The Gospels record that Jesus went into the synagogues and taught from the Scriptures every Sabbath. This appears at least ten times in just the Gospels alone. Jesus’ source for teaching was the Scriptures – not the traditions of men. In fact, Jesus taught against the Pharisaical (hypocritical) traditions and spoke for the Scriptural traditions (i.e. honor your father and mother, etc.) In the Book of Matthew (the Book written to the Jews), it is recorded three times that Jesus called the Pharisees “vipers” because of their hypocritical traditions. He reprimanded them publicly for following after traditions that were contrary to what was written in the Scriptures.
What the Pharisees were practicing could not be found in the Scriptures but were things that were added throughout the generations to add to the Scriptures. Furthermore, Jesus said,
Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. ~Mat 15:6b
The times have not changed since the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day. The Roman Catholic Church does not hold the Scriptures as their only source of inspiration either. They combine the Scriptures with magisterium and sacred traditions and all three are what the catholic church bases its beliefs upon. The roman church claims that the Bible cannot have its own private interpretation but must be interpreted by the hierarchy of the church. They claim the early church fathers believed this, however, the Word of God says differently.
The early church fathers actually believed that the written Word is what Christ held as authority and what the Apostles held as authority. Let the Bible speak for itself as to what Jesus and the early church fathers believed.
Jesus asked the unbelieving lawyer how he interpreted what the Scriptures said:
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? ~Luke 10:26
This tells me that in Jesus’ day, the Word of God could be understood by the unbelieving lawyer and that Christ held the lawyer accountable to what the Word of God said. Jesus did not cut the lawyer any slack because he was not born again. The unbelieving lawyer was knowledgeable in the Scriptures for he quoted it back to Jesus. But the lawyer obviously did not obey the Scriptures – notice the verses that follow:
~Luke 10:27-29 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (27) And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. ( 28 ) But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? (29)
Notice how the lawyer tried to cover his disobedience by trying to justify himself in verse 29. But Jesus used the Scriptures to prove his inadequacy. Man-made traditions are totally inadequate. They cannot replace the Word of God – they cannot add or make purer the perfect Scriptures.
The Apostle who wrote the Book of Acts stated:
For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. ~Acts 1:20
All the Apostles looked to the written Word of God to direct them. They followed Psalms to instruct them how to pick another Apostle to make up the twelve. Note the qualifications of an Apostle in verses 21 and 22:
~Acts 1:21-22 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, (21) Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. (22)
So catholic church tradition and magisterium disagree with the Word of God. The pope cannot descend from Peter as none can meet these qualifications.
Jesus was adamant about looking to the Scriptures for our answers. He goes as far as saying that we greatly err when we don’t read the Word and use it as our only Source of direction.
~Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
~Mark 12:24, 27 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? (24) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err. (27)
Both times, Jesus said that man makes errors by not knowing the Scriptures! So who do you obey when there is a contradiction between the Scriptures and what you have been taught, dear catholic reader? Would you rather go to your grave believing the words of the pope and bishops and wonder if they were correct? What do you have to lose by reading God’s Word? The lost lawyer read God’s Word and Jesus judged him by the same Scriptures. Why would Jesus treat you any different? You can’t get any earlier in church history than with Jesus and the Apostles, my friend. All taught from the Scriptures and preached that we make mistakes when we don’t read and obey the Scriptures. Why? Because, as Jesus said, the Scriptures are the power of God.