Catholics believe our Lord founded His Church, unlike any other organization — both the invisible (the Mystical Body of Christ) and the quite visible. The visible Church infallibly proclaims His unchanging Word and offers His sacraments until the end of time. He gave us no book from which to know truth, only His Church.
When, by who and under what authority then was the canon of the Holy Bible determined? It was definitively and infallibly declared around AD 400 by the Catholic Church (as she had been known for 300 years at that point) by the authority given to Her by our Lord. The canon of Holy Scripture (the Bible) is the fruit of Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium. St. Jerome’s original translation from that time remains the official canon for the Catholic Church today. Unchanged always, in word and interpretation.
Creating the canon of Holy Scripture was not a terminal act of the Church. She did not cease to exist at that point or suddenly become prone to errors of faith and morals. Jesus explicitly promised otherwise. Let’s take a look at what the Bible itself says and does not say. Not in scripture are words shown in
strike through. Words shown in bold actually are in scripture.
Institution of the Church
And so I say to you,
I have built my invisible church not upon any man, but upon my word alone as known individually to you through the spirityou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. For I hold the keys to the kingdom. Whatever I alone bind are bound in heaven; and whatever I alone loose are loosed in heaven.I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
“If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that “every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If he refuses to listen to them,
discern together the word, respecting how each is guided by the Holy Spirit to receive it differently.tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Authority of the Church
Amen, I say to you,
when I have departed to the Father, authority to bind in heaven is mine alonewhatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and too shall the authority to loose remain with me alonewhatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
[Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As I have been sent by the Father.As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Your sins are forgiven.Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Be wary of any who speak in my name for the truth is not in them.Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
Through scripture alone one belongs to God, while anyone who does not belong hears also the voice of men speaking in his name.We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.
The Pillar and Foundation of Truth
I am writing you about these matters, although I hope to visit you soon. But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God,
known to you alone by the scripture which reveals the living God to you individuallywhich is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.
Paul’s Farewell Warning
Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the holy Spirit has
descendedappointed you overseers, in which you tend the word of Godthe church of God that he acquired with his own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them.
The above verses only touch on this topic. There is much, much more. An excellent resource is ScriptureCatholic.com. They provide many detailed citations.
The specific word of God notwithstanding, sometimes folks read Holy Scripture as if certain words and phrases have been removed – or as if others have been added. I am here to help!
I call this series not in scripture. These are Bible quotes with a twist: words and phrases not actually present are shown with
strike-through. Scripture simply does not say that! Conversely, words that are actually in scripture (but sometimes overlooked) are shown in bold.