By Who's Authority Do We Have The New Testament?
This manuscript we call the Holy Bible is the sole basis of faith and morals for the thousands of Christian denominations in the world today, one such church is Iglesia ni Cristo. INC is certain they are interpreting the Bible correctly and all those other souls not subscribing to their practice and beliefs are lost to the devil. They go on ‘authoritatively’ quoting Bible verses to ‘victoriously’ prove their point.
Iglesia ni Cristo practice a doctrine called Sola Scriptura or the Bible Only. They believe that if we are to add or subtract to the Bible in any way, we will be condemned to the dreaded ‘Lake of Fire’. When we look at the origin of the Bible and how it came about, INC falls into a Catch 22 of some sort because the New Testament Bible lacked very crucial information not found in the actual text.
We at Cross + Crusaders assert that the Catholic Church was the authoritative instrument, outside of the written Word, as lead by the Holy Spirit which gave the world the New Testament we use today. INC flatly denies this premise.
INC denies a Catholic Authority because it would compromise their first Century Apostasy doctrine. The reasoning is like this....if the Catholic Church did, if fact, authoritatively assemble the Bible, then the Church did not apostatize until, at least, 400AD. That would be very bad for INC timelines for that would give us the Holy Trinity and other dogma the Catholic Church ratified before the Canon of the New Testament. Most of those dogma, INC also flatly denies. Therefore, INC will claim that the Bible was assembled magically by the ‘early Christians’ and that no Catholic Council had anything to do with defining the canon.
We at Cross + Crusaders beg to differ. We will show that their stance is unhistorical.
Before we begin, we must understand that the Bible is composed of 27 books of the New Testament and 66 books of the Old Testament. These books, specifically the New Testament books, were written over a span of a little under a hundred years after the death of Christ by different authors. Not only that, many spurious gospels, claiming to be from an apostle, were circulating with the truly inspired ones before the canon was settled. Many of the inspired writings had unknown authors and origin. Many were copies of copies. We could go on and on about the manuscript puzzle that the ‘early Christians’, as INC puts it, had to work with, but we’ll get into that a little later.
We must also understand that there is no list contained in these 27 books of the Bible that tell us what books belong in the New Testament! It is a fact that the canon was assembled by some authority outside of the Books. We will prove that the authority was the Catholic Church.
We will study an INC article about the Origin of the Bible called “The Bible Is God’s Word”. We will flesh out the argument for Catholic Authority in relation to INC arguments of a self attesting Bible canon.
The INC writer starts off saying that “the 39 OT books as the are known today had been collected or compiled by the Jewish leaders in the first century. They had the authority to form the canon of the OT” (cf. Romans 3:2 NIV) “Many religious books were written, but they knew which ones rightfully belong to the Bible.”
Romans 3:2 - Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.
Before we get into the Canon of the OT, we would like to discuss the NT first. Now, if INC accepts Jewish authority, by way of a very precarious Bible quote, to define the canon of the Old Testament. It must be logical to assume that there was/is a Christian authority that does the same in defining the New Testament Canon. Although there is no Bible verse INC can draw from to answer that question, the Catholic Church answers by way of what Jesus left the world, an authoritative New Testament Church.
THE FORMATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON (A.D. 100-220)
The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council.
INC states that The NT was assembled by the “early Christians.” They go on to quote Adam W. Miller who wrote “Brief Introduction to the NT”. “The first known accurate list of the 27 books of the NT can be found in the Easter letter of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in 367 A.D.” “It was customary for such leaders to send letters at Easter time to the churches under their supervision; and Athanasius wrote one of special significance at this time, for it included a clear pronouncement concerning the approved list of scriptures. These he speaks of as ‘inspired Scriptures’, as books which are ‘believed to be divine’. The list of NT books, as already stated, is identical with ours today. (pp.18-19)”
Who are these ‘early Christians’ that INC talks about? The only Christians around that time were the Catholics. How did this Catholic Bishop, Athanasius decide what the NT was? Did he go outside of the 27 books of the Bible to figure out which books belong in the Bible? Did he have authority to make this binding upon the Church? If not, who did? Were there debates still raging, then and for decades after, on which books are inspired and which were not when he put out this letter? What was the deciding factor or authority in determining, once and for all, which books comprised the New Testament as we know it? These compelling questions will lead us down the road to how the Canon was created. On with the journey.
