The Father William Most Collection
What is the Bible? What Does it Say?
[Published electronically for use in classes taught by Fr. Most and for private theological study.]
Is it in the Bible? That is a very important question. But there are two other even more basic questions.
How do we know what a line in the Bible means ? is it all right to just ask any fellow off the street? Actually there are such differences in understanding the Bible that St. Peter himself in his Second Epistle 3. 16 warned. about St. Paul's Letters: "In them there are many things hard to understand, which the unlearned and the unstable twist, as they do the other Scriptures to their own ruin." We do wish Jesus would provide some help on this matter? He did.
But first, how do we know which books are part of the Bible? The Bible does not just say it is inspired.
So we need something more basic. Here is a thumbnail sketch. We start all right with the Gospels. But we cannot right off say they are inspired So we look at them first as just ancient documents. What can we get out of them? Some things for sure: 1) There was a man named Jesus. 2) He said He was sent by God. Further 3) He did enough by miracles to prove God had sent Him. But miracles need checking: Was there really a miracle that science can check by seeing there could be no natural explanation. ? Even then we need more: For example, think of the time men let a paralytic down through the roof before Jesus. He said: Your sins are forgiven. Scribes growled inside themselves: "Only God can forgive sins". Jesus read their minds and went on: What is easier to say, your sins are forgiven--or--take up your bed? The idea was obvious. If He just said sins are forgiven, no one could check that. But when He adds: Take your bed and go--anyone can see that. So, he did the one thing to prove he did the other. Really, since the scribes charged only God can forgive sins, what He proved was that He was God. But we leave that for the moment. 4) In the crowds He had a special twelve, and told them to continue His teaching. But--and this vital--He also told them: "He who hears you hears me". -So God would protect their teaching.
Now finally we are getting somewhere. We see a group, or church, in front of us, with a commission to teach, from someone God sent, with a promise of divine protection. Then we had better believe what they say. They can answer so many questions for us. But the biggest: Which books are inspired? Since their teaching is divinely protected, we can get them to tell us which books are inspired-that is which are part of the Bible. And since God protects their teaching, they can save us countless foolish mistakes on what Scripture means. They know--He sent them & He said He would be with them to the end of time. And they would not have to wait centuries for Judge Rutherford!
Thanks to God for such a safe protection!