Protestants: How Do You Know That Your Interpretation of the Bible is the Right one? Part II

Part II (Originally started by Deum quaerens)

This is to keep the discussion with Howie01, Christian1, ProudJesusFreak, Josie, MrS, SteveGC and many other going.

The original post:
Dear Protestants,

Whence do you have authority to interpret the Bible as you do, since it is certainly a text which requires interpretation (Acts viii, 31), and it does not admit private interpretation (II Peter i, 20)? Do you believe that you are right as a “holy man of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit” (ibid., 21), and if so, why? How do you know that your interpretation is the right one, above that of the other several thousand denominations equally assured of the veracity of theirs, which they in contradiction to all the others?

Perhaps this time around we can stay on topic. The key word, IMHO, is “authority”.

Or at the very least “authority” in relationship to the founder of the faith community who first claimed some level of authority - perhaps because of his or her disagreement or rejection of an existing “authority” at that time.

Also, what authority does Scripture have, or claim to have, in the final scheme of things?

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This is a non-starter. You’re misinterpreting, pretty horrendously, 2 Peter 1:20. This passage is quite clearly about the origin of prophecy, not the interpretation of the written Word of God.

i.e. God didn’t say, “OK, Isaiah, this is the message I want you to tell Israel, you can decide how to deliver it.” No, God said, “Isaiah, tell Israel XYZ exactly.”

OK - so leaving aside the debate about whether or not this specific verse is about interpretation of scripture or prophecy, on what basis do you claim your interpretation to be correct? Have you simply given the verse the ordinary meaning attributed to the words used in the passage? Or is there some other basis for your interpretation of this verse?

So we’re still asking the same question asked by “Always For Him” - namely, HOW do you know your interpretation is the correct one? The question still remains…

The other reason the “personal interpretation” debate is ridiculous is that it is one big Catholic question-begging fest. The point is, you’re misapplying 2 Peter 1:20, which is obvious from the verse itself, and verse 21, which explicitly indicates Peter is talking about the ORIGIN of the prophecy, and not interpretation of the Word of God. An explicit statement in scripture does not lend itself to interpretation, so even if you were correct that “personal interpretation is not allowed” explicit statements would be excluded.

The Catholic claim is also inconsistent. I could just as easily ask you how you know the Catholic church’s interpretation is correct, and it would be just as valid of a question. Just because you’ve surrendered your intellect to a third party in matters of Biblical interpretation doesn’t mean you are more likely to be correct.

So you deny the tremendous good and miracles not only recorded by the Church but by others outside of the Church of Catholic saints? Even if you were to say that all were Saints you would lump yourself with the likes of a St. Francis or a St. Anthony of Padua, or a St Padre Pio, and a Blessed Mother Theresa? What have you done (to serve and love Jesus) to deserve such a title, I am interested?

P.S. Guys I’m sorry that this is off topic but I (he posted his response in the old thread) had to respond due to the nature of its content.

As to not claim the original thread or the Part II as my own, I gave credit to the original poster who began such a wonderful conversation. I should have taken the time to gather something from the later posts on the original thread to start the new one, but, it got started nonetheless.

It ALL boils down to authority - authority to interpret - WHO has the authority to interpret - WHY do humans interpret Scripture for themselves when they DON’T have authority to do so? This discussion has developed into a fantastic teaching discussion pitting 2,000 year-old Apostolic Teaching protected by the Holy Spirit against new, less than 500 year-old, man-made, self interpreted teaching of man.

I hope to keep the discussion going just as it was at the end of the first thread WHILE always acknowledging THE Authority that ALL NT Scripture comes from in the first place, Christ, through Christ’s Church, the Catholic Church. HE gave His Truth and His Authority to His Church on earth to teach the whole of Christiantiy His Way. Keeping this in mind, let’s continue the discussion…

Well, if we all agreed upon that, there would be no need to discuss anything. :rolleyes:

Originally Posted by ProudJesusFreak
You’re trying to pull stigmata out? What saints? Saints that the Catholic church canonized? Scripture tells us that we are ALL saints. Not every action is of God. God could not watch as His own Son was being beaten and broken, but you think that God would inflict that kind of pain on someone? I feel that the Catholic church places undue necessity on Mary and the ‘infallibility’ of the pope. And I will not apologize for my opinion on this. I am speaking from scripture, so if anything I have said seems harsh to you, research scripture. Compare what the catechism teaches to what scripture teaches.

