Monthly Archives: May 2013

If we test/verify everything by Scripture, how do we verify the list of 66 books using Scripture alone? To ask it another way: Since the table of contents in our Bible is not inspired, it must be what we, as Protestants, would call a man-made tradition that must be tested by the light of Scripture. But what purely Scriptural test can we perform on that table of contents to determine that the books listed there belong in the Bible? If we cannot verify it using Scripture alone but must go outside the Bible to verify it, aren’t we just accepting a “man-made tradition” as infallible without Scriptural proof?

Having said that, I will point out that in spite of this issue with sola Scriptura, I am not prepared to jettison it. The alternative to it is to head to Rome, but there one will find countless volumes of church teaching and canon law and, therefore, even more questions—not to mention a “gospel” that shifts the burden of salvation from Christ to the individual believer. The situation would not be much better if one went to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

annunciation2And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Luke 1:28, Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

Although this translation renders the angel’s greeting in Luke 1:28 with the words, full of grace, the underlying Greek conveys a meaning that is perhaps quite different. In this passage, the underlying Greek is a single word: κεχαριτωμένη (kecharitwmenei), a perfect passive participle that means one having been favored. If the angel had really meant “full of grace,” then surely we would see the more precise phrase, πλήρης χάριτος (pleireis charitos) used in John 1:14 to describe Jesus:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full [πλήρης] of grace [χάριτος] and truth. (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

It seems clear that the Greek text underlying the description of Mary indicates something entirely different. Since the word πλήρης (full) does not appear in that description of Mary, there is no indication that the author intended to describe Mary as being “full” of grace. We can definitely conclude from that text that she was favored. We can even conclude from the context that she was highly favored, since she was to be the mother of the Lord—truly a unique, special role—and that she should be honored. We can also conclude from the perfect tense that the favoring had begun at some point in the past and had continued to the present time (from the standpoint of the speaker).

Perhaps it’s true that Mary was “full of grace,” but I’m not so sure that it can be proven from Luke 1:28.