"The Main Things are the Plain Things" Biblical?


#1

I hear this phrase on Hank Hanagraph alot and it was quoted to me yesterday. I don’t see it in the Bible.:

“As the colloquial saying goes, “the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.” The New Testament was written in Koine Greek the language of the “blue collar” man of the ancient world. It was written to be understood, not hidden, the reading and interpreting of it was encouraged - the verse you allude to verfies this”

Is it Biblical?

Doesn’t Peter say:
2 Pet 3
16: speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

Seems contradictory to me.

Defend - Protestants

Blessings


#2

[quote=thessalonian]I hear this phrase on Hank Hanagraph alot and it was quoted to me yesterday. I don’t see it in the Bible.:

[/quote]

I’m not familiar with Hanagraph.

“As the colloquial saying goes, “the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.” The New Testament was written in Koine Greek the language of the “blue collar” man of the ancient world. It was written to be understood, not hidden, the reading and interpreting of it was encouraged - the verse you allude to verfies this”

Do we know what verse it is that we’re alluding to, or is that your question?

Doesn’t Peter say:
2 Pet 3
16: speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

One thing that comes to mind is the prayer of Jesus, in Matt 11:25 and again in Luke 10:21:
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike."
I have a few theories of my own making about this. One is that maybe Christ spoke in parables because they would make no sense to those who would twist the words as they go. The Bible has to make sense in many different languages, and is bizarre enough that human attempts at translating it to fit a particular agenda cannot succeed. I think those with an innocent heart, eager to learn, will catch onto the meanings in their heart, while those who squabble intellectually about the Bible miss the point.

Just one idea. If you don’t like that one I have more. :wink:

Alan


#3

Well, just watch what happens when non-Catholics get to passages like John 6 and Matt 16. All of a sudden the plain meaning of Scripture goes out the window and they bring in an army of poindexters producing twenty page papers of academic wrangling over one word in a tragicomic attempt to prove that Peter as the rock is impossible.

Scott


#4

I should clarify. There are many things that are in fact plain in scripture. But there are things that are not that are significant to our salvation. That is the purpose of my quoting the verse in the thread starter.


#5

[quote=Scott Waddell]Well, just watch what happens when non-Catholics get to passages like John 6 and Matt 16. All of a sudden the plain meaning of Scripture goes out the window and they bring in an army of poindexters producing twenty page papers of academic wrangling over one word in a tragicomic attempt to prove that Peter as the rock is impossible.

Scott
[/quote]

Ah, double standards. Don’t you just love 'em? :whacky:


#6

[quote=thessalonian]I should clarify. There are many things that are in fact plain in scripture. But there are things that are not that are significant to our salvation. That is the purpose of my quoting the verse in the thread starter.
[/quote]

Right, but that sort of verse really needs to be glossed over. Otherwise, how are Protestants to justify peer-led Bible studies, and all other sorts of self-interpretation?

What frustrates me so much about this view is how loudly it smacks of deconstructionism. Postmodernism, one of the biggest enemies of the Truth today, is embraced so welcomingly when it comes to Holy Scripture. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of, “what does this mean to me?” when there is no respect for authority or Tradition.


#7

[quote=thessalonian]I should clarify. There are many things that are in fact plain in scripture. But there are things that are not that are significant to our salvation. That is the purpose of my quoting the verse in the thread starter.
[/quote]

The Magesterium doesn’t approve of the translations used by the “Protestant Bible”. Yet even the translations approved by the Magesterium you cannot interpret for yourself.
One would think that the Magesterium, knowing the deficiencies of the Protestant Bibles, would have been able to translate the texts in such a way as to remove all confusion. Alas, such is not the case.
The same rationale applies to “sacred tradition”. The RCC has determined the “canon” of tradition, but even though they have done so, you still may not interpret it with regard to faith and morals, let alone practice.

So the situation is this: God has proclaimed His Good News to all the world because He desires all Men to come to Him so that they may receive forgiveness and have Eternal life. But He did so in a manner that requires constant guidance by a specialized teaching organization because the mind that God gave us is insufficient to understand the Word that He gave us?

The “solution” provided by the RCC is no better than the “problem” they have identified - they’ve only abstracted the difficulty back a step.

Scripture is clear enough to lead the average person to the conclusion that they are sinners in need of salvation. And clear enough to show that Jesus Christ is God and the Way to the Father.

