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Reflections: Holy Scripture

Bible with Crucifix

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Reflections: 

 Holy Scripture

Wisdom of the Popes, Saints, Theologians, Other...

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Attacks on Scripture

Author of Holy Scripture

Authority of Church Fathers / Scripture Interpretation

Authorship of Various Books of Scripture

Biblical Societies Condemned

Canon of Scripture

The Church Existed Before the Bible

The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction

Danger of Over-Familiarity with the Gospels

Difficulties in Translating Scripture

Difficulty of Scripture

Encouragement to Read Scripture

God Never Inspires Anything Not Conformable to Scripture

Gospel / Good News

The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching

History / Holy Scripture

Holy Scripture Does Not Reveal All

Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error

Holy Scripture May Not Be Recommended For All

Importance of Scripture

Jesus / Holy Scripture

Learning From Holy Scripture

Literal / Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture

Love / Holy Scripture

Man Well Grounded in Scriptures is Bulwark of Church

Misinterpretation of Scripture

Modernists / Scripture

Multiple Meanings / Holy Scripture

Neglect of Scripture

No Opposition Between Scripture and Church Dogmas

Not Contradicting Scripture Belongs to Piety

Old / New Testament

Parables

Praise / Benefits of Scripture

Printing Holy Scripture / Permission

Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture

Proper Interpretation of Scripture

Scripture / Hell

Scripture Transcends Science

Septuagint

St. Jerome / Holy Scripture

Test of Faith / Holy Scripture

Those Busy With Sins / Holy Scripture

Those Outside the Church / Scripture

Those Who Deny the Supernatural in Holy Scripture

Those Who Reject Scripture

Those Who Venerate Other 'Scriptures'

Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations

The Vulgate

Written / Oral Tradition

Misc.

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Category
Quotation

Attacks on Scripture 

"But first it must be clearly understood whom we have to oppose and contend against, and what are their tactics and their arms. In earlier times the contest was chiefly with those who, relying on private judgment and repudiating the divine traditions and teaching office of the Church, held the Scriptures to be the one source of revelation and the final appeal in matters of Faith. Now, we have to meet the Rationalists, true children and inheritors of the older heretics, who, trusting in their turn to their own way of thinking, have rejected even the scraps and remnants of Christian belief which had been handed down to them. They deny that there is any such thing as revelation or inspiration, or Holy Scripture at all; they see, instead, only the forgeries and the falsehoods of men; they set down the Scripture narratives as stupid fables and lying stories: the prophecies and the oracles of God are to them either predictions made up after the event or forecasts formed by the light of nature; the miracles and the wonders of God's power are not what they are said to be, but the startling effects of natural law, or else mere tricks and myths; and the Apostolic Gospels and writings are not the work of the Apostles at all. These detestable errors, whereby they think they destroy the truth of the divine Books, are obtruded on the world as the peremptory pronouncements of a certain newly-invented 'free science;' a science, however, which is so far from final that they are perpetually modifying and supplementing it. And there are some of them who, notwithstanding their impious opinions and utterances about God, and Christ, the Gospels and the rest of Holy Scripture, would fain be considered both theologians and Christians and men of the Gospel, and who attempt to disguise by such honorable names their rashness and their pride. To them we must add not a few professors of other sciences who approve their views and give them assistance, and are urged to attack the Bible by a similar intolerance of revelation. And it is deplorable to see these attacks growing every day more numerous and more severe. It is sometimes men of learning and judgment who are assailed; but these have little difficulty in defending themselves from evil consequences. The efforts and the arts of the enemy are chiefly directed against the more ignorant masses of the people. They diffuse their deadly poison by means of books, pamphlets, and newspapers; they spread it by addresses and by conversation; they are found everywhere; and they are in possession of numerous schools, taken by violence from the Church, in which, by ridicule and scurrilous jesting, they pervert the credulous and unformed minds of the young to the contempt of Holy Scripture. Should not these things, Venerable Brethren, stir up and set on fire the heart of every Pastor, so that to this 'knowledge, falsely so called,' may be opposed the ancient and true science which the Church, through the Apostles, has received from Christ, and that Holy Scripture may find the champions that are needed in so momentous a battle?" (Pope Leo XIII, "Providentissimus Deus", 1893)

Also See: Biblical Societies Condemned | Misinterpretation of Scripture | Modernists / Scripture | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Those Outside the Church / Scripture | Those Who Deny the Supernatural in Holy Scripture | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations

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Author of Holy Scripture

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Authority of Church Fathers / Scripture Interpretation

"Now, the authority of the Fathers, by whom after the apostles, the growing Church was disseminated, watered, built, protected, and nurtured, is the highest authority, as often as they all in one and the same way interpret a Biblical text, as pertaining to the doctrine of faith and morals." (Pope Leo XIII, "Providentissimus Deus", 1893 A.D.)

"In things of faith and morals belonging to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be considered the true sense of holy Scripture, which has been held and is held by our holy mother the Church, whose place it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures; and, therefore... it is permitted to no one to interpret holy Scripture against such sense or also against the unanimous agreement of the [Church] fathers." (Council of Trent)

"But, since the rules which the holy Synod of Trent salutarily decreed concerning the interpretation of Divine Scripture in order to restrain impetuous minds, are wrongly explained by certain men, We, renewing the same decree, declare this to be its intention: that, in matters of faith and morals pertaining to the instruction of Christian Doctrine, that must be considered as the true sense of Sacred Scripture which Holy Mother Church has held and holds, whose office it is to judge concerning the true understanding and interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures; and, for that reason, no one is permitted to interpret Sacred Scripture itself contrary to this sense, or even contrary to the unanimous agreement of the Fathers." (Vatican Council I, 1870 A.D.)

Also See: The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction  | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | St. Jerome / Holy Scripture

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Authorship of Various Books of Scripture

[Question:] Whether the arguments accumulated by critics to impugn the Mosaic authenticity of the Sacred Books, which are designated by the name of Pentateuch, are of such weight that, in spite of the very many indications of both Testaments taken together, the continuous conviction of the Jewish people, also the unbroken tradition of the Church in addition to the internal evidences drawn from the text itself, they justify affirming that these books were not written by Moses, but were composed for the most part from sources later than the time of Moses? Reply: No. (Response of the Commission on Biblical Studies, June 27, 1906 A.D.)

[Question:] Whether the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch necessarily demands such a redaction of the whole work that it must be held absolutely that Moses wrote all and each book with his own hand, or dictated them to copyists; or, whether also the hypothesis can be permitted of those who think that the work was conceived by him under the influence of divine inspiration, and was committed to another or several to be put into writing, but in such manner that they rendered his thought faithfully, wrote nothing contrary to his wish, omitted nothing; and, finally, when the work was composed in this way, approved by Moses as its chief and inspired author, it was published under his name. Reply: No, for the first part; yes, for the second. (Response of the Commission on Biblical Studies, June 27, 1906 A.D.)

