Should you study the Bible for yourself or just trust the Catholic religion to interpret it for you?

The foundational fallacy of the Roman Catholic Church is so glaring that it takes a unique spiritual blindness to miss it. The RCC claims sole authority to properly interpret scripture. But if we aren’t capable of understanding the direct words of God as revealed in the Bible, then how can we be sure we are properly understanding the words of the RCC?

If the Catholic church insists that you can’t trust your interpretation of the Bible, how can you trust your interpretation of their interpretation?  Are they claiming that their words are more powerful than the Bible – that is, that their words can’t be misunderstood but those of the Bible can be?  And how can you trust their interpretation that the Bible teaches that you should only trust their interpretation?

I concede that many people can and do misinterpret the Bible. That is what I accuse the RCC of doing. My point is that if we both claim that the original texts turned out as both the Holy Spirit and the human authors desired then it should be our common ground.

I recommend reading the Bible carefully for yourself every day, while also reading from commentators with a reputation for sound theology (e.g., not the Catholic church).

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17 thoughts on “Should you study the Bible for yourself or just trust the Catholic religion to interpret it for you?”

  1. The doctrines produced by the Council of Trent (1545-1563), Vatican I (1869-1870) and Vatican II (1962-1965) are perfect examples of why we should not pay attention to the Catholic Church’s interpretation of Scripture or their teachings which have no link to Scripture whatsoever.

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  2. The Catholic Church doesn’t claim sole authority to properly interpret scripture. Everyone is allowed to properly interpret scripture, but only the Church’s interpretation is authoritative. It’s an important nuance.
    So everyone is allowed and encouraged to find the truth in scripture, but what any individual claims scripture says has no authority or inherent trustworthiness. The Church on the other hand, has been authorised by Jesus to speak for Him.
    Many people do misunderstand the Church, but the Church is able to recognise and correct these misunderstandings.
    Catholics listen to the word of God, and also to the Church Jesus founded and authorised. It’s not that the Church reads the Bible for us, but that we read the Bible together, with one mind, as the One Church it is addressed to.

    God bless you

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  3. I think the problem is not the Catholic Church’s claim to authority, but what has been done with the Church’s authority over the centuries. There have been abuses of Church authority. We ought not believe that the men who hold power in the Church are of perfect character and thus incapable of abusing their position. As well, the Church has burdened Catholics with many man made rules that have little to do with Salvation. (Ancient pagan schools of thought have skewed the Church’s views and rules on sexual love within marriage.)

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      1. Consider all the man made rules in legalistic Catholicism. Many are without a sound foundation in Scripture, or logic or common sense or human experience. As to the last sentence, books have been written about ancient pagan views towards sexuality and marriage being taken up by the Catholic Church in the 4th century and especially with (St.) Augustine (356 – 430). Anyone can research this and come to their own conclusions. We need a sexual morality (to protect us from our self destructive tendencies and to protect marriage and the family), yes, but we have a warped sexual morality in Catholicism and that is a shame.

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  4. Is God’s Word really that clear? This is the question we all need to ask ourselves. If it was, there would not be over 35,000 different denominations, each with their own set of doctrines, beliefs, all based on “how one views Scripture.” If Scripture was that clear, (no matter how smart we think we are) we would all be united in doctrines of faith, would we not? We would all be united as “one” as God intended.

    Let us go to the Bible for a few examples:

    God spoke to Samuel three times, and Samuel did not recognize His voice.

    In Acts 8:29-39 Philip asks the eunuch reading Isaiah, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Response: “How can I unless someone guides me?”

    Hebrews 5:12 says, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of God’s word.”

    Scripture clearly shows us just by these three Scriptures we all need someone to guide and teach us. (There are more Scriptures showing this.)

    We must remember 2 Peter 1:20 says, “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit from God.”

    So is there an exception clause in this which states, “Unless you are Catholic because the Holy Spirit never guides them?” “Everything they say, do, and teach is wrong, but these other 35,000+ denominations are absolutely correct, even though they all see parts of Scripture differently?”

