The Scripture and Tradition

The Scripture and Tradition

The Second Vatican Council describes scared Scripture as being “like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God” (Revelation 7:1).

God’s word of revelation comes to you through words spoken and written by human beings. Sacred scripture is the word of God “in, as much as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine spirit” (Revelation 9:1), Scared Tradition is the handing on of God’s Word by the successors of the apostles. Together, tradition and Scripture “from one Scared deposit of the word of God, which is committed to the Church” (Revelation 10:1).

The Bible: Its Books and Its Message

Sacred Scripture, the Bible, is a collection of books. According to the cannon of Scripture (the Catholic Church’s list of books accepted as authentic), the Bible contains 73 books, The 46 books of the Old Testament were written approximately between the years 900 B.C.- that is before the coming of Christ. The 27 books of New Testament were written approximately between the years A.D. 50 so and A.D. 140.

The Old Testaments collection is made of historical books, didactic (teaching) books, and prophetic books (containing the inspired words of prophets, people who experienced God in special ways and were is authentic spokesmen). These books, with a expectations, were written originally in Hebrew.

In brief, the Old Testament books are a record of the experience the Israelite people had of Yahweh…the God of their fathers” (recall Exodus 3:13-15). As a whole ,these books reveal Israel’s insight into the personal reality of the one God, Yahweh, who acts in human history guiding it with plan and purpose. Yahweh , the God the Old Testament is the same god whom Jesus, a Jew called Father.

The new Testaments books, written originally in Greek are made up of Gospels (Proclamations of the good news) and Epistles (letters). First, in the order in which they appear in the Bible; are the Gospels of Mathew, Mar, Luke, John. The First three Gospels are called synoptic (from the Greek synoptikos, “seeing the whole together”) because they tell much the same story in much the same way. The book called Acts of Apostles, Which follows the Gospel of Saint John, is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke ; Written by Luke, Acts continues the narrative of his Gospel. The Gospel of John (also called the Fourth Gospel) fills out the view of Jesus found in the three synoptic Gospels.

Next in sequence the Epistles of Saint Paul – the earliest New Testament documents – which were written in each case to meet particular needs of various local ‘Christians’ communities.

After Paul’s Epistles come the Catholic Epistles. These letters are called Catholic, or universal, because they were not written to deal with particular needs of local Churches but with matters important to all Christian communities.

The final book of the new Testaments is the book of revelation, a message of hope for persecuted Christians, promising Christ’s ultimate triumph in history.

The basic theme of the New Testament is Jesus Christ. Each book reveals a different side of his mystery. The four Gospels record the words and deeds of Jesus they were remembered and handed down in the early generations of the Church. They tell the story of his passion and death, and what that death means in the light of his Resurrection. In a sense, the Gospels began with the Resurrection; Jesus ‘teaching and the events in his life made sense to the early Christians only after his Resurrection. The Gospels reflect the shared faith of first Christian in the Lord who is risen and now dwells among us.

The new Testaments writings tell not who Jesus was , but who he is. More than mere historical documents, these writings have the power to change your life. In the New Testament “mirror, you can find Jesus Christ. If you accept what you see in the mirror, the meaning Christ has for you in your life situation, you can also find yourself.

Tradition, Vatican II, and Parents

Sacred Tradition is the handing on of God’s word. This handing on is done officially by the successors of the apostles, and unofficially by all who worship, teach and live the faith as the Church understands it.

Certain ideas and customs grow out of the Tradition process and become instrumental to it , some even for a period of centuries. But a product of Tradition is a basic element in it only in that product has served to hand on the faith in an unvarying from since the early centuries of the church, Examples of basic elements are the Bible (as a tangible tool used in handing on the faith), the Apostles ‘Creed, and the basic forms of the Church’s liturgy.

In a particular era, a product of the tradition process can Play a Special role in handing on the faith. The documents of ecumenical council are prime examples. An ecumenical council is official meetings, for the purpose of decision making, by the Bishops of the word who are in union will the Pope. The teachings of an ecumenical council – products of Tradition in the strict sense – play a decisive role in the Tradition process. The documents of the 16th – century Council of Trent have played such a role. So have the Documents of Vatican Council I, which took place in the 19th century.

In our time, the documents of Vatican Council II are playing the same role in the handing- on process. As a Pope Paul VI declared in a 1966 Address, “We must give thanks to God and have confidence in the future of the church when we think of the Council: it will be the great catechism of our times.”

Vatican II has done what the teaching Church has always done: it has spelled out the unchangeable content of revelation, translating it into thought – forms of people in today’s culture. But this “translation of unchangeable content” is not just old news dressed up in new language. As Vatican II has stated: “This tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities ad the words which have been handed down…as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her” (Revelation 8:1).

Through Vatican II Church has heeded the Spirit and engaged in its, “duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel” (Church in the modern world, 4) where the spirit is leading us is not always clear. But the ground on which we the Church move forward in our pilgrimage is firm: the Gospel Christ. At this stage in our history, one of our basic instruments of Tradition – the handing of the faith – is the documents of Vatican II.

Tradition is entirely personal process, the faith is handed on by people to people, Popes and Bishops, pries and religious, theologians and teacher pass on the faith. But the main people involved in the process are involved in parents and their Children. Children of Chinese parents seldom develop an Irish brogue. And Children of nonreligious parents seldom develop a deep, living faith, so in regard to in Tradition. Keep in mind the words of the noted English pries- educator, Cannon Drink water: “You educated to some extent…by what you say, more by what you do, and still more by what you are: but most of all by the things you love.”

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