Malankara World

40 Questions Answered

By H.G. Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios

QUESTION 2. Is the individualistic and sectarian interpretation of the Scripture as valid as that of the historical churches with apostolic tradition behind them?

"The Bible to teach, the Church to interpret," is a good dictum. St. Peter has clearly pointed out how ignorant men twist the scripture to their own destruction (Read II Pet. 3: 15-17). In the same passage St. Peter adds, 'You therefore, beloved, knowing this before hand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability.'

The historic churches have a stability which sectarian groups want to shake by their unwarranted interpretations of certain scriptural passages. The reality of the Holy Spirit as a dependable Guide of the Church against which the Gates of hell shall not prevail is not taken seriously by the new sects which regard the Church, since Constantine, as in 'Babylonia captivity.' The correctives that come through individualistic interpretations will be slowly absorbed into the Church by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, if they are real correctives. The mistakes in the interpretation of the Scriptures as those of Arius will be rejected by the Church under the same Holy Spirit.

In fact, the Johannine tradition in the Orthodox. ethics, the Petrine tradition in the Roman Catholic substance and the Pauline stress in the Protestant principle are three interpretations of the one church, maintained in three dimensions, but they will be integrated in the one ecumenical church in the making by the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Sectarian groups have only a corrective role and they should be beware of rejecting the age old traditional interpretations of the Bible. After all, the Bible is that of the Church primarily and it belongs to the Christian on the authority the church has given to it in and through the canonization of the Scriptures. The Bible must be read in the context of the Church and within the theological circle of the church and not individualistically.

Table of Contents: Sec 1 (Q1-18) | Sec 2 (Q 19-33) | Sec 3 (Q 34 - 40) | Previous Question | Next Question

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