"Definition of terms" should be found in the bible


#1

Hi Guys! Catholic here.

I know that this has been a loooooooooooong argument already like, “Where is the word ‘Catholic’ in the Bible?”, or “Where did you Catholics come up with the word ‘Trinity’ when it is not found in the Bible?” and other argument. And trust me, I’ve been diligent in studying and defending the faith by putting up everything that I’ve learned from Saint Paul, to the Letters of the Church Fathers and everything.

I believe it all boils down to the definition of terms. Thus my question is, how does the Catholic Church define such words? Because if I were to give one, it will be this one from Genesis 2: 19

“So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name.”


#2

Catechism

830 The word “catholic” means “universal,” in the sense of “according to the totality” or “in keeping with the whole.” The Church is catholic in a double sense:
First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.” In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him “the fullness of the means of salvation” which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost and will always be so until the day of the Parousia.


#3

… which is correct and I honestly agree to you.

However, when it comes to “defining terms” such as “Catholic”, “Trinity”, “Bible”, etc., who does this? Is there a biblical basis for “creating such terms which are not in the Bible”? I just want to take a good grasp at this because this is where I mostly fail to defend it. :frowning:


#4

Well, the Church has never been a “bible only” religion. The concept you describe is simply foreign to the historical thought of the Church.


#5

You don’t have to defend Catholic terms according to anyone’s assumptions that they must be found in the Bible. As drforjc cited Catholicism is not a “Bible only” faith. The Bible is the witness to the truths the Church teaches and vice versa. It’s all one thing.

Because the Bible is not explicit about certain things, such as the nature of the Godhead or Jesus’ nature or other such issues, the Church had to define them in its councils down through the centuries. The word bible merely means “book.” A book which is actually a library of several writings spanning thousands of years.

Asking to find these terms in the Bible is simplistic and unrealistic for the Bible is not a list of theological terms and was never meant to be that.


#6

That’s correct. As humans, we have the right to define whatever term we want on a given situation or an event. Even in philosophy, we have the utmost right to define whatever term we want (isn’t this metaphysics?).

Thus, my realization on this is correct right?


#7

19* Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20* teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.

Matthew 28:19

20 And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen. *

Mark 16:20

17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.

Romans 10:17

It seems clear that the Faith is to be taught orally. The Bible was assembled as lecture noted; not a stand-alone treatise.


#8

I don’t know that we humans have the “utmost right to define whatever term we want.” We can’t reinvent truth to suit our fancy, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. It’s like calling a tree a cow just because you’d rather it was a cow. You can call it a cow all you like but you’re not going to get any milk from it just the same.

Thus, my realization on this is correct right?

I don’t know what your realization is :confused: so I can’t say.

You questions were:

However, when it comes to “defining terms” such as “Catholic”, “Trinity”, “Bible”, etc., who does this?

I will answer more directly, perhaps that will help. The Church defines such terms because it was given the authority to teach Christ’s teachings to men. In order for terms to have any real meaning they must define things as they really are and they must be defined by those with the authority to do so. Not everyone who reads a Bible has the authority to define terms. Only those given that authority by Christ have it, and those people are the Apostles and their successors, the bishops of the Church in union with the bishop of Rome, which is called the Magisterium.

Is there a biblical basis for “creating such terms which are not in the Bible”?

There doesn’t have to be, although having been given the authority to teach in his name, Christ gave that authority to his Apostles and their successors. The more salient question might be, why are such terms necessary?

As to why such terms are necessary–it is because the Bible does not define doctrine or dogma. That’s not its function. The Bible is a collection of writings that contain doctrine and dogma but the truths it contains are often implicit not explicit, which is why heresies arose even during the time of the Apostles. This was why the first Council of Jerusalem was held–to define and clarify Church teaching on certain matters both doctrinal and disciplinary. And while they consulted Scripture the decisions and defining was in their hands to make.

Many want to just read their Bibles and come to their own conclusions, but that’s not how it works. Jesus never founded a book and never demanded one be written. Books, in and of themselves have no authority. Authority lies with persons not documents. We refer to documents when defining terms, but that is the action of persons. Even those who hold to the Bible alone are taking upon themselves the authority to define terms, which God never gave to them, and so it is not their right or duty to do so.


#9

Where is the word ‘Catholic’ in the Bible?"

It isn’t in the Bible, of course, but a long time ago I did come across the origin (supposedly) of the word, “Catholic”:

Çatalhöyük (and maybe the college, Mount Holyoke, is a derivative)

When I checked the link under, “Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük” in the Wike article, it led back to Cybele and the Black Madonna.

