Holy Scripture: A Brief Overview |
While the authors of the various books of the Bible were the pen, God provided the ink for God is the Author of the Bible. An author is not the stenographer that writes down what he is told, but the one who tells what is to be written. Since God is the Author, the Bible cannot contain any error.
Contrary to what many may think, nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. If they truly want to live their Faith as it was taught from Peter to Pius XII, they must know the Faith and live it as Traditional Catholics. That is the only way to KEEP THE FAITH!
"God, Who at sundry times and in diverse manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days has spoken to us by His Son" Hebrews 1: 1
The Bible is the best Book in the world. It is the Word of God. It is better than any other book that has ever been written or ever will be written. Catholics are not only permitted, but urged, to read the Bible. They must read a version approved by the Catholic Church. Catholic Bibles have the necessary explanations for the guidance of the faithful. We still strongly recommend the Douay-Rheims version and Confraternity version as the most representative of Catholic translation. Some of the newer translations defy Catholicity in their attempt to be politically correct, yet the bishops have willy-nilly promoted the abominable Protestantized NAB. So much for the newchurch. Let us return to the True Church and what She has always taught:
Holy Scripture is the Word of God written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and contained in the books of the Old and the New Testaments. The seventy-two sacred books, together forming the Bible, were composed by forty writers in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The period of composition covers at least 1,300 years, from Moses to Saint John the Evangelist.
"God, Who at sundry times and in diverse manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days has spoken to us by His Son" (Hebrews 1:1).
The writers were inspired by God. By a supernatural influence God enlightened their mind and moved their will to write all that He wished, and only that. They acted as free instruments of God, Who directed them and preserved them from error. The writers of Holy Scripture were, however, not passive instruments. Each writer brought his personality with him into what he wrote. The writers were like skilled painters who paint from the same model. The products are similar and all correct, but with differences according to talents.
While they were the pen, God provided the ink for God is the Author of the Bible. An author is not the stenographer that writes down what he is told, but the one who tells what is to be written. Since God is the Author, the Bible cannot contain any error.
"All Scripture is inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16). Copyists and printers, however, can and do make mistakes in copying the Bible. This has happened since the emergence of the King James version.
Since the Bible is the Word of God, it must be treated with the greatest reverence. This is why we take solemn oaths on the Bible, stand up when the Gospel is read, and have incense and lights used when the Gospel is sung at solemn High Mass.
The books of the Bible can be used to prove reliable historical records. Science throughout the years has been proving itself the handmaid, instead of the enemy, of the Bible. Excavations and researches in the last century and this new one have proved that such distant events as the Fall of Jericho, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Deluge, really and actually happened, and are no mere figures of speech. Sir Charles Marston, the eminent British archaeologist who worked extensively in Palestine, firmly declared that far from being merely mythology, the Old Testament is, substantially, contemporary eyewitness accounts of events set down as they took place. Remains he found included information on events that took place in the times of Abraham, Moses, Solomon, and Jeremias the Prophet; even the name of Abraham has been found. Tablets found in Babylonia and Assyria refer to the Deluge.
The Old Testament was recognized by Jesus Christ, approved by Him, and often quoted by Him. Evidences from the New Testament prove that this was written by Christ's Apostles and disciples.
The style of the Gospels shows clearly that they were written by Jews. That the writers lived in the first century is shown by the vividness of their knowledge about Jerusalem, which was destroyed before the end of that century. The earliest Christian writers testify to the reliability of the Gospels; the consent of the churches of the time proves such reliability.
The Gospels have not been changed by the passage of centuries no matter how many theories of conspiracy one might conjure up in the hideous The DaVinci Code. It can be proven the latter is full of lies from the oldest copies, from ancient translations and quotations. The Gospels could not have been altered, because the fervor of the early Christians carefully guarded them. When in the fourth century Saint Jerome was ordered by Pope Saint Damasus I to gather all existing texts of the Bible and translate them into Latin, there were some 35,000 ancient copies. After thirty-four years of labor, he finished the translation, our Catholic Bible, called the Latin Vulgate, from which the Catholic English versions have been made.
The Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament, written before Christ, consists of forty-five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy which compose the Pentateuch. Then there is, in chronological order: Josue, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel (1 Kings), 2 Samuel (2 Kings), 3 Kings, 4 Kings, Paralipomenon 1 and 2, Esdras, 2 Esdras or Nehemias or Nehemiah, Tobias, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Jeremias, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, Osee or Josea, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Micheas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggeus, Zacharias, Malachias, and 1 and 2 Machabees.
There are twenty-one historical books relating to the earliest ages of the world, or to the history of the Jews, among which books are the five books of Moses and the four books of Kings; seven doctrinal books, made up of maxims and prayers, among which are the Psalms and the Proverbs; and seventeen prophetical books, of four greater and twelve lesser prophets, among which books are Isaias, Jermias, and Daniel.
The New Testament, written after the Ascension of Jesus Christ, consists of twenty-seven books. They are, in chronological order the four Gospels according to Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the Evangelist, containing the story of the life of Christ. These are followed by the Acts of the Apostles written by St. Luke, containing the history of the Apostles after the Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven. These five are mainly historical while the following twenty-one episples by Saints Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude are doctrinal. These are: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, St. James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, and Jude. The final book of the Bible is the Apocalypse of St. John, today shamelessly referred by so many as Revelation because it is prophetical. Thus in the New Testament you have historical, doctrinal and prophetical.
The Gospels, written by the four evangelists, are the keystone of the Gospels in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and are recycled once a year in the Church's liturgical calendar that has so carefully been planned by wise Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Holy Mother Church had a purpose in repeating the same Gospels and Epistles every year for familiarity and memory go a long way in learning one's Faith without confusion. Not so in the church of Vatican II where all that wisdom was discarded in favor of the ecumenical three-year cycle to cover all the bible without retaining any semblance of what the Word truly means because of the all encompassing inclusion of everything.
Matthew,one of the twelve Apostles, was a tax-collector or publican called Levi before he followed Our Lord. His Gospel was first composed in his native Aramaic, the "Hebrew tongue" mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles and geared for his fellow-countrymen - the Jews of Palestine, both believers and unbelievers. Matthew was the first Evangelist to write the Gospel, about six years after Our Lord's Ascension. His work was translated into Greek in the time of the Apostles. His work shows Jesus as proving Himself to be the promised Messiah and is often referred to as the "Gospel of Fulfillment" or the "Gospel of the Kingdom." He is represented by a man with wings, such as an angel because of references to the "Kingdom." His feast is celebrated on September 21st as a Double of the Second Class feast.
Mark was the disciple of St. Peter, and wrote according to what he heard from Peter himself. He wrote for the Christians of Rome about ten years after Our Lord's Ascension. St. Peter approved what he wrote, which shows Christ as the Son of God. It is historically certain that he wrote the second Gospel in Rome sometime before the year 60 A.D. Mark is the patron saint of Venice where his body lies in state at the Cathedral in his name. His work shows the great power of God and is represented as a Lion in symbology. His feast falls on April 25th.
Luke, a Syrian by birth who was born in Antioch, was converted by St. Paul and became his disciple. He wrote about twenty-four years after Our Lord's Ascension, for a distinguished citizen of Rome - Theophilus. He had great literary powers which shows through in his composition His work contains many details about the Blessed Virgin Mary including her fiat at the Annunciation and Visitation, something not covered by the other evangelists. He was a physician by trade and is symbolized as the ox. October 18th is the date of his traditional feast day in the Church.
John was Christ's Beloved Disciple. He wrote about sixty-three years after Our Lord's Ascension even though he had been a first-hand witness like Matthew. The last of the Apostles to die, he wrote in his old age to testify, against heretics who had arisen, that Jesus Christ is truly God. He was particularly close to Jesus and this shows for he reveals a different bent in his writings, emphasizing the Father-Son relationship between God the Father and God the Son. He is signified by the eagle, for his writings attained spiritual heights. His feast day is celebrated on December 27th each year within the Octave.
Tomorrow: The Old Testament: The Pentateuch