Were the Bereans “Bible Alone”?

by Steve Ray on May 8, 2013

St. Paul traveled through Thessaloniki and Berea in modern day Greece (Macedonia). The account is recorded in Acts 17:1-15. Many Protestants consider the Bereans as proto-Protestants holding to a “bible alone” theology. But they are sadly mistaken.

Here is my article “Why the Bereans Rejected Sola Scriptura” which was published in THIS ROCK Magazine a while ago.

When you read this article you will discover that the Bereans were actually Catholic in their view of Scripture, tradition and authority.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joel D'souza June 21, 2012 at 1:45 PM

The Baptists in 1689 placed in their Confession of Faith:

The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

The sufficiency of Scripture is clearly asserted, but it is a sufficiency carefully defined. No one claims the Bible is an omnipedia of all knowledge. Nor does anyone claim the Bible can tell you, specifically, what color fabric to place upon the pews of your new church building. But all things that are “necessary” for God’s “own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in Holy Scripture.” How like the words of Augustine:

What more shall I teach you than what we read in the apostle? For Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine, lest we dare to be wiser than we ought. Therefore I should not teach you anything else except to expound to you the words of the Teacher. (De bono viduitatis, 2)

Again the article is the same straw man attack on Sola Scriptura – the Word of God, by people who are against God. Your article asserts that the Bereans actually condemn the position of sola scriptura! You cite Acts 17:1-9, ” The Thessalonians rejected Paul and his message, and, after denouncing him, they became jealous that others believed.” Yet, where does the text say this? The text says nothing about rejecting Paul’s message. Luke says, “But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar.”

The motivation of the Jew’s action is plainly jealousy, nothing more. Of course they did not embrace the message: if they had, they would not have been jealous! Why make a point of this?

fr walter nagle June 21, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Steve,

Thank you for this post. It is very timely. Today I spent two hours with a friend who did everything he could to undermine the priesthood, the eucharist, and the authority of the church. Much of the discussion involved the Bereans. It is not a coincidence that you posted this today. Thank you for your witness and for giving me strength to witness.

Fr Walter Nagle

De Maria June 21, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Hi Joel,

You say, The motivation of the Jew’s action is plainly jealousy, nothing more. Of course they did not embrace the message: if they had, they would not have been jealous! Why make a point of this?

That doesn’t make sense. Let’s look at the text.
Acts 17:
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Now, ask yourself, “why were the Bereans more noble than the Thessalonicans? The answer:
in that they received the word with all readiness of mind,

You might ask me, “Which word? Scripture is also called the word.” The answer:
The word the Apostles preached.

You might continue, “How do you know it isn’t the Scripture?” The answer:
Because they searched in the Scripture to find the Apostles word therein.

Here is what goes right past Protestants. They don’t even see it because of their presuppositions against the Traditions of Christ.

1st. The Apostles were Teaching. That is the Tradition we call “Magisterium”.
2nd. I repeat, the Apostles were Teaching. That means they were passing down the Traditions of Christ by Word. That is simply called, “Sacred Tradition”.
3rd. The Bereans looked up the Sacred Tradition in Scripture.

That is the Catholic Teaching of passing down the Faith of Jesus Christ by handing down Tradition, Scripture. That is what is depicted in the Berean episode. Not Scripture alone.

Sincerely,

De Maria

The Sarge June 22, 2012 at 7:11 AM

So let me see if I understand: The doctrine of Sola Scriptura states that we should believe only those doctrines which are in the Bible; the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is found nowhere in the Bible; so…???

Joel D'Souza June 28, 2012 at 6:27 AM

The Sarge:
So let me see if I understand: The doctrine of Sola Scriptura states that we should believe only those doctrines which are in the Bible; the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is found nowhere in the Bible; so…???

De Maria said the scripture contain Catholic doctrine so we must believe in Sola scriptura. We must also find whether un-biblical doctrines of Tradition found in the CCC need to castigated out.

JOEL: STEVE RAY HERE. YOU ARE GETTING TEDIOUS AND OBVIOUSLY RUNNING OUT OF GAS. YOU CAN NEVER CONCEDE ONE POINT OR YOUR WHOLE HOUSE OF CARSS COMES TUMBLING DOWN.

De Maria June 28, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Hi Joel,

You said to The Sarge:

De Maria said the scripture contain Catholic doctrine

Correct.

so we must believe in Sola scriptura.

Huh? You mean after all the times that I’ve repeatedly said that Sola Scriptura is a false doctrine which contradicts not only Scripture, but itself, you come to the conclusion that I said we must believe Sola?

We must also find whether un-biblical doctrines of Tradition found in the CCC need to castigated out

There are not any un-biblical doctrines in the Catholic Church. There are several anti-Biblical doctrines in Protestantism.

Sincerely,

De Maria

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