Do Catholics have to believe books in the Bible were written by the traditional authors?


Ok, so I don’t think there are any doubt that all the epistles attributed to Paul were actually written by him. Paul defiantly wrote his epistles. But, I’m talking about all the other books. Most scholars don’t believe the traditional authors wrote them. And from most of the evidence it doesn’t seem like they did. I’m not denying they are inspired, because they are, I just don’t think the authors that are have said to written them actually wrote them. Well, actually… I do think there is alot of evidence that Luke actually wrote Luke and Acts. But the other books like Matthew, Mark, and John. And even epistles like James, Jude, all the epistles attributed to Peter and John, and Revelation.

Also, I have a second question that doesn’t really have anything to do with the main question but I thought I just put it out there. What do you guys think of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas? Not the Gospel of Thomas, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. I have read it. It is interesting. It just tells a few story’s of the early childhood of Jesus. It even tells the story of Jesus teaching in the temple. The earliest date scholars give to it is at least 80 A.D, the latest is the 190 A.D. Is it possible some of the story’s in it are factual? I mean, look at the protoevangelium of James, it seems pretty factual, and many Catholics believe in it. Is it possible the Infancy Gospel of Thomas is factual? (And most scholars consider it not to be Gnostic.)


I don’t think it really matters if Paul or some Pauline source wrote the Epistles of Paul. The best Pauline Epistles are definitely written by him, like Romans, Corinthians and Galations. What does it matter if some of the more insignificant ones were written by someone else?

As for Mathew, Mark and John I have never heard that they were written by anyone else, although I have heard that John may have not written Revelation. But what does it really matter? All the books are inspired and accepted by the Catholic Church as sacred.

As for the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, actually I have never heard of it. I’m sure a lot of people would like to know about Jesus’ youth, but really it’s his baptism and realization that he was the son of God that set everything in motion.


I’ll copy and paste you a link of it. It’s quite interesting and very short. All it is though is a few short story’s of Jesus’s childhood.


So who is" Thomas the Israelite (Ismaelite)" and was he an Israelite or an Ishmaelite? One would indicate he was a from the lineage of Abraham and Sarah, and the other from Abraham and Hagar.


Good Evening Bradthecatholic: I am a Catholic and have never been instructed to believe that the gospels were written by the apostles. The Church prides itself on education and credibility, and it is widely thought by many bible scholars that the gospels were written between 70 and 90 CE by people who followed the traditions of the teachings of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. The authors are not widely thought to be anyone who actually met Jesus, and it isn’t known if the authors actually even knew Mathew, Mark, Luke or John. Moreover, it wasn’t until even much later still that that the canonical gospels were chosen. The Gospel of Thomas that you mentioned wasn’t chosen, as is the case with a number of other gospels. Of the ones that were chosen, the stories do not match in some places as you have noted and in some instances they are actually divergent from one another. One of the most notable was the flight into Egypt. It appears in one gospel but another gospel says that the Holy Family stayed in Bethlehem for at least forty days and then returned to their home rather than fleeing into Egypt.

Judas as a betrayer doesn’t show up in the first gospel, but slowly grows as an evil personae in subsequent gospels that were written as tensions between the followers of Jesus and traditional Jews heightened. This is thought by some to be politically motivated, as the name Judas in the language of the time was Jude, which simply means Jew. By the time John, the last of the canonical gospels was written in about 90 CE, the conflict between the Jews and the Romans and the attending destruction of the temple by the Romans made distancing the newly formed church from the Jews an existential imperative as well as advantageous in a number of ways. In spite of all this, the basic storyline is roughly the same.

I see Paul mentioned in a reply, but while he was a prolific writer and committed follower, Paul never met Jesus, except in his own account of having met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus as I recall.

Without regard to any particulars on authorship, the Church does maintain that the gospels were divinely inspired though.

Thank you,


No one knows who Thomas the Israelite (Ismaelite) is. He is only mentioned in this gospel. But John 21:25 does say not everything would be written in the down. I don’t believe the Infancy Gospel of Thomas is telling 100% fact, but there could be some factual lost traditions in here.


The Gospel of Matthew was written by Saint Matthew the Apostle; the Gospel of mark was written by Saint mark, the disciple of Saint Peter; the Gospel of Luke was written by Saint Luke, the disciple of Saint Paul; and the Gospel of John was written by Saint John the Apostle (all, of course, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit such that the Gospel, like the rest of the Bible, are the True Word of God).

