Does scripture interpret scripture?


I have a friend that insists that scripture interprets scripture? And if so where does it say that in the bible?



Scripture does explain Scripture.

For Catholics we see Revelation to be through Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium, the teaching office of Jesus Christ on earth.

For Scripture explaining Scripture: “I am the Bread of Life.” “I am the Temple.” Jesus is the Lamb of God.

I hope I am accurate. I hope that is a little help.


Does scripture interpret scripture?

As Jim Baur said, in some ways, yes, but certainly not to the exclusion of the Magisterium of the Church and Sacred Tradition.

Many things in the bible are not readily obvious and require the living Church to interpret.


To the extent that sola scriptura is abiblical, and the bible itself endorses apostolic tradition, yes scripture interprets scripture, with the help of apostolic tradition.


And ask your friend:

Does the U.S. Constitution interpret the U.S. Constitution? Or is their an external entity( U.S. government) who helps to interpret? The Bible also needs an official interpreter: the Church.




Yes it most certainly does, and leads 1 way, The Catholic Church


Actually, to be more specific, the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution. And when it does… they call it the Law of the Land… I think that’s a better analogy maybe?



I have heard about this, but it is not Bibical. Some things are but not all.

Ask your friend where "Moses’ seat comes from and how is it interperted in the Bible, according to that theory, it must be somewhere else in scripture?

(Mat 23:2) "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat,



We see Moses chair in Exodus 18:13, which is why we have Peters chair


It is not Scripture that interprets Scripture but man who by the Holy Spirit that interprets Scripture. That being said as Catholic’s we can only interpret Scripture in light of what the Catholic Church teaches. The truth of Scripture is the truth that leads to salvation. The Bible isn’t teaching every manner of truth because everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching firmly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation.

The truth of Scripture is expressed in a variety of ways and those who search out the intention of the sacred writers must, among other things, have regard for literary forms. For truth is proposed and expressed in a variety of way, depending on whether a text is history of one kind or another, or whether its form is that of prophecy, poetry, or some other type of speech. The interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances as he used contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture.

The truth of Scripture must be considered in the light of the content and unity of the whole of Scripture as well as in the light of the living tradition of the whole Church, since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted according to the same Holy Spirit by whom is was written, no less serious attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture, if the meaning of the sacred texts are to be correctly brought to light. The living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith. It is the task of exegetes to work to these rules toward a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of sacred Scripture, so that through preparatory study the judgment of the Church may mature. For all of what has been said about the way of interpreting Scripture is subject finely to the judgment of the Church, which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the Word of God.


This is, without doubt, the single most ridiculous theological and linguistic postulation that I have ever heard. Language communicates - it does not interpret. People interpret. Everyone knows what the bible says. But, who knows what it means? People choose either to submit to outside authority in interpretation, or appoint themselves as authority. OP’s friend has self-appointed authority, in contra to the admonitions of the very bible he misinterprets!


Thank you all for your insights.
I appreciate them all.
God Bless


=Waynec;11843980]I have a friend that insists that scripture interprets scripture? And if so where does it say that in the bible?


It doesn’t AND IT DOESEN"T:)


HMMMM I thought I was confused before:confused::smiley:


Written words are not a living authority, thus they cannot do anything but lie there on the printed page. Human readers are the living component and they either have authority to interpret for the author (in the case of the bible, that would be the Holy Spirit), or they do not. Nowhere in the bible does it say anything remotely indicating that written words self-interpret. The very concept is nonsensical.


It seems to me that throughout the Catholic Church’s long history, the Church has prized the Scriptures as one of the major sources of her faith. The Bible has never been optional for the Church, but has been an indispensable aid in understanding and celebrating her faith. After the invention of the printing press the Church suffered through some dark times. This had an effect on the Church’s attitude toward Scripture. The Bible was used as a weapon by Christian against Christian, each arguing that his own particular interpretation of the Bible’s words was the only correct meaning.

This issue of interpretation is a key one because there is a difference between what the Bible says and what the Bible means. To read is to interpret, and many individuals have tried to interpret Scripture in a way contrary to what the Church taught at a particular time. The Bible in many ways became a source of division instead of unity. It is the Catholic Church’s position that the college of Bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome are the only authentic interpreters of the Bible.

Tradition in its most fundamental meaning, implies that something was handed down. The Catholic Church affirms that still today she hands down the faith she first received from the Lord. Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is committed to the Church. This teaching on Tradition, however, has unfortunately given some the mistaken impression that the Church is somehow not entirely serious about the attention she gives to the Scripture. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is the Scriptures themselves which form an essential element in her Tradition. Without them she would be impoverished beyond measure since they are God’s gift to her.

Through many periods of struggle, internal and external, the Church gradually developed what should be seen as a characteristic of her general position regarding the Scriptures; they are the property of no individual, but belong to the whole Church. So, it is the community( Pastors and Bishops of the Church) who have the responsibility of interpreting Scriptures. It is one of the most fundamental tasks of the Teaching Church or Magisterium to say what the Scriptures mean.


excellent example!


As I think about it, even if Scripture interprets Scripture it would still require someone to connect the Scripture passages together because it would be so easy to try to connect passages together that have no relation to each other and would only bring confusion and error. The Church has been blessed over the centuries to have great theologians to interpret Scripture and the authority through the Magesterium to discern. Its usually the theologians who interpret the Bible and the Magisterium who interprets doctrine. The Magisterium doesn’t normally intetpret simply the Bible as an expositor.


Forgive me: revelation uses three things the Holy Bible, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium.

God reveals Himself to human beings, this historical event is captured in the Holy Scriptures.

What came first: the people of the Church or the Bible?

Human leaders inspired by revelation (God) wrote and then later inspired people declared the Holy Bible to be the Holy Bible.

It comes down to believe!

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