Catholic Bible Study: Difference between Catholics and Protestants

by Steve Ray on September 9, 2015

Protestant “Bible Christians” (a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises:

1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone;
2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own pope; (However, no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation 2 Pet 1:21).
3. The Bible is perspicuous (i.e., easy to understand) and it can be interpreted and understood by anyone.
4. An individual can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves.

Catholics (the original and consistent Bible Christians) have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85?88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15?16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20?21).

These basic differences place the Catholic and Protestant worlds apart even though they are opening the pages of the same book and accepting it as an authoritative revelation from God.

The Catholic position is biblical, and has been espoused from the first days of the Church. The Protestant position is unbiblical (assumed from their tradition) and is of recent origin.

The Catholic is in full continuity with historical Christianity; Protestants are in discontinuity.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin September 9, 2015 at 7:07 AM

I still don’t get how my Evangelical friends don’t feel the need to be Baptized.

Plus they always quote part of today’s Gospel about Idolatry referring to Catholic Statue Idolatry.
St Paul to Collossians 3:1-11 Funny how they Ignore the sins before that and tell me they are washed in the BLOOD and automatically Heaven Bound.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.

emma072012Emma September 10, 2015 at 3:03 AM

hi, I’m a UK convert from the Baptist tradition and my brother is a Baptist Minister in the same city as me. I sustained months of harassment from him and his wife before I converted and they now don’t contact me and only speak to me when they have to. From experience I would say. Don’t try to convince a Protestant that Catholicism is right – they just bombard you with scripture and smile in a smug way when you can’t answer them. Just be bold and point out the differences like all the ones so accurately mentioned by Steve in the above article. I find if you really know your Catholic stuff it gets them thinking (and often very angry that their world view has been challenged).

Dana October 21, 2015 at 4:15 AM

This is not an accurate representation of the reformed Baptist teaching on sola scriptura. We do not believe the bible is easy to understand and that anyone can read it and know it fully. It must be interpreted with the help of the Holy Spirit. The bible says Jesus Christ is the Word made Flesh. And we absolutely are accountable to our local congregation and church authority. We submit to their teaching and leadership and wisdom.

STEVE RAY HERE: “My assessment of the Baptist view and Scripture IS correct. I used to be one. The Southern Baptist interprets the Bible different than the Reformed Baptist who interprets differently then the American Baptist who interpreted differently then the other 40,000 Protestant denominations. Maybe the Holy Spirit is confused?

“You’re not accountable to your local congregation because if you disagree with your pastor you can jump ship and go to another one. My father was a Baptist his whole life and was considered a “Church chopper” because he kept looking for the church that interpreted the Bible correctly.”
“We believe the Bible is inerrant in its original manuscripts, is sufficient to meet our needs, is authoritative in our lives and is critical for the development of a biblical worldview. (John 17:17, 2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12, Colossians 3:16)

STEVE RAY HERE: “Yes, you do believe these things – as do the Catholics. In fact Catholics believed these things 1500 years before the Protestant Baptists ever came into existence.”

We believe that biblical church leadership consists of a plurality of godly elders who are called by God and acknowledged by the church to love, lead, teach, serve, discipline and encourage the flock. (Titus 1:5-9, 1 Timothy 3:1-15)

STEVE RAY HERE: “Yes, as long as you agree with your pastors. However in the vast majority of Baptist churches you have one paid Pastor, not a plurality of elders.”

To say the Protestants are unbiblical because their title didn’t exist in Jesus’s time is a bit elementary. Surely you also would protest the bankrupting and thievery of the Catholic church to its people by the selling of indulgences? To claim the Catholic Pope is infallible is the unbiblical statement. The Bible says NONE is sinless, except Jesus. To expect perfection throughout the Church because of the perfect One we submit to, is not reasonable because of our sin nature. As followers of Jesus we should all stand in unity, I certainly appreciate that Catholic desire. But unity with Christ is most important. He says he did not come to bring peace but to bring the sword. Jesus demands our loyalty to Him above all others including our own parents and siblings.

STEVE RAY HERE: “You bring a lot of extraneous issues in here which are not pertinent to the discussion. We also would desire a great unity of all Christians but that has to take place within the church that Jesus found it 2000 years ago, the church that he put Peter in charge of when he gave him the keys of the kingdom.

“If we love Jesus, as I know you do, then we will love with Jesus loves. And what does Jesus love? The church is pride which is a physical organization which has an address and which Jesus started 2000 years ago.”

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