How did you come to “feel” that the Catholic Church places undue necessity on Mary and the infallibility of the pope? Admittidly, this is YOUR opinion. You are speaking from YOUR interpretation of scripture. We don’t need to research scripture to prove your point. Scripture IS Catholic teaching, which IS Christ’s Deposit of Faith, written down as best as possible. Although, not all is written down. That is where Sacred Tradition supports everything we are trying to explain to you. Scripture COMES from Sacred Tradition of the Church. It predates the Bible as oral teaching by the apostles and their successors.

Non-Catholic churches have a problem with Marian Dogma and the teaching on the infallibility of the pope because these churches have cut out these teachings and have separated themselves from “anything Catholic.” These teachings have ALWAYS been in place. A more fullness of them has been realized, but it fits perfectly with what Scripture says because it comes from the Oral and Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church. These teachings were in place LONG before the canon of the Bible was determined. You act as if the Church should have had everything in place on the first day, and don’t seem to understand that the apostles were out following Jesus’ command to make disciples of every nation by teaching them His Truth and to baptize everyone in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. They weren’t running about founding a Church. Jesus did that. It grew by them through the power of the Holy Spirit. They also had His Authority to grow His Church. He was guiding them. We had all better believe that because they were the only ones around until the Reformation ushered in new Churches founded by man that separated themselves from Christ’s Church.

What are you trying to say here? I am sorry if you don’t agree. I believe that the 2,000 year-old Apostolic Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ. No other Church fits the bill. Am I saying something contrary to Catholic teaching that is bothering you?

I actually think it would be fantastic if we didn’t need to “discuss anything” in this manner. That would mean that we would all be IN UNITY with Christ and His Church!!! Isn’t that what He wanted? That would be great!!!

For one, the Catholic church isn’t the only one with an apostolic claim. Secondly, quite frankly, the Jews were the people of God as long as the Catholics have been around and the Jews’ status was given to others, or perhaps it could be said that they misunderstood their status thinking that they could never not be the people of God. I’m just sayin.

Let’s ask the question another way: who has the authority to determine which church is the true church?

You fail to see that the problem applies to Catholics as much as to Protestants when we simply rephrase the question. It doesn’t matter who your authority for interpreting the Bible is. At some point in your life, you made a “personal interpretation” that the Catholic church is the true church. If personal interpretation is inherently wrong, then it is wrong for Catholics too.

The Eastern Orthodox Churches were part of the original Apostolic Church. Their schism came almost 1,000 years later. They still, however, are in communion with the Catholic Church with most everything we are discussing here, the Eucharist, the Sacraments, following Jesus’ commands for salvation, etc.

The Jews are the ones that didn’t follow Christ. We don’t follow them.

This is a moot question. Anyone who chooses to be members of churches founded by man that try to teach how they ARE NOT Catholic, are of course, going to deny that the Catholic Church is Christ’s True Church. Who are people, who self appoint authority, to determine anything? Churches started by man through the Reformation all the way up to now couldn’t possibly be considered.

It matters very much WHO the authority for interpreting the Bible is - it makes ALL the difference. The rest of your statement just doesn’t make sense. I didn’t make a personal interpretation that the Catholic Church is the True Church. It is the only Church that has the historical documentation, the age, the teaching, the marks, everything to even make that claim. If we follow the Church, Christ’s Church, we DON’T personally interpret anything for ourselves. The Truth was already revealed to Her 2,000 years ago by Christ Himself. We don’t have to figure it out again. Those outside Christ’s Church have to “figure it out again.” They are doing it on their own to their own destruction. The Bible was never meant to be separated from the authoritative Church that determined the canon, assembled it and wrote it.

I also believe Christ’s promise to His Church that He would send the Paraclete to guide and protect Her until the end of time and that the gates of Hades would never prevail against Her. If He lied, then none of this matters anyway.

At some point, you have to realize that there is a distinct difference between Catholics following the already revealed Truth by Christ to His Church, even if some understanding has grown over the course of 2,000 years, and men springing up 1500 years after Christ to create all kinds of different “truths” and have continued to create, misinterpret, self interpret new “truths” and established new churches for 500 years. There is a HUGE difference. The Catholic Apostolic Truth was revealed by Christ to His Church and has maintained it. The teachings that deviate from Christ’s Church in Protestant man-made churches, were created by MAN and have hundreds/thousands of different meanings. They are NOT Apostolic Truth.

