Is the Bible a Requirement for Salvation?


Five years ago, I wrote a quick article on questions that Christians do not like to answer. Recently, there’s been some controversy/ buzz about the first question I posed in that article. Here’s the question:

If the earliest Christians within the first two centuries after Jesus did not need a New Testament to qualify their faith, why do modern Christians have such a need? If they did not sanction or consider any other writing beside the Old Testament to be scripture, then isn’t it a digression from the ‘true faith‘ of the earliest believers to incorporate something new as scripture? The first New Testament was codified and canonized by the heretic Marcion who believed that the Jewish YHWH was not the true God, the first time the largest Christian Church sanctioned a New Testament was during the 2nd Ecumenical Council of Carthage in 397 CE, some 360+ years after Jesus.

One of the more telling issues with the questioned posed above is that those who have responded to it believe that the question was tricky to answer. I agree it is tricky to answer, that’s the very reason I asked it in the first place! I therefore, don’t find that description of the question to be a problem, it’s more an affirmation that I framed the question properly in the first place. I’m essentially asking one question:

Is the New Testament required to be believed in for salvation in Christianity?

In other words, can someone be a believing Christian without having need for, or being dependent on the New Testament? Can someone reject it and yet, still be saved? This is effectively how the earliest Christians lived, without a New Testament. Some have tried to respond with the following passages:

  • “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15)
  • “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31)

These verses do not answer my question. What these verses teach is that you should believe in the good news, but it does not require belief in this or that or any other Gospel. The authors of Mark, over its centuries of development, never emended the text to say, “repent and believe in this gospel,” there’s a reason for that, the verse is conveying the point that it’s good to believe in what Jesus brought, i.e. his message, not the documents written by people decades later who never knew him. Rather, what is emphasized for belief is in him, Jesus, not any written work by any man. That’s the point I’m trying to make here. There is no requirement to believe in the New Testament as God’s inspired revelation to be saved in Christianity. Consider for a moment, this very important passage:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV).

It’s useful for lots of things, except for salvation. This passage does not state that belief in scripture is a requirement to be saved. Scripture is useful for many things, but it’s not a requirement. It’s like the difference between having an umbrella in the rain and not having one. Sure, the umbrella is useful and it is good for many things when it’s raining, but it’s not a necessity or requirement for when you’re going into the outside world. This is the distinction between something’s usefulness and it’s necessity, one is clearly not the other.

So then, the question begs itself, doesn’t it? Do you require the canonized and codified New Testament, to be believed in, as a requirement for your salvation in Christianity? The earliest Christians did not seem to think so, so why do you?

and God knows best.

21 comments

  • > It’s useful for lots of things, except for salvation.

    Please read vv. 14-15

    2Ti 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
    2Ti 3:13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
    2Ti 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
    2Ti 3:15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
    2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
    2Ti 3:17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

  • Thanks Samuel,

    Kindly focus on verse 15 if you can. It makes you wise, but salvation is in Christ Jesus. There’s a big difference in being a conduit for salvation and a requirement of salvation. See the example of the umbrella in the article above. If not, consider then that you’re arguing that without scripture, you can’t be saved, if that were the case then the illiterate and those who did not have the New Testament have false faith and are thus, not saved.

    Thanks for trying!

  • Brother Ijaz,

    as salaamu alaykum,

    I don’t have time to research this (to provide an answer charitable to the Christians) because I have to read a few chapters from Leviathan.

    I don’t think I’ll even answer your question, but rather point out the utility of having an authoritative canon. It is also similar to why Catholic apologetics considering scripture can be appealing to some Protestants who realize that sola scriptura lacks an appropriate foundation. (I don’t know how James White would deal with this, but he certainly has some material on it but I just did not happen to come across it.) Yes, I understand how appealing to 2 Timothy 3:15-16 does not resolve the issue because it does not address what to believe or identify the relevant scriptures, but rather claims that scripture contains within it material for correcting [heresies] and edifying believes in proper conduct and attitudes.

    Of course, Christian scripture (as a whole) does not affirm many of the tenets of what is considered “orthodox Christianity”.

    I would answer that have authoritative scripture is necessary for cultivating a culture and institutions that are conducive for propagating the relevant dogmas necessary for salvation. An authoritative canon also serves to crystallize history, in the sense that it can capture a snapshot the ideas that (supposedly) comprise “orthodoxy” and prevent other foreign ideas from influencing the beliefs of the community. “Crystallizing history”, in the context of Christianity means preventing “unorthodox” ideas, particularly gnosticism from influencing the practices and dogmas of the believers.

