How should one interpret scripture?


#1

You view the Truth of God’s word through the lens of the Fathers and the lens of Tradition.

OTOH, I view Tradition and the Fathers through the lens of God’s word, the Truth.

Are the Fathers inspired writers of Scripture, or infallible?

In discussions with non-Catholics about what the bible teaches about baptism or the Eucharist and such, it seems to me that they claim that we Catholic’s interpret scripture through the lens of the Fathers or by Tradition.

Is that a bad thing?

They claim to go by the bible alone, but don’t these non-Catholics interpret the bible through the lens of the Protestant reformers or by the founder of their particular church or denomination or what they have learned from their pastor?

Don’t Lutherans interpret the bible through the lens of Luther, don’t the reformed Christians interpret through the lens of Calvin?

Doesn’t everyone interpret scripture through the lens of their particular denomination’s lens and their denominations traditions?

So why would their lens be better than the lens of the early church fathers. Why would anyone try to claim that the church fathers weren’t infallible, when the source of their lens were also not infallible, like Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer and John Calvin and the rest.

At least with the early church fathers you have continuity of the teachings passed on from the Apostles, while these other men have a wall of 1,500 years between their teachings and the teachings of the Apostles.

So tell me why I should filter scripture through what these later men taught and believed over what the early church fathers taught and believed.


#2

Because most will tell you that they do not look to the reformers to gain any sort of iinterpretation. Most just have “faith” that , since they are now “in christ” the spirit will guide them to all truth.

That is until there truth differs from the truth of the church they are at and decide to go to another church that has a pastor that teaches and preaches closer to what the spirit guided them to understand.

Caveat: this is has been my experience with local pentacostal and non-denom southern baptist evangelicals ( Yes, that is the best way to classify them…).


#3

So what if my “faith” leads me to an interpretation of scripture that is in accord with the early church fathers. (like born again in baptism)
Am I and the early church fathers wrong since our interpretation doesn’t agree with theirs?

I read something recently on a non-Catholic web site which said something to the effect:
“The early church fathers and the modern Catholic apologists are wrong in their teaching of born again through baptism since they don’t take the bible in context”

I read that to mean that the early church fathers and the modern Catholic apologists don’t interpret scripture through the same lens and the author of that website does.
You have to go to the protestant reformers some 1,500 years after Jesus taught what born again meant, to get this new view of being born again, and even at that, not all the reformers agreed on that issue.

Or even on the teaching on the real presence, you have the Bishops who were taught by St. John himself, or taught by a bishop that John taught who believed in the real presence.

Remember St. Paul teaching to Timothy :

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”.

If St. Paul was teaching someone he taught to pass it on to others, wouldn’t it make sense that St. John did likewise?


#4

**Sacred Tradition
Sacred Scriptures
Sacred Magisterium

Scriptures
Magisterium
Tradition

Magisterium
Tradition
Scriptures

Truth is a ‘straight’ line.
A straight line has 3 x points…not two; not one.
However you interchange those points, they MUST be upon that straight line…or you end up Arianist, Sedevacanist, or some other danger of being a heretic-like body.

Through these ‘lenses’ each and every Catholic who wishes to enquire or examine his/her faith can see for him/her self that The Church continues to adhere to the teachings of Her Founder and His Apostles.

Unfortunately, our separated brethren in the ocean of Protestantism are denied a ‘third’ point to allign themselves in any semblance of a line, let alone a straight one. **

:cool:


#5

I see this issue as important. We can form our own interpretation of Scriptures, or let ourselves be guided by others. I think most non-Catholics are guided by someone towards an understanding of Scripture, but why not trust the experts? Those who wrote the Scriptures, those who held them in integrity for two thousand years, those who have spent their lives trying to understand them?

Jesus either sent the Holy Spirit to hold the faith intact or He didn’t. If He did, then the Sacred duty of the Church is the interpretation and exegesis of the Sacred Scriptures, this is the Magesterium, the Divinely Appointed teaching authority of the Church. So who do you want to learn what the Scriptures say from?


#6

Actually my thought on this is that the protestants are the ones using the lenses, and foggy ones at that.

If a true Catholic reads the scriptures, he/she won’t wince and whine about what it means, in other words no lenses. He/she will take it for what it means.

Example:
Jesus himself said “eat my flesh and drink my blood”. If you aren’t using lenses, you will say hhmmm I need to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Put your protestant lens on and you come up with all kinds of foggy notions on what this means.

Again they use the lenses, foggy, different colors, opaque, I reckon they have around 30,000 lenses they use.


#7

Already in the time of L:uther and Calvin there were radicals who went tos fr as to deny the necessity of the Scriptures. The Spirit alone was sufficent to guide them.


#8

One must go by tradition to interpret scripture taken together with the redundant scriptural verses that must all simultanesouly ring true and use the magisterium to resolve apparent contradictions.

If there is an apparent contradiction between scriptures (and there are hundreds if not thousands when taken literally) then we know that there is an interpretation problem that needs resolution.

What bible only people just can not seem to get in their heads is that ALL of scripture comes to us by way of oral teaching and tradition. Every single copy of an original manuscript, of which we have not one surviving original, came decades later - AFTER the resurrection. The reason is because the early Christians thought the 2nd comming was imminent. There was in their minds no compelling reason to write anything down. It was only later as apostles started being persecuted and killed and Jesus was not yet returned that somone thought it prudent to start writing things down. Thus every word of scripture comes from oral tradition and teaching. What better way then to interpret it or at least ratify and validate it?

James


#9

If they’re interpreting the Bible according to what other men think, then they’re just as wrong as Catholics.


#10

That really makes sense.

Care to expand on that thought a little.


#11

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