Catholic Beliefs Oppose Scripture


Q. But Catholics believe things that are un-Scriptural. We can’t believe things that oppose scripture.

A. I agree. Nothing the Catholic Church teaches opposes anything in Scripture.

Our beliefs only oppose the Protestant INTERPRETATION of Scripture. That is different than opposing Scripture itself.

But then, this is exactly why there has to be some way to determine which interpretation is accurate. Since the writings, contained in the Bible, are very voluminous all kinds of interpretations are possible, as evidenced by +40,000 Protestant sects. But, there is NO final authority in all of Protestantism that is able to infallibly define what any scripture in particular means or what must be believed. And everything in the Bible MUST be interpreted/understood to create doctrine. It doesn’t explain itself in every instance.

In order to clarify how interpretations of words alone can vary without underlying background or history for those words, take this one seemingly simple sentence.

I never said I stole the money.

The meaning of this sentence seems simple enough. But I can show you how it can actually be interpreted in several different ways. All using the same words. Italics
is for emphasis.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I didn’t say that, someone else did….

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I wrote it, used sign language, implied it etc.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I said someone else stole the money.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I embezzled it, I lost it, the accounts didn’t balance etc.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I stole something else.

These are perhaps, other interpretations possible with these words. Obviously the Bible doesn’t use emphasis as I have done. But a similar problem occurs because in Hebrew this sentence would be

ineversaidistolethemoney.

So someone has to decide where one word ends and another begins…..for millions of sentences in the OT. What is a tremendous help to translators is the Greek Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek by the Jewish scholars, according to the Traditional readings of these scriptures in Judaism.

Also, there was no punctuation in the Greek and punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence by grouping words into a phrase that otherwise might be read differently.

For instance, in my Protestant RSV I have:

Luke 23:43: And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The comma placement indicates that the thief would go to Paradise on Friday, the day of his death, thus seeming to provide Protestant evidence to discount the Doctrine of Purgatory.

But, if the comma is moved it could be:

Luke 23:43: “Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

In this sentence, with the comma moved, Jesus is not saying when the man will enter Paradise, He is simply emphasizing what He is saying TODAY—on this day. Which aligns better with the fact that we know Jesus did not go to Paradise/Heaven on Friday b/c He tells Mary Magdalene on Sunday morning that He hasn’t ascended to the Father yet. So, presumably, neither has the Good Thief.

So, since the Bible cannot interpret itself it must be interpreted. And there must be a final authority able to determine: Yes, this interpretation aligns with the FAITH. or No, that interpretation does not align with the Faith. If every man interprets scripture according to “what is right in his own eyes” there can be no unity.

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3 Responses

  1. […] Click HERE—for a look at interpretation of scripture and how easy differences arise. […]

  2. The topic is quite trendy on the Internet right now. What do you pay the most attention to while choosing what to write about?

  3. This is interesting…I’d like to know what you would advise in my situation. I think my partner might be having an affair, but I do not have any proof. It’s more of a gut feeling. Should I confront her with my suspicions, or see about hiring a private investigator?

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