Understanding scripture. Must you have the Holy Spirit?


#1

My question is.
To understand scripture must you already have the holy spirit in you? i.e. be a baptized believer.
I ask because I know of some people that do not understand ANYTHING they read in the bible. It is just confusing to them. Yet, they are otherwise intelligent, well educated individuals.
What do you all know about this?


#2

[quote=allisonP]My question is.
To understand scripture must you already have the holy spirit in you? i.e. be a baptized believer.
I ask because I know of some people that do not understand ANYTHING they read in the bible. It is just confusing to them. Yet, they are otherwise intelligent, well educated individuals.
What do you all know about this?
[/quote]

Allison P:

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. I Cor 1:18 NAB

but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. I Cor 1:23-24 NAB

vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PZ6.HTM

I’m not saying the Bible will not make any sense to those who aren’t already baptized, but it’s definitely not gong to make sense to someone who isn’t ready to receive the Gospel.

I find that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is also a key. Those who say that it’s impossible not only can’t understand the Gospel, they have to think of reasons why it can’t possibly be true. Meanwhile, those who can accept that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, will accept the Gospel and what’s written in the Bible.

It’s just extremely difficult for people to understand things they aren’t willing to accept.

In Christ, Michael


#3

Hi Allison, the basic doctrine, teaching you are looking for is called illumination by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit and Hermeneutics
bible.org/page.asp?page_id=396

even thou this is a protestant article, it is worth the read.

google.com/custom?q=illumination&cof=S%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.bible.org%3BGL%3A0%3BAH%3Aleft%3BL%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.bible.org%2Fimages%2Fpapyriheader.jpg%3BAWFID%3Afdc1638b642fb3fe%3B&safe=vss&sitesearch=bible.org

google.com/search?hl=en&q=illumination+bible+catholic+holy+spirit

But, with that said, people who have the Holy Spirit can also explain the scriptures to them like, the man in Acts chapter 8.

Acts 8:31
"How can I," he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

You could explain this teaching to them, like you don’t understand because you are reading someone else’s mail. God’s word was written to the church, christians. So, if they do not have a christians core knowledge, and the Holy Spirit… they need the word expalined to them.


#4

Satan knows Scripture and I imagine he understands it as well. The difference between Satan and Christians is one of embracing it. The Holy Spirit is Love. He gives us the ability to recognise and love Scripture as the Word of God.

We all receive the free gift of God’s grace, it is just that some choose to reject it for various reasons.

Luke 10:21
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, 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.

Matt. 18:3
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

John 8:32
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."


#5

[quote=allisonP]My question is.
To understand scripture must you already have the holy spirit in you? i.e. be a baptized believer.
I ask because I know of some people that do not understand ANYTHING they read in the bible. It is just confusing to them. Yet, they are otherwise intelligent, well educated individuals.
What do you all know about this?
[/quote]

1 Corinthians 2:11-16

*11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,

13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.

16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.*


#6

[quote=Eileen T]Satan knows Scripture and I imagine he understands it as well. The difference between Satan and Christians is one of embracing it. The Holy Spirit is Love. He gives us the ability to recognise and love Scripture as the Word of God.

We all receive the free gift of God’s grace, it is just that some choose to reject it for various reasons.

[/quote]

Recognizing of course that we can be personally misled or mislead an entire sect of Christianity, which is why Protestants are missing books of the Bible because they were not “recognized” as the inspired word of God.


#7

IMHO, it’s more a question of the amount of grace one has received. When I was fallen away from the faith, living in a state of mortal sin, scripture meant nothing to me. Now that I’ve returned, and come back into God’s grace, scripture makes a heck a lot more sense to me.


#8

[quote=MariaG]Recognizing of course that we can be personally misled or mislead an entire sect of Christianity, which is why Protestants are missing books of the Bible because they were not “recognized” as the inspired word of God.
[/quote]

Yeah. They accepted the Canon of the NT while throwing out the deutero-canonical books. You gotta be grateful that we have the Teaching Authority of the Church and Tradition to guide us.


#9

Most definatly you have to have the Holy Spirit in your heart to understand Scripture. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit in your heart, then Scripture is just a bunch of words. The Holy Spirit Gives us the Understanding and the interpretation of Scripture.

If you don’t have the Holy Spirit In your Heart, You can pray this prayer over and over, and He will come into your heart.

