The Catholic Church Wrote the Bible?

I have read it more than once on these forums, that the Catholic Church wrote the Bible. I disagree.

The Old Testament is over 75% of the Bible and it existed before the Church. Lets get that out of the way.

The Holy Spirit did not inspire the Church to write the books of the New Testament but inspired individuals to write. These individuals were surely members of that same Church but the Church herself did receive inspiration from the Holy Spirit to write Scripture. James, Jude, John, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Paul, Peter (and I believe Apollos but that’s for another thread) were all individuals. They may have written on behalf of the Church or written to the Church as their audience but I don’t think it possible to claim that their inspired writings are the work of the Church. The best we can say is that the Catholic Church determined the canon of Scripture.

Maybe it’s semantics but I actually think that it makes us look silly when we say that the Church wrote the Bible.


I would disagree on this point; the NT is the work of the early Church. The writers were all members of that nascent church; they, along with other disciples constituted its body.

It is also accurate to say that (in addition to being led by the Spirit to authoritatively determine the entire canon) Catholics wrote the New Testament since Christ founded only one Church and no sane or informed person denies that (at least) at the time the New Testament was compiled and canonized, Catholic Church was that Church.

You might be interested in the facts on this CD:

I agree with you, especially about the above.
After all, there were other disciples who wrote divinely-inspired gospels that did not end up in the final canon of collected books… the Bishops at the council meetings in the late 300’s and beyond chose not to include them.


OK please clarify your statement above…WHO determined that these works were “divinely inspired”? and as a follow up could you please cite the name of these books.


As to the OP and his assertion that the Catholic Church did not write the books of the New Testament (Since no one on his sane mind would claim anything for the Old Testament) Let’s see: St Peter wrote some letters, He is our first Pope, St. Paul was a companion of St. Peter in Rome and also wrote many letters, If St. Peter was our first Pope, St Paul was a Bishop of the same Church Peter was chief of.
Mark, Matthew, Luke and St John were also members of that same Church founded by one Jesus Christ. Further It was this same Church that finally declared the Canon of Scripture closed ad eaternum. NO MORE changes since then.
So who do you propose wrote the New Testament?
It’s obvious it was individuals, but they did not write on a vacuum, they belonged to that original band of brothers that had met and were molded by Jesus. Further Jesus founded HIS Church, on Simon the son of Jonas “Peter”
Nope the Church OWN the New Testament and rightly so, this is why when it is read in church, we stand up. Unlike when we are read from the Old Testament or the Psalms we are seated.

The Catechism on Sacred Scripture:

It does not say that the Church wrote the Bible. It was written by men and women inspired by God, who is the principal author. The Church did determine which books were canonical and inspired.

DaddyGirl #5
After all, there were other disciples who wrote divinely-inspired gospels that did not end up in the final canon of collected books… the Bishops at the council meetings in the late 300’s and beyond chose not to include them.

There are no “divinely-inspired gospels” not in the Canon of Sacred Scripture for the simple reason that Christ founded His Catholic Church to teach rule and sanctify and no other. She thus proclaimed what books and no others are inspired and form the Canon.

The books that actually are the inspired Word of God was decided by Pope Damasus at a Council of Rome in 382, and this has been irreformable, confirmed at the Councils of Hippo, 393, Carthage III 397, Carthage IV in 419 and canonised at the Ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1563).

Answer by Matthew Bunson on 01-01-2009 (EWTN)
At the Council of Trent in 1546, the Council Fathers gave formal definition of the Canon of the Bible (while declaring the Vulgate to be authentic), promulgating a list of the books accepted as entirely canonical in the decree Sacrosancta.

It is important to remember what is meant by definition. The Council of Trent did not invent some list of books. Rather, it considered the accepted canons and affirmed them.

How about ‘The Bible is a Catholic document.’…it was canonized by the Church, and used exclusively by the Church for many centuries, in addition to the fact that all the authors of the ‘books’ of the New Testament were indeed Catholic…

Yes Tim it is semantics - but semantics is important in such conversations. We should seek to speak clearly.

This is an excellent way of expressing it. :thumbsup: Most often I will express it as “The Church compiled the bible” for this is what happened.


