We must never add to or take away from the Scripturesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
CAN SOMEONE POINT ME TO WHERE IN THE BIBLE IT SPEAKS ABOUT NOT TAKING AWAY OR ADDING TO THE SCRIPTURES. I KNOW THERE IS SOMETHING IN THERE, THAT SPEAKS ABOUT THAT. I JUST DON'T KNOW WHERE TO LOOK. PLEASE HELP.
-- pam marrzi (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 26, 2003
Yes. Verses 18 and 19 of chapter 22 of Revelations:
"I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city described in this book."
I've found very well-written explanations of why the above does _not_ refer to the Bible as such--one from a Mormon apologetics site and another from a relatively Catholic-friendly Christian-ecumenism site. I'll copy and paste from the sources here:
Dr. Peterson writes,
"The Bible as such did not exist when the book of Revelation was written. The individual books of the Bible circulated independently as scrolls. The Bible never refers to itself as 'the Bible,' because it does not know itself as such. Because, of course, it did not exist as such during the time of its writing. Accordingly, the book of Revelation did not come at the end of the 'Bible' in the first Christian centuries -- because it could not have done so -- and, thus, Revelation 22:18-19 could not possibly be referring to the rest of the Bible. It is merely a warning to unscrupulous scribes against tampering with the words of Revelation itself. Such tampering was a significant problem in antiquity, when books circulated in small numbers of easily-modified hand-written manuscripts, and such warnings are not uncommon."
And Michael Gleghorn of "Probe Ministries" writes,
"So what about the Book of Mormon, or the Koran? Why not accept these books as additional revelation from God? My answer to this is simple: whatever the source of these books, it is NOT the God of the Bible. How do we know this? Because both books teach beliefs and practices which are CONTRARY to the Bible. ... * ... In addition, not only do Mormonism and Islam teach a different doctrine of God than that revealed in the Bible, they also teach a different doctrine of man, sin, the afterlife, salvation, etc."
* - I omitted this sentence: "The 'God' of Mormonism and the 'God' of Islam are NOT the same God as the God of the Bible." It does not reflect Catholic teaching--both traditions in fact worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph, although neither can be described as Christian (although Mormonism understands itself as Christian).
Sources (Please note, these are NON-CATHOLIC sources):
Mormon apologetics site: http://www.shields- research.org/Scriptures/Bible/Rev_22_18-19.htm
Probe ministries: http://www.probe.org/docs/e-adding.html
-- Skoobouy (email@example.com), August 26, 2003.
Protestants frequently quote this text in an attempt to support the novel 16th century doctrine of sola scriptura. That is a misinterpretation. This passage states that nothing can be added or removed from the ACTUAL TEXT. The TEXT ITSELF cannot be altered. It does NOT mean that nothing can be taught that does not specifically appear in the text; and therefore it does NOT mean that the scriptural text is the only source of valid Christian doctrine.
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), August 26, 2003.
And it's ironic that Protestants REMOVED Scripture for the Bible shortly after the reformation! LOL.
-- Jake Huether (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 26, 2003.
Actually, I would say the subject scripture mentioned above even has a stricter meaning; it refers to the "prophecies of this book," i.e., the Book of Revelation. So it is not referencing the entire canon of scripture at all, but rather Revelations ONLY.
That's not to say, however, that adding or subtracting from the Holy Word of God is not THE most serious of matters. It is! Like the writer said above, the Reformers removed the apochryphal books on their own accord by the power vested in themselves BY themselves.
-- Gail (email@example.com), August 30, 2003.
If the Catholic Chirch is so strong on not taking away from the scripures, how come they threw out the 80 other gospels that didn't go along with their view of things?
-- Anti-bush (Comrade_bleh@hotmail.com), September 06, 2003.
There were only about 14 other gospels, though there were over 100 other epistles. The rejection of these writings was the work of the Holy Spirit, and did not constitute taking anything away from scripture, as these writings never were accepted as part of scripture. If you don't accept the rejection of certain writings as the work of the Holy Spirit, then there is no reason to acknowledge the acceptance of certain writings as the work of the Holy Spirit either. The definition of the canon of scripture was one work - some writings rejected, some accepted. It's all or nothing.
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), September 06, 2003.
How is throwing out parts of the Bible that don't agree with your political agenda "the work of the Holy Spirit"?
-- Anti-bush (Comrade_bleh@hotmail.com), September 13, 2003.
I repeat - the Bible was not compiled until the end of the 4th century. That's when "The Bible" came into existence, and NOTHING has been added or removed by the Catholic Church since that time, specifically the year 397. As for Protestant churches, they will have to speak for themselves. What they did with the Bible once they received it from the Catholic Church is between them and God.
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), September 13, 2003.
The point is, there is a lot of stuff that was purposely omited from the Bible because it didn't aggree with the official line of thought. It was cencorship, plain and simple, just like when a government orders newspapers to take stuff out that doesn't aggree with them. It's a totalitarian move and it's unjustifyable.
-- Anti-bush (Comrade_bleh@hotmail.com), September 17, 2003.
Anti-bush do you mean "rejected" instead of "censored" in reference to the Scriptures when you claim that the Bible was compiled in such a way that it was aligned with the proper Gospel? I do believe that those "rejected" writings were all heretical to the true theology. If you are talking about the Reformation Movement that took it upon themselves to edit the Bible according to their doctrine, I think that we might agree with you. The only Bible compilation that is of any significance is that which the Church has given the world.
-- rod (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 17, 2003.
The most comprehensive review ever of this Revelation 22 passage is at:
Although it is from an LDS view, the core of the analysis is broadly acceptable.
-- Kristy (email@example.com), November 02, 2003.