The Nuns taught us this prayer in grade school, and you will find it in some of the Old St. Joseph Daily Misisels.

PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT:

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of they faithfull, kindle in them the fire of thy Love. Send forth your Spirit, that we shall be created, and thou shalt renew the face of the Earth.

Spiritchsr1


#10

[quote=StCsDavid]IMHO, it’s more a question of the amount of grace one has received. When I was fallen away from the faith, living in a state of mortal sin, scripture meant nothing to me. Now that I’ve returned, and come back into God’s grace, scripture makes a heck a lot more sense to me.
[/quote]

But when you had fallen away from God, he had not fallen away from you. Correct? I mean, just because you chose to live a more carnel life God was still where he had always been. Waiting for you to come back. If you had read the scriptures with prayer he would have revealed truth to you. Right?
And…
If someone confesses a love of God. Says they believe in Jesus, yet has not been baptized, and then tries to read the bible, will they understand? I know that faith comes from hearing and beliveing in the word of God. Or am I not understanding this correctly?

I am asking all of you for your catholic perspective, As I have a protestant background.

Thanks again.


#11

[quote=allisonP] My question is.
To understand scripture must you already have the holy spirit in you?

[/quote]

Sorry, but this is just a little too vague. By “understand Scripture” do you mean all of it, any of it, or what? I do not believe you need to have the holy Spirit to “understand” much of the bible - especially the OT. What, exactly, is there not to understand about the Law? It’s spelled out in painstaking detail. What’s not to understand about geneologies? Perhaps you mean to say that the “gospel message” can not be understood, but you need to tell us what you mean here…and quickly, because everyone is off and running on their interpretations of what you mean…

They don’t understand ANYTHING? Is that really what you mean to say? They don’t for example, understand the 10 Commandments? I find that ludicrous, and so I must conclude that you mean something other than what you have actually said. My guess is that you mean, “Do you need the holy Spirit to BELIEVE Scripture?”, but rather than guess or assume what you mean I would rather have you tell us so that we can best respond. Please try and articulate exactly what you feel people don’t understand. Then we can discuss it intelligently…

Phil


#12

According to the Catechism, it is absolutely essential for one to be in accord w/ the Holy Spirit to interpret Scripture.

109 In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words.

110 In order to discover the sacred authors’ intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current. “For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression.”

111 But since Sacred Scripture is inspired, there is another and no less important principle of correct interpretation, without which Scripture would remain a dead letter. “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written.”

The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it.

112

  1. Be especially attentive “to the content and unity of the whole Scripture.” Different as the books which comprise it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God’s plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since his Passover.

The phrase “heart of Christ” can refer to Sacred Scripture, which makes known his heart, closed before the Passion, as the Scripture was obscure. But the Scripture has been opened since the Passion; since those who from then on have understood it, consider and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted.

113
2. Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church.” According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (“according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church”).

114
3. Be attentive to the analogy of faith. By “analogy of faith” we mean the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation.


#13

based on the temptation of christ in the wilderness, I am not so sure satan understands scripture. :slight_smile:


#14

AllisonP,

The Lord is always there for you, even if you fall away. If you confess your sins, God forgives you and wipes the slate clean through confession.

It doesn’t matter how bad you have sinned, ask God for his infinate Mercy. God is all caring, all Loving, and all Merciful God. Don’t ever be afraid to confess your sins and ask God for forgiveness.

Use the Prayer to the Holy Spirit, and he will give you the understanding you need, to interprete scripture and to work through scripture in your everyday life.

Spiritchsr1


#15

I have had a question on my mind for a little while, and this thread has reminded me of it. I only hope I can articulate it well.

In Evangelical theology, a person “gets saved” by hearing the Word and responding to it by faith. So far, so good, more or less. How is it then that they can understand and respond to the Word by faith, when at the time of hearing it they did not yet have the Holy Spirit in them?

Or to put it another way, one learns of Christ through the Bible alone, but before one believes, it takes some reading of scripture in order to “get saved”. Now the person is saved, they have the illumination of the Holy Spirit necessary to understand the Bible.

How did they ever get to first base, when in order to get there, their “natural mind was darkened, and could not discern the things of the Spirit?” (my paraphrase of 2 Cor 2:14 cited above by sandusky).

