Posted 10 November 2009 - 05:31 PM
It seems (I know you wont believe it) the Bible does teach that the apostles affirmed that their oral teaching was authoritative, being on the same level as the written Word of God. However, this was because they were living apostles who spoke with the authority of Christ through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13). Several things are important to note here.
Their oral teachings are the content that would become Scripture. Since they had not yet committed all their teaching to writing and since they had not yet died, it was necessary to depend on their oral teaching. However, once the apostles committed their teachings to writing and died, so that they could no longer exercise their living authority, then the Bible alone became our authority for faith and practice (2 Tim. 3:16Ã¢â‚¬â€œ17).
The revelatory traditions (teachings) of the apostles were written down and are inspired and infallible. They comprise the New Testament. Since, it is obvious God deemed it essential for the faith and morals of the faithful to inspire the writing of twenty-seven books of apostolic teaching, it is not reasonable to suppose that he left out some important revelation in this book. So, however authoritative the apostles were by virtue of their office, only their words in Scripture are inspired and infallible (2 Tim. 3:16Ã¢â‚¬â€œ17; cf. John 10:35).
Many are the irrefutable reasons to believe that the Bible ALONE is the full and final authority for faith and practice for all believers. All revelations will agree with the scriptures, or they are heretical!
Firstly - the Bible makes it quite clear that God desired that his normative revelations be written down and preserved for succeeding generations. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Moses wrote down all the words of the LORDÃ¢â‚¬Â (Exod. 24:4). And as we all know, Moses said in Deuteronomy, Ã¢â‚¬Å“these are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the sons of IsraelÃ¢â‚¬Â (Deut. 29:1). And the bookÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s of Moses were preserved in the Ark (Deut. 31:26). Ã¢â‚¬Å“So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of GodÃ¢â‚¬Â (Josh. 24:25Ã¢â‚¬â€œ26) along with MosesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (cf. Josh. 1:7).
Also, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Samuel told the people the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book, and placed it before the LORDÃ¢â‚¬Â (1 Sam. 10:25). God commanded Isaiah Ã¢â‚¬Å“Take for yourself a large tablet and write on it in ordinary lettersÃ¢â‚¬Â (Isa. 8:1) and to Ã¢â‚¬Å“inscribe it on a scroll, That it may serve in the time to come as a witness foreverÃ¢â‚¬Â (Isa. 30:8). Daniel had a collection of Ã¢â‚¬Å“the booksÃ¢â‚¬Â of Moses and the prophetsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ right down to his contemporary Jeremiah (Dan. 9:2).
Jesus and New Testament writers used the phrase Ã¢â‚¬Å“Scripture has itÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is writtenÃ¢â‚¬Â (cf. Matt. 4:4, 7, 10) more than 90 (NINETY) times, stressing the importance of the written Word of God. When Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders it was not because they did not follow the traditions but because they did not Ã¢â‚¬Å“understand the ScripturesÃ¢â‚¬Â (Matt. 22:29). The apostles were told by Jesus that the Holy Spirit would guide them to all truth (John 16:13). But Jesus said in the very next chapter, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Your word is truthÃ¢â‚¬Â (John 17:17) and the apostles claimed that their writings to the churches were Scripture inspired of God (2 Peter 3:15Ã¢â‚¬â€œ16; cf. 2 Tim. 3:16Ã¢â‚¬â€œ17). Clearly, God intended from the very beginning that his revelation be preserved in Scripture. No similar intent is demonstrated to preserve religious traditions.
Secondly - the Bible unquestionably states that inspired Scripture is competent to equip a believer for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16Ã¢â‚¬â€œ17). If the Bible is sufficient to do this, then what else is needed. The fact that Scripture, without mention of tradition, is said to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“God-breathedÃ¢â‚¬Â (theopnuestos) and thus by it believers are Ã¢â‚¬Å“competent, equipped for every good workÃ¢â‚¬Â (2 Tim. 3:16Ã¢â‚¬â€œ17), supports the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura.
Thirdly - Jesus and the apostles consistently and constantly appealed to the Old Testament (Their Bible) as the FINAL WORD. Jesus appealed to Scripture as the final authority in his dispute with Satan (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). Of course, since God was still giving new revelation, Jesus (Matt. 5:22, 28, 31; 28:18) and the apostles (1 Cor. 5:3; 7:12) sometimes referred to their own God-given authority
Fourthly - Jesus made it clear that the existing Bible was in a class of its own, exalted above all tradition. He rebuked the Pharisees for not accepting sola Scriptura and negating the final authority of the Word of God by their religious traditions, saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? . . . You have nullified the word of God, for the sake of your traditionÃ¢â‚¬Â (Matt. 15:3, 6b ). Jesus applied his statement specifically to the traditions of the religious authorities who used their traditions to misinterpret the Scriptures (sounds familiar doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it).
Fifthly - Solomon affirmed that Ã¢â‚¬Å“every word of God is tested. . . . Do not add to his words, lest he reprove you, and you will be proved a liarÃ¢â‚¬Â (Prov. 30:5Ã¢â‚¬â€œ6 NASB). And John closed the last chapter of the Apocalypse with the same exhortation: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this bookÃ¢â‚¬Â (Rev. 22:18Ã¢â‚¬â€œ19 NASB). While John referred specifically to his revelation, the principle and its warning logically fit the situation of the other books of the Bible. It is clear that God does not wish anything that claims divine authority to be added to his inspired words, whether oral or written.
Lastly - the Bible teaches sola Scriptura by stressing its own status as revelation from God (Gal. 1:12; cf. 1 Cor. 2:11Ã¢â‚¬â€œ13), as superior and authoritative over that of the mere words of man. A revelation from God is a divine unveiling or disclosure, but it MUST agree with the written WORD of God. The apostle Paul put the contrast vividly when he wrote, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather I received it by revelation from Jesus ChristÃ¢â‚¬Â (Gal. 1:11Ã¢â‚¬â€œ12). Note that Ã¢â‚¬Å“manÃ¢â‚¬Â includes the other apostles, of whom Paul adds, Ã¢â‚¬Å“nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before I wasÃ¢â‚¬Â (Gal. 1:17). So even the preaching of an apostle was not on the same level as direct revelation from God. Neither the words of an apostle nor of an angel (Gal. 1:8). This vividly expresses sola Scriptura.