[Question:] Whether without prejudice to the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch it can be granted that Moses for the composition of the work made use of sources, namely written documents or oral tradition, from which, according to the peculiar goal set before him, and under the influence of divine inspiration, he made some borrowings, and these, arranged word for word according to sense or amplified, he inserted into the work itself? Reply: Yes. (Response of the Commission on Biblical Studies, June 27, 1906 A.D.)

[Question:] Whether solid arguments stand out, even taken collectively, to induce the conviction that the Book of Isaias is not to be attributed to Isaias himself alone, but to two, or even to several authors. - Reply: In the negative. (Response of the Biblical Commission, June 28th, 1908)

[Question:] Whether the evident judgment of tradition, from the beginnings of the Church in wonderful agreement with and confirmed by manifold arguments, namely, the eloquent testimonies of the Holy Fathers and ecclesiastical writers, the citations and allusions which occur in the writings of the same, the practice of the ancient heretics, the versions of the Books of the New Testament, the most ancient and almost entire body of manuscripts, and also the internal reasons taken from the very text of the Sacred Books, definitely compels the affirmation that Mark, the disciple and expounder of Peter, and Luke the physician, the hearer and companion of Paul, are in fact the authors of the Gospels which are respectively attributed to them? - Reply: In the affirmative. (Reply of the Biblical Commission, June 26, 1912 A.D.)

[Question:] Whether after noting the universal and constant agreement of the Church from the earliest times, which is clearly shown by the eloquent testimonies of the Fathers, the inscriptions of the manuscripts of the Gospels, even the most ancient versions of the Sacred Scriptures, and the catalogues handed down by the Holy Fathers, the ecclesiastical writers, the Highest Pontiffs, and the Councils, and finally the liturgical practice of the Eastern and Western Church, it can and should be affirmed with certainty that Matthew, the Apostle of Christ, is in fact the author of the vulgate Gospel under his name? - Reply: In the affirmative. (Response of the Biblical Commission, June 19, 1911 A.D.)

Also See: Author of Holy Scripture | Canon of Scripture | History / Holy Scripture | Old / New Testament

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Biblical Societies Condemned

"Indeed, you are aware that from the first ages called Christian, it has been the peculiar artifice of heretics that, repudiating the traditional Word of God, and rejecting the authority of the Catholic Church, they either falsify the Scriptures at hand, or alter the explanation of the meaning. In short, you are not ignorant of how much diligence and wisdom is needed to translate faithfully into another tongue the words of the Lord; so that, surely, nothing could happen more easily than that in the versions of these Scriptures, multiplied by the Biblical societies, very grave errors creep in from the imprudence or deceit of so many translators; further, the very multitude and variety of those versions conceal these errors for a long time to the destruction of many. However, it is of little or no interest at all to these societies whether the men likely to read these Bibles translated into the vulgar tongue, fall into some errors rather than others, provided they grow accustomed little by little to claiming free judgment for themselves with regard to the sense of the Scriptures, and also to despising the divine tradition of the Fathers which has been guarded by the teaching of the Catholic Church, and to repudiating the teaching office itself of the Church. Toward this end those same Biblical associates do not cease to slander the Church and this Holy See of Peter, as if it were attempting for these many centuries to keep the faithful people from a knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures; although, on the other hand, there are extant many very illuminating documents of remarkable learning which the Supreme Pontiffs and other Catholic bishops under their leadership, have used in these more recent times, that Catholic peoples might be educated more exactly according to the written and traditional word of God.. Among those rules, which have been written by the Fathers chosen by the Council of Trent and approved by Pius IV ... and set in the front part of the Index of prohibited books, in the general sanction of the statutes one reads that Bibles published in a vulgar tongue were not permitted to anyone, except to those to whom the reading of them was judged to be beneficial for the increase of their faith and piety. To this same rule, limited immediately by a new caution because of the persistent deceits of heretics, this declaration was at length appended by the authority of Benedict XIV, that permission is granted for reading vernacular versions which have been approved by the Apostolic See, or have been edited with annotations drawn from the Holy Fathers of the Church or from learned Catholic men... All the aforesaid Biblical societies, condemned a short time ago by our predecessors, we again condemn with Apostolic authority. Hence, let it be known to everyone that all those will be guilty of a very grave fault in the eyes of God and of the Church who enrolls in any of these societies, or aids [them], or favors [them] in any way whatsoever." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Inter praecipuas", 1844 A.D.)

"This is the goal too of the crafty Bible Societies which renew the old skill of the heretics and ceaselessly force on people of all kinds, even the uneducated, gifts of the Bible. They issue these in large numbers and at great cost, in vernacular translations, which infringe the holy rules of the Church. The commentaries which are included often contain perverse explanations; so, having rejected divine tradition, the doctrine of the Fathers and the authority of the Catholic Church, they all interpret the words of the Lord by their own private judgment, thereby perverting their meaning. As a result, they fall into the greatest errors. Gregory XVI of happy memory, Our superior predecessor, followed the lead of his own predecessors in rejecting these societies in his apostolic letters. It is Our will to condemn them likewise." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846)

"The crafty enemies of the Church and human society attempt to seduce the people in many ways. One of their chief methods is the misuse of the new technique of book-production. They are wholly absorbed in the ceaseless daily publication and proliferation of impious pamphlets, newspapers and leaflets which are full of lies, calumnies and seduction. Furthermore, under the protection of the Bible Societies which have long since been condemned by this Holy See, they distribute to the faithful under the pretext of religion, the holy bible in vernacular translations. Since these infringe the Church's rules, they are consequently subverted and most daringly twisted to yield a vile meaning. So you realize very well what vigilant and careful efforts you must make to inspire in your faithful people an utter horror of reading these pestilential books. Remind them explicitly with regard to divine scripture that no man, relying on his own wisdom, is able to claim the privilege of rashly twisting the scriptures to his own meaning in opposition to the meaning which holy mother Church holds and has held. It was the Church alone that Christ commissioned to guard the deposit of the faith and to decide the true meaning and interpretation of the divine pronouncements." (Pope Pius IX, "Nostis et Nobiscum", 1849)

Also See: The Church Existed Before the Bible | The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction | Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Difficulty of Scripture | Misinterpretation of Scripture | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Those Outside the Church / Scripture | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations

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Canon of Scripture

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The Church Existed Before the Bible

"The Church was gathered and the faith was believed before every any part of the New Testament was put in writing." (St. Thomas More)

Also See: The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching | History / Holy Scripture | Holy Scripture Does Not Reveal All | Written / Oral Tradition

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The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction 

Error CONDEMNED by Pope St. Pius X in "Lamentabili": "The Church's interpretation of the Sacred Books is not indeed to be spurned, but it is subject to the more accurate judgment and the correction of exegetes." (Pope St. Pius X, This proposition was condemned in "Lamentabili", 1907 A.D.)

