Lesson 2: The Bible and Tradition
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days hath spoken to us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the world."  (Hebrews 1:1)
  1. What is the Bible?

  2.     A collection of writings which were inspired by God.
    "All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work."    (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

  3. What does "inspired by God" mean?

  4.     It means that God chose some men and moved them to write down faithfully all the things, and only those things, which He wanted written down.
    "For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost."  (2 Peter 1:21)

  5. Who, then, is the main author of the Bible?

  6.     God is, since He moved these men to write down the things He ordered, although He allowed them to write in their own language and style.
    "For I give you to understand, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it;' but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."   (Galatians 1:11-12)

  7. How many writings, or books, are there in the Bible?

  8.     There are 72.

  9. When were all these writings put together?

  10.     The Catholic Church put all of them into one book between the years 350 and 405. 

  11. How is the Bible divided?

  12.     It is divided into two main parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
    The Old Testament contains the things God told the human race from the beginning of the world up to the coming of His son, Jesus Christ. The New Testament contains what God has told us through His Son and through His Apostles and others.

  13. Is it possible to misunderstand the Bible?

  14.     Yes, even the Bible itself says so.
    "As also in all his [St. Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest [twist], as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction."    (2 Peter 3:16)

  15. How can you get the true meaning of the Bible?

  16.     You can get it only from God's official interpreter, the Catholic Church.
    "Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation."    (2 Peter 1:20)

  17. Is everything that God taught in the Bible?

  18.     No, the rest is in tradition.
    "Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of His disciples, which are not written in this book."  (John 20:30)

  19. What is Tradition?

  20.     The Unwritten Word of God; these "other things Jesus did" were handed down by word of mouth by the Apostles and other close followers of Jesus.
    "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle."  (2 Thessalonians 2:14)

  21. Do you have to believe in Tradition?

  22.     Yes, because it is the Word of God and has equal authority with the Bible.
    The early Christians learned everything by Tradition, since only later on were some of the teachings of Jesus written down, the last writing being done at the end of the first century.  That is, there was no New Testament in the early Church.

  23. Are you free to believe whatever you want?

  24.     No, you have to believe everything in the Bible and Tradition--all the doctrines that the Catholic Church teaches.
    "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, with the angels of His power: in a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."   (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)

  25. What kind of sin is it to deny anything the Catholic Church teaches?

  26.     A serious sin, that is, a mortal sin.
    "Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son."    (2 John 1:9)

  1. If a Catholic denies one or more of the doctrines of the Catholic Church, he is no longer a Catholic. To be a Catholic is to accept the Catholic faith in its entirety because it comes from God, and God can neither lie nor make a mistake.
  2. You can easily tell the difference between a Catholic Bible and a non-Catholic one.  A Catholic Bible always has the name of a Catholic bishop near the front with the Latin word Imprimatur , which means "It may be printed."
  3. The Catholic Church not only allows her members to read the Bible, but encourages them to do so.  She gives special "blessings" (called indulgences) to those who read it as spiritual reading.  You are encouraged to buy a Catholic Bible [the Douay-Rheims] and read part of it every day.
  4. Protestant Bibles are missing 7 books of the Bible. Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, decided to omit them, because the Jews omit them.  Catholics call these 7 books the "Deuterocanonical Books"; Protestants call them the "Apocrypha."  They are Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, and 1 and 2 Machabees (plus parts of Esther and Daniel ).
  5. Nowhere does the Bible say that the Bible is the sole source of Christian teaching.  This fact refutes the classic Protestant teaching of "the Bible alone" (sola Scriptura ).  For more on this topic, see The Catholic Religion Proved by the Protestant Bible