Roman Catholic - Doctrine of Scripture






1a Declared

1b The Scriptures, though inspired of God, are not complete – other inspired Scriptures, writings, and revelation have and are given by God to the Church

1c Apocryphal Books (14-15)

“APOCRYPHA” - the name given by Jerome to a number of books that in the Greek Old Testament Translation are placed among the canonical books of the Bible but which, for evident reasons, do not belong to the sacred canon. The Old Testament Apocrypha. specifically refers to the fourteen books written after the OT canon was closed (Malachi 400 BC) and which, being the least remote from the canonical books, laid strongest claim to canonicity. The OT apocryphal books have an unquestioned historical and literary value but have been rejected as inspired by non-Catholic Christianity. In fact they were never accepted by the Jews as Scripture and were not accepted as Scripture by the Catholic Church until 1546 AD.

1d The OT apocryphal books are fourteen in number 

1e With the exception of a couple of historical accounts most of these books are fictional and often fanciful accounts. For example

Bel and the Dragon” is a fanciful account of Daniel. “In the brief but autonomous companion narrative of the dragon (14:23-30), "there was a great dragon, which the Babylonians revered." In this case the supposed god is no idol. However, Daniel slays the dragon by raking pitch, fat, and hair (trichas) to make cakes (mazas, barley-cakes, but translated "lumps") that cause the dragon to burst open upon consumption. In other variants, other ingredients serve the purpose: in a form known to the Midrash, straw was fed in which nails were hidden,[5], or skins of camels were filled with hot coals,[6] or in the Alexander cycle of Romances it was Alexander the Great who overcame the dragon by feeding poison and tar.[7]” (Wikipedia -

2e With the exception of a couple of historical accounts most of these books are fictional and often fanciful accounts. For example

There were doctrinal reasons behind the Protestant refusal to accept the Apocrypha, for it was in these books that the Roman Catholic Church claimed scriptural authority for the doctrine of Purgatory, for prayers and Masses for the dead (2 Macc 12:43-45), and for the efficacy of good works in attaining salvation. (Tobit 12:9; Ecclesiasticus 8:33). (Wikipedia - There were doctrinal reasons behind the Protestant refusal to accept the Apocrypha, for it was in these books that the Roman Catholic Church claimed scriptural authority for the doctrine of Purgatory, for prayers and Masses for the dead (2 Macc 12:43-45), and for the efficacy of good works in attaining salvation. (Tobit 12:9; Ecclesiasticus 8:33).

3e The fourteen books that make up the Catholic Apocrypha are:

The Wisdom of Solomon Tobit The Rest of Esther Ecclesiasticus Judith The History of Susanna.  First Esdras Baruch Bel and the Dragon First Maccabees Second Esdras. Prayer of Manasses Second Maccabees The Song of the Three Hebrew Children

2d The NT apocryphal books

Unlike those of the OT, have never claimed the faith of the Christian church, except in a few isolated instances. There are more than one hundred of them, and it is doubtful whether one of them appeared before the second century of our era. Most of them portray a much later date. They are valuable as an indication of the growth of thought and the rise of heresy in the age just subsequent to that of the apostles. None of them ever received the sanction of any ecclesiastical council.” BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. H. Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (1913); id., Religious Development Between the Testaments (1914); M. R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament (1950); B. M. Metzger, Introduction to the Apocrypha (1957); E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schnelmelcher, 2 vols. (1963); R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament ( (from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright © 1988.)

2c The Writings of the Greek and Latin Fathers – commentaries, epistles, and gospels written by pastors and leaders in the church but not by the original apostles.

3c The Collection of the Church council pronounce­ments and Papal Bulls (decrees)

2b The final authority of what makes up the Cannon is the infallible Roman Catholic Church

“Catholics answer, “How do you know what belongs in the Bible?” by saying we trust the infallible Church established by Jesus Christ. This Church tells us what belongs in the Bible and assures us that everything in it is inspired.” “Catholic apologetics pg. 10-11)

1c The Church decrees what is Scripture

2c The Church decrees what the Scriptures teach – they can not be properly interpreted by the lay person and thus most of their authorized translations are accompanied with notes to explain passages that are in disagreement with Catholic doctrine

