I'm a catholic, so I would print about the Catholic Church's point of view...would just like to share what i've read about, something about why the Church forbids self-interpretation of the bible.. actually, the Church doesn't REALLY forbid it.
to quote from here:
Is Church authority squashing the individual's private interpretation of Scripture?
I don't think the Church is into squashing the individual. In fact it has great respect for the individual. Most of our Saints were simple individuals not in positions of power. Yet they have become great examples to the whole Church. The Church has great respect for these individuals who have said "yes" to the Lord. The Church learns from these individuals and has incorporated their interpretations of Scripture into doctrine. The Church relies on gifted individuals. The Church feels that God has anointed some individuals such as Thomas Aquinas with understanding. The Church goes into a process of prayer and discernment on the validity of interpretations by individuals and makes doctrine from some of the interpretations that emerge out of this official discernment.
The Church is totally cool with private interpretation of Scripture. In fact many of our doctrines were defined through the giftings of people like Thomas Aquinas and Jerome who had private revelations about the interpretation of Scripture. These insights went through a process of discernment, prayer and examination by the Church. Once accepted, they eventually helped mold our understanding of what God was saying to the Church through his Holy Word.
The Church is also cool with guys like you and me having private revelation, if it does not conflict with sound doctrine. If we have a new insight into an area, it can be discerned, prayed over and reviewed the same way as it was for Thomas Aquinas and others who helped mold the Church's understanding of Scripture.
We have a recent example of this. Thérése de Liseux was a young nun who died at 24 years old. She was a "nobody" in the Church - just a little nun in a far away Carmelite convent. The Church looked at her writings and they were floored! They made her a doctor of the Church and she has influenced modern thought about the Bible in a major way. My evangelical friends will be glad to know that her greatest contribution was her total abandonment and confidence in Jesus. She had a personal relationship to Him. He was her personal Saviour.
Bottom line, we need guidance to reading it, because some stuff are simply difficult to understand! To quote:
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch...reading the prophet Isaiah...[Philip] asked "do you understand what you are reading?" He replied "How can I unless someone guides me?" and he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him (Acts 8:30-31)
Philip, who was an apostle and a representative of Christ's Church, helped him interpret the Scripture.
I read this (this is more on Christianity):
Had Christianity remained multiform [i.e. had it continued to include a variety of gnostic communities in addition to the orthodox community], it might well have disappeared from history, along with dozens of rival religious cults of antiquity. I believe that we owe the survival of Christian tradition to the organizational and theological structure that the emerging church developed. Anyone as powerfully attracted to Christianity as I am will regard that as a major achievement.
this was said by Elaine Pagels, author of The Gnostic Gospels (Random House, New York, 1989)
To say that the Bible isn't historically accurate is BS (sorry, no other word for it)
The reliability of the New Testament manuscripts is also supported by the
writings of the early church Fathers. Suppose that the New Testament had been
destroyed, and every copy of it lost by the end of the third century (that's
100 years before the Synod of Hippo canonized the New Testament), how much of
it could be collected from the writings of the Fathers of the second and third
centuries? The answer is stunning! All of it except for eleven verses
The Bible survives every day through criticism. No other book has been
so chopped, knived, sifted, scrutinized, and vilified. No other book has been
subjected to such mass attacks. Nevertheless, it remains the book most read
and most cherished until this very day. If this criticism was ever effective in
the past, it would have rendered the Bible unworthy of the critics' attention
today. The fact that critics continue to target the Bible proves that their
past criticism did nothing less than strengthen the belief in the Bible itself!
I could quote a whole slew of googled sites.. but I found this explains it best.
All these historical blah blah is making my head hurt. But we can never find ALL the answers for our endless questions. that's why it's called Faith.