INC goes on the assert that “early church Fathers, of the second century such as Ignatius, Polycarp, and Justin Martyr, were well acquainted with the 27 books. However, it should not be mistaken that they were given the divine authority to determine whether the 27 books were genuine or canonical.”
We most certainly agree with INC’s conclusion in regards to the early church fathers’ authority in closing the NT canon. But why do we consider it closed today? It is only by Tradition do we consider the New Testament closed. There is nothing in the Bible that gives us guidelines on when the Canon should be closed.
The early Church Fathers that INC mentions were in a body called the Catholic Church. As mentioned earlier, the canon of the New Testament was a process that was stimulated by disputes about which books belong in the Canon. The natural progression was a confirmation of a canon chosen by the body that these Church Fathers were a part of. The first confirmation came from the synod of Rome in 382 called by Pope Damasus. Although this canon was not binding as dogma upon the whole Catholic Church, it was the first, of many, identical confirmations by the Church of the 27 books of the New Testament we use today.
INC goes on to quote another Biblical author, Neil R. Lightfoot, writer of “How We Got the Bible”. INC quotes “....No church through its councils made the canon of the Scripture. No church - in particular the Roman Catholic Church - by its decrees gave to or pronounced upon the books of the Bible their infallibility. The Bible owes its authority to no individual or group. The church does not control the canon, but the canon controls the church.
We have to contest INC and Lightfoot’s sweeping statement that no church, specifically the Catholic Church was involved in the formation of the Canon.
Not only was the Catholic Church necessary in assembling the 27 books, She authoritively closed the canon in the first years of the fifth century. Additional discussions of adding or removing contested books to the New Testament was no longer an option at that point. For the Catholic Church, as a whole, had definitely fixed the New Testament canon, and the discussion closed.
What are we to make of INC and Lightfoot claim of no one person or body was responsible for the 27 books of the New Testament Canon. It seems that the are implying that the books in questions were self authenticating, meaning that it would be quite evident, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to read the hundreds of writings circulating at that time and then assuredly determine the correct canon.
What they are implying is that there was no need for the Catholic Church to preserve, ascertain, and decisively canonize the 27 books of the NT.
It is a fact that there were at least 150 or so writings that claimed Apostolic origin circulating by 200 A.D. Not only that, most of the writings that we now consider inspired had no author! Here is a synopsis of what material and information the ‘early Christians’ had to work with to assemble the New Testament:
* Only a few New Testament documents reveal their author (Paul’s epistles, James [which one?], Peter, Jude, and the Revelation of John [which John?]).
* Both letters to Thessalonians purport to be written by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy. Others purport to be co-written by Sosthenes, Timothy, and Tertius. (I add “purport” to make a point, not to doubt the authorship.) The authorship of the “unsigned” documents is determined in most cases by CHURCH TRADITION and speculation based on internal evidence, e.g. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and the Epistles of John.
* A few claim apostolic authorship (Paul’s [though he was not one of the Twelve Jesus commissioned and we don’t have all his writings], Peter, James possibly, and with many challenges in the past, Revelation), but a claim can be challenged and it has been, especially in regards to the Revelation.
* Others are written by Apostles, assumed on the basis of Church tradition (e.g., Matthew, John).
* Some are clearly not written by an apostle or one who knew Christ (Mark, Luke, Acts, Jude [Jude 17], and Hebrews (Heb 2:3), and maybe others.
* The authorship of others is uncertain and still challenged by scholars, just as they were questioned in the first centuries (2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Hebrews, and others).
The Canon of the Bible was a development; just like the development of the Holy Trinity Doctrine in 325 A.D. It did not happen overnight. It wasn’t as clear-cut as INC would like you to think.