    The Word of God has always needed and had a divine interpreter. It started with Abraham and continued on through the NT. The Word of God has always needed and had a teacher.

    Those who have chosen to interpret the Scriptures privately with no guidance at all have in essence become their own arbiters of truth. So we have ended up with thousands of Churches, doctrines, and different beliefs.

    God never intended for all of this to happen. So He set up a Church, with teachers, priest, guides, etc… and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gave to them the meaning of truth of His Word, just like He did in the OT. (Remember Moses and Aaron?) When we get stumped we go to them for guidance, as we are told to do in Scripture.

    God does not change His ways of doing things. Man changed God’s way of doing things.

    Let us not forget 1 Peter 3:16 “There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do other Scriptures.”

    Private interpretation can lead us all into error. When this happens our salvation becomes in harm’s way. We need to remember that.

    This is a question you need to ask yourself. You trust the Bishop’s of the Catholic Church to give you the inspired Word of God called the NT, do you not? You also trust everything that NT says, do you not? Yet, all of it was written by men and handed to us by the Catholic Church. If they knew the NT was the “inspired of Word of God” then, why do they not know it now, and what it all means? It has been handed down for centuries. Also how did they know what was not the “inspired Word of God” and not to be placed in Sacred Scripture which are not included in the NT? Why do you trust them for that?

    It is easy to set back and say this is wrong and that is wrong. Without going back and having how it all began, the writing of the early Church Father’s, the Mass of the first Christians, etc… you do not have the foundation of how it all began. If I am not mistaken I think the Bible says the “foundation of the truth lies in the Church.” Now get that, the Bible is the truth, but it’s foundation is in the Church. (I am going to look that up and if I am wrong will come back and correct, as I am doing that out of memory.) Now ask yourself, what Church was in existence back then? There were no Protestants at that time because all Christians at that time celebrated The Eucharist and Peter as Paul fully describe. They believed in the true presence of Christ in the Bread and Wine which is also proven in Scripture. Protestant’s did not come until some 1500 years later with Martin Luther, Henry Viii, etc.. Just food or thought, not for argument, but discussion. God Bless, SR

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  5. Okay, then why did Jesus say, not a demon but Jesus, when the end of the world comes and He separates the “sheep” from the “goats” (Sheep going to heaven, goats going to hell) it is going to be based upon their “deeds?” Now Jesus said this in Matthew 25:31-46 Our “works” are going to be the determining factor if we go to heaven or hell. Jesus commanded us to do good works, and by not doing so we disobey Him. Even in the Psalms, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, it states in them all “God repays everyone for their “deeds.”

    Notice in Matthew Jesus did not say one word when it comes to the “sheep” and the “goats,” regarding faith. Sometimes we have to look at what Scripture does not say, as well as what it says.

    We have to have them both “faith” and “works.” As James tells us, “Faith without works is dead.” So one had faith according to James and no works their faith is not going to save them. God considers it “dead faith.”

    There are works under the law, (Paul’s teaching) which are to no avail, then there are works under grace (James teachings) and those we must do. God Bless, SR

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      1. Eternity,

        I am giving you exactly what the Bible says and does not say. I am not saying these things from a demon or anything else.

        Am I saying all throughout history all in the Catholic Church have been “angels.” No. But no Church can say throughout their history they have been perfect.

        I am saying this: we need to help others understand with the love of Christ in our hearts why we believe like we do. What one does with it, to each their own.

        You came on a Catholic site to tell us all how “wrong” we are. We love our Church, and all that is in it, just as you do yours. We love God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We help the poor, the hungry, the suffering, the sick and the dying, just as you do.

        When one is placed on the defense of all one hold’s dear and sacred, this is what it leads to. Many Catholics bear this cross daily. You know what, Jesus always helps us to carry it.