I didn’t say you followed them. I’m saying that you could very well be like them in mistakenly thinking that God could never do things a different way.

This is a moot question. Anyone who chooses to be members of churches founded by man that try to teach how they ARE NOT Catholic, are of course, going to deny that the Catholic Church is Christ’s True Church. Who are people, who self appoint authority, to determine anything? Churches started by man through the Reformation all the way up to now couldn’t possibly be considered.

It’s a valid question, and you’re question begging. You’re just unable to answer it and remain consistent.

It matters very much WHO the authority for interpreting the Bible is - it makes ALL the difference. The rest of your statement just doesn’t make sense. I didn’t make a personal interpretation that the Catholic Church is the True Church. It is the only Church that has the historical documentation, the age, the teaching, the marks, everything to even make that claim. If we follow the Church, Christ’s Church, we DON’T personally interpret anything for ourselves. The Truth was already revealed to Her 2,000 years ago by Christ Himself. We don’t have to figure it out again. Those outside Christ’s Church have to “figure it out again.” They are doing it on their own to their own destruction. The Bible was never meant to be separated from the authoritative Church that determined the canon, assembled it and wrote it.

To our own destruction, eh? Does that statement jive with your “official church teaching?”

It is indeed the only church that has the historical documentation - documentation, coincidentally, that it has controlled exclusively until recent times.

I also believe Christ’s promise to His Church that He would send the Paraclete to guide and protect Her until the end of time and that the gates of Hades would never prevail against Her. If He lied, then none of this matters anyway.

Again, I point you to the Jews. They certainly understood God to be telling them that he would be with them and they would always be his people, and that his covenent would be an “everlasting” one. Seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? But we know what happened was not expected. That’s the point. Just because you can’t think of (or refuse to consider) another explanation for “the gates of Hades shall not prevail” doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist.

The biggest kicker to this question is realizing who put the books of the Bible together and how they determined what was included… we know by history that they were Catholic councils that determined this correct? (atleast the NT) Would you include stories in a biography of your life that were false? I would hope not… just as the councils would not allow books into the Bible that they knew were inaccurate or uninspired… the writings had to be inline with what they already knew through Apostolic teachings and Tradition… thus if it wasn’t in union with their interpretations they wouldn’t have allowed it in.

SD

Always the Catholic church just separated itself from other interpretations of scripture. If we look at the first few councils the church argued over the relationship between GOD, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. If we look at the resulting creed we see nothing but an interpretation of scripture that some agreed to. If someone didn’t agree with that creed does it mean they interpreted scripture wrong? How do we know it was interpreted right to begin with when the creed was developed. The Apostles had no knowledge of the word Trinity and certainly had no knowledge of the Nicene Creed. So we really can’t say this is a 2000 year old teaching. The council at Nicea was dominated by the views of Athanasius who opposed Arius. Athanasius wasn’t an Apostle and certainly didn’t know the Apostles so how can we trust his interpretation of scripture was correct. The councils always voted to determine doctrinal matters yet the councils were never really ecumenical. Nicea only had 300 or so Bishops in attendance out of about 1800. Who says those 300 can speak for the entire church? How about those that fell into the minority? Was their interpretation wrong because the majority voted against them?

If we got enough people to agree 2+2=5 we could create that as a doctrine. But would that doctrine be true? No matter how you slice it private interpretation of scripture has always and will always exist. You can never prove the RCC is right and everyone else is wrong. That will always remain private interpretation.

Well, since I hardly agree with much that any of the reformers said or did, I don’t really have a problem with some of your statement above. What I do take issue with is your inconsistency with regard to your problem with “new teachings.” Would that include priestly celibacy? Marian devotion? Papal Infallability? Maturity does not mean just adding more complicated doctrines and explaining dogmas further. Paul defines maturity as pressing on toward the goal, the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and knowing “nothing but Christ crucified.”

Neither Paul nor any of the other Apostles, or Jesus himself said, “Interpret the Scriptures based on Aristotlean philosophy, to explain and expound upon all the mysteries of God.”

We accept the Old Testament without accepting the authority of the Jews to interpret it for us, do we not?

SD please explain why the church then uses the infancy Gospel of James, a non-canonical work mind you, to justify the perpetual virginity of Mary when it flat out contradicts the Gospel of Matthew, a canonical book?

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