Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition Essay

The scenario takes place between a knowledgeable Catholic man, and a practicing Protestant adult. The Catholic man is Charles, who is a family friend of Steve, and has a very in-depth knowledge of both the Catholic and Protestant faith. The Protestant adult is Steve, who is curious into learning the importance of the Catholic faith in Tradition and Scripture. Steve presents to Charles many legitimate questions about his faith and legitimacy of the Catholic tradition.

Steve: Hello Charles, may I come in?

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Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition Essay
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Charles: Hey Steve, of course you can come in.

So, is there anything I may help you with?

Steve: Yes Charles. I came here to ask you a couple of questions about the beliefs of the Catholic faith compared to the Protestant’s faith because I know you are a very knowledgeable person on the dogmas of the Catholic faith.

Charles: Yes absolutely ask me anything. I will do my best to answer all your questions. Steve: I will start off with how has Sacred Tradition been significant to the manufacture of the Bible, and how does it still today? Charles: If not for oral Tradition a good deal of the Bible would not have ever even been revealed, and that Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture together create the Divine Revelation.

This Tradition, whether it is written or not, is always the same truth because it does not change just because it is not written down here there is one quote that helps exemplify it., “It (Deposit of faith) never changes, in the sense that doctrines are deleted or added, but there is an ongoing development of doctrine in the life of Church” (Marino 20). This supports that even though the doctrines of the Church do changes the truth that they presents remains the same. Steve: Ok. So, I know that the dictionary term for tradition is the handing down of statements, beliefs, and customs orally or visibly from one person to another. Though, what is the Church’s definition?

Charles: The meaning of Sacred Tradition for the Catholic Faith is the philosophical term used in Roman Catholicism to portray the verbal distribution of the dogmas of the Catholic Church started through Jesus and his Apostles that is still being passed down ever since then and still today. These beliefs are all included in the Divine Revelation, which is made up of the Scriptural Traditions, Apostolic Tradition, and Teaching of the Magisterium. Then there is tradition with a lower case “t” that are the practices that become inside the Church

Steve: Nevertheless, as a Protestant I believe that only Sacred Scripture, Sola Srciptura, is the only true Pillar of Faith. This genuineness that Sola Scriptura, Sacred Scripture, alone is the Divine Revelation because it fully covers our faith and is directly from the source of God himself. That is why we think Catholics are wrong to think that Tradition is just as important. Charles: So let me tell you about the Catholics true beliefs. We, as Catholics, believe in the Latin word, “Solum Verbum Dei”, which translated means, the Word of God alone. Not saying that the Bible does include many important practices of the faith because it does, but it is not the sole authority of the Church for the reason that not everything of our faith is written in the Bible. Therefore that is why the Word of God is included in both the Apostolic Tradition and Sacred Scriptures. Steve: Nothing in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is even written there that supports “Solum Verbum Dei”, or that uses this term in it to show that the Word of God is both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

Charles: Yes, it is stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the importance of “Solum Verbum Dei” of the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal’ (CCC 75). This shows that in unity one another together are what help bring out the Word of God, which is “Solum Verbum Dei.’ Steve: Nonetheless, the New Testament in the Bible is the direct tradition from the Apostles because all they learned from Jesus is recorded in their Gospels and books. As well as their direct sight of the Resurrection of Jesus, this is the center belief of the Catholic Faith that is also stated. Charles: Even though, much of what you said is true because many men were inspired by God and wrote down some of their thoughts that makes up Scripture.

A good example is in John’s Gospel, who is one of the Twelve Apostles stated, “But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”(John 22:25). This shows that not all Jesus taught is contained in Sacred Scripture, as well as acknowledging that all they wrote came from His inspiration and not His command for the apostles to write it down. Therefore, showing that would have been impossible to write everything in the Bible. Steve: I still think that this is not enough proof to show that not all of Scripture contains the Apostolic Traditions? Charles: Some of the Apostolic Tradition that are not included in Scriptures are prayers, such as the Nicene Creed that was orally handed down by generation to generation, and the liturgy of the Eucharist that was initially taught down by the action of how it was started, and not till many centuries later the guidelines were stated for the Eucharist.

Steve: Okay, but there is a passage in the Bible from Timothy that states the Bible alone is the sole authority, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”(2 Timothy 3: 16-17). This gives support that Scripture and nothing more, including the Magisterium and Tradition, is not necessary. Charles: The misinterpretation of this passage is very profound because many readers think that this gives support that the Bible is infallible but it states that it is available for reproof. Still there are many other Biblical quotes that support Sacred Scripture and Tradition are equal to one another compared to just this one only quote.

Steve: So tell me some of the Biblical quotes that support the idea of both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Charles: Well in the Bible there are many quotes to signify this importance of Tradition as well as Scripture. One of the many is “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thess. 3:6). This quote is very clear, unlike your quote, stating that it doesn’t matter if it is orally or manually, but if it honors the truth of God it is infallible to the teaching of the faith. This quote also gives textual support that Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are both the pillars of truth. Supporting that these two are both included in the Divine Revelation.

Steve: However, couldn’t there develop a sort of competition between the Tradition and Scripture because as if there may develop a contradictory between them to which one would hold the upper hand of the true legitimacy.