Also See: Attacks on Scripture | Author of Holy Scripture | Authority of Church Fathers / Scripture Interpretation | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Misinterpretation of Scripture | Modernists / Scripture | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations | Written / Oral Tradition

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Danger of Over-

Familiarity with the Gospels

"Reading, as we do, the Gospels from our youth up, we are in danger of becoming so familiar with them as to be dead to their force, and to view them as mere history." (Cardinal Newman)

Also See: Learning From Holy Scripture | Neglect of Scripture | Praise / Benefits of Scripture | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Written / Oral Tradition

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Difficulties in Translating Scripture

"It is difficult in following lines laid down by others not sometimes to diverge from them, and it is hard to preserve in a translation the charm of expressions which in another language are most felicitous. Each particular word conveys a meaning of its own, and possibly I have no equivalent by which to render it, and if I make a circuit to reach my goal, I have to go many miles to cover a short distance. To these difficulties must be added the windings of hyperbata, differences in the use of cases, divergences of metaphor; and last of all the peculiar and if I may so call it, inbred character of the language. If I render word for word, the result will sound uncouth, and if compelled by necessity I alter anything in the order or wording, I shall seem to have departed from the function of a translator." (St. Jerome, "the Church's eminent bible translator", Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

Also See: Difficulty of Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Septuagint | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations | The Vulgate

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Difficulty of Scripture

"And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures." (St. Peter, 2 Pt. 3:15-16)

"Wherefore, as no one should be so presumptuous as to think that he understands the whole of the Scripture, in which St. Augustine himself confessed that there was more that he did not know, than that he knew, so, if he should come upon anything that seems incapable of solution, he must take to heart the cautious rule of the same holy Doctor: 'It is better even to be oppressed by unknown but useful signs, than to interpret them uselessly and thus to throw off the yoke only to be caught in the trap of error.'" (Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus)

"By the secret council of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures have been crafted in such a way that they are plain and simple enough for every man to find in them what he needs to understand. Yet again, they are so lofty and difficult that no man is so cunning that he won't find there things far beyond his reach, things far too deep for him." (St. Thomas More)

"Therefore, in that famous letter of his to the faithful of the Church at Meta, Our predecessor, Innocent III, quite wisely prescribes as follows: 'In truth the secret mysteries of faith are not to be exposed to all everywhere, since they cannot be understood by all everywhere, but only by those who can grasp them with the intellect of faith. Therefore, to the more simple the Apostle says: 'I gave you milk to drink as unto little ones in Christ... [1 Cor. 3:2].' For solid food is for the elders, as he said: 'We speak wisdom ... among the perfect' [1 Cor 2:6]; 'for I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ and Him Crucified' [1 Cor. 2:2]. For so great is the depth of Divine Scripture that not only the simple and the unlettered, but even the learned and prudent are not fully able to explore the understanding of it. Therefore, Scripture says that many 'searching have failed in their search' [Ps. 63:7]." (Pope Pius VII, 1816 A.D.)

"A competent religious guide must be clear and intelligible to all, so that every one may fully understand the true meaning of the instructions it contains. Is the Bible a book intelligible to all? Far from it; it is full of obscurities and difficulties not only for the illiterate, but even for the learned." (Gibbons)

Also See: The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction | Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Literal / Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture | Misinterpretation of Scripture | Modernists / Scripture | Multiple Meanings / Holy Scripture | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture

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Encour-

agement to Read Scripture

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God Never Inspires Anything Not Conformable to Scripture

"The Spirit of God never inspires anything that is not conformable to holy Scripture; if there were the slightest divergence, that, of itself alone, would suffice to prove so evidently the action of the evil spirit, that, were the whole world to assure me it was the divine Spirit, I would never believe it." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Author of Holy Scripture | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture

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Gospel / Good News

"The word 'Evangelium' (Gospel), is rendered in Latin 'bonus nuntius,' or 'bona annuntiatio' (good news). It may indeed be used on all occasions whenever any good is announced; but it has come to be appropriated to the announcement of the Savior." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

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The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching

Also See: Jesus (Topic Page)

"Now the Evangelists are silent as to the greater part of Christ's teaching; for whereas He preached for the space nearly of three years, all the teaching which they have written down would scarcely, one might say, suffice for the discourse of a single day. For out of a great many things extracting a few, they have given only a taste as it were of the sweetness of His teaching." (St. Theophylact)

Also See: The Church Existed Before the Bible | Holy Scripture Does Not Reveal All | Written / Oral Tradition

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History / Holy Scripture

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Holy Scripture Does Not Reveal All

"In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies; but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, circa 407 A.D.)

Also See: The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching | Written / Oral Tradition

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Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error

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Holy Scripture May Not Be Recom-

mended For All

Note: The Church has always given Scripture the highest value and reverence and has done much to promote its beneficial use. In fact, the Bible would not exist without the Catholic Church. When salutary, however, the Church, as a loving Mother, attempts to protect her children from "distort [ing the Scriptures] to their own destruction" (See 2 Pt. 3:15-16). For example, Church history shows that the Church has forbidden the Bible to non-clerics (except for its reading at church) to protect the mostly illiterate flock from those who were twisting the scriptures to positively recommend fornication and abortion, and who were even denying the Trinity. Although enemies of the Church often use such events against her, they are clearly taking matters out of context.

Error CONDEMNED in "Unigenitus": "The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all." (Errors of Paschasius Quesnel, Condemned in the dogmatic Constitution, "Unigenitus," Sept. 8, 1717)

Error CONDEMNED in "Unigenitus": "It is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture." (Errors of Paschasius Quesnel, Condemned in the dogmatic Constitution, "Unigenitus," Sept. 8, 1716)

Error CONDEMNED in "Unigenitus": "The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it." (Errors of Paschasius Quesnel, Condemned in the dogmatic Constitution, "Unigenitus," Sept. 8, 1718)

Error CONDEMNED in "Unigenitus": "To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a kind of excommunication." (Errors of Paschasius Quesnel, Condemned in the dogmatic Constitution, "Unigenitus," Sept. 8, 1720)

Error CONDEMNED in "Unigenitus": "To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ." (Errors of Paschasius Quesnel, Condemned in the dogmatic Constitution, "Unigenitus," Sept. 8, 1719)

"Therefore, in that famous letter of his to the faithful of the Church at Meta, Our predecessor, Innocent III, quite wisely prescribes as follows: 'In truth the secret mysteries of faith are not to be exposed to all everywhere, since they cannot be understood by all everywhere, but only by those who can grasp them with the intellect of faith. Therefore, to the more simple the Apostle says: 'I gave you milk to drink as unto little ones in Christ... [1 Cor. 3:2].' For solid food is for the elders, as he said: 'We speak wisdom ... among the perfect' [1 Cor. 2:6]; 'for I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ and Him Crucified' [1 Cor. 2:2]. For so great is the depth of Divine Scripture that not only the simple and the unlettered, but even the learned and prudent are not fully able to explore the understanding of it. Therefore, Scripture says that many 'searching have failed in their search' [Ps. 63:7]." (Pope Pius VII, 1816 A.D.) 

