Truth and facts are not the same thing


This might be the single most common source of misunderstandings and controversy in reading Scripture: imposing our modern standards of “truth” on Scripture.

Our culture defines truth as something factually proven by tape recorders, dictations, scientific proof. When you think about it, we have made journalism an idol.

The original authors of Scripture did not propose truth in this way.



Is that definition of truth true?

Obviously not, since it refutes itself. You can never use a tape recorder, a dictation, or a scientific test to prove the truth of that particular definition of truth. Therefore, it is self-refuting.

In reality, truth is to say of what is that it is and of what is not that it is not. That’s a simple definition in single syllable words. You can’t get much simpler or more defensible than that.


Economy, I believe, in certifying the special presence of the Holy Spirit in humankind is prudent. Therefore, certifying just the final redactors as divinely inspired is both necessary and sufficient to establish the sacredness of the canonical texts. For those inspired by God, actor or redactor, theology always precedes story.

While infallibly divine in their inspirations, the authors remained imperfectly human in their interpretations. This fusion of infinite Truth into finite minds gives the sacred scriptures at once its Divine authority and its human ambiguity.

Stories about eternal truths are important by virtue of their subject but when God directly involves Himself in begetting the stories, they transcend story and become sacred. Catholics believe the Holy Spirit directly enlightened the minds of the authors of the Scriptures. This divine inspiration put Truth into the authors’ minds. Their human task was to find their prophetic voice and wrap into words the Truth given to them. The Truth in their story is, therefore, substantive (beneath the form of the text), infallible and eternal. Since humanity’s story, past present and future, is present to the mind of God, this timeless Truth shows us the sure way to sanctification and salvation.

Ancient historians, like their modern counterparts, used inductive reasoning. They produced their myths after examining the natural phenomena. If the myth stood the test of coherence and gave meaning to the phenomena, it endured passing from generation to generation. But the sacred writers, unlike their contemporary and our modern historians, used deductive reasoning. Through divine inspiration, the sacred writers of the Old Testament had definite knowledge of God’s plan. This knowledge was a priori and independent of Israel’s many traditions, oral or written. From this certainty, using their human faculties, the sacred writers enlisted the available stories, selecting and manipulating them to write the Truth for the people of their times.

Therefore, an important distinction between the secular and sacred historian is the primacy of events and the primacy of meaning. The secular historian, modern or ancient, gives primacy to events and derives from them his or her “truth.” No serious historian would invent or alter events, or ignore controverting facts to prop up a weak hypothesis. Our Old Testament’s divinely inspired authors, giving primacy to God’s inspiration, may well have melded and manipulated the traditional histories of Israel to make their Truth tangible. They were theologians first, secular historians second.

Forgetting that the scribes wrote for a particular people at a particular time, today’s fundamentalists attempt to extract the Truth from the form rather than the substance of the text. The fundamentalist’s error imputes God’s Word into every word the author wrote. By denying human ambiguity in the texts, the fundamentalist assumes that the wits of man can completely contain and express in words an Idea from the mind of God. Less pedantic interpreters realize that God, seeing all things at once, inspires from on high; men, seeing only a few things here and now, respond from down here. Catholics do not believe in “verbal inerrancy” because we do not believe God was directly and specially involved in the choice of every single word in the text’s original language or in every subsequent interpretation of that language to another.

The issues of sacred scripture are not historical fact but theological truth that can be extracted from the substance, not the form, of the text.


The way I learned it in graduate Scripture classes boiled down to: “All Scripture is true, and some of it actually happened.”




If this is what you truly believe, I feel pity for you. That belief relativizes all belief and authority and leaves all faith up to conjecture and whim.
The Bible IS the Word of God, period. Each word was inspired and is:
2nd Timothy 3
“15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16** All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works**.”

Satan’s most powerful lie, from the beginning, was that what God proclaimed was not true:
Genesis 3
“4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

This lie continues to destroy lives.

The problem for so many is the way in which Scripture is studied and received.

The problem you seem to have is using an allegorical interpretative method to read and study Scripture, a method that originated with Augustine and Origen, from the Alexandrian school, and was argued against vehemently by the Syriac school. Unfortunately, the Alexandrian carried the day. This allegorical interpretive method was/is the foundation for much error.


Save your pity for yourself, friend.

If you believe every word of scripture is inspired by God then you should be quoting in the original languages (Hebrew and Greek), not in Shakespearean English. Or do you believe the translators you selected were also inspired?

Unlike Protestants, Catholics read scriptures as a community submitting to the authority of our Magisterium for interpretation. Like our Protestant friends, Catholics do read the Bible as a mirror reflecting one’s own personal experience and interpreting accordingly iff one’s personal interpretation does not contradict the Magisterium’s teaching.


Truth would exist even when there are no facts (if that is confusing try to picture being in the middle of space and at the same time blind and deaf and you don’t feel cold).

Truth would exist even when there is no messenger to carry it.

I believe we have come to see the world in black and white, whereas in the past they saw it in colour. I believe we have also lost all sense of mystery.

I refer to our culture, not our Catholic faith.


