Skip to comments.Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Bible: Written Revelation
Posted on 02/26/2010 11:29:13 PM PST by Salvation
This website surveys the origin and development of Roman Catholic Christianity from the period of the apostolic church, through the post-apostolic church and into the conciliar movement. Principal attention is paid to the biblical basis of both doctrine and dogma as well as the role of paradosis (i.e. handing on the truth) in the history of the Church. Particular attention is also paid to the hierarchical founding and succession of leadership throughout the centuries.
This is a set of lecture notes used since 1985 to teach the basis for key doctrines and dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The objectives of the course were, and are:
The course grew out of the need for the authors to continually answer questions about their faith tradition and their work. (Both authors are active members of Catholic parish communities in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Robert Schihl was a Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts at Regent University. Paul Flanagan is a consultant specializing in preparing people for technology based changes.) At the time these notes were first prepared, the authors were spending time in their faith community answering questions about their Protestant Evangelical workplaces (Mr. Flanagan was then a senior executive at the Christian Broadcasting Network), and time in their workplaces answering similar questions about their Roman Catholic faith community. These notes are the result of more than a decade of facilitating dialogue among those who wish to learn more about what the Roman Catholic Church teaches and why.
The Bible: Written Revelation
The Word of God revealing Himself to His People through the sacred authors was first of all oral. Periods of oral transmission varied. The revelation of Genesis, from prehistory to the time of Moses is an example of oral transmission; the period from the resurrection and ascension of Jesus (about 30 AD) until some of Paul's letters (about 51 AD) or the writing of the first Gospel, Mark's (about 65 AD), is another example of oral transmission of revelation. The Word of God as eventually written down is contained in the Bible. The Bible is the collection of sacred books, written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and recognized by the Church as such.
The title of this collection of sacred books comes from the Latin biblia, which in turn comes from the Greek, ta biblia. The Greek word means "The Books." Hence, the Bible is a library of books rather than a single book.
The two divisions of the Bible are called Testaments, the Old Testament (or the Hebrew Scriptures) written before the coming of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament, written after the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
The canon of the Bible refers to the definitive list of the books which are considered to be divine revelation and included in the Bible. ("Canon" (Gk. kanon) means a reed; a straight rod or bar; a measuring stick; something serving to determine, rule, or measure.) Over the centuries, the different faith communities which use the Bible (e.g. Jews, Catholics, Protestants) have developed different canons, i.e. different lists of which books belong in the Bible "library."
The original language of the Old Testament was predominantly Hebrew, with some later books having been written in Greek and Aramaic. The entire Old Testament was translated into Greek well before the time of Christ. The New Testament was entirely written in Greek. Not a single original manuscript (i.e. autograph) for either Testament exists today.
This library contains among its books, many kinds and types of literature. There are law books or literature (e.g. Leviticus), there are books of history (e.g. the books of Kings and Chronicles), poetry (e.g. Song of Songs) and hymn books (e.g. Psalms), parables or stories (e.g. Job), biography (e.g. Gospels), prophetical (e.g. Revelation), collections of sayings (e.g. Proverbs), etc.
Much printed currently within this library is not a part of the revelation of the Word of God. The writers of the books of the Bible did not title the books (with the possible exception of Mark's Gospel). Hence the titles of the books are not the Word of God. The sacred authors did not write in paragraphs or use punctuation or label sections or outline their books. Cardinal Stephen Langton created the chapters of both the Old and New Testaments in the Latin version of the Bible in 1228. Verses within chapters in the Latin version of the Old Testament were the work of the Dominican friar Santes Pagnini in 1528. The verses for the Greek New Testament were created by the Protestant Robert Estienne in 1555. Some brief books have no chapters but only verses (e.g. Philemon).
The Church has always believed that the Word of God is not wholly contained in the library of the Bible. As the opening of the Gospel of John proclaims, the Word of God existed eternally and became flesh in Jesus to dwell among us (John 1:1-14). The Church, birthed by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, existed, grew before, during and after the New Testament was written and the books of the Bible determined. The Church recognizes that the books of the Bible are but one source of information about God's revelation, although a very important source. The Word of God and the Spirit of Truth are too dynamic to be limited to the written Word only.
Because the Bible is an important source for God's revelation, we should know:
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Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Foundation: Apologetics Without Apology
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Foundation: An Incomplete Picture
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Foundation: Dearly Beloved Catholic Brothers and Sisters
Being Catholic and Christian: Faith and Salvation
Catholic Biblical Apologetics:Being Catholic & Christian:Faith and Salvation-Authoriative
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Being Catholic & Christian: Apostolic Confessions of Faith
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Post-Apostolic Confessions of Faith
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Salvation: A Biblical Portrait
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Salvation: "Being Saved"
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Catholic Response to "Are You Saved?"
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Knowledge of Salvation
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Faith and Works
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Process of Christian Initiation
The Church: A Biblical Portrait - A New Testament Apologetic
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Church: A Biblical Portrait - A New Testament Apologetic: Jesus Christ preached a Reign or Kingdom, the Kingdom of God (or of heaven).
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Jesus preached an end-times kingdom but one already existing on earth
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Jesus preached that the kingdom was primarily spiritual and internal but also visible and external.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Christ called and founded an exclusive, inner core group of twelve men called the "apostles."
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Christ committed His very mission to this twelve man inner core group, his Apostles, alone.
Christ gave to the Twelve, the Apostles, the power of ruling, teaching and sanctifying.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: This same church Christ willed to endure until the end of the world.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Christ instituted only one church, and that society was both formally and specifically a visible one.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Marks of the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Labels Among Christians
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Genealogy of Christian Faith Communities, Roman Catholicism
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: American Christian Branches Among European Founded Churches
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Modes of Transmitting Authoritative Doctrine
Divine Revelation "By Letter" (2 Thes 2:15) The Bible
The Church, birthed by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, existed, grew before, during and after the New Testament was written and the books of the Bible determined.
Well, exactly. The Church comes from Christ, not from scripture. Scripture is indeed inerrant, but it gains its inerrancy from the Church.
The Church received its authority 'to bind and loose' from Christ - and one function of that authority is to define which scripture is good and inspired, and which scipture is not.
This is why we don't believe 'scripture' about Christ baking His friends in an oven, but we do believe scripture about Him giving us His Body and Blood. The Apostles chose one scripture and rejected the other, and they did so with the authority of Christ.
It is completely evident that their authority must predate and preempt scripture. Because they ratified that same scripture - and in some cases even wrote it.
The authority of the Church truly does not rest upon scripture. It rests upon the action of the Trinity: upon Christ and His words and deeds, and upon the mysterious action of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost.
And for those who believe in Scripture Alone, we can say that Scripture itself refutes that:
On the road to Emmaus, the apostles did not gain understanding when their fellow traveler quoted scripture to them; their hearts burned but they did not really see and understand until the Breaking of the Bread.
It all always comes back to the Eucharist as the ultimate.
Sounds like a circular argument to me. If the scriptures are inerrant, why would the scriptures need to "gain" its inerrancy?
The early church fathers knew what was inerrant and what wasn't. They didn't "approve" scripture for inerrancy. Instead they "confirmed" them to be inerrant. The early church fathers constantly talk about "receiving" the writings from God; not some approval process.