[quote="Augustine3, post:6, topic:321540"]
I’m sorry I’m still unclear...How do we access what the apostles taught if we don’t have tangible evidence?
Let’s take the ecumenical councils; don’t the bishops examine scripture and additional information (patristic etc.) to define dogmas? Without patristic evidence would the bishops just pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit and use the bible alone as a point of reference to define a dogma?
The Teaching of the Apostles exists within the life of the Church, the prayers, liturgies, Rites, and "way of living" that was once for all deposited to the saints. It is infallibly preserved in the Church by the Holy Spirit.
42 They devoted themselves to the *apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. *
Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 **just as they were handed on to us **by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,
This is the paradosis, or the transmission of the Sacred Tradition.
1 Cor 11:23-24
For I received from the Lord what I also **handed on **to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread...
1 Cor 15:3-4
3 For I **handed on **to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,
2 Tim 2:2
2 and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.
...have become obedient from the heart to **the form of teaching **to which you were entrusted....
1 Tim 6:20
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you.
The Sacred Deposit of Faith is especially entrusted to the Bishops, whose chief duty is to guard it and pass it on to the next generation.
2 Tim 1:14
14 Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
It is the Holy Spirit living within that enables that treasure to remain pure.
Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for *the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. *
This was before a word of the New Testament was ever written.
1 Tim 1:3-4
I urge you, as I did when I was on my way to Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus so that you may *instruct certain people not to teach any different doctrine, *
It is the duty of the Bishops to prevent heresy by ensuring that there is no departure from the Sacred Deposit of faith.
15 Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one look down on you.
Sacred Tradition is entrusted to the Church by the authority of Jesus, which He gave to His apostles, and they to their successors, the Bishops. How can we know what it is? We can trust that the Spirit of God is at work to guard the Sacred Deposit of His Word in the Church.
1 Thess 2:13-14
13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers.
1 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Jesus placed His Word in the Church to lead us all into Truth. He promised that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against us, and that the Church would remain until the end of the age. Sacred Tradition, the Word of God at work in the church, will accomplish the purpose for which He has sent it, and will remain in the Church until He comes to take His bride to heaven.