Talking to Someone who Isn't Christian About the Bible


#1

Hello All!

I recently had a conversation with a fallen away Catholic about the Bible. The argument was this:

How do we know the Bible which we have today. Which has been through so many interpretations, is the correct interpretation of what God had intended. Even the Latin Vulgate was subject to the interpretation of St. Jerome when translating from it's various languages.

I've done a search in the forums but to no avail. If anyone could link me to a good resource or other thread that would be fine. I would just like to read more about this particular concern.

Thank you in advance and God Bless


#2

The Bible is part of the Church's teaching.
The Church is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and what it reveals about God and man is closer to Truth than everything else out there.
I am wondering how the issue came up. If the person is interested in the meaning of his life, why would he not just pick it up and start reading? I am not sure why would he take your or my word about this. You may also want to direct him to the catechism. The word of God is out there, go for it.


#3

A Bible translation goes through updatng if for no oher reason than to respond to the changes in languages in a modern era.

There are even words that haven't been definitively translated. I pick that up from Jewish commentaries, rarely if ever from a Catholic source.

There are still problems, even when looking at anybody's translation.

The real issue is praying for your friend to find faith and to read the Bible with faith, as enlightened by the Catholic Church.

The Bible does not explain itself. It needs a teaching authority to resolve the issues presented by opposing parties, as to its meaning. Why not choose a Church that explicity declares its teaching authority, than selecting a church which does not acknowlege the need for a teaching authority.

I think it's in Acts, where the Ethiopian asks Phillip, how shall I understand the Bible, unless someone explains it to me?

I think it was St. Augustine who stated, he wouldn't have believed in Christ unless the Church had assured him of what to believe.

Early heresies in the Church dictated the absolute need for a teaching authority. For example, The Ebionites denied the divinity of Christ, while the Docetists said that opposite, that Christ had only a divine nature, and his human form was just an illusion.
OK, which was it to be? Is everybody right? just pick the first explanation that comes along or just settle for the last explanation that you hear? Not really a good idea.


#4

Isn't the Church's Magisterial Role to interpret the Bible as it is given to us? Should we not stay as faithful to the very writings of each books original authors?

FYI the discussion came up over dinner while we we're discussing the Church's stance on gay marriage and other Catholic teachings on hot issues of our time.


#5

Bump? Anyone?


#6

People have a lot of false presuppositions about the Bible and how its been transmitted, everything from thinking that the Bible was written by King James to about any kind of idea imaginable. One way to respond is by pointing out that discoveries of ancient Bible manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls have proven that the Bible has been faithfully preserved over the centuries. I've studied a great deal about the ancient Bible manuscripts to know that when people make arguements about the Bible being translated so many times and has been changed, it is an obvious indication that they know very little about it and are only going on ignorance of things they might have heard from other who don't know what they are talking about and what they assume.


#7

[quote="COPLAND_3, post:6, topic:324297"]
People have a lot of false presuppositions about the Bible and how its been transmitted, everything from thinking that the Bible was written by King James to about any kind of idea imaginable. One way to respond is by pointing out that discoveries of ancient Bible manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls have proven that the Bible has been faithfully preserved over the centuries. I've studied a great deal about the ancient Bible manuscripts to know that when people make arguements about the Bible being translated so many times and has been changed, it is an obvious indication that they know very little about it and are only going on ignorance of things they might have heard from other who don't know what they are talking about and what they assume.

[/quote]

What would you say about Luke 22:43-44?


#8

[quote="ngill09, post:7, topic:324297"]
What would you say about Luke 22:43-44?

[/quote]

It depends on what someone wanted to know about it. As for an interpretation of the passage I would probably simply quote from the Douay-Rheims Study Bible or one of the many great Catholic expositors.


#9

[quote="COPLAND_3, post:8, topic:324297"]
It depends on what someone wanted to know about it. As for an interpretation of the passage I would probably simply quote from the Douay-Rheims Study Bible or one of the many great Catholic expositors.

[/quote]

It's generally believed to not have been a part of the original text. It was added later to combat Docetism.


#10

[quote="wowitsjerome, post:4, topic:324297"]
Isn't the Church's Magisterial Role to interpret the Bible as it is given to us? Should we not stay as faithful to the very writings of each books original authors?

FYI the discussion came up over dinner while we we're discussing the Church's stance on gay marriage and other Catholic teachings on hot issues of our time.

[/quote]

Since you are dealing with a fallen away Catholic, you are on the right track. It is the Church's authority AND COMMISSION from Jesus Christ to teach. The Protestant or Evangelical dependence on the Bible for EVERYTHING, is false and misleading. They are actuality being deceived by a man made doctrine of "the Bible alone" is all we need.

That thinking leads them to question every individual interpretation of the Bible. They have two options:

  1. Private judgement; where they themselves decide what Scripture means (as opposed to everyone else's private judgement interpretation -including the Catholic one-) or
  2. A Divinely appointed authority and teacher reveals the meaning of the Scripture.

If they insist that they are automatically enlightened by the Holy Spirit whenever they pick up a Bible, that makes them far better than the Apostles themselves, who needed Jesus to help them understand, even though they had already read, or knew the Scriptures, and were good practicing Jews. Or the ruler from Ethiopia who had the Apostle Philip to open up the meaning for him. We see in Scripture itself, that just reading it is not good enough. Even St. Paul, who studied at the feet of Gamaliel, and knew Scriptures forward and backward, completely missed the meaning and arrival of the Messiah. He had to be knocked off his "high" horse and "blinded" to really SEE. ;)


#11

[quote="ngill09, post:9, topic:324297"]
It's generally believed to not have been a part of the original text. It was added later to combat Docetism.

[/quote]

I've held a theory for years that the authors of the Biblical books wrote more than one copy of their work, which is a common thing before the printing press. If I was going to write an important account to be circulated to a variety of people I would write multiple copies and also write them in the languages that were going to be needed. So if the authors did write multiple copies, it would be likely that the same author would add detals that might have come to mind as he went. I know as an editor and writer I have done that myself when writing about something, I have omitted and added, I can only imagine after having to write by hand that some of my copies would vary somewhat. Some of these manuscripts that have extra detail could very well be from the original author.


#12

[quote="AmbroseSJ, post:10, topic:324297"]
Since you are dealing with a fallen away Catholic, you are on the right track. It is the Church's authority AND COMMISSION from Jesus Christ to teach. The Protestant or Evangelical dependence on the Bible for EVERYTHING, is false and misleading. They are actuality being deceived by a man made doctrine of "the Bible alone" is all we need.

That thinking leads them to question every individual interpretation of the Bible. They have two options:

  1. Private judgement; where they themselves decide what Scripture means (as opposed to everyone else's private judgement interpretation -including the Catholic one-) or
  2. A Divinely appointed authority and teacher reveals the meaning of the Scripture.

If they insist that they are automatically enlightened by the Holy Spirit whenever they pick up a Bible, that makes them far better than the Apostles themselves, who needed Jesus to help them understand, even though they had already read, or knew the Scriptures, and were good practicing Jews. Or the ruler from Ethiopia who had the Apostle Philip to open up the meaning for him. We see in Scripture itself, that just reading it is not good enough. Even St. Paul, who studied at the feet of Gamaliel, and knew Scriptures forward and backward, completely missed the meaning and arrival of the Messiah. He had to be knocked off his "high" horse and "blinded" to really SEE. ;)

[/quote]

Hah... i saw what you did there.

Thanks all for the responses. They have been truly helpful. Are there any online resources or books that you know of that would give me more information on how to explain the bible regardless of not having it's original manuscripts?


#13

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