ChristianToolKit's logo
  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 


Catholics not being allowed to read the Bible

The purpose of this article isn't to have a go at Catholics.  There are some 1 billion Catholics in the world.  The purpose of such an article as this, is just to look at the facts, to answer the question, does the Catholic church allow Catholics to read the Bible, and indeed, does the Catholic church want anyone to read the Bible. The answer would have to be yes and no.  As with most things where there is not black or white, it's because of the implied intention being different from the outcome, ie, it is deceptive:  The Catholic church absolutely does not encourage Bible reading.  Please read on to see why.

Council of Trent
Overall result, point 4,
'The Church is the ultimate interpreter of Scripture.[19] Also, the Bible and Church Tradition (the tradition that made up part of the Catholic faith) were equally and independently authoritative.'
In other words. the Bible is available (so to answer, it would be yes, the Catholic church does 'allow' the Bible to be read), however it is saying that the Church is the ultimate interpreter of Scripture.  That is, you can't really read it yourself, and if you did (or at times in the past you managed to get hold of one), you are not qualified to interpret it, so what is the point in reading it?  Effectively it is saying, read all you want, but you will still have to refer to an authorised member of the Church to interpret God's word.
A further look at the Vatican Catechism,
'85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."48

87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me",49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.'

Which further states that the layman can't interpret the Bible, that only Church can, and ultimately, Bishop, the Bishop of Rome, that is, the Pope.

What does the Bible say about people being able to interpret the word of God?
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." John 13:16

"But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
The Bible tells us Jesus sends the Holy Spirit, which is our comforter, our chastiser, the Spirit of truth to guide all truth to all born again believers.  Anyone who has accepted their guilt as sinners and believed in Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, who without sin, died on the cross for their sins, was buried, and bodily rose three days later, is a born again believer, and therefore has the Holy Spirit within them to guide them to the Truth.  Anyone who is a born again believer has the ability to interpret the Bible.

The Bible tells us the Holy Ghost comes to live in all of God's children.  This runs contrary to the Catechism of the Church, that the Bible can only be interpreted by the Catholic authority, because the Bible tells us we the person, not the Church, is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which guides us to all truth which includes interpretation of scripture, whether you are clergy. or not.

Accordingly, the Bible tells us that the Bible should be available to all.

The Bible is presented at Catholic Mass


Quote from above Catholic beliefs,
'Did you know that the Catholic Church reads the entire Bible to her congregation over the span of three years? Of course we do; Catholics invented the Bible!
The Bible is read during the first part of the Catholic Mass: 3 readings on Sundays and 2 readings Monday through Saturday, also known as daily Mass. At each weekend Mass Catholics hear an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading, all relating to a central theme. Then the priest gives a homily (or sermon) typically on that theme or sometimes directly regarding one or more of the Scripture readings. At daily Masses is typically one Old Testament reading and a Gospel reading.'

As a first point to me, which makes the answer somewhat bizarre, is that the Catholic church did not 'invent' the Bible.  The Bible was written by God, using people under the influence of the Holy Spirit, which is more than 40 people, consisting of 66 books, composed over 1,500 years, Old Testament and New Testament.  The Bible is God's word and final authority on earth.

Going on with the article, it does give show that Catholics are exposed to the Bible through the Catholic mass.  3 readings of the Bible on Sunday, 2 readings on Monday through to Saturday during daily mass, over three years.  After 3 years the Bible will have been covered apparently, from beginning to end. So, to get this straight, someone would have to attend mass 7 days a week, every year for 3 years to be able to hear the entire Bible! And not necessariy even read in order.

I don't know about you, but myself, and for others, I can't imagine anyone being able to fully absord and divide the Bible (or any book) by hearing snippets from there and here, over a three year period.  How to remember it all?  What if one part required more contemplation than another part?