"... lest, indeed, any simple and ignorant person should presume to reach the sublimity of Sacred Scripture, or to preach it to others. For it is written: Seek not the things that are too high for thee [Sir. 3:22] Therefore, the Apostle warns not to be more wise than it behooveth to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety [Rom. 12:3]. But, noteworthy are the Constitutions, not only of Innocent III, just mentioned, but also of Pius IV, Clement VIII, and Benedict XIV in which the precaution was laid down that, if Scripture should be easily open to all, it would perhaps become cheapened and be exposed to contempt, or, if poorly understood by the mediocre, would lead to error. But, what the mind of the Church is in regard to the reading and interpretation of Scripture your fraternity may know very clearly from the excellent Constitution of another of Our predecessors, Clement XI, Unigenitus, in which those doctrines were thoroughly condemned in which it was asserted that it is useful and necessary to every age, to every place, to every type of person to know the mysteries of Sacred Scripture, the reading of which was to be open to all, and that it was harmful to withdraw Christian people from it, nay more, that the mouth of Christ was closed for the faithful when the New Testament was snatched from their hands" (Pope Pius VII, 1816 A.D.)

Also See: Biblical Societies Condemned | The Church Existed Before the Bible | The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction | Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Difficulty of Scripture | Encouragement to Read Scripture | History / Holy Scripture | Importance of Scripture | Misinterpretation of Scripture | Praise / Benefits of Scripture | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Those Outside the Church / Scripture | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations | Written / Oral Tradition

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Importance of Scripture

"[U]nless we believe in Scripture we can neither be Christians nor be saved." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"To be ignorant of the Scripture is not to know Christ." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Canon of Scripture | The Church Existed Before the Bible | Encouragement to Read Scripture | The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching | History / Holy Scripture | Jesus / Holy Scripture | Neglect of Scripture | Praise / Benefits of Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Those Who Reject Scripture | Written / Oral Tradition

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Jesus / Holy Scripture

Also See: Jesus (Topic Page)

"We are invited to flock to Christ's passion wherever in Scripture it is read of" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Christ ratified the New Testament in His blood." (Second Vatican Council)

"Nowhere is there anything more full or more express on the subject of the Savior of the world than is to be found in the whole range of the Bible." (Pope Leo XIII, "Providentissimus Deus", 1893)

"...[Jesus] quotes [Scripture] against Sadducees and Pharisees, and retorts from them upon Satan himself when he dares to tempt Him. At the close of His life His utterances are from Holy Scripture, and it is the Scripture that He expounds to His disciples after His resurrection, until He ascends to the glory of His Father" (Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus)

"As to the Prophets, how many there were who foretold Christ's Passion and death is too well known to require development here. Not to speak of David, whose Psalms embrace all the principal mysteries of Redemption, the oracles of Isaias in particular are so clear and graphic that he might be said rather to have recorded a past than predicted a future event." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"We know what He felt about Holy Scripture: when He said, 'It is written,' and 'the Scripture must needs be fulfilled,' we have therein an argument which admits of no exception and which should put an end to all controversy. Yet it is worthwhile dwelling on this point a little: when Christ preached to the people, whether on the Mount by the lakeside, or in the synagogue at Nazareth, or in His own city of Capharnaum, He took His points and His arguments from the Bible. From the same source came His weapons when disputing with the Scribes and Pharisees. Whether teaching or disputing He quotes from all parts of Scripture and takes His example from it; He quotes it as an argument which must be accepted. He refers without any discrimination of sources to the stories of Jonas and the Ninivites, of the Queen of Sheba and Solomon, of Elias and Eliseus, of David and of Noe, of Lot and the Sodomites, and even of Lot's wife. (cf. Mt. 12:3, 39-42; Lk. 17:26-29, 32). How solemn His witness to the truth of the sacred books: 'One jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the Law till all be fulfilled' (Mt. 5:18); and again: 'The Scripture cannot be broken' (Jn. 10:35); and consequently: 'He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven' (Mt. 5:19). Before His Ascension, too, when He would steep His Apostles in the same doctrine: 'He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. And He said to them: thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day' (Lk. 24:45)." (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920 A.D.)

Also See: Author of Holy Scripture | Gospel / Good News | The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching | Holy Scripture Does Not Reveal All | Old / New Testament | Parables | Jesus' Teachings (Scripture / Parables Section)

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Learning From Holy Scripture

"Holy Writ is set before the eye of the mind like a kind of mirror, that we may see our inward face in it; for therein we learn the deformities, therein we learn the beauties we possess; there we are made sensible of what progress we are making, there too how far we are from proficiency." (Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, circa 604 A.D.)

"Study your heart in the light of the Holy Scriptures, and you will know therein who you were, who you are, and who you aught to be." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe)

"...from the Bible's pages we learn spiritual perfection." (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920 A.D.)

"For the Sacred Books were not given by God to men to satisfy their curiosity or to provide them with material for study and research, but, as the Apostle observes, in order that these Divine Oracles might 'instruct us to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus' and 'that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.'" (Pope Pius XII, Divino Afflante Spiritu)

"Learn the heart of God in the words of God, that you may sigh more eagerly for things eternal, that your soul may be kindled with greater longings for heavenly joys." (Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, 595 A.D.)

Also See: The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction | Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Difficulty of Scripture | Encouragement to Read Scripture | Holy Scripture Does Not Reveal All | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Importance of Scripture | Multiple Meanings / Holy Scripture | Neglect of Scripture | Praise / Benefits of Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Written / Oral Tradition

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Literal / Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture

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Love / Holy Scripture

Also See: Love / Charity (Topic Page)

"The fulfillment and end of Scripture is the love of God and our neighbor.. Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this two-fold love of God and our neighbor, does not yet understand them as he ought." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would it all profit thee without the love of God and His grace?" (Kempis)

"Inasmuch as in the Law and in the Gospel the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord God whole-heartedly, and then there is another like it, to love one's neighbor as oneself, it is shown that the Law and the Gospel have one and the same Author. The precepts of the perfect life, since they are the same in both Testaments, point out the same God, who certainly has prescribed particular precepts adapted to each, while for the more prominent and greatest commandments, without which it is not possible to be saved, He recommends the same in both." (St. Irenaeus, 2nd century A.D.) 

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Man Well Grounded in Scriptures is Bulwark of Church

"A man who is well grounded in the testimonies of the Scripture is the bulwark of the Church." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

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Misinter-

pretation of Scripture

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Modernists / Scripture

Also See: Modernism (Topic Page)