May God bless you all abundantly! :slight_smile:


It is ludicrously obvious that the apostles did not write the gospels. Whether we are obligated to pretend that they did, I don’t know.


I believe we need to believe they are divinely inspired, but not necessarily that St. Matthew wrote the entire Book of Matthew.


Also to accept that these are the books that the Church believed and believes are divinely inspired, and that no other books are part of scripture.


It matters if he is an Ishmaelite, because it may be part of the tales gathered by Mohammed to make the Koran.

Here are some quotes from Wiki regarding this book:

“The text describes the life of the child Jesus, with fanciful, and sometimes malevolent, supernatural events, comparable to the trickster nature of the god-child in many a Greek myth. One of the episodes involves Jesus making clay birds, which he then proceeds to bring to life, an act also attributed to Jesus in Quran 5:110,[1] although Jesus’s age at the time of the event is not specified in the Quran.”

" In another episode, a child disperses water that Jesus has collected. Jesus, aged one, then curses him, which causes the child’s body to wither into a corpse. Another child dies when Jesus curses him when he apparently accidentally bumps into Jesus, throws a stone at Jesus, or punches Jesus (depending on the translation)."

“When Joseph and Mary’s neighbors complain, they are miraculously struck blind by Jesus. Jesus then starts receiving lessons, but arrogantly tries to teach the teacher instead, upsetting the teacher who suspects supernatural origins. Jesus is amused by this suspicion, which he confirms, and revokes all his earlier apparent cruelty. Subsequently he resurrects a friend who is killed when he falls from a roof, and heals another who cuts his foot with an axe.”

“Whoever its initial author was, he seems not to have known much of Jewish life besides what he could learn from the Gospel of Luke, which the text seems to refer to directly in chap. 19; Sabbath and Passover observances are mentioned.”

This really doesn’t sound like it is divinely inspired.:confused:


I like your straightforward style better than my own.

Thank you,


How so?

The theory that Mark wrote his gospel first (drawing from the previously-unknown/unheard of “Q” source), with little supporting evidence, came to be spread as part of Bismarck’s anti-Catholic ‘Kulturkampf’ policy. The events of Matthew 16:18-19 appear in no other gospel; what does anyone think will happen if Matthew 16:18 can be undermined by the simple claim (with no supporting evidence) that Matthew didn’t write the Gospel of Matthew?

“The Authors of the Gospels” is an excellent reference. Here is a concise summary.

From The Gospels are Historical:

…Firstly, every early historian states that Matthew wrote the first Gospel. Any theory, however clever, must be doubted when it is unable to face the challenge of history.

Secondly, it conflicts with the doctrinal teaching of the Church regarding authorship (namely, that the gospels were written by “apostles (plural, so at least two gospels) and apostolic men”).

Thirdly, the whole Markan logical edifice is balanced on a presumption. This presumption is that the Gospel of Mark was carefully thought out in the author’s room and composed by him in his best Greek style.

If a different scenario more consistent with history, doctrine and literary analysis replaces this presumption, the theory loses its foundation. …

…Those who held the view that Mark wrote third persevered in their research. From literary analysis and the ancient historians they developed the scenario of Peter giving a series of talks. In these he quoted alternatively from Matthew and Luke and thereby blended them together like two streams conflating into one. Peter’s secretary Mark, in response to repeated requests, issued copies of his unedited verbatim shorthand transcript. This is what we now know as Mark’s Gospel. According to Clement of Alexander (who lived 200 years nearer to the events than did Jerome), Peter was indifferent to its distribution until he saw its beneficial effects.

From Clement we know that Mark issued his transcript to meet an urgent demand. We can see how Luke’s Gospel could have been written pre-Mark but published after it. When Jerome wrote his: ‘Prologus Quattuor Evangeliorum’, he records that the Gospels were Published in the Matthew, Mark, Luke order. But, when writing his history: ‘Of Illustrious Men’, Jerome places them in the Matthew, Luke, Mark order (i.e. in order of writing). It should also be remembered that in Jerome’s covering letter to the Pope, regarding his vulgate version, he had to explain why he had placed the Gospels in an unfamiliar order.


