Dangerous biblical study

Why do Catholics read the bible? If an unlearned person can twist scripture to ones own destruction and private interpretation leads to disaster wouldn’t one be better off simply going to mass and remaining ignorant. For many centuries the Church would not allow lay people to read the bible at all and if this is what they believe they did so consistently and wisely. Why now are Catholics allowed to study Gods word? Would the early church fathers such as Polycarp and Ignatious be for or against everyone having a bible? I do not understand the logic behind the change.

Show me where the church had an official teaching that people could not read the bible? I’ve yet to find anyone who can show that. For centuries having a bible was unlikely so there was no need to encourage reading it, the odds of owning one was very slim before the printing press. In fact, one the early church father’s said, Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ. The church encourages reading of the scripture because it is sacred, and it helps us grow closer to God.

Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. - - St. Jerome quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 133.

Here is a good article for you to read: Did the Catholic church forbid reading the bible?

the bible is a Catholic book. The Canon of scripture was finalized by the Catholic church.
Remember for much of church history, most people could not read at all and the Bible was hand written making it not readily available to the average person to have in their possession. The Catholic church has never forbidden the reading of the Bible and this thinking is a Protestant myth.

Well this will be fun. The fact was only the rich could afford a Bible or even read a Bible. It wasn’t practical to read from the Bible back then because no one could read and no one could afford to pay somebody to handcopy a 1000+ page Bible. We live in the age of the printing press and literacy in our first world society, so the Bible is beneficial to us and we should go out of our way to read it.

Oh and almost forgot, just because the Bible can be misinterpreted doesn’t mean we should just give up on reading the text. I shouldn’t give up on the movie inception just because some people believe it’s all a dream and I don’t. Similarly, a baptist does not give up on the Bible because a mormon comes to a different conclusion, so why should the Catholic give up on it. I’d rather try to do something the right way than not try at all.

I think Ignatius and Polycarp would probably say something like, “What’s a bible?” when posed such a question.

The reason there are problems is people put too much stock in understanding the literal meaning of the Bible, which means they will argue about it forever.

The REAL treasure of the Bible is experienced best by simply listening to it and not trying to figure it out. You become much more intimate because by not defending against what doesn’t make sense, you’re allowing it into your mind and hear to do its work. My favorite way is in a comfy position.


The Waldenses? They were killed rather unmercifully.

"I think Ignatius and Polycarp would probably say something like, “What’s a bible?” when posed such a question. "


In all honesty Boywonder23k, you’re probably assuming we’re reading the Scriptures and looking for doctrinal truths but we don’t read the Scriptures in light of making our selves infallible interpreters of the Word. If we did, well…we’d be protestant and belong to thousands of different sects all arguing with each other over doctrinal matters. Instead, we edify and nourish our selves with the Word because it is an encounter with our Lord not with sola scriptura or imputation or insert protestant doctrine here

until the gutenburg press, the Bible was copied by hand and there was high illiteracy rates and having a Bible for the common man was pretty much non existence.

they were a heretical group who taught unorthodox ideas and forbidden to teach by Pope Alexander III. founded by Peter Waldo who was a street preacher who taught to his own understanding. It was their teaching that got them into trouble not reading the Bible.


That’s why it’s the deeper senses than the literal that convey the real heart of Jesus’s messages. The ones that transform and prepare us for the banquet.


Thank you all for the responses. Let’s grant that the Catholic repression of scripture is a Protestant myth (which is not true). I would like to refocus the post to the heart of the question. Why read the bible at all if all that can happen is you take the risk of twisting them to your own destruction? Wouldnt a Catholic be better off not reading them at all and simply attending mass? Ignorance is bliss in the Catholic system. If you have no idea whats going on you aren’t judged. If you read the bible and find yourself agreeing with Protestant theology you are condemned. All risk and no reward it seems.

You cannot get to heaven by intellectual study of the Bible. Ref. 1 Cor 13, which we’ve all heard at weddings. Doesn’t matter what you know. What matters is your love.

