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Scripture and the Word of God

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 10, 2008

 This month the Synod of Bishops is discussing the Word of God. Notice: not just the Scriptures, but the Word of God. The distinction is critical to understanding the Catholic approach to the Bible.

When Protestants say that the Bible is the Word of God, Catholics readily agree. But if you turn the sentence around, and say that the Word of God is the Bible, then it's time to make some careful distinctions. Yes, the Word of God is the Bible. But not just the Bible.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...

Jesus is the incarnate Word of God. And Jesus lives with us today-- yes, in the Scriptures, but also in the sacraments, in the Church, in sacred tradition. Thus as Cardinal Ouellet said in the opening session of the Synod, it is not really accurate to say that Catholicism is a "religion of the Book." The Bible-- is one way in which the Word of God is present to us, but not the only way. 


Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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