2a Described

1b The Bible is not sole authority in teaching truth

“HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT BELONGS IN THE BIBLE? “Many non-Catholic Christians claim the Bible is the sole rule of faith. If true, they should be able to answer clearly: “How do we know for sure what belongs in the Bible?” If unable to answer this question they can‘t distinguish the inspired words of God from the ordinary words of men. They cannot use the Bible as authoritative (much less solely authoritative) unless they can prove that everything in it is trustworthy. Thus, the question of the canon of the Bible is crucial for “Bible only” Christians. Sadly, “Bible only” Christians have no way of answering the question, “How do we know what belongs in the Bible?” by using only the Bible. The Bible does not have an inspired table of contents. Nowhere does any single book (Genesis or Exodus), or any combination of books (Genesis through Revelation) tell us what books belong in the Bible. If we rely on the Bible alone as the sole authority in all religious matters, and the Bible nowhere tells us what belongs in it, then the Bible alone doctrine has been refused. For how can we rely on the Bible alone when the Bible alone doesn’t tells us what to use as the Bible?”. . . Catholics answer, “How do you know what belongs in the Bible?” by saying we trust the infallible Church established by Jesus Christ. This Church tells us what belongs in the Bible and assures us that everything in it is inspired.” “Catholic apologetics pg. 10-11)

2b The Scriptures should not be placed in the hands of the laity

1c It was only when pressure was placed on the church in English speaking countries by non-Catholics who had translated and dispersed the English or other language versions to the laity that a translation was finally made – and that from a translation of a translation (Latin Vulgate) in 1582 but was not made available to the laity until it was revised in the late 1700’s, known as the Douai version.

2c Even so Catholics were not encouraged to read their Bible and their Bibles were filled with notations to answer problems passages

“The attitude of the Roman Church toward the Bible societies has been one of sustained opposition. Several acts of the popes have been directed exclusively against them. In 1824 pope Leo XII, in an encyc­lical letter said: "You are aware, venerable brethren, that a certain society called the Bible society strolls with effrontery throughout the world, which society, contrary to the well-known decree of the Council of Trent, labors with all its might and by every means to translate-or rather to pervert-the Scriptures into the vulgar tongue of every nation….We, in conformity with our apostolic duty, exhort you to turn away your flock by all means from these poisonous pastures." In 1844 Pope Gregory XVI again condemned these societies, and Pope Pius IX, author of the decree of papal infallibility, who died in 1878, denounced "these cunning and infamous societies, which call themselves Bible societies, and give the Scriptures to inexperienced youth." (Loraine Boettner, pg. 100)

“Fundamentalism Criticized: “The Bishops of the U.S., in a pastoral statement on the Bible and fundamentalism issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, voiced fear that Catholics "may be attracted to biblical fundamentalism without realizing its serious weaknesses." It said fundamentalism's emphasis on the Bible as the sole source of religious truth is at odds with Catholicism. The statement described biblical fundamentalists as those who "present the Bible, God's inspired Word, as the only necessary source for teaching about Christ and Christian living." Such a view excludes the need for universal Church teachings, the Mass, veneration of the saints, and other liturgical and devotional traditions.” (Mission to Catholics Challenger, Feb. 1992)

3b The order of authority and revelation for the Catholic Church is: God - Pope -Council- Fathers – Priest – Apocrypha & the Bible – local church – individual Christians

1c How different from the Scriptural order

1d Authority: God – Word – Church – People

2d Revelation: God – Word – Believer (1Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; John 14:26 II Peter 1:20)

2c The sign of a false religion is that someone stands between God’s revelation and the Saint


1a The Bible does have an inspired table of contents

1b Regarding the OT

1c 12 times in the NT the OT Cannon is described as the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17; 7:12; Jn. 1:45; Acts. 13:15; Rom. 3:21)

1d The law always referred to the Torah which made up the first five books of the Scriptures and were written by Moses and the Prophets the last books of the Hebrew Bible which ended in Malachi

2d It is further expanded to include the books in between when mentioning the Psalms along with the Law and the Prophets

Luke 24:44, “Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."

