Catholic Verses - 95 Bibles Passages That Confound Protestants?


Page 63: James 2:24: "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (ch. 1:22, 2:14, 17, 20, 22, 26). Catholics believe in an organic relationship between faith and works. Far from being intractably opposed to one another, they are in fact inseparable. Faith is necessary to produce truly good works, and works in turn are the evidence of a true faith. This verse would appear, on the other hand, to present a problem for the fundamental Protestant notion of sola fide, or faith alone. The Bible here expresses precisely the opposite proposition: one is not justified by faith alone.

Note: Before people we are justified or verified as being Christian as evidenced by our works.

James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.


Page 63: Much of the Protestant polemic historically has been oriented toward "faith alone," and a false charge that the Catholic Church assets salvation through works. It is no small wonder, then, that verses such as this one make Protestant squirm. Protestants must provide an explanation for this verse and related ones that escapes the straightforward, literal meaning.

Note: Before God we are justified or saved by faith alone.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.


Pages 63-64: We can be fairly sure that if the passage had stated the opposite - "a man is justified by faith alone," an idea that never appears in a single verse in Holy Scripture, nor is it taught in the Bible as a whole - it would have been one of the centerpieces of the Protestant apologetic. But since the verse flatly contradicts one of their major premises, Protestants are forced to come up with tortured explanations or else ignore it altogether.

Note: Before God we are justified or saved by faith alone.

Romans 3:27-28 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.


Page 64: The common Protestant reply to James 2:24 (and the book of James in general) is to say that a different sense of the word Justified is being employed by St. James. He is referring to the fruit of justification and the merely outward indication that one is saved.

Note: Before people we are justified or verified as being Christian as evidenced by our works.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.


Page 64: Catholics believe that faith and works are more closely tied together, and related to justification itself. Works can follow only by God's grace and do not cause salvation, but they must be present, because (per James), "faith apart from works is dead" (James 2:26).

Note: The author would assert that the believing thief on the cross never made it to Paradise.

Luke 23:40-43 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds (works); but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. ”And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”


Pages 64-65: In large part, the Protestant-Catholic dispute is over the distinction between justification (that is, salvation) and sanctification (holiness). Protestants believe that the latter has nothing whatsoever to do with justification (which is imputed to the believer or declared by God), yet that it should follow from it. Catholics think they are closely related.

Note: Before God we are justified or saved by faith alone.

Romans 4:1-4 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.


Page 65: St. James is emphasizing the works element of salvation, and St. Paul, the faith element. But neither denies the other element (see in Paul, e.g., Rom. 2:5-13; 1 Cor. 3:8-9; Eph. 2:10; Titus 3:8). Neither James nor Paul compartmentalizes works and faith into distinct theological constructs of "sanctification" and "justification." Rather, what is seen here is an organic unity, precisely as in the Catholic view.

Note: Before God we are justified or saved by faith alone.

Romans 4:5-8 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”


Page 65: But many Protestants whom I have come across think that the Bible distinguishes here between Justification before God and justification before men. Their argument hinges on a different sense of justification in James compared with the rest of Holy Scripture.

Note: Before God we are justified or saved by faith alone.

Romans 9:10-13 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”


Page 65: Catholics believe that salvation is an ongoing endeavor, not a one-time event, as Protestants think (see, e.g., 1 Cor. 9:27, 10:12; Phil. 2:12-13, 3:11-14; Heb. 3:12-14). Obviously, if it were an instantaneous event, there would be no time for works at all, so works are irrelevant and meaningless in any discussion of justification in that sense.

Note: Before God we are justified or saved by faith alone.

Romans 9:30-33 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”


Page 67: Obviously, if the book of James did not make Protestants (perhaps Luther, above all) squirm, they would not be led to adopt such desperate measures and arguments to explain it (away, as it were). Thus, I once had an Internet dialogue with a person who constructed his entire exegetical argument from Jame's use of the word see in this verse. He reasoned that James was referring simply to outward manifestations of true saving faith, which came by faith alone, because this was what other human beings could see.

Note: Saint Paul had problems with men who had been sent to Antioch by James.

Galatians 2:11-13 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.


Page 67: This argument (and, more important, the sophisticated version of it that does not depend on the words "you see") collapses utterly, however, in light of a rather simple contextual consideration. James 2:21, three verses before, reads, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?" This justification wa not "before men," but before the Lord. Yet Scripture teaches us that Abraham was justified in that very act, even though no other human being was around to see it.

Note: Abraham was justified or verified as a believer in God before men.

Genesis 22:3-5 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”


Pages 67-68: That is not to say that his faith was not important. His act of obedience displayed great faith - a faith inseparably united with his actions. In fact, the very next verse (James 2:22) gives us exactly this authoritative interpretation: "You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works." The real clincher, however, comes in verse 2:23: "and the scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.'"

Note: Before God we are justified or saved by faith alone.

Galatians 3:1-3 O foolish Galatians (Catholics)! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?