What Bible Verses has the Church Defined – Definitively?

by Steve Ray on November 13, 2007

It is sometimes mistakenly charged that Catholics are not allowed to read the Bible for themselves and that the Catholic Church has dogmatically defined about every verse — and forces its interpretation down everyone's throat. This is very far from the truth. In fact, the Catholic Church has never come up with a list of verses that it has specifically defined, and those she has are very few indeed.

Bible.jpgI had always wondered what Bible verses had  been definitively defined by the Catholic Church. I knew there were only a small number, but had never seen a "complete list."

So the other day someone from Catholic Scripture Study International asked me what verses had  been dogmatically defined, so I posted the question on my Message Board. Some of the great folks there did some research and found three lists which basically agree.

But I have concluded there is no "official" list. Over the course of time, while defining doctrine, combating heresy, etc. the Church has taken a stand on certain biblical verses and said, "The truth is thus and so, and this verse addresses the truth of this issue. And to refute the heresy or define the truth, we teach that this or that verse definitely means thus and so."

Bible2.bmpIt is not as though the Church came up with a definitive list to shove down anyone's throat. Rather, in the process of teaching and defining doctrine the Church has definitively taught that we can be sure certain verses mean certain things.

But, in light of much nonsense charged against the Church, the list contains very few verses, and to make such a list one must glean them from Councils and decrees. If the Church was as overbearing and authority-hungry as some would claim, we could expect the Church to dogmatically define every verse and be knocking on our doors to enforce our compliance. How foolish and far from the truth this is.

To see the lists click here — and if you find further information on this, please let me know.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Carlos November 13, 2007 at 3:08 PM

The Church doesn’t define Bible verses, it defines it’s teaching (dogma), which is supported by Scripture and Tradition.

You are starting from a scripture verse leading to defined dogma. IMHO, it would make more sense to start with the defined dogma and show what scripture verses supports it. One verse can support many teachings, and should not be limited.

Oliver November 13, 2007 at 3:37 PM

Me thinks one can add Gn 2 23. Recall Trent, session XXIV.
In Christ.

The first parent of the human race, under the influence of the divine Spirit, pronounced the bond of matrimony perpetual and indissoluble, when he said; This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. But, that by this bond two only are united and joined together, our Lord taught more plainly, when rehearsing those last words as having been uttered by God, He said, therefore now they are not two, but one flesh; and straightway confirmed the firmness of that tie, proclaimed so long before by Adam, by these words; What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. But, the grace which might perfect that natural love, and confirm that indissoluble union, and sanctify the married, Christ Himself, the institutor and perfecter of the venerable sacraments, merited for us by His passion; as the Apostle Paul intimates, saying: Husbands love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered himself up for it; adding shortly after, This is a great sacrament, but I speak in Christ and in the Church.

Jerry November 19, 2007 at 4:43 AM

I’m not sure I can trust this list with a stamp of Papal Infallibility. Sorry.

Mark November 21, 2007 at 8:17 PM

one should also remember the place Vatican I accorded to the unanimous interpretation of the Fathers. This would be a harder list to compile…

Jim January 22, 2008 at 9:44 AM

This is a great handy sheet. I hope it’s revised more and more :) Especially a version by Apostolic and Church Fathers. Goya oh boya!

Belinda March 11, 2008 at 2:23 AM

Can anyone tell me where in the bible we can find the laws of how we are to get married.

STEVE RAY HERE: The Bible is not a Church Manual or a Systematic Theology book. It does not give us details on how to be married. For that we turn to the tradition and teaching authority of the Church. I suggest you post this question on my Message Board at http://forums.catholicconvert.com.

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