The Bible Alone is the Standard
by David J. Riggs
from Catholic Teaching Examined
The apostle Paul said, "...How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 3:2-5). Furthermore, he said, "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord" (I Corinthians 14:37). There is no passage anywhere in the Scriptures which states that unwritten traditions, teachings of the Pope, or legislations of the church are the laws of the Lord. Thus, the Scriptures claim for themselves that they alone are the standard of authority in religion.
John the apostle said,
"These are written that you may believe..." (John 20:31),
"And these things we write to you that your joy may be full" (I John 1:4),
"...These things I write to you, so that you may not sin" (I John 2:1),
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life..." (I John 5:13).
Again, not one time did John, or any inspired writer, declare that the ex-cathedra pronouncements of the Pope, legislations of the church, etc., are given that you may believe, might not sin, or may know that we have eternal life. Again, the Scriptures claim for themselves that they alone are the standard of authority.
The holy Scriptures furnish us unto every good work. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." Any practice, therefore, which is not in the Scriptures cannot be a good work in God's sight. Please name one good work which is necessary for salvation which is not in the Scriptures. Thus, the Scriptures alone are the authority; they thoroughly equip us for every good work.
All teachers are to be tested by the Scriptures. I Corinthians 4:6 says, "Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other." Acts 17:11 says, "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." Even when Paul emphasized that his writings were the laws of the Lord (I Corinthians 14:37), it was in opposition to what men might claim as laws. The Scriptures, therefore, are the only authority. Any practice not found in them is of human origin and is therefore false.
The Scriptures are the standard by which we will be judged in the last day. Revelation 20:12 says, "...And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books." (See also Romans 2:16; James 2:12; John 12:48). We will not be judged by unwritten traditions, teachings of the Pope, legislations of the church, writings of the so-called church fathers, etc., thus, again, showing that the Scriptures are the only standard.
Here is a list which shows what the holy writings furnish:
(1) Life in the name of Jesus (John 20:30-31);
(2) Commands of the Lord (I Corinthians 14:37);
(3) Knowledge of the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:2-5).
(4) The proper conduct (I Timothy 3:14-15);
(5) Every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17);
(6) Protection against sin (I John 2:1);
(7) An assurance of eternal life (I John 5:13);
(8) Standard by which teachers are tested (Acts 17:11; I Corinthians 4:6);
(9) Joy that is complete (I John 1:1-4);
(10) A reminder of the precepts (II Peter 3:1-2);
(11) Standard of judgment (Revelation 20:12).
This is all that is declared in God's revelation regarding His authority or law. The holy Scriptures do not mention or allow other authorities. They alone are the complete and final standard which furnish all of man's spiritual needs. They alone are the standard by which all teachers are to be tested, and by which we will be judged in the last day.