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Reading the Scriptures (1)

"Catholics never read the Bible" (said to me by a Presbyterian friend a few months before I converted).

"Protestants spend way too much time reading the Scriptures" (said to me by a Catholic friend a few months after I converted).

They were both true, and they were both false. They were both true because Catholics do not spend enough time reading the Scriptures, and Protestants have an improper obsession with the Scriptures. They were both false because Catholics do read the Scriptures (in every single Mass), and Protestants do not spend more time than they should reading Scripture (they just do not understand how to spend that time so much is wasted).

Interpreting Scripture has a lot to do with how we read them. Do we look at the Word of God as though it were a code book with a bunch of secrets that we need to decipher? Or, do we look at the Word of God as a collection of divinely inspired documents that were written on specific occasions with a specific (and limited) purpose in writing?

The first perspective (that of Protestant theology) presumes that God wanted everything that we need to be found only in Scripture (which even Scripture itself does not claim!). The second perspective (that of Catholic theology) presumes that God gave us these particular books in order to have a source for the Church to use to guide us in our pursuit of Divine truth; two very different ways of viewing the Bible, which end up in two very different ways of interpreting it.


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