Holy Spirit and private interpretation


This was posted as the last post in the Sola Scriptura thread that was recently closed. I was mainly asking Mountainboy a question regarding his previous statements, but did not get the chance to reveive a response so i thought i would put it here…

I am adding my two cents to an earlier statement made by mountainboy, when he said that he has the Holy Spirit to guide him to the right interpretation of the Bible.

Mountainboy, how do you know you have the Holy Spirit?

Did you read some of the Bible and then “get saved”, thus receiving the Holy Spirit? If so, how did you come to a right interpretation of the Bible in order to “get saved” - before you received the Spirit to guide you to a right interpretation of those salvation passages of the bible?

You didn’t listen to some pastor in a church explain it to you, did you? How do you know they had the Holy Spirit to guide them? How do you know?

For all you know, you might have received a deceiving spirit who appeared as an angel of light, thinking this was the Holy Spirit. This spirit may have lead you into believing doctrines of demons, could it have not? Their intellect is far superior to yours and mine. This is what demonic spirits do with the time they have left. It’s their job. They’re good at it.

If the Catholic Church is actually the true church founded by Christ, and no other, then a deceiving spirit would only be too happy to make you think you have the truth, twisting the scriptures to your own destruction. Pride puffs up.

How are you so, so sure you are right? We all agree that the Bible is inerrant, but your interpretation can be wrong can’t it?

You must admit this as a possibility.

There are many opinions. Yours is one of them.


Captaincoog, thanks for bringing this matter to a new thread :).


Glad we’re still goin too. I have so many loose ends to tie with people I was wondering how we were gonna continue, so I emailed the moderator to ask him what was up, but then I found you had started this. :slight_smile: I gotta address a Randy Carson post before getting to yours though…


From Randy Carson #314 at Sola Scriptura
Your reasoning is flawed. Here’s why:

*I am fully aware of this, no need for you to point this out, Scripture already has. This was my point, and you proved it perfectly with the above statement. Call it semantics, and I know this isn’t your main point, but notice that your knee-jerk reaction is to think logically, as did the Greeks.

Greeks seek after wisdom…but we preach Christ crucified…to the Greeks foolishness.

“Greeks” could also be translated "gentiles, pagan, heathen."
The “wisdom” being sought after here is not divine wisdom but earthly, temporary, natural, human wisdom. This is the type of thinking the Greeks were locked into, a sure sign of their unbelief.

Acts 17:16-34
"What does this babbler want to say?" May we know of this new doctrine, for you are bringin strange things to our ears. For all the Athenians…spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or hear something new."

Notice the Pagan greeks considered Paul a “babbler,” or “amateur philosopher.” Of course, this was not true of Paul, he was highly intelligent, but his arguments were not on their natural level, but supernatural. The Areopagus was a forum, not unlike this one at Catholic.com, where Greeks liked to wrangle about words and philosophies and religious ideas. They would have probably had posts in the thousands were they around today.

What is Paul’s response?
“God commands all men everywhere to repent” (17:30)
Wow! Paul does not go for the intellectual argument, but the moral one! It was their unbelief taht prevented them from embracing the truth.

James addresses this
"This wisdom (same word) does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." (3:15)

The terms I have so often seen employed by my opponent’s responses are Words like “illogical, logical fallacy, gloss (toaslan), begs the question, straw man.” Your thinking is confined to the rules you were taught by human wisdom in philosophy 101. This is earthly wisdom, something from which you need to repent. It’s a cover up for unbelief. This was the point of my post 311.***



If I understand the protestant position, at least MountainBoy’s position, it is:

If a believer lives a moral life, he is a true believer. If he is a true believer, he will have the Holy Spirit. If he has the Holy Spirit he will have the right interpretation of scripture, that is, he will hold to Sola Scriptura.

If I can’t see whether a person’s life is moral (because I know him only online), I don’t know whether my interlocutor is a true believer. And if he’s not a true believer, then he won’t have the Holy Spirit, and without the Holy Spirit, he cannot embrace Sola Scriptura which is the way to have right interpretation of Scripture.

If he’s without the Holy Spirit, he’s got nothing for me. The only reason to talk to him about matters of faith is to convert him. He is presumed, by the lack of SS, to be without the HS, so whatever he says in matters of faith is presumed wrong, so he needs to be saved and that’s the only legitimate reason to dialogue with him?

Or if he speaks rashly or uncharitably to me, it’s a sign he is immoral, therefore without the H.S., therefore unable to rightly interpret the Scriptures (therefore unable to connect with Jesus, therefore not saved)?

It follows I am not open to his reasons, because he is presumed faithless?

:slight_smile: I’ll get in line, MB :wave:


Yes, your CC says so.

CC 1903 “Authrity is exercised legitmately only…if it employs morally licit means to attain it… If rulers were to enact unjust laws or take measures contrary to the moral order, such arrangements would not be binding in conscience. In such a case, authority breaks down completely and results in shameful abuse.”