With such shortfalls in the material that these ‘early Christians’ had, how did they fill-in the holes and authoritatively assemble the Bible then? By Church Tradition. This tradition, by the way, is the same tradition that INC condemns in an article entitled “The Bible or Tradition”.
It took over 300 years to come-up with the Canon of the NT as we know it. There was no inspired Table of Contents left by Jesus or the Apostles or anything in those 27 books to construct the canon of those same 27 books.
INC has, unusually, nothing to draw from Scripture that proves that the 27 books in the NT should belong there. As mentioned, there is no inspired table of contents written within those infallible books for them to quote. That fact means that Catholic Church Tradition completed the missing and essential components of the Bible.
Knowing the shortfalls of the manuscripts the ‘early Christians’ had to work with....there definitely had to be another source of authority other than Scripture. By work of the early church fathers and confirmation by the Catholic Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit as promised by Christ, the Canon of the New Testament was assembled.
INC will have to concede that the NT Bible that they use was canonized from guidelines outside the pages of Scripture by the authority of same church they condemn as the original apostate church; the Catholic Church. The guidelines that these ‘early Christians’ used is Tradition of the Catholic Church. It is the same tradition that INC so virulently condemns. This fact of ‘going beyond scripture’ goes contrary to what INC preaches of the Bible which is Sola Scriptura or the Bible Only.
If INC refuse the authority of the Catholic Church and its decision of the New Testament Canon, the best INC can say about the Bible is that they have a fallible collection of what they believe as infallible books. That is the only logical conclusion since INC can no longer test all those gospels and epistles that circulated for hundreds of years before the formation of the canon. Why can’t INC do that? Because these manuscripts no longer exist. Once the Catholic Church deemed a writing non-canonical, the fragile manuscripts were left to deteriorate into dust.
Like it or not, INC is submitting to the authoritative work of the Catholic Church and Her decision.
INC and Lightfoot also claim that no church council “made” the canon of the NT. Then who did? It must be the ‘early Christians’ ? Those ‘early Christians’ that INC refer to are no other than the early Fathers of the Catholic Church! This early Church did have a hierarchy that these early Father belong to. From this Body, decisions were made, specifically, in regard to the Bible. What does history have to say about Catholic Councils and the canon of the Bible?
Councils and papal decrees which defined or re-iterated the list of Sacred books:
382 - Pope Damasus convoked a synod which produced the Roman Code. The Roman Code identified a list of holy Scripture identical to the Council of Trent’s formally defined canon.
393 - Council of Hippo
397 - First Council of Carthage
405 - Innocent I wrote a letter to the Gallican bishop Exsuperius of Toulouse which listed the books of Scripture.
419 - Second Council of Carthage
In a span of forty years, the Church essentially solved the problem of the NT as well as the OT . No council or papal decree gave a different list. Prior to these decisions, both Athanasius and Jerome knew of, and to some extent agreed with, the Jewish unwillingness to accept the OT dueterocanon, but both readily bowed to the authority of the Church and accepted the canonical status of all the disputed Old Testament and New Testament books. By 450 A.D., today’s list of inspired books was almost universally accepted in the western Church. By the Catholic Church’s authority, the Bible was then considered and an infallible collection of infallible books.
INC goes on with Lightfoot : “Although divine authority was attributed to the NT books by the later church, this authority was not derived from the church but was inherent in the books themselves. (pp 86-87)”
INC and Lightfoot, with no question, have the opinion that the NT is self authenticating in the above statement. As shown from our commentary above, it was by the guidance and authority of the Catholic Church through the promise of the Holy Spirit which canonized the NT. The fallacious argument of ‘inherent books’ have been presented before. One such example is below:
One of the best popular books on the scriptural questions is God’s Inert Word edited by John Warwick Montgomery (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1974) based upon a Conference on the Inspiration and Authority of Scriptures conducted at Ligonier in 1973. The contributors were Montgomery, Packer, Gerstner, Pinnock, Frame, Jones, and Sproul. The chapter dealing with establishing the canon and its self-authentication is written by John M. Frame and entitled Scripture Speaks for Itself.
