Commentary On Galatinas

Any other gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. The Protestants hence conclude: Therefore the decrees of councils and the canons of pontiffs are accursed, because they contain many things not in the Gospel, and are consequently a Gospel other than that preached.

I reply: Other (præterquam) is here what is contrary to the accepted faith, such as are the doctrines of heretics.

  1. This appears, firstly, because Paul is writing against the Judaisers, who were trying to introduce Judaism beside (præter), that is, against the Gospel. It was just as if any one were to try to add Calvinism or Mohammedanism to Christianity. He would be introducing a new law and society beside, i.e., against Christianity. Accordingly, in ver. 6, he calls this another Gospel, and in ver. 7 he says that the preachers of it pervert, or, as Chrysostom styles it overturn the Gospel of Christ.
  2. It is clear and certain that not only an angel but Paul himself knew more, and consequently might have preached more truths than he did (2 Cor. xii. 1 and 6).
  3. Paul constantly orders, as Christ did, the commands of Apostles and superiors to be obeyed (Acts xvi. 4; Heb. xiii. I7).
  4. Moreover, Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Œcumenius explain the phrase as I have done. In 1 Cor. ii. the Apostle uses παρά (præter) in the sense of against, when he writes: “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ;” for he would set up another Christ, just as one who makes another Pope sets up an, anti-Pope, or he who invites another king into a kingdom sets up an enemy of the true king and a tyrant. Similarly, in Rom xi. 24: “If thou wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive-tree”—contrary to nature is παρά φύσιν (præter naturam).Even in Latin we often use the same meiosis. For example, Terence (Andria) says, “Præter civium morem atque legem,” i.e., against law and custom. So, too, in Greek, as, e.g., Aristotle (de Cælo, lib. i. c. i) says παρά φύοιν, beside, i.e., against nature; παρά νόμον, beside, i.e., against law.

Which Interpretation? My Own …

R.C. Sproul summarized the legacy of the Protestant Reformation with these words “Every Christian has the right to interpret the Scriptures for themselves, but no Christian ever has the right to misinterpret the Scriptures” , How can you tell the difference? How do you know when somebody is misinterpreting the Scriptures? Who is to decide what is a “right interpretation”, and what is a “misinterpretation”? This is why we need an infallible teaching office.


Martin Luther famously said: “My conscience is captive to the Word of God …”, but pretty much everybody can claim the same, for example a Presbyterian can assure us all, that is ok to baptize our babies, because his “conscience is captive to the Word of God”. A Baptist can tell us exactly the opposite, that we should not baptize our babies, and that he is certain that that is what the Bible teaches because his “conscience is captive to the Word of God”. How can the consciences of two people be captive to the Word of God and contradict each other? How can we decide who is interpreting Scripture correctly? Our conscience is not the final arbiter to determine truth, so to say: ““My conscience is captive to the Word of God …” is not enough, this approach has only created disunity and schism for the last 500 years.


The Catholic Church’s Book

What is any man who has been in the real outer world, for instance, to make of the everlasting cry that Catholic traditions are condemned by the Bible? It indicates a jumble of topsy-turvy tests and tail-foremost arguments, of which I never could at any time see the sense. The ordinary sensible sceptic or pagan is standing in the street (in the supreme character of the man in the street) and he sees a procession go by of the priests of some strange cult, carrying their object of worship under a canopy, some of them wearing high head-dresses and carrying symbolical staffs, others carrying scrolls and sacred records, others carrying sacred images and lighted candles before them, others sacred relics in caskets or cases, and so on. I can understand the spectator saying, “This is all hocus-pocus”; I can even understand him, in moments of irritation, breaking up the procession, throwing down the images, tearing up the scrolls, dancing on the priests and anything else that might express that general view.


I can understand his saying, “Your croziers are bosh, your candles are bosh, your statues and scrolls and relics and all the rest of it are bosh.” But in what conceivable frame of mind does he rush in to select one particular scroll of the scriptures of this one particular group (a scroll which had always belonged to them and been a part of their hocus-pocus, if it was hocus-pocus); why in the world should the man in the street say that one particular scroll was not bosh, but was the one and only truth by which all the other things were to be condemned?  Why should it not be as superstitious to worship the scrolls as the statues, of that one particular procession? Why should it not be as reasonable to preserve the statues as the scrolls, by the tenets of that particular creed? To say to the priests, “Your statues and scrolls are condemned by our common sense,” is sensible. To say, “Your statues are condemned by your scrolls, and we are going to worship one part of your procession and wreck the rest,” is not sensible from any standpoint, least of all that of the man in the street.

G.K. Chesterton