You seem to be noticing the wrestling that will always occur between Catholic philosophy and Puritan philosophy. I conclude that secular is just simply the Puritan philosophy stripped of its theology.


This is true. God is…the Way, the Truth, the Life.
Parables are an example. God inspires these with his Truth even though they are not factual.

As an RCIA facilitator I find that most Christians are bewildered by conflating and misunderstanding these terms:

It is real hard to get these points across.

  1. Dictionary Definition of “Truth”
    The true or actual state of a matter:
  2. conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
  3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: mathematical truths.
    3. the state or character of being true.
    4. actuality or actual existence.
    5. an obvious or accepted fact; truism; platitude.
    6. honesty; integrity; truthfulness.
    7. (often initial capital letter) ideal or fundamental reality apart from and transcending perceived
    8. agreement with a standard or original.
    9… accuracy, as of position or adjustment.
    10. Archaic. Fidelity or constancy.
    TEN REALITIES of a single truth

2 the Bible in its entirety is either God’s TRUTH {message; but not necessarily entirely factual} or its worthless!

3 Its some 2,000 years young, so that portends its TRUTHS

4 Christ {GOD; all Knowing and ALL Wise} knew what the furture would hold and HOW His Truths would be challenged and tested time N" again

Which is precisely what He clung to just ONE {historically & Biblically}:slight_smile:

Just One True God: Exodus 6:7

Just One true set of Faith beliefs; Mt 16:15-19; Jn. 17:17-20; Mt. 28:18-20; Eph 4:1-7 {NOTE the singular tense words Inspired by the Holy Spirit}

And Just “My Church” singular Mt 16:18

ALWAYS just One KNOWING that by doing so, he was giving humanity thier best chance to realize through simple logic, that ONE was and remaind HIS Choice and exactly what he Gave to is:D

God Bless you



I do study in both Hebrew and Greek, and look to the structure, syntax and verbiage of the original languages.
I do not believe that that actual translators were given divine inspiration, but I do believe Gods word was protected from error when translated word for word.
I have yet to see in Scripture the word Magesterium.

FYI, Baptists do not consider themselves to be “Protestants”.


If God protected the translators from error then God inspired the translators. If not God then who protected the translators from error?

I have yet to see in Scripture the word “Trinity.”

Pardon my error but the grammar does suggest that “Southern Baptists” protest something against “Baptists” and “Dispensationals” protest something against “Southern Baptists.” If not, why then the compound modifiers to “Baptist”?


There are lots of words not in the bible.
“The bible” is not in the bible. It is properly inferred.
Magisterium is also properly inferred.

If Christ left no authority, how can you claim that God’s word was protected when translated “word for word”? By whose authority?
What does “word for word” mean"? Translations are never word for word. They are as accurate as can be. Translation is from language to language. Translation is not copying.

How do you know a translation is inerrant if not for someone’s authority?

You see, everyone has a magisterium. It’s a matter of who it is and trusting it (them), or whether one takes that authority to himself.


I was raised with a total mistrust of Bible translations, that was our religion. So I took Greek at University. What I found was that without formal education in the languages we will entirely miss the nuances of that language.

My University Greek taught me one thing. I am not able to simply pull up words and recognize their parts of speech and be an expert. In the first place I would only be doing that in an effort to justify my own theology contrary to the translation (at the time I was not Catholic), in the second place that would make me the authority and I know I wasn’t, in the third place people did not just simply speak in words that we dissect like sterile surgeons, they spoke sentences, they spoke ideas, they spoke familiarly, with people who could fill in the gaps with their current knowledge, being on the same page. They had a link with each other, a link we need to possess with those authors, so we are all on the same page. Language is simply not a mathematical formula.

Thankfully God had already intervened on this respect in that the same year He gave me an RSVCE bible, completely unexpected, random, coinciding but also completely accepted. The pages are getting worn, the binding has been repatched. But that Bible is where I learned one very important thing

I learned to trust others, and eventually in my search, I have the privilege of trusting the Magisterium.



I respect your tradition and your beliefs. However, it is illogical to claim the translators are error free without Divine help.

I still do not see the word “Trinity” in your citation but do agree in principle with your inference. The same inferential logic applies to the word “Magisterium” citing Mat 16:19 (Peter as head) and Mat 18:18 (Apostles).

I respect your tradition and its beliefs but we differ in our understanding of the Trinity. The Catholic teaching on the Trinity is that God is not three in nature but two, i.e. the Trinity is one in being, two in nature, an three in persons.

Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits are religious orders all in unity with our Magisterium claiming no theological distinction but only different ministerial foci. There is no such thing as a Franciscan Catholic, a Dominican Catholic or a Jesuit Catholic or any Catholic who claims to be Catholic but contradicts the Magisterium teaching, e.g. holds that same sex unions are morally good.


Except for the WORD “all” I agree:thumbsup:


YES! :thumbsup:

Language is a human thing. Translation can be messy. And that’s ok. The Incarnation is a messy thing also. Fully human.


Oh! This ^^ :thumbsup:

Trenchant and pithy and true!

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