Who should read the Bible?


#1

While discussing the Catholic religion with a relative and pointing out that I have personally realized that some RCC teachings are not Biblical, he stated that “he’s intelligent to know that he’s not intelligent enough to read the Bible and understand it on his own” meaning he believed what the priests told him. I thought at the time it was a cop-out. I have since been told that this is a “very Catholic mindset”.

Also, I have been doing a lot of research and have come across some references basically stating that if a person tries “interpreting” the Bible on their own that they are actually putting trust in themselves instead of trust in God.

This bothers me for a couple of different reasons:

  1. Having read much of the Bible, I find that I don’t need to “interpret” much. There is not a lot left to the imagination. This seems to be by design…God chose normal people to write the Bible (some priests but also fisherman, tax collector, shepherd, etc…) because it was to be read by normal people. Why then do we need a priest or other clergy to “interpret” it for us?

  2. This mindset sounds a bit “cultish”. In researching how cults are able to draw people in, I have found that use of the Bible is common, but then power is drawn away from the Bible and to the leader(s) followed by extra-biblical doctrine. This sounds like the RCC in a nutshell.

I am not interested in a raging debate. I would simply like to read your responses. Thanks for your input!:thumbsup:


#2

Do you really think people can understand the bible on their own? Or do they need the assistance of the Holy Spirit? If they need the Holy Spirit, is that not also “cultish”? The Magisterium (teaching authority) of Christ’s own Catholic Church is the only means by which the full truth of God’s revelation can be made known.

If people really could understand the bible on their own (with or without the Holy Spirit), then why do “bible-only” Christians disagree on nearly every single point of importance that the bible teaches? Who is an outsider to believe when they see a hundred local Protestant churches teaching a hundred different versions of the truth? Protestant claims of unity, or their own lying eyes?

BTW, have you ever changed your mind on some teaching of the bible? Have you known anybody else to change their minds? Why does that happen? If you were wrong then on something, how can you be sure you’re not still wrong on some things?

I am not interested in a raging debate. I would simply like to read your responses. Thanks for your input!:thumbsup:

Well based on your very first post, you’re likely to get one anyway.


#3

So far both Mikes agree, the so called “doctrine of individual judgment” (which only began 1,500 years after the time Jesus walked this earth), with the Luther/Calvin revolution in the so called “Reformation” of the Church has almost by itself caused the Body of Christ to be torn apart, against the wishes of Jesus Himself who prayed that we be one as He and the Father are one.

Your Catholic relative is actually smarter than you appear to be acting, because your thinking, (which I have colored red above), indicates you are the “pope” of your own beliefs, and welcome many other “popes” of their own beliefs as well. As you know there are many tens of thousands of denominations and non-denomination denominations all of which claim to use the Bible alone as its only source.

In addition I just started another thread about the impact of individual judgment from the Reformation and how it has fueled atheism in this world.

God Bless


#4

My comments/questions in red:

Or do they need the assistance of the Holy Spirit? True, the HS may guide us, but not absolutely necessary-otherwise there would no “new” Christians since when they first read the Bible, they are not yet housing the HS. If they need the Holy Spirit, is that not also “cultish”? How so? The HS is God…not a fallible human being. The Magisterium (teaching authority) of Christ’s own Catholic Church is the only means by which the full truth of God’s revelation can be made known.Please substantiate…biblically or otherwise!

If people really could understand the bible on their own (with or without the Holy Spirit), then why do “bible-only” Christians disagree on nearly every single point of importance that the bible teaches? For example? Who is an outsider to believe when they see a hundred local Protestant churches teaching a hundred different versions of the truth? Just not true…been to lots of Protestant churches…have you?! Or do you just believe what the Church tells you? Protestant claims of unity, or their own lying eyes?Interesting comment since there are dozens of Catholic denominations…

BTW, have you ever changed your mind on some teaching of the bible? Changed my mind? No. Been made aware that there is more than one lesson to be learned (not interpretations) and that the HS allows me to understand what God has planned for me at that moment? Yes. Have you known anybody else to change their minds? Why does that happen?In my experience (and exhibited on this forum repeatedly) because the scripture in question was not read in context If you were wrong then on something, how can you be sure you’re not still wrong on some things?

