What Do Catholics Think of the Bible?


#1

I’m a Baptist, but I am curious about Catholicism. Baptists believe that the Bible is totally true, and pretty much anything can be solved by looking to the Bible. They take it pretty literally most of the time. A lot of preachers I know also look to this book, I forget what it’s called, but it has the real greek, hebrew, and armaic meanings of words in the Bible - so they look to that for interpreting too. Do Catholics feel the Bible is the final authority on matters or do they give that position solely to the church? I read the page on this on this website, but I’m still a little confused.

Thanks in advance.


#2

If it were not for the Catholic Church, there would be no Bible for Christians. The original Christians who were excommunicated from the synagogue in about the year AD 70 took the Hebrew Scriptures with them. Christians refer to that collection of writings as the Old Testament.

Men in the early Church wrote the Gospels and the epistles and the Church, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was able to distinguish those writings that authentically relayed what Jesus and the apostles taught from those with questionable sources or facts. This collection of authentic writings became our New Testament. The Old Testament and the New Testament together we call the Bible.

The Church preserved the Bible throughout the centuries. Monks in the early centuries spent a lifetime hand writing copies of the Bible. These were precious treasures that the Church preserved and protected. Although most people in the early centuries could not read, the Mass, the ultimate prayer of the Church, finds its prayers and readings coming almost exclusively from the Bible. It is a Biblical prayer. So people were immersed in the Bible, often without realizing it, from the earliest of times. Non-Catholic Christians who really know their Bible are often shocked when they attend a Catholic Mass and see just how much of the Mass comes straight from the Bible.

My point is that it is our book. We love it. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit and does not contain error. Each book within the Bible is unique and the biblical authors each used his own style. Also, various literary styles were employed throughout the Bible. So one must be careful when trying to interpret what it says, since there were literary styles used in ancient books, like Genesis, that are not used in our society today. The Church gives us much leniency in interpreting the Bible, but we can never interpret it in a way that is contrary to what the Church always taught and believed, since those teachings too come straight from apostolic times. The Church has the last word because it is her family book, and she has the institutional memory to know what it says (Jn 14:26). Remember, all the Protestant denominations did not begin until the 16th century. The Catholic Church was there at Pentecost.


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