Is Bible complete?


Does the Holy Bible contain all that Christ taught or did He teach things that are not in the Bible. Like what for instance?


The Catechism says:

76 In keeping with the Lord’s command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:

  • orally “by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit”;33

  • in writing “by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing”.34

I don’t think there’s an official list of “Teachings of Christ that were not recorded in the canonical gospels.” There are of course the gnostic gospels which claim to hand on more of his teachings, and there’s an apocryphal message which Eusebius in his Church History tentatively ascribes to our Lord, but these are not reliable.

Dogmas not explicitly recorded in Scripture, such as the Immaculate Conception of our Lady, might have been revealed “at the prompting of the Holy Spirit” (cf. above) rather than stated by Christ himself. I don’t think we know necessarily which parts of Sacred Tradition were “from the lips of Christ” vs. “from his way of life and his works” vs. “at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.” And in any case the Church’s teachings are not all of them direct quotations of our Lord.


From the Gospel of John 21:25:

There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.


As an example, the bible, specifically John 6, can be argued to support the Real Presence, and yet, it’s not conclusive: plausible arguments are routinely given to deny the RP. But the Tradition of the CC, supported by early fathers, is that Christs’ body, blood, soul, and divinity subsist in the Eucharist. This is simply what the church received and has always and everywhere believed and taught. Same with infant Baptism. So while the bible may well contain or point to truths which were taught from the beginning, the bible was never intended to be a catechism or an exhaustive theological treatise on the gospel. The church teaches that all truths pertaining to salvation can be found in the bible, that it is materially sufficient, IOW, but that doesn’t mean the reader will necessarily interpret or understand it correctly.


We see indications from scripture that not all that Jesus taught was written down, but was taught by word of mouth through the apostles and to their successors and disciples. This is what is referred to as Sacred Tradition.


Acts 1:3 - “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

After giving an example of what Jesus taught during those 40 days, St. Luke mentions Jesus ascension just 6 verses later in Acts 1:9. I’ve always wondered what else Jesus spoke about over 40 days? You’d think that St. Luke in Acts 1:4 would have continued by saying “And this is all (or most) he taught…”. Whatever was spoken to the apostles must’ve been important, but it’s not explicitly mentioned.


The Bible is explicit that Jesus wrote and taught things that were not recorded. He wrote a message in the sand (John 8:6) and also expounded the entire Old Testament to the disciples (Luke 24:13-27). This oral divine commentary was not committed to writing. Please note that the Gospels contain the sayings of Jesus prior to His Ascension. Jesus exposition of the OT occurred after this.

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