2c It is argued that the Greek translation of the OT (LXX) which included the extra 14 books was quoted by Christ and His Apostles thus indicating they held that the extra books were Scripture as well

“Which cannon did Jesus and His apostles use? In Jesus’ time, Hebrew was essentially a dead language; Palestinian Jews usually used Aramaic. Greek was the common language of the entire Mediterranean world. Not surprisingly, therefore, the New Testament writers used the Greek Septuagint. The vast majority of OT quotations found in the NT are from the Septuagint. Protestant authors Gleason Archer and G.C. Chirichigno list 340 places where the NT cites the Septuagint but only 33 places where it cites the Hebrew canon. By this count, the NT writers quoted the Septuagint over 90% of the time. Remember, the entire New Testament was written in Greek.” Catholic Apologetics pg. 11

1d These apocryphal books were written in Greek and were never ever accepted by the Jews as Scripture

2d These apocryphal books were never quoted by Christ or His Apostles even though the OT Greek Septuagint is quoted directly 260 times and alluded to 370 times

3d These apocryphal books were declared not to be Scripture by Josephus – the historian of the time of Christ

4d These apocryphal books were only translated into the Latin by Jerome because he was ask merely to translate them for a friend – Jerome questioned whether they were Scripture

5d These apocryphal books were never canonized by anyone until 1506

6d These apocryphal books abound in historical and geographical inaccuracies and anachronisms. - Judith 1:1-7: Nebuchadnezar is king of Assyria and lived in Ninevah

7d These apocryphal books teach doctrines that are false and foster practices that are at variance with inspired Scripture.

1e Wisdom 7:17 the earth was created out of pre-existing matter

2e 2 Maccabees 12:40 Purgatory

2b Regarding the NT

1c There is an inspired list of canonical books considered as Scripture recognize by both the Catholic and non-Catholic church – 27 books

2c The Scriptures would be given by the Holy Spirit through the Lord’s Apostles (Jn. 14:26; 2 Pet. 3:15) and was to be completed near the end of the 1st Century (1 Cor. 3:8-10)

3c The Scriptures completion is allude to in Rev. 22:18-19

3b Regarding the Whole (Heb. 1:1-4)

1c The writer indicates that in the OT God spoke various ways through the prophets (or from Moses to Malachi) however when we come to the NT God would speak through His Son, the Word of God (John 1:1)

2c This revelation would be carried out by either the Lord Himself or by those who were closely associated with Him

1d Jn. 14:26: the Holy Spirit would call back to the memory the sayings of the Lord to His disciples

2d 1 Cor. 7:10;11:23; 15:3; Eph. 3:3-8; Gal. 1:11: Paul reflects the teaching of the Lord (see also 7:25, 40) – Paul received His doctrine given to the church through the personal instruction of the Lord when he spent three years in the wilderness (Gal. 1:11-17)

2a The Bible does not endorse the “traditions of men as” Scripture

1b The term used by Paul and translated traditions actually is a poor translation and means ordinances or teaching that he had given to the churches (1 Cor. 11:2; Gal. 1:14; Col. 2:8; 2 Thes. 2:15; 3:6)

2b Our Lord condemned putting the traditions of elders over the teaching of Scripture (Matt. 15:2-6; Mk. 7:3-13)

3b Paul spoke out against such traditions of men (Col. 2:8) as did Peter (1 Pet. 1:18)

4b The traditions, decrees, and papal bulls often contradict Scripture

1c Disagreements often between church fathers of different times - (2nd and 3rd over return of Christ whether premillennial or not)

2c They often contradict the clear teaching of God Word

3a The Bible teaches that the Bible is all that is needed to complete the Saint (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

4a The Bible teaches that all doctrines and practices of the Church must be in alignment with that given by the Apostles in the 27 books of the New Testament – over and over the we are told that whatever violates what the Apostles taught in the first century is to be reject thus the Bible is the sole authority for faith and doctrine.

Gal 1:7-9, “which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”

Col 2:6-7, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

Phil 3:17-18, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”

Phil 4:8, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

1 Thes 4:1-2, “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”

2 Thes 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”

2 Thes 3:6-7, “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he* received from us.”

2 Thes 3:14, “And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.”


1a Roman Catholicism can not accept the Scriptures as “sole authority” without their whole doctrinal system collapsing

2a Their view that revelation continues on may have played a part in the first feelers between the evangelicals and Catholics was found in the Charismatic movement