The Bible and Tradition
"God, who at sundry times and in divers
manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all
in these days hath spoken to us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir
of all things, by whom also He made the world."
- What is the Bible?
A collection of writings which
were inspired by God.
"All scripture, inspired of God, is
profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that
the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work."
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- What does "inspired by God" mean?
It means that God chose some
men and moved them to write down faithfully all the things, and only those
things, which He wanted written down.
"For prophecy came not by the will
of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy
Ghost." (2 Peter 1:21)
- Who, then, is the main author of the Bible?
God is, since He moved these
men to write down the things He ordered, although He allowed them to write
in their own language and style.
"For I give you to understand, brethren,
that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it;' but by the
revelation of Jesus Christ."
- How many writings, or books, are there in the
There are 72.
- When were all these writings put together?
The Catholic Church put all
of them into one book between the years 350 and 405.
- How is the Bible divided?
It is divided into two main
parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament contains the things God told
the human race from the beginning of the world up to the coming of His son,
Jesus Christ. The New Testament contains what God has told us through His
Son and through His Apostles and others.
- Is it possible to misunderstand the Bible?
Yes, even the Bible itself
"As also in all his [St. Paul's] epistles,
speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be
understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest [twist], as they do
also the other scriptures, to their own destruction."
(2 Peter 3:16)
How can you get the true meaning of the Bible?
You can get it only from God's
official interpreter, the Catholic Church.
"Understanding this first, that no
prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation."
(2 Peter 1:20)
- Is everything that God taught in the Bible?
No, the rest is in tradition.
"Many other signs also did Jesus in
the sight of His disciples, which are not written in this book."
What is Tradition?
The Unwritten Word of God;
these "other things Jesus did" were handed down by word of mouth by the
Apostles and other close followers of Jesus.
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and
hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our
epistle." (2 Thessalonians 2:14)
Do you have to believe in Tradition?
Yes, because it is the Word of
God and has equal authority with the Bible.
The early Christians learned everything
by Tradition, since only later on were some of the teachings of Jesus written
down, the last writing being done at the end of the first century.
That is, there was no New Testament in the early Church.
Are you free to believe whatever you want?
No, you have to believe everything
in the Bible and Tradition--all the doctrines that the Catholic Church teaches.
"The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from
Heaven, with the angels of His power: in a flame of fire, giving vengeance
to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)
- What kind of sin is it to deny anything the Catholic
A serious sin, that is, a mortal
"Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the
doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine,
the same hath both the Father and the Son."
(2 John 1:9)
If a Catholic denies one or more of the doctrines of the Catholic Church,
he is no longer a Catholic. To be a Catholic is to accept the Catholic
faith in its entirety because it comes from God, and God can neither lie
nor make a mistake.
You can easily tell the difference between a Catholic Bible and a non-Catholic
one. A Catholic Bible always has the name of a Catholic bishop near
the front with the Latin word Imprimatur
, which means "It may be
The Catholic Church not only allows her members to read the Bible, but
encourages them to do so. She gives special "blessings" (called indulgences)
to those who read it as spiritual reading. You are encouraged
to buy a Catholic Bible [the Douay-Rheims]
and read part of it every day.
Protestant Bibles are missing 7 books of the Bible. Martin Luther, the
founder of Protestantism, decided to omit them, because the Jews omit them.
Catholics call these 7 books the "Deuterocanonical Books"; Protestants call
them the "Apocrypha." They are
Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch,
(plus parts of
Nowhere does the Bible say that the Bible is the sole source of Christian
teaching. This fact refutes the classic Protestant teaching of "the
Bible alone" (sola Scriptura
). For more on this topic, see
The Catholic Religion Proved by the Protestant Bible