2Tim 3:10-17 – But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.


Many Protestants use verses 16 and 17 of the above passage to justify sola scriptura. They claim that these two verses show that we need nothing other than the Bible for our doctrine. What they miss is that Timothy, to whom Paul is writing this letter, did not get his doctrine from the scriptures but from Paul. Verse 10 shows us that Timothy has carefully followed Paul’s doctrine, and verse 14 shows us that Timothy can be assured that he has the correct beliefs because he got them from Paul.

Even though verses 15 -17 say that Timothy has known the Holy Scriptures (in this case the Old Testament), which make us wise for salvation, since childhood, and those very scriptures are given by inspiration from God, and are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness that we may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work, Paul never told Timothy that he could be assured of his doctrine because of the scriptures alone, but because of Paul who taught him the faith and opened the scriptures for him.

The problem for Protestants is not whether or not the scriptures are true – they definitely are – the problem is finding the correct understanding of them. It doesn’t do us any good to have a true book if we cannot agree as to the meaning of the truths found in the book.