        We owe it to God to help one another understand as best as we can. It is not about us, it is about Him. Love and God Bless, SR

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      2. False choice. Never claimed my church was oerfect, just that doesn’t teach false doctrines like the Catholic Church: justification by works, Mary worship, praying to dead people, the whole pope thing, and so much more.  Get Outlook for iOS

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  6. One lives one’s faith by works (and prayer and worship). There are too many “Christians” who give lip service to their faith and do not put it into action in their daily lives. This applies to Catholics and Protestants. We have all seen this. Fellowship after weekly services is nice but not enough.

    Consider: Was Jesus a hermit living in a cave or on a remote mountain top? No. He was out among the people, and He healed the sick, etc. As well, recall Jesus’ 2 commandments. The second of which is to love your neighbor. By His example, works are important.

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  7. Eternity,

    This will be my last reply but I feel I must address one of the things you said regarding “Catholics praying to the dead.” There are a couple of questions we need to ask ourselves.

    1. Does “death” separate us from the family of God in heaven or on earth?

    2. Are people in heaven dead?

    The answer to both questions is “no.”

    Now let’s again go to Scripture.

    Jesus said two interesting things in Scripture in Matthew 22:31-32. He said for one, “We would be like angels when we are in heaven.” For two: He said, “God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That God is a God of the living and not the dead.” Now these three men had been “dead” for a long time, but Jesus referred to them as “the living.”

    Now let us take “being like angels in heaven.” What did the angels do in Scripture? We see they continually praise God, they bring forth the wrath of God at times, they fight battles, they comfort, they protect, and they bring messages. In other words whatever God wants them to do on earth and for or to those on earth, they do. They even converse with people on earth. Jesus said, “We are going to be just like them.” In Jesus saying that, we are going to be doing the same things.

    Jesus said something else in Matthew 26-53 “Do you think I cannot appeal to my Father, and He will at once send more than twelve legions of angels?” If Jesus can do this so can we. The thing of it is when we cross over we are going to be just like these “twelve legions of angels,” because Jesus says so. So death does not separate us from the family of God, because again, those in heaven are not dead. They are no longer in the grave at all. Just their bodies are.

    Now Moses and Elijah came to Jesus though they had been dead for years. What they said we do not know. Peter, James and John saw them. So this proves how those in heaven interact with us on earth. They have capabilities which we cannot even fathom.

    Now we also see when Jesus died on the Cross, many saints were raised from the dead and went into the city. So we know they could walk and I am sure interacted with those in the city.

    We also see in Revelations the martyrs crying out for God to “avenge their blood on those who dwell upon the earth.” So they obviously remember the earth and those on and in it.

    We as Catholics believe those in heaven are not dead. We also believe they are like the angels and can assist and comfort us on earth, and pray to God for us in heaven. We also believe they are part of our family, our spiritual family, just as those on earth are our earthly family. We do not believe death separates us. Just as I would ask you to pray for me, I can ask them to pray for me as well. We believe intercessory prayer can come from those in heaven just as well as they can from those on earth.

    We do so not because of doctrine, or “heretical dogma,” but because of what Jesus and Scripture said/says.

    I wish you well Eternity. More than anything as children of God I wish we could all become “one” in matters of love and respect. At one time in my life, not too long ago, I felt I had to do what many are doing. Prove my point, had to be right, had to be the “authority” on everything, beat someone down until they saw Scripture as I did.

    Thanks be to God, after many years He has taken me away from that and made me see, Jesus took cruel torture from others because of these same reasons. I was no different then those “others.” I did/do not want to “torture” Jesus anymore Eternity, by being cruel with my words. I do not want to do it anymore. I understand now what a heavy cross I laid on their shoulders. May God in His mercy forgive me, and may those I hurt forgive me also.

    I do try and explain why Catholics believe like we do, at times. Most of the time, it is because I have been placed on the defense of doing so.

    I pray God blesses you and your family. May He send His angels to keep guard over you all. Though there may be differences in our “doctrines,” it does not make them all “evil.” It does not make “us” evil. Maybe we need to strive on the many virtues we have which are alike in many ways. That is when we will begin to see and give to others, Jesus living in and through us. Take care and God Bless, SR

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