Since Christians received the Holy Spirit, why do we need the Magisterium for interpretation?


well that would be a typical protestant question i guess, but I could I adress that?
The Holy Spirit has been given to us, with the gifts, among others, of wisdom, understanding, counsel and knowledge.

I don’t see anything other right now than the fact that the Bible is a living text, and that we also live and follow Tradition.



The purpose of the Magisterium is to protect truth from corruption.

The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of understanding but we are not perfect. The Magisterium protects us from error.



When two people, both claiming to have the Holy Spirit, interpret Scripture in diametrically opposed ways… what decides who is right?

Take, for example, necessity of Baptism. Some Christians - presumably having “received the Holy Spirit” - believe it is absolutely necessary for salvation. Others - again presumably having received the Holy Spirit say it is not necessary and only a symbol.

Both use Scripture to support their views.

This is a matter of salvation… who / what decides which one is right?

According to Mt 18:15-18 it is the Church, or Magisterium (Teaching office).

But if we reject the Magisterium then we have (from the above example) two different ways to heaven… two different ways to God.

This is why there are over 30,000 different denominations all claiming to be right; all disagreeing on various aspects (both big and little) of what it means to be a Christian. This is in direct conflict with Scripture (1 Cor 1:10).

Hope this helps,
God Bless, :signofcross:
Poor Knight for Christ and His Church


Yes indeed, understanding does not give infallibility :D.
Ok so to argue that two Christians end up with different interpretations of the Scripture, even though having received the Spirit, would demonstrate that a gift does not take away our perfectibility, and therefore the need of the Magisterium :knight1:


And may I add, this is why the Bible says…to know the truth…1John 4… Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world……………6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

And see how St. Paul, despite being called directly, was till led by the HS to submit to the Apostles:

Galatians 2:2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.


If you are attempting to answer this question when it’s posed by a Protestant, you have to lay the groundwork. This is not easy, because they usually don’t agree with us on many of these interpretations of Scripture. Still, what it boils down to is that:

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide His Church - John 14:16-17, Acts 1:1-5, John 20:21-22
which is built upon the Rock of Peter - Matthew 16:18
in doing the will of God the Father John 14: 26-31
The Church is the Body of Christ 1 Corinthians 12
It’s made up of individuals, but Jesus prayed that they might be one - John 17

Jesus and St. Paul are speaking to the apostles and the early Church as a group, and St. Paul discourses on the relation of the individual “part” to the entire “body.” Individualism as our modern culture views it is not part of the teaching.

The Magisterium as we know it today is the same object of these discourses, just more developed as the need arose throughout the centuries. It’s entrusted with the same responsibility and mission, towards the same end, transmitting the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the Body of Christ in every age.

When, as pointed out in posts above, two individuals each claim to be inspired by the Holy Spirit yet are in opposition as to what’s the correct thing to believe or to do, at the maximum only one of them can be correct, and possibly neither of them can be correct. The Holy Spirit isn’t going to go against what Jesus established. So careful discernment is required.


Yes the Spirit won’t go against The Son, but Christians might, and bona fide.
I mean, bona fide is the problem, if we think we follow Christ when we are in error, how can we be inspired by the Spirit and claim to listen to Him?


Like it was stated is so that the word of God is not corrupted. You have to remember that humans have a sinful mind, what the magisterium does is keep things in order.


I mean for Christians with sola scriptura, if they happen to have such a bad copy.


Sorry I couldn’t edit my own post, therefore i quote myself …


Christians have been promised the guidance of the Spirit–as a communion. And Jesus promised that we would not go far astray, so long as we remain in communion. When we interpret the Scriptures on our own, as it were–by not looking to the understanding of the Church–we take ourselves out of the protection of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was not promised to me and to you, but to the Church, the community of disciples.

More, we are very good at deceiving ourselves. For example, the meaning of the Scriptures should be obvious to any reasonably educated person, right? But try developing a Church based on that principle, and we see what happens: Thousands of denominations, all claiming the true understanding, but all differing. This is why we need one inspired authority to set limits on what is acceptable and what is not. And, in turn, by remaining in communion with that authority, the Magisterium, we can be assured that we do, indeed, have the Spirit as a guide.


Very nicely put! :thumbsup:


The Holy Spirit guides the magisterium to interpret scripture and tradition in terms of the concerns in each era.


They trust themselves too much.

Moses was guided by God himself and even he couldn’t get it right. Israel was God’s chosen people but they couldn’t get it right. David fell into error and sin. The Pharisees were scholars of God’s law and couldn’t get it right. How many modern day pastors - all guided by the Holy Spirit - have fallen? Catholics are not immune.

Everyone thinks that they are the ones guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit and that the other guy who disagrees with them is the one who is wrong. We all think we are the ones given the gift and everyone else is in error.

I’ve learned not to be that arrogant. it is something the monks taught me, not to trust myself too much.



I think it is the key point: to aknowledge our imperfection and need for guidance, inspired or not.


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