Well based on your very first post, you’re likely to get one anyway.

The most interesting thing about your response is that instead of addressing my points, you started mudslinging…


#5

Not true at all at all.Please feel free to pick one and make a thread on it and allow me and my Catholic friends here to correct that mistaken notion.

he stated that “he’s intelligent to know that he’s not intelligent enough to read the Bible and understand it on his own” meaning he believed what the priests told him. I thought at the time it was a cop-out. I have since been told that this is a “very Catholic mindset”.

Again… not true.
Poll: Catholics: When did you last read the Bible?

As for interpretations…Catholics listen first to what the Church teaches if there is some question concerning a passage, realizing that these things are not done lightly and that in fact the Catholic Church’s level of scholarship is far and away higher than the majority of n-C teachers and preachers. For instance, most n-Cs are woefully ignorant as to Christian history and the writings of the early church, which offers tremendous insight into what they taught and is worthwhile for comparison to modern post reformation teachings outside the Church.

Also, I have been doing a lot of research and have come across some references basically stating that if a person tries “interpreting” the Bible on their own that they are actually putting trust in themselves instead of trust in God.

I don’t know where you got this. As I said, you have to know where to go for good scholarship.

This bothers me for a couple of different reasons:

  1. Having read much of the Bible, I find that I don’t need to “interpret” much. There is not a lot left to the imagination. This seems to be by design…God chose normal people to write the Bible (some priests but also fisherman, tax collector, shepherd, etc…) because it was to be read by normal people. Why then do we need a priest or other clergy to “interpret” it for us?

Essentially Catholics, myself included, assert the same thing, however, if this were an effective answer, then there wouldn’t be such a myriad of wild doctrines flying around today. Yet all these individuals profess to offer these teachings by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in spite of their divergence…

  1. This mindset sounds a bit “cultish”. In researching how cults are able to draw people in, I have found that use of the Bible is common, but then power is drawn away from the Bible and to the leader(s) followed by extra-biblical doctrine. This sounds like the RCC in a nutshell.

I’ve heard this sort of thing before but I have yet to discover a Catholic teaching that was not Biblically based, especially when approached from your stated perspective that the Bible needs little interpretation. Most of those who assert this about the Catholic Church cannot substantiate that allegation with a knowledgeable Catholic like me. There’s a whole library of articles on Catholic teachings that some will assert are extra-biblical, when in fact these articles prove that not to be the case.

I am not interested in a raging debate. I would simply like to read your responses. Thanks for your input!:thumbsup:

Well there’s your answer. Your Catholic friend sounds like he needs to get better into the why and wherefore of what we believe because he’s given you the wrong impression.


#6

Frankly, I think this shows that your study of the Bible has been rather superficial, and that you are taking a lot for granted. People who really get deep into the Bible do not respond to it this way. Sorry if this seems snooty and judgmental, but I see no other way to respond to such an astonishing claim.

  1. This mindset sounds a bit “cultish”.

I think that word is almost meaningless.

Edwin


#7

I’m in red again:

Back at ya! :wink:


#8

If you consider the Bible to be the Sacred Scripture and part of the basis for the existence of your religion, you need to read it so that you have some understanding of the platform on which you are standing. You also need to realize when reading it that, presuming it is indeed Divinely inspired as your religion teaches, there is a reason for all of it to be there, even the parts you find boring. Look for the reason. Look beyond the first obvious layer. The sacred stories of all religions have much more to say than just a simple superficial literal reading will yield or they would not have persisted for as long as they have.

If you do not consider it to be Sacred Scripture, you still would benefit from reading it so that it will enhance your understanding of Western literature, art, architecture and culture. If you don’t know the underlying stories, you will not understand many allusions, metaphors, etc and therefore miss out on a dimension that the author or artist intended to convey. Why willingly deprive yourself of that added dimension when it can be readily accessible to you?