    This may be evident in the “Pauline” pastoral epistles (although I haven’t studied them in depth and only read them once during the last year). There “Paul” refers to schisms and the need to maintain orthodoxy and tradition. (The mostly undisputed) Paul also mentions his opponents in Galatians 4:9-20, 1 Corinthians 4, and Philippians 3:1-3. Scripture is one means of adjudicating between those conflicts. I don’t know what specifically those conflicts are (as I only have superficial familiarity with that them) or whether those conflicts deal with salvation. Scripture may be a means of adjudicate between these disputes concerning orthodoxy.

    (When I am reading the NT, I don’t focus on the “background” conflicts that much, but look at the theology being conveyed by the author. However, Brother Ijaz’ question makes those conflicts more relevant.)

    I remember reading something about the NT mentioning “another Gospel” or a “false Gospel”. I don’t know the reference.

    As an anecdote, I asked many (non-Catholic) Christians around campus about what they believe to be saved. The almost always say that belief in Jesus is necessary for salvation or that he was sacrificed for our sins. I respond by saying that those answers are based on scripture, particularly the Gospel of John and the Pauline epistles. (I also understand that one could use the synoptic Gospels to argue against such a view, but I really don’t want to go up to a booth of Christians and openly challenge their theology.) I would argue that (some portions of) scripture is necessary to provide an “authoritative” justification of those beliefs. I say “authoritative” because there is an implicit understanding among Protestants that much like the Quran al Kareem the scripture is the actual world of God or strongly inspired by the Holy Spirit. They do not need another authoritative institution to tell them that it is merely “inspired” scripture that conveys some relevant theological truths.

    A pamphlet I received from them has many references to scripture. Apparently, they nee to appeal to scripture to convey their message of salvation.

  • Why are not letting my sincere and respectful comments through?
    You need to link to my article so people can read all the details and argument. You left out a lot of info.

  • Yes, mr.heathcliff, you have linked to it many times; and used their arguments over at Paul Williams blog.
    Every one that I have seen isl anti-supernatural typical atheists or skeptic type arguments.
    Also, you have cursed and cussed and used dirty language so much at me over at Williams blog – so much that you have discredited yourself completely.

  • Ijaz,
    Thanks for letting one comment through. Why don’t you let the others through and link to my full article that deals with your article.

    I linked to yours; I would expect you to do the same.

    People need to be able to read the entire argument.

    apologetics and agape dot wordpress dot com

    https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/a-muslims-question-about-the-canon-of-scripture/

  • Thanks for letting it come through! Great!

  • I’m just curious why you don’t post at that blog. Neither you or mad man. Are you afraid ?

  • mr.heathcliff,
    I already do not have time to interact with Muslims at Paul Williams blog, and now desiring to write responses to some of Ajaz’s articles here. (Lord willing, I want to respond to his other 9 questions that he wrote in that article from 2013.) It is not a matter of fear; it is just a matter of time; I would never have known about that cite except for your use of it; and most of what you have written never makes any logical sense, and/or is so filled with dirty language and cursing and cussing that you prove yourself to be discredited. So I don’t have time to investigate everything out there.

  • Hi Ken,

    It seems like you are unfamiliar with the commenting policy on the website, which is why I find it curious that you chose to presume I was intentionally not allowing your comments through. Please acquaint yourself with how the automated commenting works, I mean you have a WordPress blog just as I do, surely you should be aware of how it handles commenting?

    https://callingchristians.com/2016/05/31/site-news-comments/

    In any case, I don’t see that your article or your recent comments have engaged with the main point of the post – whether you accept the Council in 397 CE to be Ecumenical or not is irrelevant – the point still standing that scripture is not needed for salvation, but useful for it. I don’t believe I’ve seen you respond to that point, so there’s nothing in my end to engage with. I hope you understand.

    Regards,
    Br. Ijaz.

  • Hi Ijaz,

    Thanks for the comment policy info.

    Originally, I was hoping that you would have linked to my article within your article, because you did not (except for the tag at the bottom). You have it tagged at the bottom, but not linked, so that is better than nothing. And thanks for letting it through eventually in the combox.

    Yeah, I totally understand taking time to moderate each comment individually for approval; when people don’t act right. Totally with you on that one.

    the point still standing that scripture is not needed for salvation, but useful for it. I don’t believe I’ve seen you respond to that point,

    I actually did respond to that in my article with much more detail that you reported in your article. Christians never claimed “believe in all the NT, and you will then be saved.” People can be saved with hearing and understanding the main points of the gospel message and if the Spirit of God works in their heart, they will be converted. But all the main points of the gospel message that were preached in the early decades were eventually all written down by 96 AD in the 27 books of the NT.

