Trust in Him

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Interpretation of the Scriptures

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?”

The Catholic Church utilizes both the Bible and Tradition in her teachings, a characteristic that makes her different from other Christian and non-christian churches. As Catholics we are blessed with a guide, a teacher to explain to us what we should believe and why. As humans we are intelligent, with complex minds that need to be cultivated and nurtured so that they can grow maturely. Often our understanding is weak and fragile, and a few doubts pounding on a poor foundation will drive us astray. Thousands of interpretation of any given passage of the Bible mean nothing to us unless we can trust that the person who has interpreted them for us speaks with the mouth of God. Jesus has given us this assurance in His Church, and has sent many wise saints in addition to this to explain our faith to us.

We cannot expect to always understand the scriptures, and we must not be angry with ourselves when we interpret them wrongly. We should approach the scriptures understanding that there is always the mystery, something we don't understand, and then we should pray that God will fill us with His Holy Spirit so that we can, in some small way, come to understand His words. We should always read the Bible prayerfully, and with reverence to what is being spoken. If God is foremost in our minds, and we allow Him to speak to our hearts, we are less likely to miss interpret His words.

God has granted the Church apostles, fathers, doctors, and saints. These wise men and women have written many books explaining how we are to interpret the scripture, and 2,000 years of Catholic Tradition supports them. Christ, who guides His Church from above, has promised that she will not mislead us. Therefore, we must trust her and those who teach us, and seek the truth of God's word in them. The proverbs teach us that if we listen to the words of the wise, and keep the company of knowledgeable men, then we will grow wise and knowledgeable ourselves. Therefore, be careful with your own minds and ask Jesus to place a steady sense of truth in you, so that you may understand the scriptures when you study them and when they are explained to you by others.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! We are given much freedom by the Church to ponder and bring Scripture into our lives, but if our thoughts or interpretation are in direct opposition to Church teaching, then we need to have a rethink. Thanks for the reminder :)