Charles: Not at all. Each one is equal to one another, since both come from the source of God himself. Only way that it may appear this way if there is a mistake in the print of the book, or misinterpretation of the translation.

Steve: Though this is just one quote that supports the idea of Scripture and Tradition is there any support from the Magisterium that concurs with this belief?

Charles: Yes, there are many teachings of the Church that wholly preserve this belief. One of them comes from the Church’s documents called, Dei Verbum. That is a dogmatic constitution on Divine Revelation written by Pope Paul VI. From this doctrine, there is one passage in particular that demonstrates this, “This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them” (Witherup Chapter 1). This statement gives support that the Magisterium of the Church believes in the authority of Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition. Also, that together united help confirm the teachings of the Church, and constitute the Divine Revelation.

Steve: Yet, there is no evidence in the Bible that shows that Jesus had any support for Apostolic Tradition.

Charles: Actually there is a situation in the Bible that is presented to Jesus in which he had to choose in favor of Scripture, or Tradition and Scripture. So in that time there were two different groups the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees believed in a strict interpretation of solely Scripture. Then the Sadducees, who believed in a united authority of both Tradition and Scripture. Jesus emphatically decided in favor of the Sadducees, judging that Scripture alone was not enough because as the Church grows the Tradition can change to from the need of the Church’s community.

Steve: How could an infallible tradition have been changed?

Charles: Well, for example as the Church grew larger the structure of the Church’s Eucharist was not satisfying the needs of the Church’s members because the language of Latin was not understood by many around the world. So in a council meeting a member of cardinal, who together makes infallible decisions, settled to create the Eucharist in the language of the home country. When under the Magisterium of the Church no decisions made on matters of faith can be wrong.

Steve: Now responding to answer on Jesus’ support for Apostolic Tradition. In fact there are many quotes in the Bible that show Jesus’ disinterest in the Tradition brought upon by mankind. Two quotes in the bible that display these facts are in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. “Jesus says, so, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God.” (Matthew 15:6). In this first quote Jesus states that tradition nullifies the word of God making it blasphemy. The second quote “You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition, and you have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition” (Mark 7:8-13).

This quote as well illustrates significant evidence that Jesus had extreme displeasure in their traditions. It also shows creating our own tradition will renounce the commandments that God gave us, which are rules for getting into heaven. Charles: Once again the interpretation of these quotes is very poorly constructed. For the first quote, Jesus was not completely against all tradition only that which was against the Word of God. Hence forth the Apostolic Tradition that we believe is made of only dogmas of the Catholic Church, which has been approved by God. Different to the tradition of human that is being referred to in the quotes, which are the proceedings of the past leading up to that time that consisted of sin and wickedness.

Steve: After all the years of the passing down of the Apostolic Tradition there should be some error in it because of some unintentional made mistake in it, or a forgotten part of the Tradition.

Charles: Yes, the Popes that have all succeeded the papacy of Peter have all done their job in keeping the Apostolic Tradition infallible; through, an unbroken chain of succession of Popes they have all been able to keep the Apostolic Tradition intact.

Steve: Anyways isn’t the establishing of the authority Pope illegitimate since the head of the Church is whole of the church’s people itself, and not just one person that is the rock of foundation that is implies in Scripture. Also the creation of the papacy is illegal since the only leader of the Church can be God only.

Charles: Yes, but the passages in scripture, referring to Matthew chapter 16, it says that the foundation of the rock is where they will build their Church. The rock is Peter because he was chosen as the leader of the Apostles. As we know we are the Apostles that make up the Church, and our leader to the Church is the Pope, who is the head.

Steve: Alright, another thing is that we don’t need the Pope and it’s Council for the interpretation of Scripture, all of us if we are illuminated by the light of the Holy Spirit; we are able to interpret the Scripture ourselves.

Charles: Even though, the bible may seem very simple to interpret it’s not that simple. For that very reason that is why there are so many different sub religions, probably at least in the hundreds, branching off the Catholic Church because they all think that they are able to interpret the Scripture the right way. This proves that it is not possible for any man alone is capable of interpreting because all these man y different protestant religions have interpreted the scripture in their own way and all of them can’t be right. Finally, in conclusion that is why the Catholic Faith has a head leader for us in the papacy that helps us to avoid this problem. Our leader when they come together make infallible decisions, and tell us the answers to the interpretation of scripture.

Works Cited
An American Bible. Gardners, 2007. Print.
Bohr, David. Catholic Moral Tradition. Eugene, Or.: Wipf & Stock, 2006. Print. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2000. Print. The Essential Catholic Survival Guide: Answers to Tough Questions about the Faith. San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2005. Print. “Justification: The Catholic-Protestant Argument over Justification.” Christian Research Institute and the Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <>. Madrid, Patrick. Why Is That in Tradition? Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2002. “My Journey of Faith by Marco Fallon.” … Web Site Design, PhilVaz, Phil Porvaznik, Software Engineer, Catholic Apologetics, Game Development. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <>. Schreck, Alan. Catholic and Christian: an Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant, 1984. Print. Seals, Susan. St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas Center ::: Discovering the Truth About Santa Claus. Web. 06 Dec. 2011. <>. Witherup, Ronald D. Scripture: Dei Verbum. New York: Paulist, 2006.

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