Are We Commanded to “Search the Scriptures”?


Sonya: When Jesus was on earth he always told the Pharisees to “search the scriptures” and always put the emphasis on the word of God not the Talmud. The teachings of the high priest down through the years.

Bread From Heaven: I don’t know what verses you are referring to. I don’t have a memory of Jesus telling anyone to “search the scriptures”. He did say this:

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

Jesus seems to be rebuking them for not recognizing him even though they “searched the scriptures because (they) think that in them (they) have eternal life.”  And then Paul speaks of the Thessalonians as being noble b/c they investigated the truth of what Paul was teaching by searching the scriptures.

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

But neither of these are close to commands for everyone to “search the scriptures”.  Of course, reading and studying the scriptures is highly commendable. St. Jerome said,

“To be ignorant of scripture is to be ignorant of Christ.”

That is why the Church has read scripture at every mass for 2000 years. But, nothing in scripture exhorts all the faithful to search the scriptures. Even in Thessalonica, those who searched the scriptures were no doubt the religious leaders not the laymen. Neither they nor the laymen possessed their own personal copy of the Old Testament Scrolls. Nor could most people even read at that time. So, Protestants have taught that the “searching of the scriptures” is something much more than Jesus ever commanded or commended.

Did you know that 20% of the world population is still unable to read? The Protestant model does not fit the reality of history where Bibles could only be found in churches because they were so expensive, before the invention of the printing press and most people could not read even once Bibles became cheaper to produce. So, how could Jesus have meant to have Bible Study the foundation of the Faith?

Sonya:   Baptism…we already discussed this and to be honest your answer is lacking. Seems you trust the church over the Word of God. Especially since you believe this is part of salvation I would think you would want to stick to the way Christ showed us.

Bread From Heaven: Perhaps you are Baptist but, as a Protestant I was first baptized at about 12 years old by sprinkling in the Dutch Reformed Church. I was later baptized in a Baptist Church by full immersion and later baptized again in a swimming pool ( full immersion) for the gift of the Holy Spirit. So, even some good sola scriptural Protestants baptize without full immersion. But you are free to reject it. By the way, i was eagerly looking forward to being baptized in the Catholic Church but they would not baptize me because my first baptism was deemed to be valid.

Your interpretation of baptizo is correct but if such an exacting  interpretation was mandatory for the valid practice of baptism, it seems that Jesus would have clearly delineated the method and the gospel writers would have included these instructions rather than all depending upon  the translation of a word, especially if the doctrine of sola scriptura was at all understood to be in force.

Sonya: As a side note I would understand the decision (to baptize with pouring) with infants etc if that position made any sense. Are you saying that any aborted baby or miscarraige goes to hell because they have not been baptized?

Bread From Heaven: No. We leave them to the mercy of God. All we KNOW is that Jesus said:

John 3:5 “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

 Therefore we teach that baptism is necessary and not optional. But there are the exceptions, such as, Baptism of Blood ( martyred for Faith before baptism) and Baptism of Desire. So, we entrust the unbaptized to the mercy of God.

Sonya: Furthermore the Bible always puts believing before baptism…was the condition for the Ethiopian Eunich in Acts…If thou believest with all thy heart thou mayest.

Bread From Heaven: True. But, the stories in Acts are of conversions of adults. And for a person who has reached the age of reason faith must come first before one can receive baptism in the Catholic Church. But we do have the story of the Jailer whose whole household was baptized. It was very likely there were children under the age of reason who were baptized. Scripture certainly did not make a point to enlighten us that they were all baptized except the little children. The baptism of babies is on the basis of the Parents’ faith. There is hope that the child will make a future profession of faith. But if there is none the baptism will not save them.

But from a Catholic perspective we are not bound by ONLY what is in scripture. We have the fullness of the Christian Faith with both the Bible and the Oral Teaching of the Apostles (Tradition) handed down to “faithful men able to teach.”

Once I became convinced of the importance of baptism as a Catholic I wanted to bring all seven of my children 7-21 years old into church to be baptized. But I was not allowed to do this. My children had to make a profession of faith first and then be baptized, after a year of instruction, I might add.

Sonya: I am sure as a protestant you heard of the innocence of children?

Bread From Heaven: Yes.

Sonya: One of the main supports of this when Paul says in one of his letters I was alive without the law once then the law came and I died. I believe this is clearly showing that we are not responsible for sin or “alive” until we understand between good/evil.

Bread From Heaven:  Agreed. This is called the age of reason but, of course, there would be differences for children with handicaps.