That’s odd, I’ve never seen someone say that the Church “wrote” the Bible. Defined the canon, yes. Preserved it and passed it down for the ages, yes. But not “wrote.”

No. The Church did not “choose not to include them.” The Church only confirmed that they were not inspired and that they therefor could not be part of the canon.


I have read all the posts and remain unconvinced that the New Testament is a product of the Church.

All anyone has really said is that the writers were all members of the Church. It is true that one was Pope and others were Apostles or Bishops. I don’t think it possible however, to draw the conclusion that John writing the Book of Revelation to seven Churches in Asia Minor while exiled on the island of Patmos, Paul writing a letter of encouragement to a Roman military retirement community in Philippi while awaiting execution in Rome, and Peter writing from Jerusalem, were all the work of the Church as a whole.

You are all going to have to come up with a better argument then the fact that the authors were all Catholic to convince me. Quite frankly, I think it a bit of triumphalism to say that the Church wrote the Bible, or even part of it. The Church rather received it as a gift from God, a gift which it is to guard and protect.

Y’all’r welcome to try and convince me though, if you think you can. I am open to hear arguments.

The majority of the New Testament was written by people who never met Jesus. In fact, only a small portion of the New Testament was written by people who actually met Jesus. James and Paul never met Jesus. Mark and Luke likely never met Jesus, though it is arguable.

Thank you for this.


[quote=TimothyH]You are all going to have to come up with a better argument then the fact that the authors were all Catholic to convince me.

Do you say that only Rembrandt’s hands painted? Do you say that only Mickey Mantles’ bat hit home runs? The Church, the Catholic Church is a body. Search the Scriptures.

I have seen people say this in conversation with protestants and it generally throws up an obstruction to further discussion - or diverts the conversation from the main issue.

The Catholic view of course is that the NT was written by members - leaders - of the Catholic Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thus it could rightly be said that the Catholic Church wrote all of the NT books.
Protestants have a somewhat different view - based on how they were taught.

So - it is better (IMHO) to avoid this distraction about authorship and stick with the demonstrable fact that the NT, as it exists today, was gathered, examined, compiled, defended, promulgated, translated, and taught from by the Catholic Church for 1000 years before the Reformation.



I think a couple of things need to be understood before moving into the NT.

The Apostles wrote letters and Gospels and they knew about it (Peter’s warning about Paul’s writings is one example).
Disciples of the Apostles wrote letters as well (Mark, Luke, Clement (who is mentioned by Paul in Philippians)).

From the above we know and understand that there was one Church, IOW one faith.

We also know that there were other writings circulating and used in the Early Church - Clement I, Didache, Shepher of Hermas, Ignatious of Antioch letters.

We know that Ignatius uses the term Catholic Church, and while I’ll concede that he might not have used it in the same manner and meaning as we do today. We can’t argue with that fact.

Ignatius is a very early writer and a disciple of the Apostle John and 3rd Bishop of Antioch.

This same term Catholic is still used by Augustine and others.

The Church is Catholic.

Because of various heresies and false Gospels and letter in circulation the Church has the need to prune out the writings that are circulating and in Hippo and with Athanasius we see the first “official” mention of the 27 books that compose the New Testament.

They were used in the liturgy and they were read among the faithful (Justin Martyr confirms this).

The New Testament is without a doubt a Catholic book. And by Catholic, I am obviously including the Orthodox.

To say that the Church “wrote” it would be stretch (Although I suspect I may have said that in the past :o). But it’s also not complete alienated from the truth.

I think it’s best to say it like the Church says it: “The Catholic Church received the inspired books and it’s their servant”.

It’s also important to know that The Church could have not chosen to keep the OT. However they did.

Good point.

And some Protestants threw some of the books out.

I think you meant to write “is its servant.” The Church is the servant of Scripture, not the other way around.


James, I don’t see how it follows that because the authors were Catholic, and even Catholic leaders, that the Church wrote the books of the New Testament.

I don’t think it can be rightly said, nor have I ever read where the Church herself makes that claim. Rather the Church herself has said that the Holy Spirit inspired “Men” to write and that the Church received the books.

I’d like to see where the Church has said anything like that.


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