Your catechism understood what I was trying to say and perhaps states it more clearly.

2242 “the citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights or teachings of the gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds it justification in the distionction between serving God adn serving th polotical community. Render therefore to cease …Ceawer’s…must obey God rather than man.”

Intersting, so when civil authority breaks down morally, we can disobey, but when ecclesiastical authority breaks down morally, the institution that is the pillar and support of the truth, we just play along? The NT teaches teh exact opposite:

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorites taht exist are appointed by God.cf. 1 Pet 2:13.

The civil authorities are to be obeyed regardless of morality (albeit the rare occasion of Acts 5:29). Note Paul penned this with Nero on teh throne. Spiritual authority is to be rejected if authority is immoral. I’ve been reading Ezekiel in teh mornings and God clearly rejects Israe’ls shepherds for their immorality. Ezek 34. Plus Saul, 1 Sam 15, plus all those I showed in post 311.

This is why Scripture alone is the authrirty. SInful men cannot be trusted with this responsibilty.


Please note I am not saying faith or Scripture are unreasonable. Quite the contrary. And Paul was both a supernaturalist and rationalist int eh best senses. But above all He had faith. And faith is the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). I like to think of it as a sixth sense. To those with faith, it all makes perfect sense. But if no faith, your still relying on those 5 natural sense and laws of logic, which are all flawed due to our sinful human nature and therefore can’t be trusted.

More tonight maybe. I gotta go. I finally got me a catholic catechism and can’t wait to dig into it with y’all!


I don’t get it. Your answer

I am fully aware of this, no need for you to point this out

is about what part of this long post?

Your reasoning is flawed. Here’s why:
…If a Church leader is guilty of gross immorality, does his sin invalidate his position or authority?

Many, if not most, Protestants would say that it does…

(many examples, from Scripture, of authority not based on morality)

…Jesus clearly taught that sin would be present in the Church, but He also taught that sins of individual Church leaders do not invalidate the authority of the positions those leaders hold. These sins, whether real or imagined, do not undermine the legitimate authority of the Catholic Church and do not provide an excuse for those who refuse to acknowledge and obey her. The authority given by God to the Church and the office of the Papacy is the same today as it was in the days of Peter, Linus, Anacletus and Clement because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


THe part about “your reasoning is flawed” I am fully aware that my reasoning is flawed. So is yours, and eveyone else on this forum. It’s been corrupted by sin. That is why we can’t trust in it, but should trust Scripture alone. It is above human reason.

FOr example, we know the Scriptures are inspired b/c that is what the Scriptures say about themself. 2 Tim 3:1, 2 Pet 1:21 Circular reasoning? By all means! IS this okay? By all means! Can’t appeal to anything else to prove the authority of Scripture or else that would give a higher authority to the source appealed to, Don’t get it? Don’t worry, neither did the Greeks. They thought it was all foolishness (Gr. moria > from which we get Eng. “moronic”). I can tell you this, you’ll get it if you have faith. You’ll get it when you repent of your sin and confess your own intellect is fallen and subject to sinful error.

What matters is not that our reason is correct, but that our biblical exegesis is correct. If you all see my reason as being a problem, I’m fine with that. If my exegesis seems incorrect, let’s talk! That’s what matters. That’s what’s true.

Randy Carson, I still want to get back to you btw on that Acts 17 berean vs. thessalonian sola scriptura exegesis.



The role of the Holy Spirit for those who are not saved yet, is to convict them of sin. He uses the word of God to this end. So, yes the Holy Spirit can guide a non-believer towards salvation.

684 Through his grace, the Holy Spirit is the first to awaken faith in us and to communicate to us the new life, which is to "know the Father and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ."4 But the Spirit is the last of the persons of the Holy Trinity to be revealed. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, the Theologian, explains this progression in terms of the pedagogy of divine “condescension”:

The Old Testament proclaimed the Father clearly, but the Son more obscurely. The New Testament revealed the Son and gave us a glimpse of the divinity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit dwells among us and grants us a clearer vision of himself. It was not prudent, when the divinity of the Father had not yet been confessed, to proclaim the Son openly and, when the divinity of the Son was not yet admitted, to add the Holy Spirit as an extra burden, to speak somewhat daringly… By advancing and progressing “from glory to glory,” the light of the Trinity will shine in ever more brilliant rays.5



I haven’t been following this thread, but I have difficulty understanding how one can comprehend what Scripture is saying without using reason. If one doesn’t use reason one would not be able to even read let alone understand. Humans aren’t dogs, cats, porpoises etc. Are you saying we read and understand Scripture from sheer instinct? It sounded like you are using reason to justify your position while at the same time denying the legitimacy of human reasoning.


[quote=MountainBoy]The terms I have so often seen employed by my opponent’s responses are Words like “illogical, logical fallacy, gloss (toaslan), begs the question, straw man.” Your thinking is confined to the rules you were taught by human wisdom in philosophy 101.

