a forum post...on the Church and the Bible
[...], I always welcome your comments. Thank you----surprisingly, I have not received the same information from RCIA that you have shared here. Perhaps you should teach our class. [smile]
Catholicism is not based on interpretation of Scripture? This is the first I have heard of that fact. I thought that ALL religions were based upon scripture. And that the Catholic Church was the first ----the others followed after the Reformation. Didn't all Christian religions begin with Jesus? I mean, that's why we call it "Christianity." Isn't it? Perhaps this is what is meant when I hear reference to the Catholic Church being based upon not scripture alone, but "tradition" [for lack of a better word] as well. And that perpetual association in the comment is often hear---"but you are a Christian, why do you want to be Catholic?
Doctrine? Isn't that what scripture is based upon? So in essence, the Catholic Church is based on scripture. Right? And isn't the Word of God---scripture? Isn't Jesus, the Word of God? So how can the Catholic Church not be based upon scripture? I'm a little confused now. How did I miss getting this message?
If this is true, then this explains why so many people have commented to me about their concerns that I am associated with a religion that is true to scripture. Oh help! I'm ready to be a hermit somewhere living in a kibbutz, just reading my Bible, praying everyday and saying to hell with organized religion and people in general. Forgive me, [...], this frustration isn't directed at you----just my frustration in everyone's---and yes, I do mean to generalize here---everyone's exclusivity in having all the answers. I can't wait until Christ returns-just so he can remind us what the questions were. I think we have forgotten them-somewhere along the way. Do you mind explaining a little further ---and elaborating on the information you gave in your last message. I really want to understand. Thank you. ^i^

Would you say---[...] or anyone---that this information on this site is an accurate representation of the Catholic Church's origins?
Origins of the Catholic Church

I'll pose this question to anyone, although I hope that [......] will comment. [hope I didn't leave anyone out] Please look at this site. Review some of the information. I just found it this morning while doing a search. Do you think it offers good, solid information on some of the issues and concerns I have expressed in this thread? Do you think that it would be a good site to forward to my minister friend? I'm not trying to convert him---or ever get him to agree with me on all these fundamental differences---but I would like for him to "consider" some of the issues that are expressed on this website. It makes sense to me. Also, I want to feel more confident in my conversion journey. What do you think? I would appreciate your "two cents"---or even a dollar's worth if you prefer. [smile] Thank you for your time. ^i^
The Apologists' Network--We CAN answer


Scripture is considered by the Catholic Church, to be "our most sacred family heirloom". We give it much reverence because within it is the revelation given in Jesus Christ. And I didn't mean to convey the idea that the Church ignores Scripture - it certainly does not. Let me see if I can explain any better than I have (I'm praying that God will grant me the wisdom to explain this clearly.)

I am not saying that Catholicism is not based in Scripture, but rather, I am saying that Catholicism does not start from an interpretation of Scripture. These other denominations start from an interpretation of Scripture.

Catholicism began on Pentecost, 33 A.D. The doctrines taught were that which had been given, by teaching and example, by Jesus. The only Scripture that existed was the Old Testament; which the Apostles used to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. But, when it came to "teaching all that was commanded", the Apostles did not have Scripture - Jesus taught many new things, some which may have been similar to "Old Covenant" things, but we given new meaning and significance. Because the Apostles did not have Scripture to go on, the things they were teaching was not based on an interpretation of Scripture - it was based on the Word of God, Jesus.

In the 390s to early 410s (Councils of Rome, Hippo and Carthage), the Church took many writings of Apostles and disciples, which were being read and taught of in Catholic churches throughout. Some writings were deemed to not be authentic and containing things that were not in keeping with the doctrine of Jesus, the doctrine of the Church. Other writings (those contained in the New Testament today) were deemed to be authentic and, in fact, inspired by God, in keeping with the doctrine of Jesus, the doctrine of the Church. This determination that these things were faithful to the Word of God could only be made by ones knowing the Word of God. These writings were interpreted before ever being included in Scripture.
Now, as we see the rise of Protestantism - with Martin Luther - we see the popularization of interpreting Scripture based on Scripture, without the traditional understanding. Whereas the Church used interpretation of the documents to determine whether they were inspired and belonged to Scripture - based on doctrine - we now have interpretation of Scripture used to create doctrine. This is what separates Catholicism from the various Protestant denominations. And it's a very important distinction.

Why is this distinction important? It is important because this gave rise to people not necessarily considering the original meaning and intent of the writings - nor the historical interpretation (from the beginning), but rather making their own determination on meaning and intent, which they deemed correct simply because the outside cover said "Holy Bible". They departed from those things used to determine whether that which they were reading were inspired by God, sometimes without thinking of the consequences of such - if one leaves the interprettion, is one leaving the truth of the Scriptures as well? With this new interpretation, is one causing need to re-evaluate the whole of Scripture - what books belong and what books don't?
This the reason it is said that you must accept the Church and the Bible - Both or Neither.

Hope I've made this a little clearer. If not, let me know what part you don't understand (I'm at work right now, and it's a bit difficult to concentrate wholly on this important subject. - I may have more to say on this later.)

God bless, [...]

[...], [...]'s statement is correct. The Church picked the books to the New Testement on the basis of the beliefs of the Church. If a particular book didn't conform to the beliefs of the Church, the book was rejected from the Canon (remember we didn't have a New Testement canon for over 300 years). The Church's beliefs didn't begin when the Bible was canonized and then intepretted from there .... rather, the books to the Bible were chosen because of the Church's beliefs. Does that make sense to you ... or did I confuse you more?