“Where did you Catholics come up with the word ‘Trinity’”

Even when I went agnostic for many years, the Trinity wasn’t one of the stumbling blocks that sent me in that direction.

However, I did find an interesting article this evening while trying to understand why others would have a problem with the Trinity. It doesn’t change my acceptance of the Trinity, but it did provide food for thought.

heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm


#10

It’s always dicey to ‘lean on our own understanding’ of the Bible. But it can be equally hazardous to lean on the understandings of others who aren’t Inspired.

The Bible calls each of us to find the Holy Spirit for ourselves, for each of us to become a Temple of the Holy Spirit - I can’t be led if I don’t have the Leader Christ sent back to us…

John 16:13 - But when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.

Galatians 5:18 - But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

Romans 8:9 - However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Before mass education, (and the printing press in the 1600s) I can understand the need to rely on the Church for Biblical guidance; however, today we have education, the internet and countless resources to aid in Bible study while we seek to Know the Holy Spirit for ourselves. Not that we still don’t look to the Church for guidance and answers, but we can now also seek spiritual answers for ourselves. The Church is too large to provide individual guidance. It’s not a matter of being self-sufficient, but being self-motivated. Rather than expecting priests to fulfill our spiritual needs in an hour each Sunday, we partake of the Bread of Life daily.

Matthew 22:37 - Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (That’s my Authority.)

Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 4:12 - For the Word of God is Living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

To me, Jesus surely intended his Works and Words to be recorded; His arrival was well planned. The Hebrews had been recording for centuries - for Jesus to have expected His words to have been passed on orally only makes me wonder what we would be hearing today if that was the case. :wink:


#11

The Trinity is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit which are mentioned in the Bible - Matt 28:19
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit

Catholic Church - (Greek: katholikos ekklesia) developed from Acts 9:31 “the Church throughout all” (Greek: ekklesia kath olos).


#12

It’s not a matter of who is “inspired” but of who has the God-given authority to define doctrine and dogma. We are discussing terms such as “Trinity,” which is not a word found in the Bible. I was explaining that it need not be explicitly found in the Bible because the Apostles, who wrote the NT had the authority to teach in Christ’s name–the authority Jesus gave directly to them. The Apostles successors also have this authority, and that’s what it all comes down to–authority.

The Bible calls each of us to find the Holy Spirit for ourselves, for each of us to become a Temple of the Holy Spirit - I can’t be led if I don’t have the Leader Christ sent back to us.

It’s one thing to find inspiration in the Bible, and certainly we are guided by the Holy Spirit in this, but as to defining what is and what isn’t a teaching of Christ, that is not up to individuals, but to those to whom Christ gave his authority. Again, it’s the successors of the Apostles, which is all the bishop of the Church, this is called the Magisterium.

Before mass education, (and the printing press in the 1600s) I can understand the need to rely on the Church for Biblical guidance; however, today we have education, the internet and countless resources to aid in Bible study while we seek to Know the Holy Spirit for ourselves. Not that we still don’t look to the Church for guidance and answers, but we can now also seek spiritual answers for ourselves. The Church is too large to provide individual guidance. It’s not a matter of being self-sufficient, but being self-motivated. Rather than expecting priests to fulfill our spiritual needs in an hour each Sunday, we partake of the Bread of Life daily.

I’m afraid you misunderstand the function of Catholic priests. They are not necessarily there for our personal guidance. One can enlist the help of a spiritual director if one wishes who can be anyone who is suitably trained in that ministry. Rather, their primary function is that of sacraments and liturgy. Actually, our deacons are our preachers in parishes that have them. If there is no deacon or the priest wishes to give homilies, then the priest does it.

To me, Jesus surely intended his Works and Words to be recorded; His arrival was well planned. The Hebrews had been recording for centuries - for Jesus to have expected His words to have been passed on orally only makes me wonder what we would be hearing today if that was the case. :wink:

Ah no. :slight_smile: Jesus promised that the Church would be guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit–and he never goes back on his promises. He also never asked anyone to write anything except for St. John’s Revelation. We cannot know if Jesus would have wanted Gospels or Epistles written. He never said anything about it one way or the other. Remember, it was the Church that decided which 1st century writings were to be part of the canon of the Bible.

The Bible is the Church’s book, not just ours as individuals. Therefore, since it is the Church’s book, written by her Apostles and their closest followers, it is the Church that has the authority to decide what it means–not individuals no matter how inspired they might be. It all comes back to authority–who has it and who doesn’t have it.


#13

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