Peace


#8

[quote=thessalonian]I hear this phrase on Hank Hanagraph alot and it was quoted to me yesterday. I don’t see it in the Bible.:

“As the colloquial saying goes, “the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.” The New Testament was written in Koine Greek the language of the “blue collar” man of the ancient world. It was written to be understood, not hidden, the reading and interpreting of it was encouraged - the verse you allude to verfies this”

Is it Biblical?

Doesn’t Peter say:
2 Pet 3
16: speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

Seems contradictory to me.

Defend - Protestants

Blessings
[/quote]

I’ll include the preceding and following verses to provide some context.

2 Peter 3:15-17

Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

Peter is warning Believers to be on their guard against error from UNbelievers, not that they (Believers) can’t understand scripture.

It seems that Peter is acknowledging the fact his the readers of his letter read scripture. In fact he even acknowledges that Un-Believers do so.

Further, this seems like a logical place to tell Believers “just do what I tell or told you to do, don’t try to interpret scripture by yourself”. But Peter doesn’t do that. No anathemas against personal interpretation, just an exhortation to “be on your guard”.

"we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand"
2 Corinthians 1:13

Peace


#9

The Magesterium doesn’t approve of the translations used by the “Protestant Bible”. Yet even the translations approved by the Magesterium you cannot interpret for yourself.
One would think that the Magesterium, knowing the deficiencies of the Protestant Bibles, would have been able to translate the texts in such a way as to remove all confusion. Alas, such is not the case.

That is not the case because the Church is constrained to translate what was written by the Apostles, and sometimes, what the Apostles wrote wasn’t all that clear, especially to a people removed by time, culture and geography from them.

So the situation is this: God has proclaimed His Good News to all the world because He desires all Men to come to Him so that they may receive forgiveness and have Eternal life. But He did so in a manner that requires constant guidance by a specialized teaching organization because the mind that God gave us is insufficient to understand the Word that He gave us?

That’s because God hasn’t proclaimed his Good News through the Word. He has proclaimed his Good News through the Church. The Church then wrote down, under the influence of His Spirit, some of the Good News. But to equate the writings as being the only and full source of the Good News is to confuse the matter. God willed that his Good News be revealed, not by a book, but by his Mystical Body, the Church. Therefore, God’s plan has been amply sufficient.

Scripture is clear enough to lead the average person to the conclusion that they are sinners in need of salvation. And clear enough to show that Jesus Christ is God and the Way to the Father.

I submit that is not the case. I submit that those who say that, are relying on tradition to guide their interpretation, though they may not acknowledge it. Reading some of your posts, I know you are intelligent. And therefore I know you know the history of the Arian movement in the early Church. And how those who denied that Jesus was God denied it with explicit reference to Scripture. Now that we live in the aftermath of those disputes, we know the authentic interpretation of Scripture, as did many people before the disputes, but that is the point. They knew it because that is what the Church had always taught. They interpreted Scripture in light of the teaching tradition.


#10

Well said. Of course, how that salvation comes to us is a matter of much debate. Whom shall I ask? A Baptist? A Lutheran? A Jehovah’s Witness? A member of the Church of Christ? I think I’ll get different answers from each, don’t you? I’m not so sure it’s accurate to say that the Catholic Church assumes we can’t interpret the Bible. I think she correctly understands that she is there to determine which interpretation is correct.

In Jesus and Mary
Fiat


#11

First, Catholics can read and intepret Scriptures all they want. It is a misconception to say the Magisterium doesn’t allow it. James Akin said “we can and we must, thats why God gave us intellects.”

As for the main and plain things…this is what Scott Hahn said about that on a past Catholic Answers Live:

