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The Early Church Fathers on the private interpretation of the Scriptures.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • Tertullian's View
  • From the Scriptures



  1. Diodorus, (Diodorus Siculus), ( B.C. 60 - B.C. 30)
    St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202)
    St. Clement of Alexandria, (A.D. 150-220)
Diodorus, (Diodorus Siculus), ( B.C. 60 - B.C. 30), a Greek historian known for his own work "Bibliotheca historica". St. Jerome in one of his writings tells us: "Diodorus of Sicily, a writer of Greek history, became illustrious."

"I wish to inform you that a certain person, named Manes, has come hither lately, professing that he perfects the doctrine of the New Testament. And, in sooth, in what he has said, there were some things which are part of our faith, but others of his assertions were widely different from what comes down to us from the tradition of our fathers. For he gave some interpretations quite opposite to ours, and to these he added things of his own, which to me appeared exceedingly strange and false. . . . You know that men who wish to assert a dogma of any kind, have this custom, that whatsoever they choose to select from the Scriptures, that they obstinately wrest by their own interpretation. But the apostolic word, forestalling this, brands it, saying, "If any one shall preach to you besides that which ye have received, let him be anathema." Wherefore, after the things which once for all were delivered by the Apostles, the disciple of Christ must not beyond that receive anything else whatever."

Diod. Archelao Episcopo, Galland. t. iii. p. 595.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 365-366

St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202), Asia Minor; bishop, missionary, theologian, defender of orthodoxy. Though by birth a Greek, he was Bishop of Lyons in the second century. He tells us that, in his early youth, he learned the rudiments of religion from St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John the Apostle. He wrote several works, of which only a few fragments are now known, with the exception of his Treatise against Heretics which we have in five books.

Such things, therefore, do they all say regarding their pleroma, perverting those things which (in the Scriptures) are well said, to apply them to their evil inventions. And not merely from the evangelical and apostolical writings do they attempt to deduce proofs, by perverted interpretations and unfaithful expositions, but also from the law and the prophets, which containing many parables and allegories capable of being drawn into various meanings, others of them craftily and deceitfully, by means of interpretation, accommodating this ambiguity to their pleroma, lead captive from the truth those who have not a firm faith in one God, Father Almighty, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

Adv. Hæres. l. 1, c. iii. n. 6, pp. 17, 18.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 352-353

[After stating that, if any one wished to try the Valentinians and Gnostics, he had only to ask their opinions on the passages of Scripture which relate to Christ's coming, to receive seven or eight different interpretations, he continues:]

"So many diversities (of opinion) are there amongst them about one matter, holding various opinions respecting the same Scriptures, and when one and the same discourse has been read, they all, knitting their eyebrows, and shaking their heads, pronounce that the discourse is very sublime indeed, but that all men cannot compass the magnitude of the meaning therein contained, and that on this account, silence is a most important thing amongst wise men. . . . And thus all who were present take their departure, burdened with so many sentiments upon one point; carrying away hidden within themselves their acumen. When, therefore, they shall have agreed amongst themselves respecting the things proclaimed in the Scriptures, then also shall they be confuted by us. For, not thinking rightly, they, in the meanwhile, convict each other, not agreeing respecting the very same words. But we, following one, and the alone true God (as) teacher, and having His discourses as the (or a) rule of truth, always say the same things respecting the same matters, knowing one God, the maker of the universe. . . ."

Ib. 1. iv. c. 35, p. 277.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 352-353

St. Clement of Alexandria, (A.D. 150-220), Greek; theologian, a scholar of Pantaenus, to whom he succeeded as head of the Catechetical School at Alexandria, Egypt. His writings display great acquaintance with the Gentile philosophy. He wrote with the express design of hiding the mysteries of the Christian religion from the Pagans, and the uninitiated, while at the same time, laboring to show the immense practical superiority of the Christian code of morals over that of every Pagan sect and system of philosophy.

