Our friends in Protestant communities often have a true zeal for reading God's word in the Sacred Scriptures. To them I can only say, please keep it up! This is a gift from the Holy Spirit and you may find Biblical studies guiding you, as with so many before, on the path toward full communion with the Holy Catholic Church.
Far from being "unbiblical," the Catholic tradition brings tremendous insights into the word of God. If you doubt this, go ahead and pick up any book by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, also known as Joseph Ratzinger.
Many Protestants, including pastors, have some "Biblical blind spots" as a result of isolating themselves from this tradition. Armed with the text of Scripture, their brief denominational tradition (if any), and the "magisterium of me," they fail to see important messages that God has revealed in His written Word and that the Church has always understood and taught. I intend to demonstrate this with a focus on three central figures of the primitive Church: Peter, Paul, and Mary.
A standard Protestant view on Peter is that he was certainly an important leader in the early Church, but was not individually endowed with any unique authority or office by Christ the Lord. There are actually several ways that the New Testament shows the primacy of Peter and the uniqueness of his position, but I am just going to discuss a few lesser known aspects of the most famous passage on this topic: "upon this rock I will build my Church" from Matthew 16.
Protestants like to say that the "rock" is Peter's confession of faith and to note that the Greek text here uses slightly different words for "Peter" and "rock" in verse 18. What they ignore is that this difference exists in Greek only because it would be inappropriate to use a feminine noun (which the word rock was) to describe a man and so the name Peter must have the masculine form of the same word.
The more important point is that Jesus did not speak in Greek; He spoke in Aramaic. Aramaic has only one word for "rock." This Aramaic term ("Cephas") is often used in the Pauline epistles, even though Paul's letters are in Greek. Through history, Peter is known by this new name given to him directly by the Lord, not by his old name Simon. There can be no doubt that Jesus was singling out Peter personally to be the rock and that Christian history recognizes this simply in the name Peter.
A standard Protestant view on Paul is that he emphasized the authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 3), leading to the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura. (See here for more on Sola Scriptura and whether it works or not: http://www.catholiclane.com/does-sola-scriptura-work-worldvision-clarifies-the-issue/)
While Paul does promote Scripture, of course just as the Catholic Church does, he does not neglect the authority of the Church at the same time. For instance, in the first letter to Timothy, chapter 3, he notes that the "pillar and bulwark of the truth" is...you guessed it, the Church.
Another passage may speak even more clearly to the authority Paul recognized in the Church. Despite receiving his gospel directly from a revelation from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12), some years later he still saw fit to double check his message with Church leadership in Jerusalem "lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain" (Galatians 2:2).
Mary may appear to be a minor figure in the New Testament upon a quick reading, and many Protestants are eager to avoid what they see as Catholic excesses in reverence for Mary. As with many areas in Scripture, there can be more than meets the eye. Let's take a look at just one chapter, the first chapter of Luke's gospel.
In verse 48, we read the words of Mary that "all generations will call me blessed." So, there can hardly be a Bible-reading Protestant who can object to calling her the Blessed Virgin, as Catholics do. In fact, they may ask themselves why they do not call her the Blessed Virgin as well, since everyone would be included in "all generations." Of course, all of this is for the glory of God, as she exclaims in verse 49!
Most Protestants would rather ignore the Catholic teaching that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, because that would clearly make it more difficult to maintain that she is only a minor figure. The parallel makes sense: just as the old Ark of the Covenant held the Word of God in stone tablets, Mary, in the New Covenant, bears the Word of God in the flesh. We might miss it in Luke chapter 1, but this teaching would have jumped right off the page if you were a first century Jew! Consider these amazing parallels between Mary in Luke chapter 1 and the Ark of the Covenant in the Hebrew Scriptures:
Did you learn something from this article? If so, please pass it along to a Protestant friend. We all need to help each other avoid "Biblical blind spots" and to grow together in our knowledge of God and His Word.