[quote=Maggie]I’m gonna make what is probably gonna be construed as a really dumb remark, but wouldn’t “compiled” be a better word for all of this anyway? I mean, God did the inspiring, various people did the writing, scribes over the years did the copying, and the Catholic Church ultimately under the guidance of the Holy Spirit did the compiling.
So it’s not an authorship or historian issue, it’s a compilation issue. Kind of like who gets the “editor” credit on an anthology of stories only these are divinely inspired books written or passed down over centuries.
If the bible is really divinely inspired, and you believe that, surely you don’t believe that God allowed fifteen or more generations to read something that led people away from Him. So the “extra” books must not do so. And as to whom it belongs to, why would anyone claim it belonged to anyone? I know I’m tired but even tired I could hardly mistake the claim that God wants every single one of us to come unto Him. From every nation. That would hardly be possible if one of us claimed ownership of His word. That doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all to interpret it however. It’s one thing to have access to it, it’s another to freely interpret. Maybe that’s the point?
The point is that the Old Testament is the literary expression of the religious life of ancient Israel. It was over a thousand years from the first writing to the last. Judaism didn’t come out of a book. It is based on oral tradition. The books came much later.
The New Testament is the literary expression of the religious life of the New Israel – the newborn Catholic Church (Gal 6:16) – during the first 100 years or so of its existence. The writings that are in the New Testament were written by Catholics for Catholics, by members of the Church, to members of the Church. The Church was God’s agent in writing, preserving, collecting, and canonizing the writings of the NT, of canonizing the OT writings she received from Jesus and the Apostles, and forming the Bible.
The Church copied these writings by hand for 15 centuries until the printing press was invented in 1450. The Reformation followed soon after (1517) and Luther declared his novel doctrine of Sola Scriptura (the Bible Alone).
But Jesus didn’t leave us a Bible, he left us a Church. The Church was founded by Christ for the salvation of the world; it’s an extension of Himself, His Very Body. The Church wrote the NT over a period of about 100 years. She selected the NT writings, added them to the OT, and formed the Bible when she was about 400 years old.
The Church speaks for Christ (Luke 10:18). The Scriptures must be read within the life of the teaching, believing Church to be understood. Yes, the Bible is a Catholic book. The Catholic Church created it, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the part of God’s Revelation which got written down; not all of it did. He entrusted both His written Word and the Sacred Apostolic Tradition to the Church.
God didn’t tell us to read a book. Nor did He give us the table of contents of the Bible. The Catholic Church did. The Church tells us to read it, but not to misinterpret it. The Bible can’t say “you misunderstand me.” But the Church, it’s creator and rightful guardian and interpreter, can!
I would have no way of knowing that these particular writings – 46 in the OT, 27 in the NT – are the “inspired Word of God” except that the Church founded by Christ tells me that it is so.
Peace be with you, JMJ Jay