“I think what people often mean when they say that kind of thing is, ‘look ya know, there are things in Scripture that are really clear, and lets just adhere to those things, and then the other things we can just negotiate on, or we can compromise, or we can tolerate,’ and that sounds really good, and rhetorically I would say that is really slick, but I would say practically speaking …it just doesn’t work. Do you baptize infants or not? Do you worship on Sunday or Saturday? Do you have priest, or just elders, or just deacons? Do you allow remarriage after divorce? What about altars, what about pictures, statues, kneelers, musical instruments? How many sacraments are there? What do they do? What about abortion? Some mainline denominations affirm homosexuality. What about speaking in tongues? What about prophecy, miracles, healings? What about the meaning of the Eucharist? What about the effect of baptism? I mean the list goes on and on. So I would say, the person who says what is main is plain, and what is plain is main, is kinda throwing up a little smoke screen, and you can smile and politely affirm the fact that, ya that would be nice, but in actual fact, you have thousands of denominations formed in less than five centuries, and they all appeal to the Bible alone, and they all appeal to what they think is the plain sense of Scripture. To me, this sola Scriptura is a blueprint for anarchy, and it is something that Jesus never left the Church, and its something that the Fathers of the Church never saw or taught. It is something that George Washington and the founding fathers who gave us the Constitution in fact, didn’t leave us as a country. You have a Constitution thats a living document, but you have a Congress, you have a Supreme Court, you have an executive branch and the office of the President and so on. And likewise, when Jesus gave us the Bible, He gave us the Tradition of the Church, and He gave us the Magisterium, and these are the means by which we determine what is main and plain and what saves us.”


#12

[quote=EA_Man]Peter is warning Believers to be on their guard against error from UNbelievers, not that they (Believers) can’t understand scripture.
[/quote]

I will only say that 1) nowehere, in the context you give, does Peter state he is speaking of unbelievers, and 2) even if he was, if God’s plan was to only reveal himself through the writings of the Apostles, then His plan had obviously failed spectacularly, because it is specifically unbelievers who would need to read them and understand them. But if unbelievers can’t understand them, then what? How do they come to the truth? Clearly, someone has to explain it to them. And when it is explained (oral extra-biblical teaching, cf. Acts 8:30), the writings are then placed in the proper context to be properly understood. Once you let in oral extra-biblical teaching, you have effectively stated that something is needed above and beyond the writings to have them be properly understood.

And that is what your quote from 2 Cor. takes into account. People who have been indoctrinated by the Church into the fullness of truth can understand the Apostle’s writings. Those who have not, cannot.


#13

[quote=EA_Man]I’ll include the preceding and following verses to provide some context.

2 Peter 3:15-17

Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

Peter is warning Believers to be on their guard against error from UNbelievers, not that they (Believers) can’t understand scripture.

It seems that Peter is acknowledging the fact his the readers of his letter read scripture. In fact he even acknowledges that Un-Believers do so.

Further, this seems like a logical place to tell Believers “just do what I tell or told you to do, don’t try to interpret scripture by yourself”. But Peter doesn’t do that. No anathemas against personal interpretation, just an exhortation to “be on your guard”.

"we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand"
2 Corinthians 1:13

Peace
[/quote]

First…your interpretation of 2 Peter 3:15-17 is a little misleading. The Greek word for ignorant is not the same as ours…it literally means unlearned. Peter is saying there are unlearned people reading the Scriptures who misinterpret it. How did one become “learned?” Through the Apostles teachings…a.k.a. Traditions. When someone learns from the Apostles, they can then approach Scriptures and understand what the author meant. Peter was not necessarily speaking of non-believers however.

As for your opinion that this was an appropriate spot to debunk sola Scriptura, or at least assert the authoritative Magisterium, the argument just doesn’t follow. Scripture’s weren’t even complete then for one thing…therefore Bible alone would have left out Revelation and other books we believe are necessary for salvation. Second, they were readily teaching everyone. It should be assumed that if someone is teaching…they are probably hoping that the audience is listening and learning. The very writing of this letter asserts a form of an interpretive and authoritative Magisterium. In fact this portion of the letter Peter writes to them was meant to help them with the Scriptures…well Peter’s very letter became Scripture!

Was he originally writing it to include in the New Testament canon…or did he think he was giving them extra-biblical help in understanding the Bible? I think the latter is the most reasonable. Again…no Church I can think of says don’t interpret Scripture on your own…especially not the Catholic Church. Peter clearly understands that they need to be reading Scripture, and that it is his job to teach its appropriate meaning and message. There is only one Church that claims to maintain the same Apostolic Tradition to help the same believers properly interpret the Bible, and this was Peter’s intent as well…making “unlearned” people learned.


#14

EA

I will add to the other posters who have done an admirable job of answering you. You quoted:

1 Cor 13
13] For we write you nothing but what you can read and understand; I hope you will understand fully,

I can’t see how “hard to understand” and “you can understand” contradict one another. That one can understand does not mean the understanding is easy. I recall early on with Algebra how difficult it was. Yet I could understand it because I eventually did.

