The MOST Theological Collection: Basic Scripture



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The new Catechism of the Catholic Church is heavily Scriptural, and loaded with teachings of the Fathers of the Church. We are now to begin to make a preliminary exploration of that Scriptural riches. Hence it is good for us to open with a sketch of what the Catechism says about Scripture and Tradition.

1. A desire for God is written into the heart of man: God has made our hearts too large, too demanding, to be filled with anything less than Him.

We begin to know Him and things about Him by reason. The Church teaches, without endorsing any particular set of proofs, that we can by reason alone be certain of His existence. And in seeing the manifold perfections of creatures, we can know that these perfections exist in the highest degree, and without alloy, in Him.

2. Even though we can know Him somewhat by reason, history shows that even the best minds make so many errors in thinking about Him. Hence He graciously has provided us with revelation about Himself. He revealed Himself to our first parents, and right after their sin, He lifted up their hope by the promise of a Redeemer in Genesis 3:15. After the deluge, He made a permanent covenant with all humans. But soon He began to prepare for a fuller revelation, in choosing Abraham and his descendants. But the full revelation of Himself came in His own Son. This does not mean we do not have specific truths about that Son, and about the Father. We do of course.

Christ confided His truths to the Apostles, and commissioned them to teach others. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition come from the one source, God Himself. The Church by teaching and by its worship, perpetuates these truths about Him to every generation.

He gave to us, His people, a wonderful sense to discern what is truly revealed, so that if the whole Church, people as well as authorities, has ever accepted a thing as revealed, that belief cannot be in error. However, the task of giving an authoritative and clear interpretation of the meaning of both Scripture and Tradition He entrusted solely to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Christ.

In fact, it is only through this Church that we can know with certainty which books are inspired and contain His revelation. There are 46 sacred books of the Old Testament, and 27 of the New. The central part of these books is the Gospels, for they speak to us of His Son. These sacred books contain what He willed us to have for our salvation. This does not mean that other points may be in error in them. No, everything that is asserted by the Sacred Writers is asserted by the Holy Spirit. We need the action of that Spirit to fully understand the deposit of faith.

Since the chief Author of all of Scripture is the Holy Spirit, we cannot assume that one part of Scripture will clash with another. The unity of the divine design means that the Old Testament prepared for the New, which fulfills the Old. So, the two testaments shed light one another.