[...]--thanks again. I too am working and would like a chance to print this out and to digest all of it before questioning further. Perhaps I can respond this weekend. Thanks again. ^i^

[...]---do you didn't confuse me---just gave me more to digest. I will respond later---I need to collect my thoughts so I don't waste your time---or space in this thread. ;) Thanks--- Later. ^i^

[...] ... that website gets a rating of "A" for fidelity, "A" for resources, & "B" for implementation from the Petersnet's site ratings. I have alot of confidence in Petersnet ratings, so I think it would be a good choice for your friend to look at. Catholic Apologetics Network - Petersnet review

Great [...]! Yes, it is important to understand that the Church 'gave birth' to the Bible as we know it, not vice versa. Sacred Scripture is the most important part of our written Tradition. The Church however is a living, growing organism (a body & a Bride) which, as you said, began as a result of the first nine day novena, after the Ascension, at which Jesus promised his disciples he would send a new Paraclete to teach them all truth.

We are safe with the 'sources' mentioned in earlier threads. Everything should be in harmony with them. As for the sites you cite [...], I would use them in your discussions but at least one of them would not be very attractive to a confident evangelical (strong language etc.), so I would think twice before referring him to the actual site. Mho.

I have a question. How many people here are aware of the differences in the Catholic Bible and other Bibles? The Catholic Bible contains several books that many Protestants don't acknowledge as Scripture (i.e. The Book of Wisdom). Now the Anglican Bible contains these same books but they are condensed into one section called the Apocrypha. That's all I know...if anybody would like to ellaborate further on that subject I'm sure we could all benefit from it. Peace.

The Catholic Encyclopdia has a fairly good, if rather long, article on the development of the NT.


In brief, The NT was not officially established until Trent. the earliest determination was by Iraneaus, in his Against Heresies - For this and other documents, check


As an aside - it's curious that the Protestant reformers did not like strong women stories such as Judith and Esther.

[...], the word "apocrypha" really means false; and there are books, such as the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, Gospel of Peter, etc that have been deemed by the Church to be "apocryphal". These books that Protestants consider to be "apocryphal" are considered "deutercanonical" by the Church.
The following definitions are found in a web document called: The Canon of the Bible

The protocanonical (from the Greek proto meaning first) books are those books of the Bible that were admitted into the canon of the Bible with little or no debate (e.g., the Pentateuch of the Old Testament and the Gospels)

The deuterocanonical (from the Greek deutero meaning second) books are those books of the Bible that were under discussion for a while until doubts about their canonicity were resolved (e.g., Sirach and Baruch of the Old Testament, and the Johannine epistles of the New Testament).

The apocryphal (from the Greek apokryphos meaning hidden) books have multiple meanings:
a complimentary meaning - that the sacred books were too exalted for the general public;
pejorative meaning - that the orthodoxy of the books were questioned;
heretical meaning - that the books were forbidden to be read; and lastly
neutral meaning - simply noncanonical books, the meaning the word has today.

Another word, pseudepigrapha (from the Greek meaning false writing) is used for works clearly considered to be false.

Also, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong - himself a convert to Catholicism (his story is in "Surprised by Truth" by Patrick Madrid) has many links on this issue of the CANON OF THE BIBLE AND THE APOCRYPHA
Hope that helps...

God bless, [...]

[...], it should be noted that, while you are certainly correct in stating that Trent was the official establishment - in it's fullest and most definitive sense - the Councils of Rome, Hippo and Carthage set out those books which were to be considered part of the Old and New Testaments in 382, 393, and 397, respectively.

God bless, [...]

Cool...Thanks, [...]. :-)

I looked at your initial site, [...]. (Origins of the Catholic Church). I admit "speed reading" it, but it appears to present things appropriately; though there are some concepts I'm not readily familiar with.
I'll let the Catholic Apologists Network rest on PetersNet's ratings. As Martin stated, they have tended to be a good gauge(sp?). I'd stick with the C.A.N. and PetersNet recommended sites.

God bless, [...]

Another excellent tract on the Books of the bible" is John Hellman's site: The Books of the Bible

His homepage is at Defending the Bride

Good stuff all the way around guys. I would add that the celebration of the Mass, the Sacraments of Baptism, Anointing of Sick, Holy Orders, and Marriage were all in place in early ltiurgical forms before the writng of the last Gospel, John. Also as a later development that still has its place in the early church was the sacrament of Confirmation. Bishops, Deacons, and later Presbyters, the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church were all in place well before we had even began to address which Scriptures were canonical. An interesting piece of history that many of our Protestant Bothers and Sisters tend to ignore in the defence of Sola Scriptura.

GREAT posts, guys. I even made my husband read all of this information!! Thanks!

Brevard Childs is professor of Old Testament studies at The Divinity School, Yale University. In his "Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture" he argues strongly for the cannonical approach to scripture study - the study of the interpretation of the text as it was understood and used by a worshipping community. He put the argument foward with respect to Old Testament exegesis; I think it applies equally to the New Testament. An the Catholic Church is the worshipping community that has continuously interpreted it since it's authorship.

One other thought: There is little difference of opinion between Catholic Biblical scholars and the Biblical scholars associated with the major Protestant semenaries such as Union, Harvard and Yale. Where there is dissagreement, the disagreement does not follow denominational lines.