"They (the heretics) do away with the true doctrine of the Lord; not interpreting and transmitting the Scriptures agreeably to the dignity of God and of the Lord: for the understanding and the cultivation of the pious tradition, agreeably to the teaching of the Lord, through His Apostles, is a deposit to be rendered to God. That which you hear in the ear, covertly, that is, and in a mystery,— for such things are allegorically said to be spoken in the ear,— preach ye, saith He, upon the house-tops, receiving them, that is, with elevation of mind, transmitting them with boldness of speech, and explaining the Scriptures according to the canon of the truth. For neither the prophets, nor the Saviour Himself, announced the divine mysteries so simply as to be easily comprehended by all persons whatever, but spoke in parables. . . . All things are right to them that understand, saith the Scripture. (Proverbs 8:9) to those, that is, who perfectly preserve His manifested interpretation of the Scriptures, according to the ecclesiastical canon (or rule): but the ecclesiastical canon is the concurrence and the harmony both of law and of prophets, with the covenant delivered during the Lord's presence. . . . For many reasons, therefore, do the Scriptures hide their meaning. And first, that we may become inquirers, and may always be earnest, without ceasing, in the discovery of the saving words: in the next place, neither was it befitting for all men to understand that so they might not be injured by erroneously interpreting the things spoken unto profit by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, for the elect amongst men, and for those who through faith have been admitted unto knowledge, the holy mysteries of the prophecies have been kept concealed by parables. For the style of the Scriptures is parabolic. . . . Lastly, the parabolic kind of writing being most ancient, was with reason most frequent with the prophets." (*)

(*) He alludes to Strom. 1. v. where occurs the celebrated passage on the Egyptian hieroglyphics and on symbolic writing. The following sentence comprises his views: "All who have treated of divine things, whether Greeks or barbarians, concealed the principles of things, and transmitted the truth by ænigmas and symbols, and also by allegories and metaphors, and such like figures." - p. 658.

Strom. l. vi. pp. 803-4.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 353-354



Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218), North African; ecclesiastical writer, Christian apologist and lawyer, son of a centurion and contemporary of St. Irenæus, a native and citizen of Carthage. The zeal and ability with which he defended the Christian cause, and vindicated its faith and discipline, have immortalized his name, though it has suffered by his adoption, around the year A.D. 200, of some of the Montanist's errors, whose cause he is thought to have supported until his death. His works are numerous, and are written with great ability and erudition, but in an harsh style.

8 . "For us there is no need of curiosity since Christ Jesus; nor of inquiry since the Gospel. When we do believe, we do not desire to believe anything besides. For this we believe from the first, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides. I come therefore to that point which even our brethren adduce for entering on curious inquiry, and which heretics urge for bringing on curious doubt. It is written, say they, "Seek and ye shall find." Let us remember on what occasion the Lord uttered this saying. In the very first beginning, I trow, of His teaching, when it was doubted by all men whether He was the Christ, and when as yet not even Peter had pronounced Him the Son of God, when even John had ceased to be assured concerning Him. With reason therefore was it then said, "Seek and ye shall find", at a time when He was yet to be sought, who was not yet acknowledged. And this as regards the Jews: for to them pertains the whole language of this reproach, as having wherein they might seek Christ. "They have," he says, "Moses and Ellas," that is, the law and the prophets which preach Christ: agreeably to which, also, in another place, he saith openly: "Search the Scriptures, in which ye hope for salvation, for they speak of me." This will be (the meaning of), "Seek and ye shall find", for it is manifest that the words which follow also relate to the Jews, "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." The Jews had been in past times with God; afterwards, being cast out because of sins, they began to be shut out from God. But the Gentiles never were with God, except as a "drop from a bucket, and as dust from the thrashing-floor (Isaiah 40:15), and were always without. How then shall he who was always without (the door), knock at the place where he never was? . . . Again, "Ask, and ye shall receive", suits him, who was aware from whom to petition, from whom also something had been promised; from the God, that is, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whom the nations knew not, any more than of any promise from Him. And therefore He spoke to Israel, "I was not sent, saith He, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24) He had not as yet cast to dogs the children's bread: He had not as yet commanded them to go into the way of the Gentiles: since it was in the end that He ordered them to go and teach, and baptize the nations and that they should presently receive the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, who should guide them into all truth. And this therefore tendeth hitherwards. But if the Apostles, the appointed teachers of the Gentiles, were themselves even to receive the Paraclete as a teacher, the saying, "Seek, and ye shall find", was much more out of place as respects us, to whom the doctrine was to present itself without seeking through the Apostles, and to the Apostles themselves through the Holy Spirit. All the sayings in deed of the Lord were set forth for all men: they have passed down to us through the ears of the Jews; but most of those sayings, being directed towards particular persons, formed not for us a special admonition, but an example.