In this chapter, Frame writes, “The authority of Scripture is a doctrine of the Christian faith -a doctrine like other doctrines ... To prove such doctrines, Christians go to Scripture. Where else can we find information on God’s redemptive purposes? But what of the doctrine of the authority of Scripture? Must we not, to be consistent, also prove that doctrine by Scripture? If so, then the self-witness of Scripture must not only be the first consideration in the argument; it must be the final and decisive consideration also” (pg. 178).
It is one thing to prove a doctrine from a book that is proven authoritative. It is quite another thing to prove the authority of a book, from that book, before the book itself is proven authoritative. These two are very different situations. This is circular reasoning and gets us nowhere. It is even worse when we realize that the book (New Testament) is made up of twenty-seven component parts and was not a “unit” or canon for over three centuries. So, the Bible must not only prove that it is itself, in its present form, inspired and infallible, but it must also make that proof for each of the individual component parts. Discussing the whole as inspired is irrelevant until the component parts are proven to be inspired and infallible and I see that done nowhere in Scripture.
Later, the author concedes this and tries to get around it. He writes, “It is impossible to avoid circularity of a sort when one is arguing on behalf of an ultimate criterion. One may not argue for one ultimate criterion by appealing to another. And the argument over Scriptural authority is precisely an argument over ultimate criterion!” (pg. 179).
Here Frame makes our point. He admits it is circular! He makes the fatal flaw of assuming that the twenty-seven writings are the final criterion before they are proven to be. He takes a collection that tradition (the Catholic Church) has placed in his hands and begins to run in circles chasing his tail in his circular argument but proving nothing. Is the Bible the final criterion? No. If Jesus had stood in front of the believers in the fourth century and said, “These books are the final collection of what you are to obey as infallible and authoritative scriptures,” where would the final criterion lie, in Jesus or the Book? The Book of component parts cannot be its own criterion for infallibility.
INC goes back to Miller “It has sometimes been assumed that the fixing of the number of books in our canon was the work of the church councils. The fact is that they did not select the books, for the contents of the NT were quite well defined before the various councils took any action with regard to it. A general church council to determine the exact limits of the NT has never been called; and no such council has ever acted for or against such a canon. Councils representing certain areas, and district synods, did from time to time pronounce their approval to what had already come to be accepted by the church under the guidance of the Spirit of God. (p.19).
The Church Councils, from the work of the early Church fathers approved the list. It is a fact that the meat of the New Testament canon was formed before these councils met. What these councils did was authoritatively affirm once and for all, what the canon of the books were. There was still much disagreement in regard to, what historians call, the New Testament Dueterocanons, or the contested books of the New Testament. These were books that were hotly contested for years after the first list of the New Testament was put forth.
For example, one NT dueterocanon included the book of Revelation. Many Church fathers wanted to drop this book from the canon for one reason or another. The Church Councils ended those doubts with their authoritative listing of the New Testament books recognized by the Church.
Just imagine if the Catholic Councils did not ratify the One Canon. There would be, without a doubt, controversy regarding the correct canon of the New Testament up to this day. Who is to say which Biblical scholar is correct if that were the case? We just have to look at the Protestant Reformation to prove our point. Luther had a heck of a time figuring out what books belonged in the Bible, didn’t he.
INC follows-up with the statement “Therefore, even when the early Church apostatized, the divine books were still held intact.”
Can we define these books ‘intact’ knowing that these same books, before canonization were without an original autograph, with only flawed copies extant, without a purported signature, without an official seal of some sort, without the possibility of collaborative sources, with disputed authenticity or authorship. Apostasy or not, INC is, again, inferring that the NT is self authenticating. It is not.
The early Church Fathers understood something forgotten today: Did Jesus promise us an authoritative Book, or an authoritative Church? INC would answer an affirmative for the latter. INC must admit that they are receiving the Canon of the NT from the only church back then, the Catholic Church.
INC will have to agree that the men at the Council of Rome included all of the right books and only the right books in the canon or he has to disagree. If INC disagrees, then INC is going to have to disagree with the New Testament canon in the very Bible she uses, because it was the Council of Rome that established the authority of that canon.
