How Do You Interpret?



Q. You do not hold to what the Scriptures plainly say. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon’s and etc. claim to hold to the Scriptures. They “interpret” the Scriptures in their own way. What I am asking you is, how can you possibly “interpret” the Scriptures in a way that actually contradicts what the Scriptures plainly say and call in “interpreting” them?

A. We Catholics interpret the verses based on the literal meaning first. But if this contradicts other scriptures then we look for an explanation other than the literal meaning.

Protestants do this with:

John 6:51 Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”

53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”

Most non Catholics reject the belief that we actually eat the flesh and blood of Jesus in communion. But that is what Jesus literally said we must do in these verses. So, Protestants interpret these verses, actually they only interpret a later verse and never even deal with the above verses. They actually just ignore them.

We all do this interpreting with this verse, also in John 6, because both Protestants and Catholics get physically hungry and thirsty despite having consumed the “bread of Life” according to their respective traditions.

Jn 6:35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

And this verse too, since as far as I know both Protestants and Catholics physically die, eventually.

Jn 6:50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.

So, I hope we can agree that even non Catholics, do not actually take every single verse absolutely literally. Therefore, since every verse in the Bible does not necessarily have to be taken dead literally, verses must be explained. The differences in these explanations are precisely what has given rise to the the ongoing fracturing of Protestantism. And Protestants extol this diversity despite the fact that Jesus, in scripture, literally said, He wanted us all to be ONE.

Other times a verse, if taken dead literally, as in “call no man on earth father,” contradicts other scriptures so then we must look for an explanation that does not detract or nullify any of the verses. This calls for study and interpretation. The reason we do not take the verse about calling no man “father” on earth literally is explained in this post–>Call No Man Father

I do not say that the Protestant interpretation is illegitimate. It is perfectly fine to interpret it that way. But, the problem with your interpretation is that you multiply the other verses (in the linked post above) that must then be explained just in order to interpret that one verse literally and use it to condemn Catholic practice.

You run into the same thing with the verses about the brothers and sisters of Jesus. There is nothing inherently wrong with the interpretation that these were the SIBLINGS of Jesus and CHILDRENof Mary and Joseph. If all you have is the words of scripture of course you would interpret them that way.

But the Catholic Church has lived and been present throughout all of Christian history. The the literal interpretation contradicts historical information and other teachings that Mary was ever a virgin and had no other children. While this is not in scripture it was always and everywhere believed and handed down from the infancy of Christianity. So, since we cling to all that St. Paul taught, both oral and written, we do not interpret the verses about Jesus’ brothers and sisters literally. I explain this in another post–>Who Were the Brothers & Sisters of Jesus?

The founder of Protest-antism believed in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Luther on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary?

And you might find this post interesting also.
Mary Did Not Have Sex “UNTIL” Jesus was Born.
Q. the Scriptures say, “1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a BISHOP,[a] he desires a good work. 2 A BISHOP THEN MUST BE BLAMELESS, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach…(1 Timothy 3: 1-2; NKJV)”

A. Regarding the requirements for a bishop I understand your interpretation. But Jesus gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom and the authority to rule the Church. And at the time that that verse was written priests and bishops WERE married. Peter had been married. And celibacy is a practice NOT a DOGMA of the church and could be changed. In fact, we do have married priests in the Catholic Church, but no married bishops.

Anyway, if you look at the passage in context it is not about marriage and the necessity of it in order to be a minister of the Church. It seems to be more about morality and the reference to one wife adverts to definite adherence to Christ’s teaching against divorce and remarriage. Which Protestant just ignore for the most part.

Jesus never taught that one MUST be married. St. Paul was NOT married. We know nothing about the marital status of the other apostles. They do not seem to have been married at the time Jesus called them. Never-the-less, married men were ordained to the priesthood in the early Church. But, because of the example of Jesus and Paul and probably of the other disciples as well, the fact that in Heaven there is no marriage, and for practical reasons a celibate priesthood became the norm.

This is merely a discipline/practice it is not dogmatic and it could change at some time in the future. But that is very doubtful. Click the link for a summary of a book, The Case for Clerical Celibacy.

The verse about a bishop being a husband of one wife can be understood to be more about a bishop being chaste and pure than about marriage being qualifier for being a bishop.

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2 Responses

  1. Where does the wore Jehovah come from? I heard it refers to God but i have heard that the word jehovah isnt mentioned anywhere in the bible but i kno a few people who make biblical citings using jehovah. None of the bibles i have use that term

  2. Jehovah is a rendering of the unspeakable name of God given to Moses,
    YHWH in the Hebrew language, which does not have vowels. It most certainly is in the Bible 6,518 times (Wickipedia). It is no longer rendered that way but maybe that is how it was rendered in the KJV. It is most noticeably kept alive today by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The English version is usually rendered Yahweh. But recently the Pope said we really should not pronounce it in honor of the Jewish Tradition of reverence for the name of God.

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