Who has the authority to decern what the bible really teaches?

by TTWSYF 19 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • cofty

    There is no such book as the bible.

    It is a random collection of books written by multiple authors. They lived in a superstitious pre-scientific world. Some of them had the moral sense of an ISIS warlord. They taught the virtue of genocide, slavery, forced marriage, rape and wholesale baby-murdering.

    Arguments about what it all "means" has been the cause of so much hostility in the history of the world. It doesn't "mean" anything.

  • Divergent


    Given that the Bible is "God's Word," one can only know what the Bible teaches by asking God. Surely, if the Bible is in fact a book authored by God, it is logical that if He would want it understood, HE would somehow communicate with anyone that truly wanted to understand it. Any claim of authority to interpret the BIble must be verified by its author and only with such evidence could one really know and personally conclude who is authorized to interpret the Bible.

    The author is SILENT. If he really wanted it to be understood, then he's doing a pretty shitty job

  • fukitol

    You should have spelt 'discern' correctly in your OP, then the average JW lurker might show you some initial respect. Lazy and sloppy.

    Otherwise, I agree 100% with Cofty's post.

  • Hernandez

    Cold Steel,

    While what I wrote might seem like it isn’t what the Catholic Church teaches, I can assure you that it is.

    I had a friend who was also an ex-JW join the Church recently, and at first it was hard for him to accept the view that the Catholic Church really views Biblical interpretation this way. Having spent years and years of reading what the Watchtower had to say about Catholic, of pulling just the right “blurb” from a Catholic source to make the JW argument sound convincing, my friend still had a hard time believing what he was hearing directly from the Catholic Church. “It took a few years even after I came in to believe that what the Church was telling me about itself was true,” he told me not too long ago, “but eventually I stopped seeing my new religion with the skepticism that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had endowed me with.”

    The Catholic Church does indeed provide help, of course, to aid Bible readers. Along with access to the Church Fathers and the doctrinal teaching from the Catechism, the Church advocates access to the latest in critical scholarship. The NABRE translation, the official Catholic version used in the United States, has a very in-depth critical footnote apparatus for this very reason.

    In answer to the common view often advanced by Jehovah’s Witnesses and others about Biblical interpretation among Catholics, the website Catholic Answers had this to say:

    “So far as the interpretations of individual scriptural passages go, keep in mind that the Church does not, as a rule, define how specific verses are to be taken. Instead, it defines doctrine, and that definition may eliminate some interpretations of particular verses….

    Only seven passages of Scripture have had their senses partially—but not fully—defined by the extraordinary magisterium. These definitions were made by the Council of Trent…

    • The reference to being "born of water and the Spirit" in John 3:5 includes the idea of baptism.
    • In telling the apostles, "Do this [the Eucharist] in memory of me" in Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:24, Jesus appointed the apostles priests.
    • In Matthew 18:18 and John 20:22–23, Jesus conferred on the apostles the power to forgive sins; everyone does not share this power.
    • Romans 5:12 refers to the reality of original sin.
    • The presbyters referred to in James 5:14 are ordained, not merely elder members of the Christian community.”

    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has this to on their website about interpreting the Bible for oneself. Mary Elizabeth Sperry, Associate Director for Utilization of the New American Bible, writes:

    “The Bible is not addressed only to long-dead people in a faraway land. It is addressed to each of us in our own unique situations. When we read, we need to understand what the text says and how the faithful have understood its meaning in the past. In light of this understanding, we then ask: What is God saying to me?”

    You are correct that reading the Bible in such a way as to ignore the great help you can get from others is a mistake, but in the end Catholics believe God speaks to you, personally, in the pages of the Bible. You have not only the authority and the ability to hear what God is saying to you in the pages of Scripture, you have the responsibility to listen to what that message being said directly to you is.

    This may seem very alien to people who have for most of their lives heard only the Watchtower story about how Catholics read the Bible. Remember, whether it is about Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and definitely when it comes to talking about its own ex-members and agnostics and atheists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses outright lie and spread falsehoods far worse than what they claim the world does.

  • sparrowdown

    My take on this question is this.

    The bible is a book, read it if you like and make of it what you will.

    But, never ever give over your right to think critically and for yourself on the thoughts, observations and accounts contained in it. And, never ever give authority to any person or group to make personal life decisions for you based on what they think the bible says. And never ever give money to any person or group who claims to have authority from God to think for you.

    And finally NEVER EVER believe any person or group who claims to speak for God.

  • smiddy

    If an Almighty God was really the authour of the many books of the Bible ,how is it that Moses was the first one to put anything in writing , 2000 years after the event of creation.? Maybe thats why Genesis 1 & 2 have differences about creation ,God had a seniors moment informing Moses.to its accuracy.

  • Fernando

    In my experience God speaks directly to each of all the time.

    We hear or experience this as an inner knowing.

    The best tool or framework for tuning in it seems is the liberating gospel of grace.

    The best tool or framework for tuning out it seems is religion (Matt 23 esp v15).

  • cofty
    God speaks directly to each of all the time

    This is a common - and egocentric - delusion.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Who has the authority to decern what the bible really teaches? - anybody who can read it.

  • Ding

    Pray for understanding and read it yourself rather than relying on some "faithful and discrete slave," "prophet," or other "expert" to tell you what it means.

    No matter how long you read the Bible, you won't understand everything.

    No one does.

    But you can understand enough to get the basics.

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