Catholics contend that the whole world is indebted to the Roman Catholic church for the existence of the Bible. This is another of their attempts to exalt the church as an authority in addition to the Bible and so they can exalt and defend their traditions that are contrary to the Bible. But is this true? Are we indebted to the Catholic Church for giving us the Bible?
The answer to this question is NO. I give three evidences for this:
- The underlying principle that determined canonicity of the books is the same principle that stood under the verbal preaching of the apostles while Christianity was in its earliest stages: inspiration. Before any of the books were written, there was inspired oral teaching that came from God. Then this inspired teaching was written down. In reality, the inspired teachings and writings are what gave birth to the church, not the other way around! The church began in Acts 2 because of the Apostles’ inspired teaching. The 4th century councils did not impose any innovation on the churches; they simply endorsed what had become the general consensus. They recognized what had already been accepted as inspired writings from God that were to be consider the “faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The books are NOT inspired because the Catholic Church gave them to us, but because God gave them to us. For the Catholic Church to make this claim is nothing short of pride and when they do it they are putting themselves in the place of God, which is idolatry.
- The Catholic Church was not yet in existence when the writers penned the scriptures. They claim that everyone who wrote the scriptures was Catholic. “”All the books of the New Testament were written by Catholics” (The Bible is a Catholic Book, p. 14). But they are attempting to rewrite history in saying this! I firmly deny that the writers of the New Testament were members of the Roman Catholic Church as we know it today. The Roman Catholic Church was not fully developed until several hundred years after the New Testament was written. It is not the same institution as disclosed in the New Testament. If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does it nowhere mention the Catholic Church or its organization and practices? Why is there no mention of a pope, a cardinal, an archbishop, a parish priest, a nun, or a member of any other Catholic order?
- The Catholic Churches traditions and doctrines contradict the Bible or are absent from its pages, which means that they are not doing all things in the name of Christ (col 3:17). Why is there not a mention purgatory, indulgences, confession to priests prayers to the saints, adoration of Mary, veneration of relics and images, and many other rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church not mentioned in the New Testament? If the Bible is a Catholic book, how can Catholics account for the passage, “A bishop then, must be blameless, married but once, reserved, prudent, of good conduct, hospitable, a teacher…He should rule well his own household, keeping his children under control and perfectly respectful. For if a man cannot rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?” (1 Tim. 3:2, 4-5). The Catholic Church does not allow a bishop to marry, while the Bible says “he must be married.” Why does the Bible condemn clerical dress? (Matt. 23:5-6). Why does it show that all Christians are priests? (1 Pet. 2:5,9). Why does it teach that all Christians are saints? (1 Cor. 1:2). Why does it condemn the making, bowing down to, and adoration of images? (Ex. 20:4-5). Why does it forbid us to address religious leaders as “father”? (Matt. 23:9). Why does it teach that there is one mediator instead of many? (1 Tim. 2:5).
As I have already stated, the only way to accept the idea that the Catholic Church gave us the Bible is to ignore history. A church that was not present yet can not give anyone anything. This would be like me saying that I gave you a gift before I was born. Manufactured lists of Apostolic Succession cannot prove anything. Many other “churches” have the same lists, all of which are not Biblical. I stand on the truth that the Bible when it was written was inspired of God before any councils, and that it tells us everything that we need to know to be faithful to God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
A Catechism For Adults, William J. Conan, ACTA Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 1959.
The Bible is a Catholic Book, Knights of Columbus Religious Information Bureau, St. Louis, 1948.