9. "I now of my own accord withdraw from this position: be it said to all, "Seek, and you shall find;" yet even then it is right to contend for the meaning with some guide of interpretation. No divine saying is so loose and wide that the words alone are insisted on, while the real drift of the words is not determined. But in the outset I lay down this: That there is doubtless some one definite thing taught by Christ, which the nations ought by all means to believe, and therefore to seek, that they may, when found, believe. Moreover, the search after a thing taught, which is one and definite, cannot be endless: thou must "seek" until you find, and believe when you have found; and there is nothing more, but to guard what you have believed. Because you believe this moreover, there is nothing else that should be believed, and therefore nothing else sought after, inasmuch as you have found and have believed that which was taught by him, who does not command you to seek any thing besides that which He taught. If any one doubts what this is, it will be proved that what was taught by Christ is with us.

10. . . ."For the rest, if because so many other things also have been taught by others, we are on that account bound to seek so far as we are able to find, we shall always be seeking, and shall never believe at all. For where will be the end of seeking? where the resting-point in believing? where the completion of finding? With Marcion? But Valentinus also propounds, "Seek and ye shall find". With Valentinus? But Apelles also will urge me with this declaration: and Hebion and Simon, and all in their turn, have no other means by which, insinuating themselves into my favor, they may join me to their party. I shall therefore be nowhere, while I everywhere meet with, "Seek and ye shall find".

11. . . ."Thus, going away from my faith, I am found to be a denier of it. Let me say once for all; no one seeks, except he who never had possession, or hath lost it. The old woman had lost one of ten pieces of silver, and therefore sought it; but when she found it, she ceased to seek. The neighbor had no bread, and therefore knocked; but as soon as it was opened unto him and he received, he ceased to knock. The widow asked to be heard by the judge, because she was not admitted; but as soon as she was heard, she persisted no farther. There is therefore a limit both to seeking, and to knocking, and to asking.

12. "Even though we ought to be yet and for ever seeking, still, where ought we to seek? Among the heretics? where all is foreign and adverse to our truth? whom we are forbidden to come nigh? What servant expects food from a stranger, not to say an enemy, to his master? What soldier looks for bounty and pay from unallied, not to say hostile, kings, unless he be a downright deserter, and a runaway, and a rebel? Even that old woman sought for the piece of silver in her own house; even he that knocked, did so at a neighbor's door; even that widow appealed to, not an adverse, though a hard judge. No one can thence be instructed, whence comes his destruction: no one is thence enlightened, whence comes darkness. Let us seek therefore in our own, and from those who are our own, and concerning our own: and that only which, without touching the rule of faith, can be brought into question."

[Then follows n. 13, the creed as then received and professed at baptism.]