"Nay, rather, they do in fact describe it with no hesitation, so that you would believe that they saw the very writers with their own eyes as they applied their hand in every age to amplifying the Sacred Books. Moreover, to support these actions they call to their aid a criticism which they call textual; and they strive to convince us that this or that fact or expression is not in its own place, and they bring forward other such arguments. - You would indeed say that they had prescribed for themselves certain types, as it were, of narrations and discourses, as a result of which they decide with certainty what stands in its own place or in a strange place. - Let him who wishes judge how skilled they can be to make decisions in this way. Moreover, he who gives heed to them as they talk about their studies on the Sacred Books, as a result of which it was granted them to discover so many things improperly stated, would almost believe that no man before them had turned the pages of these same books; and that an almost infinite number of doctors had not examined them from every point of view, a group clearly far superior to them in mind, and erudition, and sanctity of life. These very wise doctors indeed, far from finding fault with the Sacred Scriptures in any part, rather, the more thoroughly they investigated them, the more they gave thanks to divine authority for having deigned so to speak with men. But alas, our doctors with respect to the Sacred Books did not rely upon those aids on which the modernists did; thus they did not have philosophy as a master and guide, nor did they choose themselves as their own authority in making decisions. Now, then, we think that it is clear of what sort the method of the modernists is in the field of history. The philosopher goes ahead; the historian succeeds him; right behind, in order, works criticism, both internal and textual. And since it is characteristic of the first cause to communicate its power to its consequences, it becomes evident that such criticism is not criticism at all; that it is rightly called agnostic, immanentist, and evolutionist; and that so, he who professes it and uses it, professes the errors implicit in the same and opposes Catholic doctrine. - For this reason it can seem most strange that criticism of this kind has such weight today among Catholics. This obviously has a twofold cause: first of all the pact by which the historians and the critics of this kind are so closely joined, the differences of nationality and the dissension of religions being placed in the background; then the endless effrontery by which all with one voice extol whatever each of them prattles, and attribute it to the progress of science; by which in close array they attack him who wishes to examine the new marvel or his own; by which they accuse him who denies it of ignorance, adorn him with praises who embraces and defends it. Thus no small number are deceived who, if they should examine the matter more closely, would be horrified. From this powerful domineering on the part of those in error, and this heedless compliance on the part of fickle souls, a corruption in the surrounding atmosphere results which penetrates everywhere and diffuses its pestilence." (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi dominici gregis", 1907 A.D.)

"Nor do modern innovators stop here: they even try to claim St. Jerome as a patron of their views on the ground that he maintained that historic truth and sequence were not observed in the Bible, 'precisely as things actually took place, but in accordance with what men thought at that time,' and that he even held that this was the true norm for history. A strange distortion of St. Jerome's words! He does not say that when giving us an account of events the writer was ignorant of the truth and simply adopted the false views then current; he merely says that in giving names to persons or things he followed general custom. Thus the Evangelist calls St. Joseph the father of Jesus, but what he meant by the title 'father' here is abundantly clear from the whole context. For St. Jerome 'the true norm of history' is this: when it is question of such appellatives (as 'father,' etc), and when there is no danger or error, then a writer must adopt the ordinary forms of speech simply because such forms of speech are in ordinary use. More than this: Jerome maintains that belief in the Biblical narrative is as necessary to salvation as is belief in the doctrines of the faith" (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920 A.D.)

"We, Venerable Brethren, for whom there is but one and only truth, and who hold that the Sacred Books, 'written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, have God for their author' declare that this is equivalent to attributing to God Himself the lie of utility or officious lie, and We say with St. Augustine: 'In an authority so high, admit but one officious lie, and there will not remain a single passage of those apparently difficult to practice or to believe, which on the same most pernicious rule may not be explained as a lie uttered by the author willfully and to serve a purpose'. And thus it will come about, the holy Doctor continues, that everybody will believe and refuse to believe what he likes or dislikes. But the Modernists pursue their way gaily. They grant also that certain arguments adduced in the Sacred Books, like those, for example, which are based on the prophecies, have no rational foundation to rest on. But they will defend even these as artifices of preaching, which are justified by life. Do they stop here? No, indeed, for they are ready to admit, nay, to proclaim that Christ Himself manifestly erred in determining the time when the coming of the Kingdom of God was to take place, and they tell us that we must not be surprised at this since even Christ was subject to the laws of life! After this what is to become of the dogmas of the Church? The dogmas brim over with flagrant contradictions, but what matter that since, apart from the fact that vital logic accepts them, they are not repugnant to symbolical truth. Are we not dealing with the infinite, and has not the infinite an infinite variety of aspects? In short, to maintain and defend these theories they do not hesitate to declare that the noblest homage that can be paid to the Infinite is to make it the object of contradictory propositions! But when they justify even contradiction, what is it that they will refuse to justify?" (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907)

Also See: Attacks on Scripture | The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction | Difficulty of Scripture | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Literal / Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture | Misinterpretation of Scripture | No Opposition Between Scripture and Church Dogmas | Not Contradicting Scripture Belongs to Piety | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Scripture Transcends Science | Those Who Deny the Supernatural in Holy Scripture | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations | Written / Oral Tradition | Current Issues (Reflections)

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Multiple Meanings / Holy Scripture

"It is one of the glories of the Scripture that it can embrace many meanings in a single passage." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction | Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Difficulty of Scripture | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Literal / Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture | Misinterpretation of Scripture | Modernists / Scripture | No Opposition Between Scripture and Church Dogmas | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Scripture Transcends Science

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Neglect of Scripture

"To be ignorant of the Scripture is not to know Christ." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Is it not strange that those who sit by the market can tell the names, and families, and cities of charioteers, and dancers, and the kinds of power possessed by each, and can give exact account of the good or bad qualities of the very horses, but that those who come hither should know nothing of what is done here, but should be ignorant of the number even of the sacred Books?" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Let us now after this be ashamed, and blush. A woman who had had five husbands, and who was of Samaria, was so eager concerning doctrines, that neither the time of day, nor her having come for another purpose, nor anything else, led her away from enquiring on such matters but we not only do not enquire concerning doctrines, but towards them all our dispositions are careless and indifferent. Therefore everything is neglected. For which of you when in his house takes some Christian book in hand and goes over its contents, and searches the Scriptures? None can say that he does so, but with most we shall find draughts and dice, but books nowhere, except among a few. And even these few have the same dispositions as the many; for they tie up their books, and keep them always put away in cases, and all their care is for the fineness of the parchments, and the beauty of the letters, not for reading them. For they have not bought them to obtain advantage and benefit from them, but take pains about such matters to show their wealth and pride. Such is the excess of vainglory. I do not hear any one glory that he knows the contents, but that he hath a book written in letters of gold. And what gain, tell me, is this? The Scriptures were not given us for this only, that we might have them in books, but that we might engrave them on our hearts." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Encouragement to Read Scripture | The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching | Holy Scripture May Not Be Recommended For All | Importance of Scripture | Learning From Holy Scripture | Praise / Benefits of Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Those Busy With Sins / Holy Scripture

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No Opposition Between Scripture and Church Dogmas

Error CONDEMNED by Pope St. Pius X in "Lamentabili": "Opposition can and actually does exist between facts which are narrated in Sacred Scripture, and the dogmas of the Church based on these, so that a critic can reject as false, facts which the Church believes to be most certain." (Pope St. Pius X, This proposition was condemned in "Lamentabili", 1907 A.D.)

