduate was heavy into RC apologetics, which, interestingly enough, lead my wife and I along with our daughter into the Orthodox Church.

@Kade Rystalmane and @YeshuaFan,

I'm assuming you believe that the Bible and the Bible alone would be the final authority for the Christian, correct?

Thanks for the discussion! It gets boring here in Orthodox land lol!
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
Cool! We have a very active Church of Christ where I live. They do wonderful things in the community! Our priest at my parish is actually a former Church of Christ, although, not from where we live. He's originally from Texas.
I'm originally from Texas, born and raised. I have a good friend in Florida and a girl I used to almost-date (we were really good friends for a very long time) who is very Greek culturally, though she was born and raised in America. Her grandparents worshipped with us, which is how I met her, but she is Greek Orthodox as well.
@Kade Rystalmane and @YeshuaFan,

I'm assuming you believe that the Bible and the Bible alone would be the final authority for the Christian, correct?
Yes. That is correct.
Thanks for the discussion! It gets boring here in Orthodox land lol!
Heh, I feel your pain.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
very Greek culturally
I understand this. Although our parish is only about 1/3 culturally Greek, they are very Greek lol! We have a Greek festival every year (not in 2020 due to COVID) that is very popular!

One thing I also know about the Church of Christ is their singing. No instruments correct? This is how it is also in the Orthodox Church, no instruments. My priest said that when he and his wife went to visit family in Lubbock were he is from she was blown away by the singing and how the entire congregation was involved!

Yes. That is correct.
Cool.

Did you you grow up in the Church of Christ? I'm assuming that this is something taught in the Church of Christ?
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
I understand this. Although our parish is only about 1/3 culturally Greek, they are very Greek lol! We have a Greek festival every year (not in 2020 due to COVID) that is very popular!
I went to one of these in Nevada (where my friend, Noelle is from). It was a blast. Food was amazing!
One thing I also know about the Church of Christ is their singing. No instruments correct? This is how it is also in the Orthodox Church, no instruments.
Yup. One of many things we have in common.
My priest said that when he and his wife went to visit family in Lubbock were he is from she was blown away by the singing and how the entire congregation was involved!
It can be very beautiful. More importantly, it can be understood. ;)
Cool.

Did you you grow up in the Church of Christ? I'm assuming that this is something taught in the Church of Christ?
Yes. My father was an elder and his father before him.

The Sole Authority of the Bible is something we believe and teach though we don't call it "Sola Scriptura" since we don't really focus on Latin. Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek are important and some of us learn those for reference, but here in America, it's just English on a day to day basis. I didn't hear "Sola Scriptura" until I started discussing things with those who hold to different beliefs online back in the late 1900's.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
I went to one of these in Nevada (where my friend, Noelle is from). It was a blast. Food was amazing!
Very true! Five different families own five different restaurants in my location. I'm in Albuquerque NM.

Yup. One of many things we have in common.
(y)

It can be very beautiful. More importantly, it can be understood. ;)
I've heard some stuff on YouTube. Sounds wonderful! The Greek Orthodox Church you went to, was it mostly in Greek?

Yes. My father was an elder and his father before him.
That's awesome! Have you ever felt a calling to move into a position of elder or deacon?

The Sole Authority of the Bible is something we believe and teach though we don't call it "Sola Scriptura" since we don't really focus on Latin.
Ok, so basically Bible alone. In the Orthodox Church we see the "deposit" of faith if you will, as a puzzle. The Scriptures are one piece of the puzzle, the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist worship service) another piece, other liturgical services throughout the week and day another piece, the hymns we sing, what the icons teach us, the councils, the father of the Church etc.