14. "This rule, taught, as will be proved, by Christ, has no questions raised about it amongst us, save those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

But so long as its form remains in its own proper order, thou mayest seek and discuss as much as thou pleasest, and exhaust all thy longing after curious inquiry; if anything seem to thee either to hang in doubt, or to be shaded with obscurity, there is doubtless some brother, a doctor endowed with the grace of knowledge; there is some who has been familiar with those who are well practised; some one like thyself, curiously inquiring, yet, like thee, seeking. Thou newest of novices, it is better for thee to be ignorant, lest thou know what thou oughtest not, for what thou oughtest to know, thou knowest. Thy faith, He says, hath made thee whole (Luke 18:42), not thy exercises in the Scriptures. Faith is fixed in a rule: thou hast a law, and from the keeping of the law, salvation; but this exercising (of thyself in the Scriptures) consists in curiosity, having glory only from a zeal for skilfulness. Let curiosity yield to faith; let glory yield to salvation. At all events, either let them not clamor in opposition, or let them be still. To know nothing contrary to the rule, is to know everything. Even though heretics were not enemies of the truth, even though we were not forewarned to avoid them, what sort of act is it to confer with men who themselves profess that they also are still seeking? For if they are still really seeking, they have as yet found nothing certain, and consequently whatsoever in the meanwhile they may seem to hold, they show their own doubtfulness, as long as they are seeking. Thou, therefore, who likewise art seeking, looking to those who are themselves also seeking, the doubting led by the doubtful, the unassured by the unassured, the blind by those who are blind, must needs be led into the pit. But when, for the sake of deceiving, they pretend that they are still seeking, that they may, by instilling anxiety into us, palm their conceits upon us; and when, moreover, as soon as they have gained access to us, they maintain those points which they said ought to be questions, then ought we so to account of them, that they may know that we deny, not Christ, but them. For as long as they are still seeking, they have not laid hold; and as long as they have not laid hold, they have not as yet believed, they are not Christians. But when they do indeed hold a thing and believe it, and yet, in order that they may maintain it, say that it must be inquired into, before they maintain it, they deny that which, by making it matter of inquiry, they confess that they do not as yet believe. Those therefore who are not Christians, even in their own eyes, how much less in ours! What must the faith be which those argue for, who come to us by means of deceit? What the truth which those support, who introduce it with a lie?

15. "But these very persons treat of the Scriptures, and argue out of the Scriptures. That is they might speak of the things of the faith out of other sources besides the writings of the faith. We come therefore to the question before us: for this we were ordering, and this we were preparing in this prefatory discourse, that we might henceforward battle the point on which the adversaries challenge us. They put forward the Scriptures, and by this their boldness they forthwith move some; but in the actual encounter they weary the strong, catch the weak, send away the wavering without a doubt. We therefore interpose this first and foremost position: that they are not to be admitted to any discussion whatever touching the Scriptures. If these be their weapons of strength, in order that they may possess them, it ought to be known to those in the Church — where the Scriptures belong, lest others be admitted who have no wisdom of the Scriptures.

16. "It might be that I advanced this, prompted by distrust of my cause, or from a desire of entering on the debate in some other way, unless there were clear reason for it; first and chiefly this, that our faith owes obedience to the Apostle, when he forbids us to enter upon questions, to lend our ears to new sayings, to deal with an heretic "after one admonition", not after a disputation. . . . The next reason is, because an encounter of the Scriptures can avail nothing except to lead to a sheer turning of the stomach or of the brain.

17. "This heresy does not receive certain of the Scriptures; and the some that it does receive, it receives not entire; by adding to and taking from them, it turneth about according to the plan of its own purpose; and if to a certain extent it furnishes them entire, nevertheless, by devising diverse expositions, it changeth them. An adulteration by the sense imposed is as much opposed to the truth as a corruption by the pen. Their various presumptions must needs be loath to recognize those things whereby they are refuted. They rely on what they have falsely composed, or have derived from some ambiguity. What wilt thou gain, O thou most practised in the Scriptures, when, if thou affirm anything, it is denied; and, on the other hand, if thou denys anything, it is affirmed? And thou indeed wilt lose nothing but thy breath in the dispute; thou wilt gain nothing but vexation from their blasphemy.

18. "But he, if such there be, for whose sake thou descendest to an encounter of the Scriptures, that thou mayest strengthen him when wavering, will he incline more to truth or to heresies? Being moved by the very fact that he seeth that thou hast not advanced a whit, being on an equal footing in denying and affirming, on a different side, yet, questionless, in a like position, he will go away still more unsettled by the dispute, not knowing which to judge the heresy. Of course they too have it in their power to retort these things upon us. For they also, who in like manner affirm that the truth is with them, must needs say that the corruption of the Scriptures and the falsities in the expositions of them have been rather introduced by us.