Also See: The Church Existed Before the Bible | The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction | The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching | History / Holy Scripture | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Written / Oral Tradition

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Not Contradicting Scripture Belongs to Piety

"Hence it belongs to piety to honor the saints, and not to contradict the Scriptures whether one understands them or not, as [St.] Augustine says" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture

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Old / New Testament

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Parables

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Praise / Benefits of Scripture

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Printing Holy Scripture / Permission

"And wishing, as is just, to impose a restraint, in this matter, also on printers, who now without restraint, - thinking, that is, that whatsoever they please is allowed them, - print, without the license of ecclesiastical superiors, the said books of sacred Scripture, and the notes and comments upon them of all persons indifferently, with the press ofttimes unnamed, often even fictitious, and what is more grievous still, without the author's name; and also keep for indiscriminate sale books of this kind printed elsewhere; (this Synod) ordains and decrees, that, henceforth, the sacred Scripture, and especially the said old and vulgate edition, be printed in the most correct manner possible; and that it shall not be lawful for any one to print, or cause to be printed, any books whatever, on sacred matters, without the name of the author; nor to sell them in future, or even to keep them, unless they shall have been first examined, and approved of, by the Ordinary; under pain of the anathema and fine imposed in a canon of the last Council of Lateran: and, if they be Regulars, besides this examination and approval, they shall be bound to obtain a license also from their own superiors, who shall have examined the books according to the form of their own statutes. As to those who lend, or circulate them in manuscript, without their having been first examined, and approved of, they shall be subjected to the same penalties as printers: and they who shall have them in their possession or shall read them, shall, unless they discover the authors, be themselves regarded as the authors. And the said approbation of books of this kind shall be given in writing; and for this end it shall appear authentically at the beginning of the book, whether the book be written, or printed; and all this, that is, both the approbation and the examination, shall be done gratis, that so what ought to be approved, may be approved, and what ought to be condemned, may be condemned." (Council of Trent)

Also See: Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Septuagint | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations | The Vulgate | Ecclesiastical Review of Written Materials (Catholic Book Review & Exchange Reflections)

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Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture

"Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the Holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God." (St. Peter, 2 Pt. 1:20-21)

"Then the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, 'Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.' So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go and join up with that chariot.' Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' He replied, 'How can I, unless someone instructs me?' So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him... Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him." (Acts 8:26-31,35)

"And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures." (St. Peter, 2 Pt. 3:15-16)

"[H]uman reason...has neither the power to fathom the word of God, nor the right to sit in judgement over it." (Gueranger)

"I prefer to say nothing of men who, like myself, have passed from profane [that is, secular] literature to biblical study, but who, if they happen once to have caught men's ears by their ornate sermons, straightway begin to fancy that whatsoever they say is God's law. Apparently they do not think it worthwhile to discover what the Prophets and Apostles really meant; they are content to string together texts made to fit the meaning they want. One would almost fancy that instead of being a degraded species of oratory, it must be a fine thing to pervert the meaning of the text and compel the reluctant Scripture to yield the meaning one wants!" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"If we read even in the divine Scriptures about hidden thing and things most removed from our eyes, it will be possible, saving always the faith which fills us, to formulate various opinions about these matters. Let us, then, not be too hasty in accepting any such opinions which, were the truth to be sought more carefully, might afterwards be found unsound, and lest we might be found in error by our attempting to establish what is but our own view and not that of the divine Scriptures, as if we would wish our view to be that of the Scriptures, whereas we ought to wish that the view taken by the Scriptures should become our own." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, circa 407 A.D.)

"If a man should doubt the knowledge and understanding of anything written in Scripture, he is not wise then to take upon himself the authority to interpret, boldly depending on his own mind. Instead, he should depend on the interpretation of the holy teachers an the saints of old, and on the interpretation that has been received and allowed by the universal Church. For it was the Church through which the Scripture has come into our hands and been delivered to us in the first place, and without the Church, as St. Augustine says, we could not know which books were Holy Scripture." (St. Thomas More)

"...the great error of those others as well who boldly venture to explain and interpret the words of God by their own judgment, misusing their reason and holding the opinion that these words are like a human work. God Himself has set up a living authority to establish and teach the true and legitimate meaning of His heavenly revelation. This authority judges infallibly all disputes which concern matters of faith and morals, lest the faithful be swirled around by every wind of doctrine which springs from the evilness of men in encompassing error. And this living infallible authority is active only in that Church which was built by Christ the Lord upon Peter, the head of the entire Church, leader and shepherd, whose faith He promised would never fail. This Church has had an unbroken line of succession from Peter himself; these legitimate pontiffs are the heirs and defenders of the same teaching, rank, office and power. And the Church is where Peter is, and Peter speaks in the Roman Pontiff, living at all times in his successors and making judgment, providing the truth of the faith to those who seek it. The divine words therefore mean what this Roman See of the most blessed Peter holds and has held. For this mother and teacher of all the churches has always preserved entire and unharmed the faith entrusted to it by Christ the Lord. Furthermore, it has taught it to the faithful, showing all men truth and the path of salvation. " (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)

Also See: Attacks on Scripture | Biblical Societies Condemned | The Church's Traditional Interpretation of Holy Scripture Is Not Subject To Correction | Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Difficulty of Scripture | Literal / Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture | Misinterpretation of Scripture | Modernists / Scripture | Proper Interpretation of Scripture | Scripture Transcends Science | Those Who Deny the Supernatural in Holy Scripture | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations | Written / Oral Tradition | Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

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Proper Interpretation of Scripture

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Scripture / Hell

Also See: Hell (Topic Page)

"For according to [St.] Augustine (De Genesi ad literam xxxiii): 'I have not yet found Scripture mentioning hell in a favorable sense.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Hell (Topical Scripture) | Tough Love in the New Testament

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Scripture Transcends Science

"Holy Writ by the manner of its speech transcends every science, because in one and the same sentence, while it describes a fact, it reveals a mystery." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church

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Septuagint

"Desiring to know these writings, [Ptolemy, the King of Egypt] sent for seventy wise men from Jerusalem who knew both the Greek and the Hebrew languages, and appointed them to translate the books... He supplied attendants to care for their every need, and also to prevent their communicating with each other, so that it might be possible to know the accuracy of the translation, by their agreement, one with another. When he found that the seventy men had given not only the same meaning, but even the same words, and failed to agree with each other by not so much as a single word, but had written the same things about the same things, he was struck with amazement, and believed that he translation had been written with divine authority." (Aristean account of the translation of the Septuagint, Exhortation to the Greeks, circa 260-302 A.D.)

"How are we to understand those who reject the Septuagint [e.g. Protestants], whereas we can see that certain Scriptural quotations of our Lord Jesus himself may be attributed to it? Dare think they know better than Christ?"

