Friday, April 29, 2016

QUOTATION: Interpreting Scripture

St. Thomas More

God's precepts will never be obeyed if every man may boldly devise for himself a conscience based on a commentary on God's Word that he's crafted himself, according to his own fantasies. For in this matter--in which people justify their private devotions--these word of the Scripture are proved true "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end leads to hell" (see Proverbs 14:12).

If a man should doubt his knowledge and understanding of anything written in the Scripture, he's not wise, then, to take upon himself the authority to interpret, boldly depending on his own mind. Instead, he should depend on the interpretation of the holy teachers and the saints of old, and on the interpretation that's been received and allowed by the universal Church through which the Scripture has come into our hands and has been delivered to us in the first place. And without the Church, as St. Augustine says, we couldn't know which books are Holy Scripture.

 If a man won't take the teachings of the Catholic faith as a rule of interpretation when he studies the Scripture--but instead, being distrustful, studies the Scripture to find whether or not the faith of the Church is true--he cannot fail to fall into errors.

--St Thomas More, A Dialogue Concerning Heresies