Don't you need authority to teach?


There’s one verse in scripture which talks about interpreting the prophecies of the Bible.

“First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation…” (2 Peter 1:20)

So here, Peter is indicating that only an **authorized person **may interpret the **prophecies **of the Bible. Who are the people who have this authority? I assume they’re the apostles and their successors, the bishops.

But what about teaching in general? Who are the authorized teachers of the Bible, or the authorized teachers of the gospel? This question has always puzzled me, for** it is my ambition to become a teacher **one day. But will I have the authority? Or can anyone give me that authority?


This is an extract from the Catechism regarding the layperson’s participation in “Christ’s prophetic office”:

"*904 "Christ . . . fulfills this prophetic office, not only by the hierarchy . . . but also by the laity. He accordingly both establishes them as witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith [sensus fidei] and the grace of the word"438

To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer.439

905 Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, “that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.” For lay people, "this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world."440

This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful.441

906 Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media.*"

All of us are called to be teachers of the faith in different ways - as parents, teaching it in the classroom, or teaching it through one’s acts of charity or piety. I think those who are prepared to submit to and acknowledge the authority given to the Church to interpret Scripture and to teach in accordance with this authority, will have themselves the authority to go out and teach it.


He is not saying that only authorized persons may interpret the Bible. He is saying that Scripture teaches absolute truth, which is not merely a matter of opinion. If two persons have different interpretations of a passage, one may be correct and the other may be incorrect.


If you think of the Church as a “person” then yes. It is the Church who has been given authority to interpret Scripture, the Magisterium to be exact. The Church then in turn does authorizes certain persons to teach and speak on her behalf. The Bishops in union with the Pope, the Bishops in turn authroize persons such as Catechists.


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