Also See: Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Old / New Testament | Those Who Reject Scripture | The Vulgate | Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

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St. Jerome / Holy Scripture 

"[N]o literature made any appeal to [St.] Jerome unless it derived its light from Holy Scripture." (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920)

"For St. Jerome - 'strenuous Catholic, learned in the Scriptures,' 'teacher of Catholics,' 'model of virtue, world's teacher' - has by his earnest and illuminative defense of Catholic doctrine on Holy Scripture left us most precious instructions... Indeed, such was his love for Holy Scripture that he ceased not from writing or dictating till his hand stiffened in death and his voice was silent forever." (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920)

"[St. Jerome's] unceasing reading of the Bible and his painstaking study of each book - nay, of every phrase and word - gave him a knowledge of the text such as no other ecclesiastical writer of old possessed. It is due to this familiarity with the text and to his own acute judgment that the Vulgate version Jerome made is, in the judgment of all capable men, preferable to any other ancient version, since it appears to give us the sense of the original more accurately and with greater elegance than they. The said Vulgate, 'approved by so many centuries of use in the Church' was pronounced by the Council of Trent 'authentic,' and the same Council insisted that it was to be used in teaching and in the liturgy." (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920)

"[St. Jerome's] voice is now still, though at one time the whole Catholic world listened to it when it echoed from the desert; yet Jerome still speaks in his writings, which 'shine like lamps throughout the world.' Jerome still calls to us. His voice rings out, telling us of the super-excellence of Holy Scripture, of its integral character and historical trustworthiness, telling us, too, of the pleasant fruits resulting from reading and meditating upon it. His voice summons all the Church's children to return to a truly Christian standard of life, to shake themselves free from a pagan type of morality which seems to have sprung to life again in these days. His voice calls upon us, and especially on Italian piety and zeal, to restore to the See of Peter divinely established here that honor and liberty which its Apostolic dignity and duty demand. The voice of Jerome summons those Christian nations which have unhappily fallen away from Mother Church to turn once more to her in whom lies all hope of eternal salvation." (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920 A.D.)

Also See: The Vulgate | Saints Section

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Test of Faith / Holy Scripture

"We must neither doubt nor hesitate with respect to the words of the Lord; rather, we must be fully persuaded that every word of God is true and possible, even if our nature should rebel against the idea - for in this lies the test of faith." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

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Those Busy With Sins / Holy Scripture

Also See: Sin (Topic Page)

"If you would heed the Word of life, cut yourself off from evil things. The hearing of the Word profits nothing to the one who is busy with sins." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

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Those Outside the Church / Scripture

Also See: Those Outside the Church (Topic Page)

"Let not the heretic entrap you by bringing examples from the Scriptures. The devil makes use of the testimony of the Scriptures not to teach but to deceive." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"Men of perverse sects indeed cannot bear what is found in Holy Scripture concerning the Catholic faith, as we cannot bear their sacrilegious vanities; for not to bear means not to acquiesce in." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"But it is most unbecoming to pass by, in ignorance or contempt, the excellent work which Catholics have left in abundance, and to have recourse to the works of non-Catholics - and to seek in them, to the detriment of sound doctrine and often to the peril of faith, the explanation of passages on which Catholics long ago have successfully employed their talent and their labor. For although the studies of non-Catholics, used with prudence, may sometimes be of use to the Catholic student, he should, nevertheless, bear well in mind - as the Fathers also teach in numerous passages - that the sense of Holy Scripture can nowhere be found incorrupt outside of the Church, and cannot be expected to be found in writers who, being without the true faith, only gnaw the bark of the Sacred Scripture, and never attain its pith." (Pope Leo XIII, "Providentissimus Deus", 1893)

"We must also be wary of those who publish the Bible with new interpretations contrary to the Church's laws. They skillfully distort the meaning by their own interpretation. They print the Bibles in the vernacular and, absorbing an incredible expense, offer them free even to the uneducated. Furthermore, the Bibles are rarely without perverse little inserts to insure that the reader imbibes their lethal poison instead of the saving water of salvation. Long ago the Apostolic See warned about this serious hazard to the faith and drew up a list of the authors of these pernicious notions. The rules of this Index were published by the Council of Trent; the ordinance required that translations of the Bible into the vernacular not be permitted without the approval of the Apostolic See and further required that they be published with commentaries from the Fathers. The sacred Synod of Trent had decreed in order to restrain impudent characters, that no one, relying on his own prudence in matters of faith and of conduct which concerns Christian doctrine, might twist the sacred Scriptures to his own opinion, or to an opinion contrary to that of the Church or the popes. Though such machinations against the Catholic faith had been assailed long ago by these canonical proscriptions, Our recent predecessors made a special effort to check these spreading evils. With these arms may you too strive to fight the battles of the Lord which endanger the sacred teachings, lest this deadly virus spread in your flock." (Pope Pius VIII, "Traditi Humilitati", 1829) 

"Here, possibly, some one may ask, Do heretics also appeal to Scripture? They do indeed, and with a vengeance; for you may see them scamper through every single book of Holy Scripture - through the books of Moses, the books of Kings, the Psalms, the Epistles, the Gospels, the Prophets. Whether among their own people, or among strangers, in private or in public, in speaking or in writing, at convivial meetings, or in the streets, hardly ever do they bring forward anything of their own which they do not endeavor to shelter under words of Scripture. Read the works of Paul of Samosata, of Priscillian, of Eunomius, of Jovinian, and the rest of those pests, and you will see an infinite heap of instances, hardly a single page, which does not bristle with plausible quotations from the New Testament or the Old. But the more secretly they conceal themselves under shelter of the Divine Law, so much the more are they to be feared and guarded against. For they know that the evil stench of their doctrine will hardly find acceptance with any one if it be exhaled pure and simple. They sprinkle it over, therefore, with the perfume of heavenly language, in order that one who would be ready to despise human error, may hesitate to condemn divine words. They do, in fact, what nurses do when they would prepare some bitter draught for children; they smear the edge of the cup all round with honey, that the unsuspecting child, having first tasted the sweet, may have no fear of the bitter. So too do these act, who disguise poisonous herbs and noxious juices under the names of medicines, so that no one almost, when he reads the label, suspects the poison... Heretics, in quoting Scripture, follow the example of the Devil. But some one will say, What proof have we that the Devil is wont to appeal to Holy Scripture? Let him read the Gospels wherein it is written, 'Then the Devil took Him (the Lord the Savior) and set Him upon a pinnacle of the Temple, and said unto Him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee, that they may keep thee in all thy ways: In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest perchance thou dash thy foot against a stone.' What sort of treatment must men, insignificant wretches that they are, look for at the hands of him who assailed even the Lord of Glory with quotations from Scripture? 'If thou be the Son of God,' saith he, 'cast thy self down.' Wherefore? 'For,' saith he, 'it is written.' It behooves us to pay special attention to this passage and bear it in mind, that, warned by so important an instance of Evangelical authority, we may be assured beyond doubt, when we find people alleging passages from the Apostles or Prophets against the Catholic Faith, that the Devil speaks through their mouths. For as then the Head spoke to the Head, so now also the members speak to the members, the members of the Devil to the members of Christ, misbelievers to believers, sacrilegious to religious, in one word, Heretics to Catholics." (St. Vincent of Lerins)

Also See: Misinterpretation of Scripture | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations | Biblical Societies Condemned | Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

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Those Who Deny the Supernatural in Holy Scripture

"If anyone says that all miracles are impossible, and that therefore all reports of them, even those contained in Sacred Scripture, are to be set aside as fables or myths; or that miracles can never be known with certainty, nor can the divine origin of the Christian religion be proved from them: let him be anathema." (First Vatican Council)

Also See: Modernists / Scripture | Those Who Reject Scripture | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error

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Those Who Reject Scripture

If anyone, however, should not accept the said books as sacred and canonical, entire with all their parts, as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate edition, and if anyone should knowingly and deliberately he should condemn the aforesaid traditions let him be anathema. (Council of Trent, 1546 A.D.)  

