Need some help on Scripture


#1

I have conversations with non-Catholics concerning how Scripture was made. Some think that it was dictated by God through the brains of those who wrote it and that they recorded every word God gave them to write. In other words the writers of Scripture are just transcribing secretaries. They believe this because they believe in Sola Scriptura and do not believe that Scripture came from Sacred Tradition which is passed down and protected through a Church and continually better understood through prayer and reflection through the centuries. If they can believe the transcribing theory then they can say that starting a new denomination is alright because they have the book to back them up and there is no need of a priesthood and papal authority since the bible is their authority with the Holy Spirit guiding them… They seem not to care that other denominations may have different beliefs since they have the right beliefs they say.

I could use some suggestions for substantiating that this is not so. Any books or articles on the topic? I have been getting the Catholic Answers magazine for years now but don’t remember any articles on this question.

I know one problem with this belief is that Scripture may never come to an end because God may dictate some more even though all the apostles have died and public revelation has really ended.

Dei Verbum has God revealing things to us and in different ways in paragraph #4, but I don’t think non-Catholics put much stock in councils past the 4th Century. Any help will be appreciated.


#2

It’s always fair to point out that Scripture does not included in its text which books constitute Scripture. You can also ask them on what basis do they believe Scripture was dictated word for word in the brains of the authors.

There are a number of Catholic resources on the matter. One of the best ones that demonstrate the development of the canon itself is Gary Michuta’s Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger.

Or a book like 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura by Dave Armstrong.

Keyword “sola” on philvaz’s apologetics page here for a number of articles.

And here is the Catholic.com tract on Scripture and Tradition.


#3

I don’t see a particular problem with this sort of viewpoint - So I would suggest not arguing this point with them. It can actually work to ones advantage to acknowledge such a viewpoint as having merit.

They believe this because they believe in Sola Scriptura and do not believe that Scripture came from Sacred Tradition which is passed down and protected through a Church and continually better understood through prayer and reflection through the centuries.

If your argument to them is that Scripture comes from Sacred Tradition, I would say this is a poor approach with such people. Such people generally have a negative view of “tradition” (based on Mt 15:2-6 and Mk 7:1-13). Making an argument that suggests (at least in their mind) that Scripture is subject to Tradition will not be well received.

That said…Marco Polo has pointed out quite correctly that Scripture does not contain a list of what books are Scripture. One must go outside of Scripture to discover when where and how it was determined that this book was “dictated” by God and that book was not.

Also - I would suggest that most people I have talked with DO believe that one can better understand Scripture through prayer and reflection.

If they can believe the transcribing theory then they can say that starting a new denomination is alright because they have the book to back them up and there is no need of a priesthood and papal authority since the bible is their authority with the Holy Spirit guiding them… They seem not to care that other denominations may have different beliefs since they have the right beliefs they say.

Yes - this is a common view among this group …and the best approach is to do to them what they often times do to us…Tell them to prove it from Scripture. "Where does it say in Scripture that it is alright to have differing beliefs on matters that bear on one’s salvation?

I could use some suggestions for substantiating that this is not so. Any books or articles on the topic? I have been getting the Catholic Answers magazine for years now but don’t remember any articles on this question.

Well I cannot point you to an Article or book…But I can share with you what I have discovered about the NT on my journey. I shall do so in a separate post since this one will get too long. :smiley:

I know one problem with this belief is that Scripture may never come to an end because God may dictate some more even though all the apostles have died and public revelation has really ended.

I’m not sure that this is the Catholic position since the canon was officially closed at Trent. I believe the correct Church view is that there is no “new” revelation since apostolic times and will remain so until the second coming.

Dei Verbum has God revealing things to us and in different ways in paragraph #4, but I don’t think non-Catholics put much stock in councils past the 4th Century. Any help will be appreciated.

This refers to the idea that we can gain deeper understanding of that which has already been revealed.
Someone correct me on this if I am wrong.

Peace
James


#4

OK -
In discussion with your friends…You are free to concede that God “dictated” Scripture.
So now you are free to ask…“What did God Dictate?”

What does Scripture say about the type of Church that Christ founded?

In the “God dictated” Scripture we find that:
[LIST]
*]The Church is the pillar and bulwark of Truth (1 Tim 3:15)
*]The Church has authority to bind and loose - whatever (Mt 16:17-19) (Mt 18:15-18)
*]That we are instructed to take issues to the Church and to listen to the Church (Mt 18:15-18)
*]The Church settles arguments between distant church communities in a wonderful example of the instructions given in Mt 18…(Acts 15)
*]The Church is the vehicle by which God reveals His Wisdom to the world. (Eph 3:8-12)
*]Christ and the Apostles repeatedly exhort the faithful to unity…to be of one mind
[/LIST]
John 17:20-21
20 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Rom 15:5-6
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 1:10
I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

2 Cor 13:11
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Php 1:27
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

1 Pet 3:8
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

All of these calls to unity - in the “God Dictated” Scriptures - along with the instructions in the Gospel of Matthew and the example in Acts, as well as Paul’s presenting his teachings to Peter and others to assure they are correct, the Church being the Pillar etc…All point clearly to a close doctrinal unity within a visible and authoritative Church.

Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura) adherents can offer nothing scriptural in support of the (evangelical?) protestant view of “church” and “authority” that comes anywhere close to this preponderance of evidence for the RC/EO “Model” of Church authority.

I say this with confidence because I have repeatedly asked protestant apologists to counter this evidence with “equally clear and compelling” evidence for what I call the “Protestant model” of locally independent church communities based on SS.
They just simply cannot do it…

My experience has been that at this point the person I am talking with will bring up various problems with the Papacy…that in Acts it is James who speaks the decision etc…bad popes through the centuries…the concept of papal infallibility . etc…
At this point I will agree with them that there is certainly room for interpretation on certain specific matters of structure.
However - I will point out to them that what is being discussed is not what the Catholic Church has or has not done…but rather what does Scripture say???
It is they who have put forth that Scripture is Dictated by God and therefore correct in all of it’s particulars. All you are doing is pointing out what you see Scripture saying…in multiple places…by multiple authors (or secretaries;)). So the question for them to answer is how can they accept such broad and contradictory beliefs among their fellow SS adherents when the Holy Spirit, through Scripture, says the opposite??

See what they say…

Peace
James


#5

While I don’t know if God said “Write this Word!”…

I do know that when I’m feeling inspired, I can write for a long period of time, yet go back the next day and not remember a word of it. The same way that sometimes I am able to communicate ideas to others that I am still learning about, yet it makes perfect sense to them. I am NOT saying that I am writing the Word of God, but that the Holy Spirit guides us at times to do His will. I am not writing Scripture or claiming to translate God, or any of that. But perhaps the Scripture writers also were ‘inspired’, and while they weren’t told the exact words to write or explain, the Spirit moved and guided them.

I don’t know. I’m very much a plebeian in the midst of scholars.


#6

Thank you JRKH (you wrote the most) and all the rest for giving me thoughts to ponder. I take them to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

One thought I had is that I have been told that Revelation was written in “apocalyptic” which was a style used for a few hundred years. I would consider this a partial suggestion that Scripture was not a dictated thing but something that uses the then current techniques. I would also wonder why an all knowing God would put things in scripture like the catching of 153 fish and women wearing head coverings when that seems so much insignificant. I guess this makes a difference when trying to understand scripture in using the historical critical method which the dictation method may make harder.

I also dislike the dictation method because it casts doubt on the individuals on why they were chosen to write. Some would say that they were just there in the right place at the right time and God could have chosen anyone. I believe there is much more than that.

It also seems to make the interpretation of scripture harder to come by because how a word is used at a particular time may not be the way we use it now as in Christ’s “brothers”.

Am I concluding things correctly ??


#7

I think you are asking good questions.

In regards to how words are used, I have found it quite useful to have access to an online bible source where I can look up the Greek, or Hebrew as well as multiple translations of the same verse. it is HERE if you are interested.
The best thing - especially from the position of talking to Protestants - is that the site is not a Catholic site.

As to your other points - problems with the “dictation” view - I agree. However I suggest that it is useful to work with them where they are and as I mention - it can be advantageous in some discussions.

When I find myself in such a discussion I take the view that I am not so much trying to argue that the Catholic Church is right…but that the protestant model (as presented in the OP) is wrong…that it does not line up with Scripture.
Scripture calls for unity built on a councilior model. Protestantism fails miserably on this point. The person who holds to SS is the one who need to biblically justify the “locally independent”…“invisible church”…“we agree on the essentials” (though no one has a list of what these are) type of church model…
Such a church model is certainly not found in the pages of the NT.

Peace
James


#8

I agree with you about the Protestant model. I thank you for the suggestion of the Greek sources. I have worked a table once for Patrick Madrid at a convention and we talked about an interlinear bible that had English, Greek and Hebrew. It was a coincidence that we used the same book by Muns in our study of biblical Greek.

It has been a pleasure talking with you and I wish you the peace the world cannot give.
mdcpensive1


#9

One of our parish priests made mention of the 153 fish in a homily.

He said that in the times of Aristotle, there were 153 types of fish in the world that had been identified. When Peter, et al. catch 153, the number represents every kind of fish then known to man. The symbolism is pretty clear, every type of people in the world are to be sought by the “fishers of men” and have the Gospel proclaimed to them.

theresagnes.blogspot.com/2011/06/153-fish-in-sea.html


#10

A seminary professor said in a lecture that the 153 could be the number of known countries at that time. However, the symbolism is the same and I bet others have heard many versions of the 153. One day we will find out when Scripture is made know to us in a heavenly way :).


#11

I know one Scripture that pretty much blows that theory away:

1 Cor 1:16: (I baptized the household of Stephanas also; beyond that** I do not know** whether I baptized anyone else.)

So, did the All-Knowing God dictate the bolded words?


#12

Thanks, that’s a good one.


#13

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