Catholics scoff at Private Interpretation or the Protestant idea that the Bible is the only authority in religion, because the Bible could not be read by the public until the invention of printing which made Bibles more available. Until then Bibles were hand-written and expensive and too valuable to be handled by just anybody. But the inaccessibility is not the Bible’s fault. If the Bible alone rules then you can’t follow what anybody says about it but must go to the book itself. If the Church really believed that, she would make theologians of everybody so that they could go to the magisterium or dogma-maker of the Church instead of listening to people who do it for them to avoid people following interpretations of the word of God rather than the word of God.

Obviously, if this print argument against the Bible as the only rule of faith is right, then these apostles who invented the principle of Bible alone did not expect Christians to outnumber copies of the Bible. They believed the Church would never end on earth so they must have expected the end of the world to be just some years, or less, away. The Protestant revival of the Bible-only doctrine would prove the dishonesty of the so-called reformers for they only had to open their eyes to see that it was wrong. But the argument is wrong for Private Interpretation applies to those who know the Bible and not just to those who read it. Hearing the Bible read would not stop you from interpreting it for yourself. The Church always read the Bible to the people and quoted it in her books. The argument that the people could not have had no Bibles and so private interpretation had to be wrong is dishonest.

If the Church kept the Bible from the people it is no disproof of private interpretation for that was not what God intended and not his fault. Without printing the essential portions of the Bible could have been written on stone in every diocese so that everybody could read or have them read out.

“If God intended the Bible to be the sole rule of Faith - as Faith is necessary for salvation and as God “wishes all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of truth” - His divine providence should have secured:

1st. That every man should have become possessed of a Bible.
2nd. That every man should know that his was a copy of the Bible.
3rd. That each one should be certain that he rightly interpreted his Bible.
4th. That the adoption of the Bible, as the sole Rule of Faith, should conduce to unity of Faith, purity of morals, and the promotion of Divine Worship.

But as the Providence of God has not secured any of these results, we legitimately conclude that the Bible is not the Sole Rule of Faith, for all men could not become possessed of a Bible” (page 15, 16, Lectures and Replies). But the same author would hypocritically reject the argument, “If God meant all to be Christians he would have made sure that all men at least heard of Christ.” His Catholicism would tell him that God wants the whole world won for Christ.

This argument contradicts itself. He quotes the Bible as saying that God wants all to know the truth. In that case, even if it is not enough on its own everybody should and would have a copy if his first deduction is correct. His objection does not work and denies that the Bible has ANY authority at all. Though books were cheap in the Roman Empire (page xx, Roman Catholic Claims) they would still have been too expensive and hard to provide for nearly every family.

The Catholic Church holds that the Bible cannot be enough for you because you need another authority to tell you that it is God’s word. Bible Christians claim that reason and investigation does that but Catholics want you to think it is the allegedly infallible Catholic Church though then they would say that the Church reasoned its way to the belief it declared infallible. The second deduction is a lie for both sides use reason. Or is the Archbishop saying that since the Church has done the thinking for us we know the Bible is true? That is wrong and dangerous. And the Bible forbids it for the Bible itself is saying that we must come to it and see that it is the word of the Lord.

The Catholic Church has infallibly interpreted only seven brief texts of the Bible (page 8-9, How to Interpret the Bible). The Catholic is as free as a Protestant with regard to the rest. The Church raises a storm about private interpretation for nothing. What is the point of it when there are only seven paltry texts that have been infallibly interpreted? It is wrong to say that if the Bible alone were the authority we would have an infallible interpretation of it. You can make mistakes in interpreting the interpretation so mistakes cannot be completely avoided. Therefore, the Bible could be the only authority if mistakes about it are made. And more so if it is up to God to help you interpret.

There is one true and logical interpretation (naturally the simplest one) of the Bible and if we do not find it we have not tried hard enough so it is laziness that is to blame for error and church splits and not the Bible.

If the Bible can’t be supreme authority because it led to disunity then it can’t be an authority at all when the Catholic Church is full of schisms with each group saying it is the true Church and that Catholicism is schismatic.  The Catholic Church broke with Christian tradition to turn the pope into a ruler over the Church for Jesus.


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