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Did The Catholic Church Change The Bible

Did The Catholic Church Change The Bible?
The Bible has been around for thousands of years and it has been studied, debated, and interpreted for centuries. One of the most contentious topics of discussion is the role of the Catholic Church in the Bible’s formation and interpretation. Many question whether the Catholic Church changed the Bible or not, and if so how did its influence manifest?
The Catholic Church has strongly impacted the Bible and our understanding of its teachings. The Catholic Church has its beginnings in the first century AD with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. After centuries of various translations and interpretations, the Roman Catholic Church eventually became the sole source of Bible translations throughout Europe. This enabled the Church to adapt the Bible to their own doctrines while also ensuring they maintained control over those teaching and interpreting its message.
This in turn prompted the Catholic Church to codify their own specific set of doctrines, teachings, and traditions, known as the Catechism, that needed to be adhered to by Church followers and teachers alike. This led to an amalgamation of Vatican doctrines finding its way into Church teachings. Furthermore, the Catholic Church’s decision to only allow the Latin Vulgate of the Bible further limited the ability to interpret the Bible freely outside of the Church’s teachings.
In addition, the Catholic Church has had a heavy hand in the establishment and manipulation of various Bible texts. For instance, the Catholic Church decided what works were to be deemed “Canonical” and placed within the Bible and which were to be removed and deemed “apocryphal”. This was an incredibly powerful tool in redefining the Church’s doctrines and ensuring various scriptures did not interfere with their teachings.
The Church’s Catechism today serves as a tool to further navigate and interpret the Bible in line with the Church’s teachings. This translates to the fact that the Catholic Church has and continues to have extensive influence over how we read and interpret the Bible today. Consequently, this has been met with a wave of criticism from scholars and theologians alike, who deem the Church’s influence and teachings to be oppressive, misleading and potentially blasphemous.

Lack of Accuracy

The accuracy of the Catholic Church’s teachings and interpretations is often brought into question. At times it has been found that the Church chooses to interpret certain scriptures to suit their own hierarchical needs thus disregarding and minimizing the original intent of the original writers.
This is a point of contention and frustration, as the Catholic Church’s decisions on how to interpret scriptures can have profound implications on the reader’s understanding. Furthermore, when the Catholic Church has shown to interpret scriptures in a way only favorable to themselves has raised questions over their ultimate Gospel, Church obedience or agenda.

Parallels with other Faiths

This type of mistranslation or interpretation of the Bible is not unique only to the Catholic Church. Many other major religious denominations including the Eastern Orthodox Church, Protestantism and Islam have at times distorted and manipulated scriptures to suit their own agendas. Yet, it is argued that the scale of the Catholic Church’s influence has been far greater due to magnitude of followers worldwide and its long reach of power.

Modern Interpretations

Modern day interpretations of the Bible are heavily dictated and shaped by the teachings of the Catholic Church. Finally, emphasis placed on certain sections of the Bible while enhancing of other parts could be seen as the Church’s attempts to make the teachings more accessible through their interpretations. This ultimately can lead to a lack of understanding of the fundamental teachings of Christianity and a distortion of the original message.
Regardless, it cannot be denied that the Catholic Church has and continues to have a great degree of influence on the Bible and its understanding. Scores of different translations and interpretations of the Bible have been found due to the Catechism. Consequently, one must take into account the Catholic Church’s stances on certain scriptures and its teachings when attempting to understand the Bible and its teachings.

Scripture Prominence

For centuries, the Catholic Church has decided what scriptures to keep and which to discard. This leadership over ‘apocryphal’ and ‘canonical’ scriptures has been criticized for the power it has given the Church over religious doctrine. Furthermore, it has been found that certain sects of the Church interpret some rituals such as absolution and eternal salvation differently than the Church itself, thus creating an atmosphere of confusion for many readers.

Instructive Qualities

Despite this, many followers of the Church and non-followers alike view the interpretative power the Catholic Church has over the Bible as instructive, providing guidance to the reader and adding depth and clarity to the scripture. Furthermore, many proponents of the Church view their interpretative gift as a concession that grants readers almost direct access to God’s word and understanding.


In conclusion, it can easily be observed that the Catholic Church has had an enormous impact on the Bible and how it is interpreted. For many, this relationship is troubling, due to Church’s interference, interpretation, and agenda setting. However, for many the Church’s leadership has been and continues to be incredibly helpful and instructive when interpreting the Bible texts. Ultimately, this influence cannot be denied, and whether it be interpreted as helpful or oppressive is all up to the reader.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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