Origins of the Bible (letter)

Origins of the Bible (letter)

George Simpson

In his excellent article "Why many Catholics join fundamentalist sects" (July AD2000), Dr Frank Mobbs mentions the belief of some that the Bible stands alone as the revelation of God's word.

Ignorance of the Bible's origin probably contributes to this false belief. In the early Church, there was no universally accepted collection of sacred writings into one book. Some writings were universally regarded as authentic and others were accepted in some places and rejected in others. Still others were almost universally rejected.

Pope St Siricius, therefore, called the Council of Carthage that, after careful and prayerful consideration, decided the canon of the Divine Scripture in 397AD. The deliberations relied heavily on Tradition, but more heavily on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The Pope, as successor of St Peter, had to review this decision and make a final judgement. A second Council of Carthage was called in 419AD and it confirmed the conclusion of the previous one. This conclusion was presented to Pope St Boniface I, who proclaimed the Bible soon afterwards.

To accept the Bible, therefore, is to accept the authority of the Catholic Church. Any claim that the Bible is the sole source of Christ's teaching fails because:

1. The Bible itself is based on Tradition. There was no Bible for nearly the first four hundred years of Christianity.

2. The Bible states that it is not the sole source of Christ's teaching: "But there are also many other things which Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the whole world itself could not contain the books that would be written (John. 21:25). St Paul wrote: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle (2 Thess 2:14).

GEORGE SIMPSON
North Blackburn, Vic

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