The Bible was compiled in the 3rd Century AD and has two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The 46 Books of the Old Testament consist of the writings of the ancient Israelites and tell the story of salvation history and the coming of the Messiah. Father John A. Hardon defined salvation history in the Workbook for his Basic Catholic Catechism Course: “The history of the salvation of the human race, beginning with God’s promise of a Redeemer (Genesis 3) and continuing to the end of the apostolic age, or the death of the Apostle St. John.”
The New Testament is a collection of the 27 books on the life of Jesus (the Gospels) along with the writings and teachings of the disciples as they carried out their mission to spread the good news. While the authority of these writings were accepted in the first century, they were formally authorized in the 300′s as the inspired writings that were to be included in the Canon of the Bible. Of course, at that time there was only one church, the Catholic Church. So you are correct in surmising that the Catholic church compiled the Bible.
Non-Catholic Christians and others who think that Catholics don’t read the bible are very mistaken. Of course, Catholics read the bible and hopefully, they study and meditate on the bible. Most importantly, Catholics read and listen to bible passages from the Old & New Testament every time we celebrate Mass. Each Sunday, we hear a reading and Psalm from the Old Testament and a reading and Gospel message from the New Testament proclaimed from the ambo as a part of the Mass. All of these readings are related to one another and the celebrant or deacon bases his homily on the theme of those readings.
But it doesn’t stop there!
Not only do Catholics listen to the word of God but Catholics pray the word of God because the entire Mass is based on scripture.
More from the Catechism of the Catholic Church….
CCC 103 For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord’s Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God’s Word and Christ’s Body.
CCC 104 In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, “but as what it really is, the word of God.” “In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them.”
CCC 105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”
“For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.”
CCC 107 The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred
Ever Wonder why Catholics believe certain things and worship the way they do? Where did the Catholic beliefs and practices come from?
The Catholic Church draws not only from what was written down in the Bible but also from Tradition as handed down to us through the apostles and safeguarded to this day by the Church. This teaching authority or teaching office of the Church is called the Magisterium. Most Protestant churches believe in sola scriptura (Latin for scripture alone or scripture only). Catholics believe that our faith draws on three elements, Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. (You will find these words on the CSS Logo)
If you are a CSS student you know that Catholic Scripture Study International is more than a Bible Study, it is a faithful source for Catholic Catechesis. Each lesson incorporates teachings from the Catechism along with Papal teachings and Saint quotes and students are given the opportunity to discover the basis for the teachings of the Catholic Church.
From my very first CSS class I realized that despite being well catechized, I was learning truths about my faith than I was unaware of. I was excited about what I was learning and I wanted to share it with everyone. I kept thinking that the faithful Catholic who comes to Church every Sunday needs to know these teachings. They need to know and understand the richness and beauty of their Church, the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
After speaking with my pastor, he gave permission for a weekly post in our parish bulletin and so began the series called Ever Wonder. These are just simple little facts about our faith that hopefully, will not only be informative, but also prompt you to dig deeper. We’re going to begin exploring these beliefs and at times expand on them. Look for more in the weeks to come and learn more about your faith.
Sandra Bennett Fountain
CSS Executive Director
If our beliefs come from the Bible and the teachings of the apostles, why does the Church make changes?
To answer that question, we need to know the difference between dogma and canon.
Dogma/Doctrine never changes. When the Church defines dogma it exercises the authority it holds from Christ to proclaim the revealed teachings of Christ. The faithful are obliged to believe these truths or dogmas.
Canon law or the rules of the Church can and do change in order to provide norms for good order in the visible society of the Church.
Want to know more?
More from the Catechism of the Catholic Church–
CCC 88 The Church’s Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.
Glossary: CANON LAW: The rules (canons or laws) which provide the norms for good order in the visible society of the Church. Those canon laws that apply universally are contained in the Codes of Canon Law. The most recent Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1983 for the Latin (Western) Church and in 1991 for the Eastern Church (The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches).