How can you tell if you are right?


#1

This is an honest and sincere question directed to all non-Catholic Christians.

How can you tell if you are interpreting Holy Scripture correctly? A Catholic can tell because the Church has magisterial authority.

Here is an example. If a Catholic reads Genesis 1:1 and concludes that God did not create the Universe of out nothing, the Church can say that is not correct and point to various documents which interpret that scripture verse. Or if another Catholic wants to claim that homosexual act are not sinful, the Church can correct them on that too.

But when a protestant reads a verse from the Holy Bible, say James 2:17

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

and, to avoid confusion over words, here is the Latin:

Sic et fides si non habeat opera mortua est in semet ipsam

How do you know you are interpreting the verse correctly?

Please note, I am not asking for an explanation of this verse, I am asking for an explanation that you know you are right. And please be a little more firm than merely saying “by the Holy Spirit”. I am looking for an empirical and objective confirmation of how you interpret Holy Scripture.


#2

By practices of proper exegesis. Basically, the interpretation of one passage will not contradict the interpretation of another passage.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (King James Version)

8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We protestants see the faith discussed in James 2 like in Eph 2 to be Active Faith.

Hebrews 11, those who had faith did good works.

Matthew 25, Christians are judged on their good works.

You must be thinking that our idea of “faith” is simply head knowledge, that is not the case.

If you are really interrested seek out our books on Hermeneutics and exegesis.


#3

How do you know that the magisterial authority is interpreting Holy Scripture correctly?


#4

Bah.

From my experience, we read a verse, come up with an interpretation either by our own knowledge or from various teachers, and hope that even though our interpretation conflicts with dozens of eithers, that our interpretation is correct.

When you move away the nice words and phrases such as “leading of the Holy Spirit,” and “the Bible won’t contradict itself,” that’s pretty much what it boils down to.


#5

lol, Of course the magesterium is correct. Water is wet and the magesterium doesn’t err. They assembled and approved the book for heaven’s sake, certainly they are qualified to denounce every interpretation that differs. There are no anti-trust laws when it comes to the Holy Spirit guiding Catholics and only Catholics. So there…


#6

I agree, but ultimately this comes down to faith too. As Catholics we trust that God gave His Church the clarity to live their through Magisterial teachings.

One of the (many) reasons I converted was because there was a lack of authority and unity. What did this disunity on theological matters say about God’s people? (…not something good) Does it best reflect God’s nature that He provided an authority to help guide His flock to their heavenly home? (It does better reflect His nature!)

Is it possible that God did not establish an authoritative organization to properly interpret His word?

Yes, I suppose…

However, I cannot buy into it; otherwise, it would be impossible for us to have the unity He desires for us.

Still, Jesus came primarily for sinners, not for grand theological constructs. As much as I reject the pillars of Protestantism, this is the heart of the matter.


#7

Actually, I was joking-maybe this didn’t come across in my post. Though I am Catholic, I do not feel that the Catholic Church has a monopoly on the truth or the Holy Spirit. It is a matter of faith. Does unity mean that we all worship the same way, dress the same way etc or is it a unity of spirit, unity in our love for God and neighbor? Is it a human weakness that we confuse homogeneity for unity?


#8

I’m going to change the question slightly. Forget compairing your church to the Catholic Church, how do you know your church’s interpretation is correct/more correct than the church down the street. Reading the posts on this forum and listening to the religious stations in the area I know the different Protestant churches have different interpretations. To me it seems the only thing they all agree on is, if it is Catholic it is automatically wrong or at least suspect.


#9

My feeling is that until a person takes personal responsibility for diligently studying the Bible and making his own decision about what he believes based on his own intense study, he will NEVER know what whether he is right.

Studies have shown that about 95% of all Christians haven’t even read the Bible once.

Thus, they are left to believe whatever their priest/paster/minister/church tells them is correct. They in affect, have no way of knowing what is right. They just have a feeling about whether they like their church, like the people, or like the minister

They are left to wonder about who has “authority” to tell them what is right, instead of knowing for themselves.

My recommendation: study the Bible. Read it Daily. Listen carefully to what other “experts” think the Bible says and test it for yourself. Start a notebook, write down your questions, look for answers, compare scriptures.

After you’ve given it your all and you’ve become very familiar with the Bible, and you can effortless relate all the key understandings that people have… only then, will YOU know you are right.

Then you will not worry about what other people think is right… You will know for yourself.


#10

Define Monopoly.

Do you believe that the only path to salvation is through Christ?
If so then the you must believe that the only way to salvation is through the Church he founded.

