Way back in 2012, Jason Stellman said,
….As I began to take the Church’s claims seriously, however, I started to discover more and more passages in the New Testament that failed to fit the Reformed paradigm well. Now, I want to be clear about something here: I am not saying that there were NT passages that I would read as a Protestant and think, “I don’t believe this” or “I have no idea how to fit this into my existing theology.” Indeed, I believed all the NT had to say, and I could explain each passage in the light of my larger theological paradigm.
But this isn’t really the issue. After all, any Bible-believing Christian can make any verse fit into his theology, that’s easy. For example, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Catholics all have differing positions on what baptism accomplishes, but that doesn’t change the fact that they can all read Romans 6 or Acts 2 and say, “I believe those words and can fit them into my system” (despite the fact that their respective systems are incompatible with each other).
The thing we have to remember is that the earliest Christians didn’t figure out what baptism accomplishes by consulting verses like “As many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” or “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins,” since the Church existed long before those words were penned and then recognized as canonical. No, the early Church had an apostolic doctrine of baptism that gave rise to, rather than being the result of, the relevant NT texts.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
Jesus Christ did not write the New Testament. Jesus Christ established a Church and taught that Church His Doctrines. He, then commanded that Church to continue Teaching His Doctrines to the whole world until the end of time.
The Church wrote the New Testament based upon those Doctrines which the Apostles learned from Jesus Christ. Those Doctrines are we call Sacred Tradition. Those Doctrines gave rise to the New Testament Scriptures.
83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.
Can I get an, “Amen!”
Before we look at 2 Tim 3:16, lets review a few verses throughout the entire letter of 2 Tim to see what St. Paul is really talking about:
Chapter 1: 7For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
It sounds to me as though St. Paul is exhorting St. Timothy to give oral testimony, i.e. to preach and teach the Gospel. Not to pass out Bibles.
Chapter 2: 2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Again, that is an exhortation to pass down information by word. And to make certain that those whom he, Timothy, teaches will be prepared to do the same. That is the essence of oral Tradition.
Let’s skip over chapter 3 for now:
Chapter 4: 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
Another exhortation to preach.
Do you really want me to believe, that throughout the epistle of 2 Timothy, St. Paul is telling Tim to preach and teach, but in Chapter 3 verse 15-16 he changes and tells him to pass out Bibles? That seems far fetched to me.
But lets study the verse in its immediate context. What is the immediate context of the verse? It remains, oral teaching. Listen:
10But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
I have taught you and you have learned.
14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
So practice what you have learned considering from whom you have learned them.
15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Now, think about this carefully. Does a child have to know how to read in order to know the Scriptures? In my house, my children and I meditated on the Scriptures since before they knew how to read. So I know that the answer is, “No.”
16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Remember what St. Peter said:
2 Pet 1:20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
And remember that the Bible says that the Church is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth.
1 Tim 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Now read 2 Tim 3:16 again:
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 perfect throughly furnished unto all good works.
The Bible is useful, not necessary, for a Preacher to use “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” So that the Preacher may bring up the man of God and make him perfect for all good works.
This verse is speaking to instruction. This verse is describing the Magisterium, the Teaching Church.
It is very simple. The Bible does not contradict Itself. Sola Scriptura contradicts the Bible.