The Pitfalls of Reading The Bible Only
For many Protestant Christians, the Bible is the ultimate authority on matters of faith and practice. They believe that everything they need to know about God and the Christian life can be found within its pages. While the Bible is certainly a critical source of guidance and wisdom for Christians, relying solely on it without considering Apostolic Tradition can lead to a lot of problems.
Apostolic Tradition refers to the teachings, practices, and beliefs that were passed down from the Apostles to their successors and the Church Fathers, who in turn passed them on to future generations of Christians. This tradition provides an essential link to the earliest days of Christianity and helps us to understand the original intent behind the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.
One of the main problems with relying solely on the Bible is that it can lead to a narrow and incomplete understanding of Christianity. While the Bible is an incredible resource, it was written over a period of many centuries by many different authors, and it can be difficult to fully understand the cultural, historical, and linguistic context in which it was written. This is where Apostolic Tradition can be particularly valuable, as it provides an additional layer of interpretation and understanding.
Furthermore, without Apostolic Tradition, Christians can fall into the trap of interpreting the Bible in a way that aligns with their personal beliefs or political views, rather than seeking to understand the teachings as they were originally intended. This can lead to a distorted and incomplete understanding of the faith, and can even result in the formation of heretical beliefs and practices.
Another problem with ignoring Apostolic Tradition is that it can lead to a lack of unity and coherence within the Church. Without a shared understanding of the traditions and teachings that have been passed down through the centuries, Christians may find themselves divided over issues that should be non-controversial. This can lead to unnecessary conflict and strife within the Church, which can hinder its ability to carry out its mission in the world.
Finally, ignoring Apostolic Tradition can lead to a lack of appreciation for the rich history and legacy of the Christian faith. The Church has a long and storied past, and its traditions and practices are deeply rooted in this history. By ignoring these traditions, Christians risk losing sight of the profound impact that the faith has had on the world, and may find themselves disconnected from the broader community of believers throughout history.
While the Bible is an essential source of guidance and wisdom for Christians, relying solely on it without considering Apostolic Tradition can lead to a narrow and incomplete understanding of the faith, as well as to a lack of unity and coherence within the Church. By embracing the rich history and legacy of the Christian faith and by seeking to understand the teachings of the Apostles and the Church Fathers, we can deepen our understanding of the faith and gain a greater appreciation for the profound impact that it has had on the world.