Doctrinal & Moral Truth lie within non-catholic communities. But this truth is merly a reflection of what they recieved from Catholicism. To be Catholic is to believe the Church holds all truth just as Christ holds all truth for he is truth.

Any truth found in non-christian communities derives from the truth written on there hearts by God.

No disrepsect intended but your post seems to demonstrate a serious lack of knowledge about what is ment by the term unity in the Church.

We are and must be united on Doctrine and morality but we can diverge on discipline/practice (excluding Holy Days of Obligation and Lent of course)

You said…

Does unity mean that we all worship the same way, dress the same way etc or is it a unity of spirit, unity in our love for God and neighbor? Is it a human weakness that we confuse homogeneity for unity

But if a Canadian or US Catholic saw how Philippine Catholics worship our Lord or honor one of the gloried Saints they might mistake them as being pagan or just simply barbaric.

These videos are taken during Lent.

I’ve heard of taking up your cross but this is ridiculous.

youtube.com/watch?v=P7nPfDffz5k

youtube.com/watch?v=gx7yUY3qygU


#11

But this ‘magisterial authority’ is itself circular. The church has the authority to interpret the scriptures to show it has the authority.


#12

This itself begs the question
"What is proper exegesis?" because there’s more than 100,000 different protestant denominations each basing their beliefs on the scripture - and I’m sure they all believe they’re doing it properly

How do you know which ones are correct?


#13

Hi

The question has been asked to non-Catholics, I cant know if the one who answers is a Catholic or not. For me , you will know from my signature.

To me, GodAllahYHWH reveals his Word on a person called ProphetMessenger, through him not the church or clergy others know the Word. Whenever GodAllahYHWH sees that the Word has been concealed by those who were were thought responsible for disclosing it to the masses and restrict it, and thus have failed in their duty for which only HE IS THE JUDGE, he then sends another ProphetMessenger to revive the Word or to send the Word again on a ProphetMessenger.

This has been the phenomenom from Adam to date.

Anybody who differes with me, is welcome to differ, but give his arguments from OTBible.

Thanks


#14

So, you believe the Bible will contradict itself?


#15

The “various interpretations” is based on tradition plus scripture.

Yes, there is protestant traditions.

I suggest if you are honestly interrested read our books on exegesis.

christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntk=keywords&Ntt=hermeneutics&action=Search&N=0&Ne=0&event=ESRCN&nav_search=1&cms=1&Go.x=10&Go.y=4


#16

christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntk=keywords&Ntt=exegesis&action=Search&N=0&Ne=0&event=ESRCN&nav_search=1&cms=1


#17

No.

I’m not sure that Jesus would recognize the RCC as the one he founded.

None taken. I am quite clear on what the Church understands as “unity”. I would state that my post demonstrates a serious disagreement with the Church’s definition of the term unity.

Why?


#18

#19

If so then the you must believe that the only way to salvation is through the Church he founded.

Jesus did not establish a “church”, “Salvation” is through the work of the Holy Spirit…the Light Within…the regeneration of humanity through God’s working in us…the “ecclesia”…“congregation”…“people” of God…“gathered people” who seek to live in the Light is what he established…not an hierarchal organization…God isn’t about “organizations” be they “Catholic”, “Mormon” or “Watchtower”…God is about whole people.

Doctrinal & Moral Truth lie within non-catholic communities. But this truth is merly a reflection of what they recieved from Catholicism. To be Catholic is to believe the Church holds all truth just as Christ holds all truth for he is truth.

No organization or ‘book’ or “tradition” holds Truth…Truth is of God…communicated directly to those who listen…God calls His people to love and care for one another…so bind up the broken hearted…visit the captive…feed the hungry…He isn’t about “priesthoods”…"icons’…“statues”…“crosses”…“bishope”…“popes”.

Any truth found in non-christian communities derives from the truth written on there hearts by God.

Yes, God works in them just as he works in us.

We are and must be united on Doctrine and morality but we can diverge on discipline/practice (excluding Holy Days of Obligation and Lent of course)

The Light Within is more concerned with the temporal things of this world…relieving poverty, bringing peace to the nations than “holy days of obligation”…each day… is a day of obligation…each meal is sacramental…each man, woman and child is the image of God and holy and loved as any “saint”…no image conveys the Mystery of God. God is experienced through His Presence made known in each of us.

Amen.
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#20

I was hoping this would not turn into a debate on religion itself. My original question was directed to Non-Catholic Christians. While I appreciate the the input from others, I really want to know how they know that they have the proper authority to interpret Holy Scripture.

So let’s try to stay on topic. Thank you. :slight_smile:


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