What Bible verses do you see teach the Bible as the sole authority of Christians?
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
I've heard some stuff on YouTube. Sounds wonderful! The Greek Orthodox Church you went to, was it mostly in Greek?
Ah, I misunderstood. I thought your priest had visited a church of Christ in Lubbock. I have not visited the worship of the Greek Orthodox before. Honestly, I was not ever invited or I would. I am interested in studying other faiths. Have been for most of my life. Had a lot of Catholics and Lutherans around where I grew up and I've been to their worship assemblies a few times over the years. I was even invited to speak at a catechism class with my dad when they were learning about different faiths. The teacher was good friends with my dad and wanted us to explain what the church of Christ was and how it differed from Catholicism.
That's awesome! Have you ever felt a calling to move into a position of elder or deacon?
We don't believe in "callings" like that, but I had considered that I might be one, one day. Not going to happen now. My wife has renounced her faith and has gotten mixed up in New Age spiritualism. It has become...complicated.
Ok, so basically Bible alone. In the Orthodox Church we see the "deposit" of faith if you will, as a puzzle. The Scriptures are one piece of the puzzle, the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist worship service) another piece, other liturgical services throughout the week and day another piece, the hymns we sing, what the icons teach us, the councils, the father of the Church etc.
Understood.
What Bible verses do you see teach the Bible as the sole authority of Christians?
The ones I listed above are a good start. Psalm 119; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:17; James 1:21; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; John 17:17; Acts 17:2, 11 and so on.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
Ah, I misunderstood. I thought your priest had visited a church of Christ in Lubbock.
He and his wife visited the Church of Christ he grew up in.

Honestly, I was not ever invited or I would.
If you have been to a Catholic or Lutheran Mass, you would see similarities. It is the same Eucharist celebration as you would see in a Catholic Church, just "dressed up" differently. The entire Divine Liturgy (what RC call the Mass) is chanted, except for the homily of course. Where do you live if you don't mind me asking?

I am interested in studying other faiths.
So do I.

My wife has renounced her faith and has gotten mixed up in New Age spiritualism.
I was reading an article about how many Americans are moving towards this type of spirituality. It's unfortunate. The Christian tradition has so much to offer when it comes to this type of spirituality. I will pray for you and your wife.

The ones I listed above are a good start. Psalm 119; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:17; James 1:21; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; John 17:17; Acts 17:2, 11 and so on.
It seems that the classic verse is 2 Timothy 3:15-16, "And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for 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." Would you agree?

What Bible translation do you prefer?
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
He and his wife visited the Church of Christ he grew up in.


If you have been to a Catholic or Lutheran Mass, you would see similarities. It is the same Eucharist celebration as you would see in a Catholic Church, just "dressed up" differently. The entire Divine Liturgy (what RC call the Mass) is chanted, except for the homily of course. Where do you live if you don't mind me asking?
I live in Clarksville, TN right now. My father-in-law got sick and we moved here to help while he undergoes treatment.
So do I.


I was reading an article about how many Americans are moving towards this type of spirituality. It's unfortunate. The Christian tradition has so much to offer when it comes to this type of spirituality. I will pray for you and your wife.
Thank you. That is kind.
It seems that the classic verse is 2 Timothy 3:15-16, "And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for 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." Would you agree?
Yes. That's one of the major ones.
What Bible translation do you prefer?
I typically use the KJV, but I'm not KJV only. I am just more aware of its flaws and prefer the direct translation (formal equivalence) to the dynamic equivalence. Haven't found a more modern translation to land on with any confidence. The Hugo-McCord translation was clunky and only had the New Testament.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
I live in Clarksville, TN right now. My father-in-law got sick and we moved here to help while he undergoes treatment.
My wife, daughter and I were in TN this summer. My wife always wanted to go to Dollywood so we drove from Albuquerque (not all at once of course lol). Stayed a couple of nights in Nashville and a few nights in Pigeon Forge. Spent a few days in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and hiked a little bit of the Appalachian Trail. Beautiful area!

I typically use the KJV, but I'm not KJV only.
I have always liked the RSV but have recently been using the NKJV. The Orthodox Study Bible uses the NKJV New Testament and the Septuagint for the Old Testament.

That's one of the major ones.
Sure. As an Orthodox Christian, I don't see where that verse teaches the Bible alone? When looking at verse 10-15 you can see that St. Paul is first appealing to what St. Timothy learned (from St. Paul himself) then St. Paul reminds St. Timothy of the Scriptures of his childhood, which of course would be the Old Testament since the whole of the New Testament had not been written yet. We Orthodox would see this as an appeal to Tradition, what was not only taught but what was also written.

It seems if this these verses proved the Bible alone, it would prove Old Testament alone. This of course is the Orthodox interpretation of 2 Timothy 3.
 
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