"If any one shall not receive as sacred and canonical the books of Holy Scripture entire with all their parts, as the holy synod of Trent has enumerated them, or shall deny that they have been divinely inspired; let him be anathema." (Vatican Council I, 1870 A.D.)

Also See: Those Outside the Church / Scripture | Those Who Venerate Other 'Scriptures' | Importance of Scripture | Praise / Benefits of Scripture | Modernists / Scripture | Test of Faith / Holy Scripture | Written / Oral Tradition | Old / New Testament | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Scripture Transcends Science | Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

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Those Who Venerate Other 'Scriptures'

"If anyone either believes that any scriptures, except those which the Catholic Church has received, ought to be held in authority or venerates them...let him be anathema." (Creed of the Council of Toledo, 400/447 A.D.)

Also See: Canon of Scripture | Those Outside the Church / Scripture | Those Who Reject Scripture | Importance of Scripture | Test of Faith / Holy Scripture | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | The Church Existed Before the Bible | Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

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Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations

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The Vulgate

"[St. Jerome's] unceasing reading of the Bible and his painstaking study of each book - nay, of every phrase and word - gave him a knowledge of the text such as no other ecclesiastical writer of old possessed. It is due to this familiarity with the text and to his own acute judgment that the Vulgate version Jerome made is, in the judgment of all capable men, preferable to any other ancient version, since it appears to give us the sense of the original more accurately and with greater elegance than they. The said Vulgate, 'approved by so many centuries of use in the Church' was pronounced by the Council of Trent 'authentic,' and the same Council insisted that it was to be used in teaching and in the liturgy" (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920 A.D.)

"If any one should not receive as sacred and canonical the entire books with all their parts, as they are wont to be read in the Catholic Church and are contained in the old Vulgate Latin edition, and if anyone should knowingly and of set purpose despise the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod taking into consideration that no small benefit can accrue to the Church of God, if it be made known which one of all the Latin editions of the sacred books which are in circulation is to be considered authentic, has decided and declares that the said old Vulgate edition, which has been approved by the Church itself through long usage for so many centuries in public lectures, disputations, sermons, and expositions, be considered authentic, and that no one under any pretext whatsoever dare or presume to reject it." (Council of Trent, 1546 A.D.)

"But that the Synod of Trent wished the Vulgate to be the Latin version 'which all should use as authentic,' applies, as all know, to the Latin Church only, and to the public use of Scripture, and does not diminish the authority and force of the early texts. For at that time no consideration was being given to early texts, but to the Latin versions which were being circulated at that time, among which the Council decreed that that version was rightly to be preferred which was approved by the long use of so many centuries within the Church. So this eminent authority of the Vulgate, or, as it is expressed, authenticity, was established by the Council not especially for critical reasons, but rather because of its authorized use in the Church continued through the course of so many centuries; and by this use it is demonstrated that this text, as the Church has understood and understands, in matters of faith and morals is entirely free of error, so that, on the testimony and confirmation of the Church herself, in discussions, quotations, and meetings it can be cited safely and without danger of error; and accordingly such authenticity is expressed primarily not by the term critical but rather juridical. Therefore, this authority of the Vulgate in matters of doctrine does not at all prevent - rather it almost demands today - this same doctrine being called upon for help, whereby the correct meaning of Sacred Scripture may daily be made clearer and be better explained. And not even this is prohibited by the decree of the Council of Trent, namely, that for the use and benefit of the faithful in Christ and for the easier understanding of divine works translations be made into common languages; and these, too, from the early texts, as we know has already been praiseworthily done with the approval of the authority of the Church in many regions." (Pope Pius XII, "Divino afflante Spiritu", September 30, 1943 A.D.)

Also See: Canon of Scripture | Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Septuagint | St. Jerome / Holy Scripture | Those Who Venerate Other 'Scriptures' | Vernacular Translations / Faulty Translations | Written / Oral Tradition

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Written / Oral Tradition

Also See: Traditional Catholic (Topic Page)

"Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." (St. Paul, 2 Thes. 2:15)

"The other matters I shall set in order when I come." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11:34)

"Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face so that our joy may be complete." (St. John, 2 Jn. 1:12)

"Catholics hold that the apostles made over the divine revelation to the generation after them, not only in writing, but by word of mouth, and in the ritual of the Church. We consider that the New Testament is not the whole of what they left us; that they left us a number of doctrines, not in writing at all, but living in the minds and mouths of the faithful." (Cardinal Newman)

"It is not necessary that all the divine words have an allegorical meaning. Consideration and perception is needed in order to know the meaning of the argument of each. It is needful also to make use of Tradition; for not everything can be gotten from Sacred Scripture. The holy Apostles handed down some things in the Scriptures, other things in Tradition." (St. Epiphanius of Salamis, circa 374 A.D.)

"Tradition is more extensive than Sacred Scripture... revelation is contained not only in sacred Scripture but also in tradition." (Wiltgen)

"Now the Evangelists are silent as to the greater part of Christ's teaching; for whereas He preached for the space nearly of three years, all the teaching which they have written down would scarcely, one might say, suffice for the discourse of a single day. For out of a great many things extracting a few, they have given only a taste as it were of the sweetness of His teaching." (St. Theophylact)

"Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of devotion and reverence... Sacred tradition and sacred scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, which is committed to the Church." (Second Vatican Council)

"...the Church defined its doctrine by tradition, not sola scriptura (by Scripture alone) - to adopt the rallying cry of a controversy that would rend the Church a millennium and a half later. When Apostles like Paul - whose letters pre-date the written Gospels - refer to Scripture, they refer to what Christians now call the Old Testament. The early tradition of the Church was oral rather than written, and the New Testament writings are, as Father Philip Hughes notes 'supplementary to the basic knowledge which they presuppose.' The Biblical canon of what was true, valuable, binding, and instructive took centuries to compile and assess. The Bible as we have it today assumed its general form by the end of the second century. The canon of St. Athanasius was agreed upon by the end of the fourth century and became the definitive, authoritative canon for the Western Church with Pope Innocent I's approval of it in 405." (Crocker) 

"The sacred and holy ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, with the same three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, keeping this constantly in view, that with the abolishing of errors, the purity itself of the Gospel is preserved in the Church, which promised before through the Prophets in the Holy Scriptures our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded 'to be preached' by His apostles 'to every creature' as the source of every saving truth and of instruction in morals [Matt. 28:19 ff., Mark 16:15], and [the Synod] clearly perceiving that this truth and instruction are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which have been received by the apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the apostles themselves, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit, have come down even to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand, [the Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and holds in veneration with an equal affection of piety and reverence all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament, since one God is the author or both, and also the traditions themselves, those that appertain both to faith and to morals, as having been dictated either by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. (Council of Trent, 1546 A.D.)

Also See: The Church Existed Before the Bible | The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching | Non-Catholics Section (apologetics) | Latin Mass/Catholic Tradition Section

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