#9

Just not true…been to lots of Protestant churches…have you?! Or do you just believe what the Church tells you?

As a matter of fact I have indeed.

Interesting comment since there are dozens of Catholic denominations…

Please show me a list of these…I think you are confused…

Changed my mind? No. Been made aware that there is more than one lesson to be learned (not interpretations) and that the HS allows me to understand what God has planned for me at that moment? Yes.

Then hanging around here is going to be interesting for you…

If you take the time to separate your comment by using separate quote blocks instead of that last tactic it will make answering your posts a lot less confusing just quote it and then go in and remove the very bottom /QUOTE] tag and then break up each section as you quote it and respond by hitting the http://forums.catholic.com/images/editor/quote.gifbutton. :slight_smile:


#10

[quote=
] tag and then break up each section as you quote it and respond by hitting the http://forums.catholic.com/images/editor/quote.gifbutton. :slight_smile: [/FONT]
[/quote]

LOL! I’ll try…I was wondering how people were doing that!


#11

Was it not St. Jerome who said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of God”? One of the goals of Vatican II was to open the scriptures more fully to the laity. Reading the Bible does not mean denying Tradition or the Magisterium.
I recently read a quote attributed to St. Augustine regarding the authority of the Bible. His response was that the Bible receives its authority from the Catholic Church.
I remember as far back as high school, individuals would talk about finding all the answers in the Bible. College orientation to the Theology class I never took said to look for the questions instead. I found this later statement to be quite freeing and in the process discovered answers to specific problems with which I was dealing.
I think it was the author of the Cloud of Unknowing who wrote about reading Scripture. At the time, very few people could read. The clergy read the Bible and the people read the clergy through his presentation of scripture. In more modern times, everybody can read the Bible. It is the priest’s job through his homily to help the faithful understand what has been read and to place it in the context of the Magisterium.


#12

The way you inserted your own comments in my response makes it impossible for me to repy to them. So until you re-post your comments the correct way, which I can access via the QUOTE reply function, I’ll just say, give me a break about the mudslinging. You come here in your very first post comparing the Church to a cult and you say that I’ve started mudslinging?! Take a deep breath and try again.


#13

My friend, your reply intertwined in my first paragraph is proof of the danger of the recent “doctrine of individual judgment”. You have come up with a new and your own personal understanding of Church. You make my case for me!

Now as for your comments in the second paragraph, let’s do each other a favor in the name of Christ, you don’t judge all Catholics by your relative, and we won’t judge all protestants by your behavior or the bahavior of individual Christians. Is that fair?

And regarding unity in the Catholic Church, we rely on the idea of St. Augustine, in essential doctrine, unity, in all else liberty or words to that effect.

Peace to ALl
[/quote]


#14

QUOTE=Church Militant;2515651][FONT=“Verdana”]As a matter of fact I have indeed.Please show me a list of these…I think you are confused…Then hanging around here is going to be interesting for you…QUOTE]

There Catholic churches that allow female priests, gay priests, there are charismatic Catholic churches…these are just a few obvious ones. I was at a Mass in March where the priest voiced his discontent with the RCC that non-C Christians were not allowed to take part in the Eucharist which was entirely offensive to most of the congregation because they were either non-C or die-hard RCC. Even the comment that what my relative said is false shows disunity among Catholic teachings. All proving that the “unity of the church” is a false front…I have seen this displayed over and over in these forums.

Friends, I look forward to the rest of your replies…however, I gotta get off this computer and take care of the kiddos!


#15

None of those “churches” are part of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is those bishops and faithful in union with the Bishop of Rome (the Pope), and I assure you that none of those “Catholic this” and “Catholic that” groups are in union with the Bishop of Rome. They can write “Catholic” on their stationery until the cows come home, but they are not part of the Catholic Church.

Friends, I look forward to the rest of your replies…however, I gotta get off this computer and take care of the kiddos!