19. "Therefore there must be no appeal to the Scriptures, nor must the contest be constituted in these, in which the victory is either none, or doubtful, or too little doubtful. For even though the debate on the Scriptures should not so turn out, as to confirm each party, the order of things required that this question should be first proposed, which is now the only one to be discussed, "To whom belongs the very faith; whose are the Scriptures; by whom, and through whom, and when, and to whom was that rule (discipline) delivered whereby men become Christians?" For wherever both the true Christian rule and faith shall be shown to be, there will be the true Scriptures, and the true expositions, and all the true Christian traditions."

37. "If these things be so, so that the truth be adjudged to us, as many as walk according to that rule which the Church has handed down from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ, Christ from God, the reasonableness of our proposition is manifest; which determines that heretics are not to be allowed to enter upon an appeal to the Scriptures, whom we prove, without the Scriptures, to have no concern with the Scriptures. For if they be heretics, they cannot be Christians, in that they have not from Christ that, which having followed of their own choosing, they admit the names of heretics. Then, not being Christians, they have no right to Christian writings. Whence are heretics aliens and enemies to the Apostles, except from the diversity of doctrine which each one, at his own pleasure, either brought forward, or received in opposition to the Apostles?

38. "The adulteration therefore both of the Scriptures and of the expositions of them, must be thither referred, where difference of doctrine is found. Those, who had the purpose of teaching differently, necessity compelled to dispose differently the means, (instruments) of teaching. For they would not otherwise have been able to teach in a different way, unless they held in a different way the means whereby they taught. As they could not have succeeded in corrupting the doctrine without corrupting its instruments, so the genuine doctrine could not have come to us, and from us, without the genuineness of those means whereby the doctrine is handled. For what is there in our (instruments) contradictory to us? What have we introduced of our own, that we should, by taking away, or adding, or changing, remedy something detected to be contrary to what was in the Scriptures? What we are, that are the Scriptures from their beginning; of them we were, before there was anything different to what we are, before they were interpolated by you. But since every interpolation is to be believed to be of the later date (as having for its cause rivalry, which is never either prior to, or of one household with, that which it rivaleth), it is quite as incredible to any man of sense that we should be thought to have introduced a corrupt text into the Scriptures, we who are from the first, and the first, as it is that they have not introduced it, they who are both later and adverse (to them). One man alters the Scriptures with his hand, another their meaning by his exposition. For though Valentinus seems to make use of the entire document (instrument), he does not less lay hands upon the truth, though with more cunning skill than Marcion. For Marcion, without disguise, and openly, used the knife, not the pen, since he made havoc of the Scriptures to suit his own matter. But Valentinus spared them, because he did not invent Scriptures to fit his matter, but his matter to fit the Scriptures, and yet he took away more and added more, in taking away the proper meaning of each particular word, and adding systems of things not to be seen therein.

39. [He then shows that the works of the poets had been similarly perverted. Thus, "Hosidius Geta extracted from Yirgil the tragedy of Medea;" a relative of Tertullian's "made out of the same poet the Table of Cebes;" patch work compilations from Homer, called "Homeric Centones," were frequent.]

"And assuredly the divine literature is more fruitful in furnishing materials for every kind of subject. Nor am I afraid to say even, that the Scriptures themselves were so disposed by the will of God, that they might minister materials to heretics, when I read that "there must be heresies" (1 Corinthians 11:19), which without the Scriptures cannot be."

40. The next question will be, from whom is the interpretation of the sense of those words which contribute to heresies? Why, from the Devil, whose province it is to pervert the truth, who in the mysteries of idols, rivals even the very things of the mysteries of God. He, too, baptizes,"(*)

(*) Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, and the primitive writers generally, trace numerous resemblances between Christian and Pagan doctrines and practices. Perhaps a more satisfactory answer could not be given to similar coincidences urged against our religion, than would be furnished by a collection of such passages.