Here is what the Bible tells us to do,

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
God's word tells us all to study the Bible.  In order to study, one must have access themself to the thing which should be studied, one cannot study something by hearing snippets of it over a three year period. A good student will also study the Bible in relation to other parts of the Bible and in relation to the entire context of a verse or chapter, cross referencing scripture with scripture.  With the Spirit of Truth, and patient study, one can discern the Bible as a born again child of God.  However, in the Catholic Church, one's interpretation of the Bible, in direct contradiction to the Scripture, is not deemed to be good enough.

Catholics struggling with Scripture in Practice

I'd like to give you some examples from a debate I had with some Catholics, where they attempted to use the Bible in order to justify their position.  It gave me a good opportunity to show them how the Bible teaches us to be saved, and during the process, highlighted to me some significant drawbacks of not being encouraged to rightly study and divide God's book.

In regards to requiring works to be saved, they quoted James, for instance,

 "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." - James 2:24

Which sounds as though works is required to by saved as well as faith, however, what the Apostle James is talking about, if one reads the entire scripture, is to say that men are justified in the eyes of other men by their works, however, men are justifed in the eyes of God by their hearts.  This does not mean that one should not do works, that is, not try to follow the Law of the Bible, just because one is saved by faith, because of course we should love God and follow him.  It is emphasising that when one does works it shows your testimony to other people, so that they too can believe in Jesus, because you show them the goodness of your works, and what else can a man look at?  James is not saying to do works to be saved, he is saying to remember to do works as a testimony to other men when you tell them you are a Christian.  Where people cannot look in your heart, but as people, they will look at your actions, ie,

"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." -  James 2:18

Furthermore, we read Paul telling us,

"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."

That is, we are saved by grace, and not grace and works, because if it is of works, then it is of no more grace.

We yet further establish this by reading the testimony of Lot.  Lot's testimony was poor, he would get drunk, he willingly moved to a city (Sodom) which was full of sin, he offered his daughters to a homosexual mob, his testimony was so bad that even his son in law would not listen to him.  However, we learn that Lot was a just man, and a righteous man,

"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;" 2 Peter 2:6-8

That is, God could see unto Lot's heart, and knew that he worshipped the Lord, and the knew that his heart was grieved by those around him, who did not accept the Lord.  Lot's faith was counted as righteousness, not his faith and works.

Another example presented was to support the idea promoted by the Pope (the Pope is now saying anyone can go to Heaven, even atheists, please click here to read more), that anyone can go to Heaven as long as they do 'good' things, where the person proceeded to use a part of Matthew,

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matthew 25:40

In this part of Matthew, Jesus is referring to the tribulation period at the end times, and not of today.  The brethren in this context is referring to the Jewish remnant of 144,000 who will have preached the Gospel to all nations during the tribulation period, where Jesus then gathers the nations of the earth, which will occur after the rapture and the saved of today have already been taken away from the Earth, and given their glorified bodies.

This is what happens when Bible study is discouraged, and taken away from the person.  All believers are told to study the bible.  Here is what Paul said about the Christians at the church of Berea,

" that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11

They ALL searched the scriptures, studying and dividing the Bible, each and every believer, so that they may shew themself approved,

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" 2 Timothy 2:15


Catholics are discouraged from reading the Bible, the Catholic Catechisms tell them that the Catholic church is the only authority to interpret the Bible, so even if a Catholic were to read it, it does not matter what his or her opinion of it is.  The Catholic church promotes unscriptural doctrine, which cannot be challenged by Catholics, for they don't have the authority or the knowledge to do so. In the words of William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake by the Catholic church for presenting a Bible in English, and speaking out against a Catholic church decision,

'They have ordained that no man shall look on the Scripture, until he be noselled in heathen learning eight or nine years and armed with false principles, with which he is clean shut out of the understanding of the Scripture.'
'I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.'

'His final words, spoken 'at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice', were reported as "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes."  Within 4 years, English translations were published in England at the Kings behest.'

William Tyndale taught justification by faith alone, not of works, or faith and works.

When we do good works, we do it because we are already saved, not to become saved or hope it's good enough to go to Heaven.

16th June 2017


sitewizardlogo - Top Baptist Websites      KJV Bible Top 500 The Fundamental Top 500