...is our interpretation must agree with the whole of Scripture.
It’s very easy to read a passage of Scripture and immediately take away
the meaning. It’s much harder to ensure that the meaning taken away
agrees with the rest of Scripture. Take John 3:3-5 for example. Jesus
says we must be born again; specifically born of “water and the Spirit”. How do we take this?
Many say we’re born again by making an altar call, saying a sinner’s
prayer, or otherwise giving ourselves mentally to Jesus. Let’s see if
we see birth and rebirth elsewhere in Scripture; maybe that’ll give us a
Genesis 1 has both water and the Spirit and speaks of
the creation (birth) of the world and all created things. Genesis 8
shows water flooding the earth and a dove (symbol of Holy Spirit) used
to tell Noah the earth had been recreated (born again). Exodus 14 is
yet another scene of the Spirit of God manipulating water to transform
the Hebrew people into the Israelites.
In the New Testament, we
see Jesus immediately after saying these words went to be baptized (Jn
3:22). St. Peter writes that the flood of Noah was a foreshadowing of
baptism, and baptism saves us (1 Pt 3:21), linking the Old Testament
passages of water and the Spirit above to baptism. St. Paul’s letter to
Titus says that Jesus saved us through the “washing of rebirth” (Tit
Catholics say we are born again and this happened at our
baptism. We say this because every reference to how God births and
rebirths has real water and the Holy Spirit and even the New Testament
authors make it plain that baptism is the way we encounter a rebirth
with real water and the Spirit.
That an interpretation must be
consistent with the whole of Scripture is yet another reason Catholics
are careful with biblical interpretation.
(Image Credit: ElementOfPersuasion)