You have probably heard the bold claim (like I have many times) that the Catholic Church gave us the Bible, so they have the right to interpret it for us. Here is how Catholics made that claim in “Who Gave The Bible To The People” (by the Knights of Columbus): … in 390 A.D., at the Council of Hippo, the Catholic Church gathered together the various books which claimed to be scripture, passed on the merits and claims of each and this council decided which were inspired and which were not.
Let’s talk about some problems with that claim …
· So I guess all the faithful Old Testament saints (and Jesus and the apostles), without an infallible Council to tell them, didn’t know what the Old Testament canon was until 390 A.D.? No, the Catholics admit the Old Testament saints had a reliable canon even without any kind of infallible Council. Why not the same now?
· Are the books of the New Testament inspired because they were canonized by the Catholic Church, or were they canonized because they were inspired?
· The Council of Hippo was a mere rubber stamping of what had long been the universal standard for the majority of Christians. No problem with God using this rubber stamp (as one of a series of events) to help establish the canon, any more than God using Judas to betray Jesus – leading to our salvation.
· These Catholic councils didn’t end disputes. In the 1500’s, Martin Luther called James an “epistle of straw.”
· Hippo may have decided the Canon for the Catholic church, but they sure didn’t decide for the rest of us. For example, the protestant Bible’s “Table Of Contents” is different (has no Apocrypha).
The Catholic Church didn’t give us the Bible; God did:
· II Tim 3:16a All scripture is given by inspiration of God …
· II Pet 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.