But if INC agrees that the Council of Rome included all the right books and only the right books in the New Testament canon then he is going to have to say that the early Church made an infallible decision (infallible because they included all the right and only the right books, thus making an inerrant decision under God’s providential guidance—which is infallible guidance). They made this infallible decision three hundred years after the death of the last apostle. But if Church councils are capable of arriving at infallible decisions three hundred years after the death of the last apostle, INC has no reason to claim they are incapable of this later on in Church history.
The NT was a process of development of doctrine within the Church, similar to the development of the doctrine of the Trinity or the deity of Christ. Did the writers of the New Testament understand their writings would some day be considered infallible, inspired scripture, and be collected into a New Testament? We gather information on the “self-authenticating” and collection of the canon from Eusebius, who wrote at the end of the third century and finished his history about 325 a.d.(1)
“Nevertheless, of all the disciples of the Lord, only Matthew and John have left us written memorials, and they, tradition says, were led to write only under the pressure of necessity. For Matthew, who had at first preached to the Hebrews, when he was about to go to other peoples, committed his Gospel to writing in his native tongue, and thus compensated those whom he was obliged to leave for the loss of his presence. And when Mark and Luke had already published their Gospels, they say that John, who had employed all his time in proclaiming the Gospel orally, finally proceeded to write for the following reason. The three Gospels already mentioned having come into the hands of all and into his own too, they say that he accepted them and bore witness to their truthfulness; but that there was lacking in them an account of the deeds done by Christ at the beginning of his ministry” (pg. 152)153).
“But of the writings of John, not only his Gospel, but also the former [first] of his epistles, has been accepted without dispute both now and in ancient times. But the other two are disputed. In regard to the Apocalypse, the opinions of most men are still divided” (pg. 153).
“Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John, whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name. Among the rejected writings must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul, and the so-called Shepherd [accepted my many in the East as canonical], and the Apocalypse of Peter, and in addition to these the extant epistle of Barnabas, and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles; and besides, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said, reject, but which others class with the accepted books. And among these some have placed also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, with which those of the Hebrews that have accepted Christ are especially delighted. And all these may be reckoned among the disputed books. But we have nevertheless felt compelled to give a catalogue of these also, distinguishing those works which according to ecclesiastical tradition are true and genuine and commonly accepted, from those others which, although not canonical but disputed, are yet at the same time known to most ecclesiastical writers-we have felt compelled to give this catalogue in order that we might be able to know both these works and those that are cited by the heretics under the name of the apostles, including, for instance, such books as the Gospels of Peter, of Thomas, of Matthias, or of any others besides them, and the Acts of Andrew and John and the other apostles, which no one belonging to the succession of ecclesiastical writers has deemed worthy of mention in his writings” (pg. 156)157).
“One epistle of Peter, that called the first, is acknowledged as genuine. And this the ancient elders used freely in their own writings as an undisputed work. But we have learned that his extant second Epistle does not belong to the canon; yet, as it has appeared profitable to many, it has been used with the other Scriptures. The so-called Acts 2 of Peter, however, and the Gospel which bears his name, and the Preaching and the Apocalypse, as they are called, we know have not been universally accepted, because no ecclesiastical writer, ancient or modern, has made use of testimonies drawn from them. But in the course of my history I shall be careful to show, in addition to the official succession, what ecclesiastical writers have from time to time made use of any of the disputed works, and what they have said in regard to the canonical and accepted writings, as well as in regard to those which are not of this class. Such are the writings that bear the name of Peter, only one of which I know to be genuine and acknowledged by the ancient elders. Paul’s fourteen epistles are well known and undisputed. It is not indeed right to overlook the fact that some have rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews, saying that it is disputed by the church of Rome, on the ground that it was not written by Paul. But what has been said concerning this epistle by those who lived before our time I shall quote in the proper place. In regard to the so-called Acts of Paul, I have not found them among the undisputed writings. But as the same apostle, in the salutations at the end of the Epistle to the Romans, has made mention among others of Hermas, to whom the book called The Shepherd is ascribed, it should be observed that this too has been disputed by some, and on their account cannot be placed among the acknowledged books; while by others it is considered quite indispensable, especially to those who need instruction in the elements of the faith. Hence, as we know, it has been publicly read in churches, and I have found that some of the most ancient writers used it. This will serve to show the divine writings that are undisputed as well as those that are not universally acknowledged” (pg. 134)136).