Your thinking determines how open-minded and open-heart you are to God to invite the Holy Spirit in for divine union. You may protest he’s always invited; well normally He can’t get a hold of your mind and heart because we are too focused on something of our own will.

But your thinking has to be shaped by experience, and by experiencing the things Christ experienced, but in your own way. These are your works – your thoughts, words, and deeds. Notice Jesus doesn’t say “you must take up My cross,” but “you must take up Your cross.” Hopefully, and I say spiritual direction improves the chances, you will advance spiritually to the point nothing is of question anymore. You will understand how all works for the good for those who believe. Then you’re stylin’ :heaven:


These might help you with your misconceptions regarding the Church. Welcome to the forums…





As for Polycarp and Ignatius they wouldn’t even know what the bible is as it had not been compiled yet.

Unlike Protestants, Catholics cannot twist scripture because we have Sacred Tradition as given to the Apostles through Jesus and handed down to our Bishops and protected by the Holy Spirit. We have the authentic teaching of Jesus and as such is not open to our interpretation unlike the 30,000+ Protestant sects each “twisting scripture,” to their own means as you put. Therefor, Catholics have no fear of reading the bible after all it is our book.


Item: “Bible forbidden to laymen, placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Valencia . . . [A.D.] 1229.”

This looks rather damaging, but Boettner has his history completely wrong. The first thing to note is that the Index of Forbidden Books was established in 1559, so a council held in 1229 could hardly have listed a book on it.

The second point is that there apparently has never been any Church council in Valencia, Spain. If there had been one, it could not have taken place in 1229 because Muslim Moors then controlled the city. It is inconceivable that Muslims, who were at war with Spanish Christians, and had been off and on for five centuries, would allow Catholic bishops to hold a council in one of their cities. The Christian armies did not liberate Valencia from Moorish rule until nine years later, 1238. So Valencia is out.

But there is another possibility, and that is Toulouse, France, where a council was held in 1229. And, yes, that council dealt with the Bible. It was organized in reaction to the Albigensian or Catharist heresy, which held that there are two gods and that marriage is evil because all matter (and thus physical flesh) is evil. From this the heretics concluded that fornication could be no sin, and they even encouraged suicide among their members. In order to promulgate their sect, the Albigensians published an inaccurate translation of the Bible in the vernacular language (rather like the Jehovah’s Witnesses of today publishing their severely flawed New World Translation of the Bible, which has been deliberately mistranslated to support the sect’s claims). Had it been an accurate translation, the Church would not have been concerned. Vernacular versions had been appearing for centuries. But what came from the hands of the Albigensians was an adulterated Bible. The bishops at Toulouse forbade the reading of it because it was inaccurate. In this they were caring for their flocks, just as a Protestant minister of today might tell his flock not to read the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation.


Djk was Martin Luther not a Catholic? Are Catholics not converting ALL the time every day. The Catholic Church has only gotten around to “infallibly” interpreting 7 whole scriptures in 2,000 years where does all of this confidence come from? It seems to me that on Catholicism there is no benefit to reading scripture.

Much of the Bible we discuss on these forums, it turns out the Church, in her wisdom, allows individuals some room for interpretation. Some are taught upon specifically.

As far as Church teachings, we cannot assume they are twisted. But individual Catholics twist scripture all the time. Just like Protestants do. What differs among different groups of Christians around the world, is what parts of the Bible they underline. Catholics have no corner on this. Honest Protestants know they have exactly the same problem – just they smile and quote the Bible more and some see that as an advantage over someone who smiles but quotes the Bible less.


Yes you can get individuals falling away from the Church but that doesn’t undermine the truth that it contains.

And one benefit Catholics recieve from reading scripture is a plenary indulgence not to mention a better understanding of Christ. So there is much benefit for Catholics in reading the bible.

Exactly, individuals can twist scripture however when taken in light of Sacred Tradition and the Church Magesterium teachings, you have no need to fear that you will twist scritpture because the teachings are protected by the Holy Spirit. That is my point.

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