Scripture and Tradition

“Who cares about ‘tradition’? For a Christian, isn’t inspired Scripture our only rule of faith and practice?”

Of course, Catholics accept scripture as the inspired and authoritative Word of God. But the apostles didn’t just write. Mainly, they taught by word and example, and St Paul commanded the early Christians to “hold fast” to everything they’d received from him, “whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

What we believe is that everything the apostles taught was committed to their successors the bishops and has been preserved within the Church by the Holy Spirit until our time. As Vatican II said, “the Church, in her doctrine, life, and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes”. Because of this, for us Catholics, it isn’t Scripture or Tradition but Scripture and Tradition, treasured and passed down to us within Christ’s one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

There are many, many great resources out there for learning about the Catholic view of Scripture and Tradition. Here are some of our favorites.



Sola Scriptura: Cracked Foundation of the Protestant Worldview

by Ken Hensley

Sola scriptura (“scripture alone”) is the foundation of Protestantism. As long as Protestants believe this foundation is intact, they will continue to reject the Church no matter how strong a case you make for any particular Catholic teaching. In this series of five talks, former Protestant minister Ken Hensley decisively dismantles this doctrine, arguing that sola scriptura cannot be Christ’s intention for his Church.

Which Came First – the Bible or the Church?

by Matthew Arnold

Have you ever been asked where Catholic beliefs can be found in the Bible? Here is a crash course in history proving that the Bible is a Catholic book. Matthew Arnold offers convincing evidence that the Church has faithfully proclaimed and preserved the fullness of God’s Word down through the centuries. This is a valuable talk on this subject.

What Every Catholic Should Know about the Bible

by St Joseph Communications

Where did we get the Bible? By what authority was it compiled? Where can you find the correct interpretation of the Bible? This series covers the inspiration of Scripture, the formation of the Biblical canon, the crucial role of Tradition in Biblical interpretation, and the history of Biblical translations from the time of Christ to today. It also answers the pervasive Protestant charges that the Catholic Church banned and burned the Bible; that the Church chained the Bible and kept it in a dead language in order to keep the Scriptures from the people. A wealth of great information.


By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition

by Mark Shea

This is great “first book” to read on this subject of Scripture and Tradition. In it apologist Mark Shea tells the story of his conversion from Evangelicalism to Catholicism, focusing precisely on the question of how we can know what we are to believe as Christians. Is it scripture alone? Or is the tradition of the also required?

Where We Got the Bible

by Henry Graham

In this remarkably powerful little book, Bishop Henry Graham explains how the Catholic Church compiled the sacred text, how medieval monks preserved it, and how Catholic scholars gave Christians the Bible in their own languages. Along the way, he refutes myths about Catholic opposition to Scripture. This is a must read.

Not by Scripture Alone

by Robert Sungenis

This is a comprehensive — nearly encyclopedic! — treatment of the subject. From scripture and Church history the author critiques the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura (scripture alone) and presents a thorough defense of the Catholic view of scripture and tradition.


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