I, for one, never took anything close to Philosophy 101. Instead, I did the genius (pagan) Aristotle’s book on logic. Aristotle discovers to us the rules of how to think well which God designed into our nature.

Aristotle defines man as “rational animal.” And after how many thousands of years, nobody has arrived at a better definition. We are neither beast nor angel. We are both natural and supernatural at once. We are designed to advance from nature to supernature in our understanding of all things, especially God. We meet Him first in the people and things around us; as we get older we meet Him additionally in teaching, worship, sacrament and prayer; in Heaven we meet Him directly–never leaving our nature behind, because it is natural to us to be both natural AND supernatural.

Grace builds on Nature. Faith and Reason illuminate and complement each other.

Reason must be used if we are to be human; it can be abused. Let us hope and pray that no one of us is doing that. The presumption, for all of us here on this Forum, is that we are doing our best to use our reason to the greater honor and glory of God.

By “gloss” I do not mean to offend, I mean “editorializing,” as opposed to delivering a position without rhetoric. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and using opinion. Rhetoric should never replace logic; it has its place, but subordinate. In this forum I am assuming that we are trying to give the best reasons for our respective positions. And opinion can be, as (pagan!) Plato puts it, either “tethered” or “untethered”. He notes that untethered opinion is irresponsible.

This is earthly wisdom, something from which you need to repent.

See, it is impossible for you to know whether or to what extent any particular human being needs to repent any particular thing. If you knew this, you would know to what extent he is subjectively culpable for an objective offence. You would know some variables that only God can know. If you are God, you can know what your interlocutor needs to repent from. If you are a living saint with that special gift, you might be given it by God to know. Otherwise, you can guess, but you cannot know, and if you presume to know, how are you not judging another’s soul? And how avoiding the penalty, “lest you be judged?”

It’s a cover up for unbelief.

A rash statement. Also, you are asserting what you wish to prove, instead of proving it.

To connect this back to our thread topic, we all MUST by nature use our brains, which means using logic, to understand/interpret Scripture. For that interpretation to be true, we all MUST have the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Catholics do have His guidance in the magesterium. If we didn’t have Him in the magesterium, we would only have private interpretation. And then we would be proliferating and dividing according to those private interpretations, exponentially increasing the 33,000 protestant sects.


Oh, thanks, that’s what I needed.

You’ll get it when you repent of your sin and confess your own intellect is fallen and subject to sinful error.

We say that our intellects are darkened, and our wills weak (due to Original Sin). But we believe our intellects though darkened are still essentially good and can still be “intellectual”, can still perform their function, but with a wobble which handicaps throughout life. Our wills still love the good, but are easily attracted by bads dressed as goods. Catholics maintain the essential goodness of these wounded faculties. (like if I got badly shot in the leg, say I could still walk, but the limp would be there through life.)

What matters is not that our reason is correct, but that our biblical exegesis is correct. If you all see my reason as being a problem, I’m fine with that. If my exegesis seems incorrect, let’s talk! That’s what matters. That’s what’s true.

The obvious problem here is that we cannot do exegisis without reason… your exegisis IS your reasoned position on Scripture.


Guys, that is too cool! :clapping:


What matters more to the Holy Spirit, that we have the right answers or that we have the right behavior (without sin)? Of course, it is the latter. So if the Holy Spirit were to guide us into any form of perfection, would it not be perfection of behavior (sinlessness)? Making sure we got the right interpretations of scripture while letting us sin merrily along is just the oddest thing imaginable.

We are told to be holy as God is holy, not to interpret scripture correctly as God interprets scripture correctly.


The Holy Spirit keeps the Church’s bible interpretation correct, and He makes the Church’s members holy through the Sacraments! A topic for another thread…

We are told to be holy as God is holy, not to interpret scripture correctly as God interprets scripture correctly.

We are also told to be one, even as Our Lord is one with His Father. Catholics want Protestants to come home so we can all be One Body with Christ. They can’t come home because of private interpretation, each man his own pope, and thus 33,000 sects.


I’m afraid you’re taking these quotes out of context. All of these quotes are arguments for a just civil government; they say nothing of whether an immoral priest/bishop/pope may still fulfill his clerical role (i.e., conferring sacraments, etc.).



WOOOOWWWW!!! I was wondering if someone would make this argument and I can’t believe you actually did:eek: because it so perfectly proves the point I was trying to make earlier about fallen human reason and the sinful bents of logic. Dante, do you want to rethink this, or would another catholic like to help out your colleague before we go to town on this?

Also (and this is beside the point I was getting at above) note these thoughts from your CC:

2030 From the church he learns the example of holiness (emphasis in original)…he discerns it in the authentic witness of those who live it

2044 In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men, it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of the Christians

2051 the infallibility of the Magisterium of the pastors extends to al l the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine (emphasis added)

both totally in context about church leadership. thought your boys were infallible? just a side point. re think your last post then we’ll work on that one.



note to moderator- don’t cut us off! we will get to the thread topic soon, just some loose ends to tie up from sola scriptura!:smiley:

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