Saturday, January 29, 2011

"But I need to read the Bible in the original languages"

This is the common cry of heretics far and wide, who would deny practically every doctrine of Christ, in the name of private interpretation and understanding of the Scriptures.  But there are a great number of problems with this position.

Before I get into what these problems are, I will state right at the beginning that I realize that heretics who feel this way, for the most part will probably not acknowledge these problems, or at the very least they will trivialize them, and will say that my arguments from Scripture "may or may not" be valid, since they have yet to read them in the original language.  Indeed their position is one of arbitrariness, in which they can reject anything and profess anything they want to, because "who really knows" if the original language texts they are looking at are truly authentic?  They can hold off on believing anything at all, so long as they can claim that they do not believe the verse or passage of Scripture quoted to present the same meaning as it did originally.

The problem with "but I need to read the Bible in the original languages" is that it inevitably leads to private interpretation of Scripture, which although not altogether forbidden by the Church, is definitely forbidden insofar as such interpretation would contradict those doctrines and dogmas that the Church has authoritatively settled and declared (Council of Trent, Session the Fourth).

So when these people privately interpret such and such a passage contrary to the sense that Holy Mother Church held and holds, they are indeed contradicting the very Scriptures themselves, wherein it is written:

2nd Thessalonians 2:14: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle."

This passage would be meaningless if one were permitted to reject the doctrinal traditions handed down by the Apostles and their successors in the Church.

But too many heretics allow themselves to be blinded by sin and wind up misapplying the words of the same Apostle, who said also:

Colossians 2:8: "Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy, and vain deceit; according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ:"

He was evidently not contradicting himself, as anyone who is intellectually honest will recognize, but rather he was stating that those traditions which contradict the ones he referred to in 2nd Thessalonians are to be rejected as being not according to Christ.

He is so adamant about the traditions of the Apostles and their successors that he even goes so far as to exhort the faithful to have nothing to do with anyone who should withdraw from or reject these Apostolic traditions:

2nd Thessalonians 3:6: "And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us."

Therefore it can be easily concluded that one of the traditions of men, which the Apostle warned against was that of complaining "but I need to read the Bible in the ORIGINAL languages" and rejecting the doctrine of the Church under this pretense.

2nd St. Peter 1:20: "Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation."

2nd St. Peter 3:16: "As also in all his [St. Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction."

There is no hope of any degree of unity of Faith (Ephesians 4:5, 1 Corinthians 12:25, Romans 15:5-6, etc.) when men take license to reinterpret the Scriptures according to what they believe are the original texts.  In doing this, they nullify centuries of constant Catholic doctrine, including that of the Fathers of the Church, who learned from the Apostles themselves, favouring of their own inventions.  They ignore the fact that world renowned scholars and saints have already dedicated their lives to this work - and this ages before our present day - and they did this very well according to well reasoned, wise and prudent methodologies.

Essentially, those who make the claim that the Church's duly approved translations of the Scriptures are insufficient or inadequate for teaching and defending the true meaning of the supernatural revelation of God, are stating that right doctrine not only cannot now be known from these same translations, but even that great early Christian scholars and philosophers such as Saints Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Augustine, Jerome, etc. (who had access to the original languages) not only failed to grasp and convey the true meaning of Scripture in their writings, but have even (unanimously!) perverted it.

Yes, it is completely absurd, but it is the only position they can take if they want to argue against the plain and simple truth that the Bible teaches what the Catholic Church teaches.

In the end, "but I need to read the Bible in original languages", is just another way of saying "I'm better and smarter than all the Christians of the early Church and throughout the ages".  That is pride and it is of the devil and by it you will dive head first into hell.

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