Quoting from Irenaeus (c. 120)200 a.d.) Eusebius writes, “ ‘Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their departure [death] Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia.’ [Then referring to the Apocalypse he quotes Irenaeus further], ‘For it was seen, not long ago, but almost in our generation, toward the end of the reign of Domitian.’ He states these things concerning the Apocalypse in the work referred to. He also mentions the first Epistle of John, taking many proofs from it, and likewise the first Epistle of Peter. And he not only knows, but also receives, The Shepherd [of Hermas]” (pg. 222)223).
We could go on and on showing, using the Fathers, that not all the books were immediately accepted, and no canon was assumed or definitive for 393 years after the resurrection, which throws doubt on the theory that they can be known simply by virtue of their “clear and obvious” self-authentication. Numerous canons existed, for example Marcion’s canon (d. c. 160 a.d.) which excluded most of our current New Testament. Are the books of the Old Testament also self-authenticating? The canon of the Old Testament was not even agreed upon by the Jews until well after the Christian era began. In Jamnia (c. 90)100) the Jewish leaders discussed which Old Testament books were canonical, and even then there were continued discussions and uncertainties into the next centuries. (We will study the OT in a separate Article)
And much of what we do know of the New Testament writings comes from tradition (who wrote Matthew, why should we trust the gospel of Mark, why do we consider Luke infallible, why trust Jude who was not even an apostle, etc. etc.). Throughout the early history it was apostolic tradition that was accepted as the “ecclesiastical authority” through which we knew the infallible books.(2) This is not readily admitted in Protestant literature, just as Palestinians are not going to give “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” about the Israelis.
If we are to die for a document, or a collection of documents, we want to know it is authentic and infallible, without reasonable doubt. If we are to base our eternal destiny on it, and that of our children -heaven or hell-we want to be without a doubt that the component parts that are in our possession are authentic, inspired, and infallible. We also want the component parts to be collected into a closed canon that is also authentic, inspired and infallible -so that we know we have the words of Christ and his apostles.
The only Church that was witness to Jesus and His Apostles, collected the all the manuscripts, determined which were divine and decisively canonized the New Testament Bible we use today is the Catholic Church. This Church is the same Church Christ promised that He would not leave as orphans. When He left this earth, he would send the Holy Spirit to teach Her all things and guide Her into all truth FOREVER.
INC is but one of the many Churches that have chose to use the Bible to prove their existence. Yet, they cannot prove what the Bible is. INC cannot go back and read through all the manuscripts that the Catholic Fathers considered inspired or uninspired. They no longer exist. They must have
faith that the Catholic Church infallibly chose the correct books.
Since INC believes that the Catholic Church was a full blown apostate church during the formation of the Canon, how can they accept these 27 books of the New Testament as
infallible? Logically, they can’t.
Inevitably, INC must conclude that the Catholic Church was the Christian authority to define the Canon of the New Testament. This conclusion voids their two most important doctrines: The Bible Alone Theory, and The First Century Apostasy Theory. By INC accepting the NT Canon, they contradict the very foundations that their Church is built on.
In closing we would like to quote one of the most influential Church Fathers who understood the authoritative role and infallible pronouncement of his Church which, lead by the Holy Spirit as promised by Christ, canonized the New Testament Bible:
“For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.”
- St. Augustine
Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental.
[Contra Epistolam Manichaei Quam Vacant Fundamenti.] a.d. 397.
1. Mostly from Eusebius’ Church History in vol. 1, series 2 of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982).
2. Thus the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on Divine Revelation (8, 2), “Through the same tradition the Church’s full canon of the sacred books is known, and the sacred writings themselves are more profoundly understood and unceasingly made active in her; and thus God, who spoke of old, uninterruptedly converses with the bride of His beloved Son; and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel resounds in the Church, and through her, in the world.”