    But a true believer, once they are saved, will believe all the Scriptures for spiritual growth and holiness and perseverance in the faith.

    Jesus said,
    “My sheep hear My voice . . . ” John 10:27

  • “But all the main points of the gospel message that were preached in the early decades were eventually all written down by 96 AD in the 27 books of the NT.”

    what was preached in the early decades?
    how do you know what was preached in the early decades was all written down and was not victim to corruption ?

    who were the original sin stained sinful transmitters between the apostles and early church fathers?

    since the prophets of god (in ot) transmit his message and do FILTHY sins, how can you trust anything they say about god ?

  • 1. how many steps removed between transmission to transmission before they were written down?

    2. the people who heard the apostles, did they consider it worthy to memorise what the apostles said ? just juxtapose the stories in the new testament and see the clear contradictions and inconsistencies

    3. how one is saved ?

    quote :

    Second, some would argue that Jesus could not very well tell someone to believe in his death and resurrection before he died, so he was speaking to the situation *before* his death, whereas Paul was speaking to the situation *after* his death. That’s a clever solution, but it doesn’t work for Paul, I think. And that’s because Paul insists that if a person could be made right with God by keeping God’s laws, then there would have been no reason for Christ to have died (as he explicitly states in Gal. 2:21). And there’s a real logic in that. If Jesus really thought that a person could have eternal life by following the law and could have treasures in heaven by giving away all his property, why would *he* think it was necessary for him to die? People could just be law-abiding Jews, and that would be more than enough.

    4. so clearly the message between jesus and paul is different, the people who heard the apostles did not have any problem in changing the message.

  • ” It is not a matter of fear; it is just a matter of time; I would never have known about that cite except for your use of it; and most of what you have written never makes any logical sense, and/or is so filled with dirty language and cursing and cussing that you prove yourself to be discredited. So I don’t have time to investigate everything out there.”

    it is a matter of fear. you were asked to post on that blog many times last year. did the lying spirit in you reveal to you that i used arguments from that blog ?

    you are very discredited by every muslim on williams blog, even william himself thinks you are a liar for jesus.

    your provocations don’t work .

  • it is a matter of fear.

    No; nope; not at all.

    you were asked to post on that blog many times last year.

    The writers of that blog did not. If you did; then I ignore you, because you are discredited. I read enough of your garbage that you are not worthy of attention; since all you can do is cuss and curse and use dirty language; mixed with stuff from those skeptics and atheists. I respond to things that don’t take up so much time; and some times I responded to your material, but over time, you have proved yourself to be a low character.

    did the lying spirit in you reveal to you that i used arguments from that blog ?

    I went there and saw enough and read enough to know (along with your evil character) that you nor it are worthy of more time.

  • Jesus told them:

    “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15)

    that includes everything in the gospel accounts.

    Mark 10:45 and 14:24 and 14:60-64 are all within that gospel that tells them to repent and believe.
    Mark 8, 9, 10 – Jesus predicts His arrest, trials, crucifixion, death, and resurrection.
    Mark 10:45 is about Jesus’ atoning death/ ransom for sin. (also demonstrating that Qur’an 37:107 affirms the substititionary atonement character of Genesis 22.)
    Mark 14:24 is about the new covenant in His blood for the forgiveness of sins. Confirmed.

    Mark 14:60-64 shows the believe in the Messiah and the eternal Sonship – nature of who Jesus is (which are basis for the doctrines of Deity of Christ, incarnation, and Trinity); and including His resurrection, ascension into heaven and session at the right hand of the Father – all was Jewish prophesy in the OT (Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 110:1) and proved by the question of the High priest, that he understood the Messiah would be the Son of God.

    So it is all there and you are defeated.

    Those are the main issues preached by the early church for centuries.

  • “Mark 10:45 and 14:24 and 14:60-64 are all within that gospel that tells them to repent and believe.”


    45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

    this is markan invention , but even here, NO sign that one must believe in the human sacrifice of your blood god.

    “24 “This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.”

    this is markan invention , but even here, NO sign that one must believe in the human sacrifice of your blood god.

    the rich man did not need jesus’ blood to draw close to god. your list you quoted is definitely markan invention .

    quote :

    Second, some would argue that Jesus could not very well tell someone to believe in his death and resurrection before he died, so he was speaking to the situation *before* his death, whereas Paul was speaking to the situation *after* his death. That’s a clever solution, but it doesn’t work for Paul, I think. And that’s because Paul insists that if a person could be made right with God by keeping God’s laws, then there would have been no reason for Christ to have died (as he explicitly states in Gal. 2:21). And there’s a real logic in that. If Jesus really thought that a person could have eternal life by following the law and could have treasures in heaven by giving away all his property, why would *he* think it was necessary for him to die? People could just be law-abiding Jews, and that would be more than enough.

    quote :

    Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

    62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.

    more markan invention, but here the “son of man” gets his status and power which he CURRENTLY does not possess /have.

    the high priest did not see “the son of man”

    jesus made a false prediction . the high priest died .
    no son of man came. christians went to the mountains , prayed for revenge , no son of man came.