I actually have a question about this way of thinking as a Catholic.

Catholics pride themselves on tradition as well as Scripture, but doesn’t all tradition point to the Gospels being written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Did all the early church fathers mess it up?


Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John went out into the world to spread the news of Christ. In ancient times, one was considered the author if you were the actual author or if the ideas in the text were attributed to you. The Gospels are at least the ideas of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but the written text we have today may not be written word for word by them. The Church maintains that there is a direct line back to them because the Gospels are at least a result of them going out into the world to preach the good news.


I couldn’t agree more.


Good Evening Dronald: While I may be Catholic, I am also a modern human with access to resources that I am bound by reason to acknowledge and assess. The Catholic Church does not claim that the authors of the canonical gospels were in fact Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. According to the Catholic Edcucation Resource Center “Whether the final version of the Gospels we have is the word-for-word work of the saints [they are named for] is hard to say.” It is simply maintained that the authors would be referred to as “sacred authors,” and that they were divinely guided.

Most modern mainstream bible scholars do not maintain authorship of these text to be Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. There are many very detailed reasons for this that you are free to research. One that you will quickly find is the title convention used in the original Greek iterations (the earliest known), that use a preposition in front of the names Mathew, Mark, Luke and John that indicates “handed down from,” which was a literary device at that time and in that region and in that language that was used to delineate between the author and the source. It creates a distance between the author and the source. And the earliest copy of any of the gospels is a small fraction of John (less than a page) that was written c. 125 after Christ. There are no existent original copies of any of the gospels. You can confirm this by Googling and looking for them, or you can write to the Vatican and ask them about it. They will be happy to tell you.

Personally, I recommend that you research the matter for yourself, because I think such things are best explored first hand.

Thank you,


Ludicrously obvious, yes, because Luke and Mark were not Apostles.



VeritasLuxMea #
Do Catholics have to believe books in the Bible were written by the traditional authors?
It is ludicrously obvious that the apostles did not write the gospels. Whether we are obligated to pretend that they did, I don’t know.

Then get the facts. At the website below you have What Does The Church Really Say About The Bible, by Edith Myers, The Wanderer Press, 1979

“…the Pontifical Biblical Commission was formally established by Pope Leo XIII in 1902, and in 1907, in Praestantia Sacrae Scripturae, Pope Pius X declared its decisions to be binding,” and it emphatically stated:

4) On the Author and the Historical Truth of the Fourth Gospel, 1907.
There is sufficient evidence that John the Apostle wrote the Fourth Gospel, the Commission stated, to uphold this opinion against adverse critics. We may not say that the discourses of Our Lord that are reported therein are not really the words of Jesus but theological compositions of the authors.”

8) On the Author, Date of Composition, and Historical Truth of the Gospel According to St. Matthew, 1911.
Matthew, the Commission said, is in truth the author of the Gospel published under his name. The Gospel was originally written in Hebrew, sometime before the destruction of Jerusalem. We cannot accept the idea that the book was merely a collection of sayings compiled by an anonymous author. While the book was first written in Hebrew, the Greek is regarded as canonical, and is to be regarded as historically true, including the infancy narratives, and passages relating to the primacy of Peter (16:17-19) and to the Apostles’ profession of faith in the divinity of Christ (14:33).”

‘9**) On the Author, Time of Composition, and Historical Truth of the Gospels According to St. Mark and St. Luke, 1912.**
The Commission upheld the authorship of these books by Mark and Luke, their historicity, and their having been written before the destruction of Jerusalem. It cannot prudently be called into question, the Commission said, that Mark wrote according to the preaching of Peter, or that Luke followed the preaching of Paul. Both of them told what they had learned from “eminently trustworthy witnesses.” ’


New Testament scholar Carsten Peter Thiede redated the Magdalen Papyrus of Matthew to sometime before the end of the first century (and as early as 60), based on a comparison of the style of its script with papyrus scrolls from Qumran, Pompeii, and Herculaneum (which, of course, are datable before 70 or 79). Needless to say, this redating was (and still is) rather controversial.

If the authors of the canonical gospels were not in fact Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, then why attribute the gospels to them at all? Or, as this link puts it, why not “Saints Tom, Dick, Harry and Janette, while not forgetting the venerable ‘Q’.”

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