Now we’ve found common ground. :slight_smile:


#16

One quick thing before I go…Michael, I read your testimony and I just have to say that the difference between you and many other Catholics is that you ARE saved…and I believe YOU are an example of what the RCC started out to be, but unfortunately, it is a faulty system because it relies on things to do instead of focusing on something to be.


#17

I think your focus is on the wrong thing. You should be sincerely focused on pleasing God. This is why you should search the Scriptures. You should question your relative as to what he means by what he says. We are to read the Bible with the understanding given by the Church. The Bible came out of the Church, after all.

Starting arguments with people is not pleasing to God. If you believe the CC is wrong: prove it by becoming holier than Catholics through humility and love. This, more than hot words will prove your point.

(Edited)


#18

Catholic
In
Name
Only

There are no Catholic Churches in union with Rome who with either of those…

Women cannot be validly ordained, EVER, and the same is true of openly practicing Gay men. You’d have to cite a specific case as evidence for us to even consider this statement since it is patently untrue.

there are charismatic Catholic churches…

yet these are the same doctrinally

these are just a few obvious ones. I was at a Mass in March where the priest voiced his discontent with the RCC that non-C Christians were not allowed to take part in the Eucharist which was entirely offensive to most of the congregation because they were either non-C or die-hard RCC.

Dissenting individuals do not represent true Catholic teaching. The individuals in question have no authority to teach such things and again…cannot be considered separate “Catholic Churches”. He has an authority over him and I wouldn’t look for him to be there all that long.

Even the comment that what my relative said is false shows disunity among Catholic teachings. All proving that the “unity of the church” is a false front…I have seen this displayed over and over in these forums.

That is not disunity… that it is ignorance of his faith, and he even admitted as much.

Friends, I look forward to the rest of your replies…however, I gotta get off this computer and take care of the kiddos!

You have a long way to go here.

You asked for our comments and yet when we offer the facts, you want to argue them, even though you stated your didn’t want a debate.

Please make up your mind.


#19

Actually, Catholics are encouraged to read on their own. Pope Leo XIII (Preces et Opera, 645) even promises an indulgence for reading Scripture 15 minutes. However in the Catholic Church we use a lectionary, which is a set of readings read at Mass every day. Over a three-year period all of Scripture is read and expounded upon. We’re encouraged to read Scripture, if we have problems understanding we turn to the Church, she is after all the authority established by our Lord and savior, isn’t she? By the way what system does you church use to insure ALL of Scripture is taught? Or do you just pick and choose which verses are most important and leave the rest out?


#20

Thank you,… but you fail to realize that I was essentially saved at my baptism and that my beliefs concerning salvation, baptism, faith, works, authority, the Word of God, and Sacred Tradition, align completely with those of the Catholic Church.

I consider my time outside of the Catholic Church to have been a time of sin, rebellion, and error for which I have heartfully repented and now am completely consecrated to the spread of the Gospel.

Like the prodigal son, I wandered away from truth and my family of faith and it was through the intercession of the saints (especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, based upon the initial thing that got me headed home) and many many faithful Catholic relatives that the Holy Spirit guided me home.

and I believe YOU are an example of what the RCC started out to be, but unfortunately, it is a faulty system because it relies on things to do instead of focusing on something to be.

This is where you are dead wrong, and you would know this if you made a serious study of our most holy faith. I and my faithful Catholic brethren don’t do anything. We ARE Catholics because the Catholic faith is the authentic original New Testament Christianity and we reject the teachings of those outside the Church mainly because we can see that their modern post reformation teachings do not align with either the Word of God, or the historically verifiable writings of the early church.

Not all believers, regardless of their faith community, are equally faithful and holy. To assert that each individual, or group thereof represents a separate faith community is illogical and inaccurate. Your friend may not be as knowledgeable as I am but his standing within the Church sounds orthodox, in spite of his lack of eloquence in his apologetics to you. If you will PM me his name and address, or have him e-mail me through CAF here, I will happily “hook him up” with some sources that will assist him in better knowing his faith.
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


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