    “Mark 8, 9, 10 – Jesus predicts His arrest, trials, crucifixion, death, and resurrection.”

    MARKAN INVENTION.

    written TOO late

    absolutely no way for ANYONE to know if ANYTHING in mark goes back to jesus, except invention of CRITERION’S which guess as to what is really true and false for first century jew.


    Mark 10:45 is about Jesus’ atoning death/ ransom for sin. (also demonstrating that Qur’an 37:107 affirms the substititionary atonement character of Genesis 22.)”

    45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    absolutely no mention that SUICIDAL jesus /self abuse loving jesus thought that people needed his blood, sacrificial ritual, murder etc to DRAW CLOSER TO THE ALMIGHTY, Not even here.

    “Mark 14:24 is about the new covenant in His blood for the forgiveness of sins. Confirmed.”

    24 “This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.

    markan invention , written DECADES later.

    but even here, no mention that one need to depend on the blood and sacrificial ritual of suicidal jesus to DRAW CLOSER to god.

    it gets worse

    quote :

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    COMPARE TOO :

    10When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12so that,

    “ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,

    and ever hearing but never understanding;

    otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’a ”

    jesus does not want outsiders to be forgiven.

  • if jesus really thought that his blood, his ALLEGED death , his suicidal “sacrifice” was NECESSARY REQUIREMENT to DRAW CLOSER TO GOD , he would NEVER HAVE SAID “follow me” right at the END of his response to the rich geezer.

    we know john, author of the last gospel, would have trashed the laws of God and put jeezer BEFORE them, but mark MESSED up. he PRIORITISES jewish LAWS and makes them ABOVE jesus.

    quote :

    21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    the”then come, follow me” is not even NECESSITY. one is ALREADY FOLLOWING when one has given up all his money and live homeless life, scavenging from fig trees, keeping hands unwashed …..

    ““Mark 8, 9, 10 – Jesus predicts His arrest, trials, crucifixion, death, and resurrection.”

    he forgets all of this LOL when he is begging god to save him LOL

    “my god, my god, why have you forsaken me “

  • calling whatever you cannot deal with as a “Markan invention” is just an assertion without any evidence. whatever defeats Islam is just dismissed as “Markan invention”.

    Christ has 2 natures and cried out in pain on the cross – His cry is His human nature of suffering, showing the depth of pain of taking on the sins of the world for sinners from all nations; and quoting Psalm 22:1 in order to point us to the whole Psalm. There is no contradiction whatsoever.

    You have no substance to your arguments.

    Dr. White and Dr. Brown analyzed Psalm 22 recently on the Dividing Line. Very good program.

  • solve the problem by plugging jesus into different natures LOL

    does he have a ghost, animal, cancer cell nature too ?

    jesus used to go around attacking peoples lack of faith, but he as fully man and fully god, begged pop/daddy to save him from human beings

    how comes jesus didn’t predict that he would ask pop to save him from human violence?

    jesus said to the rich man that torah takes PRIORITY over him, how come , if jesus came as abrogator of torah ?

    jesus gave a message to the rich man which clearly indicated that one can DRAW close to god by following gods rituals and instructions .

    “Christ has 2 natures and cried out in pain on the cross – His cry is His human nature of suffering, showing the depth of pain of taking on the sins of the world for sinners from all nations; and quoting Psalm 22:1 in order to point us to the whole Psalm. There is no contradiction whatsoever.”

    this is quite funny.

    what is the divine person doing while the human person is crying ?

    if they are BOTH one person, then the divine person is crying along with the human person .

    this is simple common sense.

    what does it mean “in his human nature”? what is he doing “in his divine person” lol?

    pouring on himself ?

    why would “pain on cross” cause krist to utter blasphemy about being forsaken ?how can sins cause a god to say to himself that he is forsaken ?

    for example , i have full power over sin and i pour the punishments for all sins on myself knowing full well i can switch it off anytime i want, why then would i say as a god, “why have you forsaken me” ?

    that makes sense
    ?

    the psalms NEVER says that yhwh would be an animal sacrifice . the psalms never says that the person is SEEING himself as a RITUAL animal sacrifice for sins.

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