41 "The heretics will have the overthrow of discipline to be simplicity; and the care of it amongst us they call pandering. They huddle up a peace also with all everywhere. For it makes no matter to them, although they hold different doctrines, so long as they conspire together in their siege against the one truth. All are puffed up; all promise knowledge."

42. "But what shall I say concerning the ministry of the word; seeing that their business is, not to convert the heathens, but to subvert our people? This is the glory which they rather catch at, if, perchance, they may work the fall of those who stand, not the raising up of those that are fallen; since their very work comes not of the building of their own, but of the pulling down of the truth. They undermine ours, that they may build their own. Take from them the law of Moses and the prophets, and God the Creator, they have no cause to complain; so it comes to pass that they more easily effect the ruin of standing buildings than the building up of fallen ruins. In these works alone do they act humbly, and smoothly, and submissively; but they know no reverence even towards their own chiefs. And this is why there are commonly no schisms amongst heretics; because when there are any, they appear not; for schism is their very unity. I speak falsely, if they do not differ among themselves even from their own rules, seeing that each one forthwith moulds, according to his own pleasure, the things which he hath received; even as he who has delivered them to him, framed them according to his own pleasure. The progress of the matter is a confession of its nature, and of the manner of its birth. The same thing was allowed to the Valentinians as to Valentinus, the same to the Marcionites as to Marcion,— to change the faith according to their own pleasure. Finally, all heresies, when thoroughly examined, are found in many things differing from their founders. Most of them have not even churches: without a mother, without a settlement, destitute of a faith, outcasts, and homeless, they wander to and fro."

[He thus concludes:]

"And now indeed I have argued against all heresies in general, that they ought to be forbidden by fixed, and just, and necessary rules, to bring Scripture into their disputes."

De Praescriptione Haereticorum; The prescription of heretics by Tertullian
See also Apology of Tertullian; Apolog. n. 47 p. 37.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 130-131, 355-364



As Catholics, when we hear the term "the Word of God", we don't automatically think solely of the Scriptures. We think of both the Oral Tradition that has been passed down to us by the Apostles to our current bishops along with the written Scriptures that the Church canonized in A.D. 382 at the Council of Rome.

There are relatively few passages compared to all the passages in the Bible, that the Church requires a correct interpretation for. If you read the Scriptures at any Bible Study, you are more than welcome to draw from the Scriptures whatever you wish as far as your understanding or interpretation does not contradict any doctrinal teachings of the Church.



The Church's Scriptures on the private interpretation of the Scriptures:


If there is a problem with someone, we should first try to resolve it with their privately, but if they don't listen, ultimately we should bring it to the Church

15 "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Matthew 18:15-17

Peter tells us that some can interpret in Paul's writings incorrectly unto their own destruction.

15 As also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things: in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You, therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, take heed, lest being led aside by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness.


2 Peter 3:15-17

Paul tells us in Corinthians that not all have the same calling but we have different vocations

28 And God indeed hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors. 29 Are all Apostles? are all prophets? are all doctors?"

1 Corinthians 12:28, 29

We are all called to proclaim the Gospel to the world

15 And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" 17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for "Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."


Romans 10:15-18

Paul calls us to a mature faith — one that is not persuaded by the cunning of wicked men, who create their own gospel and replace theirs, with Jesus'

11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.


Ephesians 5:11-14

Pharisees challenged whether new Christians should be circumcised according to the Old Testament Law of Moses, but after Peter's decision, the assembly kept silence.

1 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. 3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, reporting the conversion of the Gentiles, and they gave great joy to all the brethren. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. 5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses." 6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 And God who knows the heart bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us; 9 and he made no distinction between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." 12 And all the assembly kept silence,

Acts 15:1-12

The author of Hebrews encourages the faithful to obey their leaders who spoke of the Word

7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith. . . . 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.


Hebrews 13:7, 17

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