As others have said, the Church nowhere teaches that the laity cannot read and interprut scripture.

Blessings


#15

So if people not in the church cannot understand the writings of the apostles (not having the fullness of truth), and if scripture is useful for equipping us every for every good work (2 Tim. 3), and works justify us (James 2), by your logic - no one outside of the RCC can be saved. But according to This Rock that is not the position of the Catholic Church. So which is it?

Peace


#16

I’ve said many times before regarding Catholic doctrine, Protestants please don’t try to apply it in your homes. You simply don’t understand it and so make errors of logic such as this. It is beyond the scope of this thread to anwer your objection EA. Suffice it to say that God judges us on what we have been given. One recieved on Talent, another 2 and another 5. The one who did not get rewarded was the one who did not make a return on the investment. Oops. Parable. Sorry.

Blessings


#17

[quote=thessalonian]EA

I will add to the other posters who have done an admirable job of answering you. You quoted:

1 Cor 13
13] For we write you nothing but what you can read and understand; I hope you will understand fully,

I can’t see how “hard to understand” and “you can understand” contradict one another. That one can understand does not mean the understanding is easy. I recall early on with Algebra how difficult it was. Yet I could understand it because I eventually did.

As others have said, the Church nowhere teaches that the laity cannot read and interprut scripture.

Blessings
[/quote]

“We prohibit the books of the Old and New Testament to the laity; unless, perhaps, they may desire to have the Psalter, or Breviary, or the Hours of the blessed Virgin Mary; but we expressly forbid their having the other parts of the Bible translated into the vulgar tongue.” Council of Toulouse 1229

I’m sure the objection will be proffered that this was done to counter a specific “heresy” - the Albigenses. But if that is so, how much more reason should the RCC have to limit access to scripture today considering that there are “30,000” denominations teaching all sorts of “heresy” rather than only one other denomination?

Ah, again I’ve wandered away from the main point, but only to demonstrate that there have been occasions where at a minimum access to scripture was “discouraged” by the RCC.

Peace


#18

[quote=EA_Man]Ah, again I’ve wandered away from the main point, but only to demonstrate that there have been occasions where at a minimum access to scripture was “discouraged” by the RCC.

Peace
[/quote]

Scripture has always been read at mass. If the Church truly wanted to discourage scripture, then don’t you think the liturgy would have been arranged differently?

Also, as for discouraging scripture, I happen to remember something about Martin Luther taking scripture away from people forever.

In Jesus and Mary
Fiat


#19

[quote=EA_Man]So if people not in the church cannot understand the writings of the apostles (not having the fullness of truth), and if scripture is useful for equipping us every for every good work (2 Tim. 3), and works justify us (James 2), by your logic - no one outside of the RCC can be saved. But according to This Rock that is not the position of the Catholic Church. So which is it?
[/quote]

If salvation was like an equation, you would be right. But it’s not. Reality is that some people who are outside the Church are outside her out of non-culpable ignorance. They will be judged by what they knew and what they should have known.

But that’s not what we’re talking about. If you want to, though, start a thread.


#20

[quote=EA_Man]“We prohibit the books of the Old and New Testament to the laity; unless, perhaps, they may desire to have the Psalter, or Breviary, or the Hours of the blessed Virgin Mary; but we expressly forbid their having the other parts of the Bible translated into the vulgar tongue.” Council of Toulouse 1229

I’m sure the objection will be proffered that this was done to counter a specific “heresy” - the Albigenses. But if that is so, how much more reason should the RCC have to limit access to scripture today considering that there are “30,000” denominations teaching all sorts of “heresy” rather than only one other denomination?

Ah, again I’ve wandered away from the main point, but only to demonstrate that there have been occasions where at a minimum access to scripture was “discouraged” by the RCC.

Peace
[/quote]

It is so EA_MAN. You need to throw out Boetner. That book is so full of errors. The particular version of the Bible (in the vulgar tongue) was a corrupt version that was prohibited. The Albigenses tranlated a version for the purpose of promiting their lewd sexual practice and dual God theories. The quote you take is for a particular time with a particular sect and a particular Bible. Historical context is important EA_Man. The tranlation is important as well. But that discussion is going on in other threads.

Blessings


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