Catholic theology explains this perfectly, in the form of actual grace.

How does anyone from an Evangelical/Protestant view think this through?

I hope I have not hijacked this thread. I am thinking that I have not, but willl stand corrected if necessary. :slight_smile:


#16

[quote=allisonP]But when you had fallen away from God, he had not fallen away from you. Correct? I mean, just because you chose to live a more carnel life God was still where he had always been. Waiting for you to come back. If you had read the scriptures with prayer he would have revealed truth to you. Right?
And…
If someone confesses a love of God. Says they believe in Jesus, yet has not been baptized, and then tries to read the bible, will they understand? I know that faith comes from hearing and beliveing in the word of God. Or am I not understanding this correctly?

I am asking all of you for your catholic perspective, As I have a protestant background.

Thanks again.
[/quote]

Allison:

Why hasn’t this person who’s been professing this love of Jesus been Baptized and Confirmed in conformity with Scripture? Does he have plans to be Baptized/Confirmed?

Is this person a member of a Church body, so that he hears the word of God EXPLAINED regularly? Does he have plans to start attending a Church Body?

We both know that those are parts of how one expresses one’s love for Jesus and how one maintains a relationship with Jesus - We aren’t meant to have Jesus and me Relationships. That’s NOT Biblical Christianity!

Can you define CARNAL lifestyle? Are we taking about a SINFUL lifestyle? or, Are we talking about one where you’re too attached to the things of this world (cars, stereos, clothes etc.) to be able to dedicate your life to Christ?

I think what we’ve heard from you so far has been altogether too vague to be useful, and that ewhat ever advice you’ve been given has been hit or miss at best because of that.

I just can’t see how anyone is going to get any but the most rudimentary understanding of Scripture without taking the actions that demonstrate the willingne4ss to submit to the will of God and to His word.

I hope this helps to clear things up.

In Christ, Michael


#17

WOW :eek:
I really need to work on how I word my questions!
I am sorry for the confusion.
Although I am still not sure how to word my question correctly I think it has been answered by many of you.
The closest I suppose was Traditional Ang when he said it is not going to make sense to someone who is not ready to recieve the Gospel.
I suppose that God can “enlighten” anyone who truly seeks but for somone who is just reading the bible as though it were just any other book all they will see is some interesting stories.

On another note…
I think being on this forum will improve my writeing and communication skills! :wink:


#18

[quote=allisonP]WOW :eek:
I really need to work on how I word my questions!
I am sorry for the confusion.
Although I am still not sure how to word my question correctly I think it has been answered by many of you.
The closest I suppose was Traditional Ang when he said it is not going to make sense to someone who is not ready to recieve the Gospel.
I suppose that God can “enlighten” anyone who truly seeks but for somone who is just reading the bible as though it were just any other book all they will see is some interesting stories.

On another note…
I think being on this forum will improve my writeing and communication skills! :wink:
[/quote]

Allison-

I hope my comments weren’t too harsh! Not only is it my nature to be very exacting in what is said, but I have witnessed people debating things without truly understanding each other and it leads me to be more exacting. Sometimes that occurs when certain terms aren’t defined explicitly in advance; sometimes it is ambiguous wording; and sometimes people aren’t taking the time to understand what was written…Anyhow, the best way to understand something is to force yourself to explain it clearly to someone else!

Phil


#19

Thank you.
I understood what you were saying, harsh or not :wink:
I was not clear. You were right.
No biggie :slight_smile:
I will work on being “exacting”.
Feel free to call me on it when I am not! :thumbsup:
Allie

[quote=Philthy]Allison-

I hope my comments weren’t too harsh! Not only is it my nature to be very exacting in what is said, but I have witnessed people debating things without truly understanding each other and it leads me to be more exacting. Sometimes that occurs when certain terms aren’t defined explicitly in advance; sometimes it is ambiguous wording; and sometimes people aren’t taking the time to understand what was written…Anyhow, the best way to understand something is to force yourself to explain it clearly to someone else!

Phil
[/quote]


#20

[quote=allisonP]My question is.
To understand scripture must you already have the holy spirit in you? i.e. be a baptized believer.
I ask because I know of some people that do not understand ANYTHING they read in the bible. It is just confusing to them. Yet, they are otherwise intelligent, well educated individuals.
What do you all know about this?
[/quote]

I cannot interpret on my own.


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