In discussions here about Catholicism and on other blogs/forums that I visit, it never seems too long in a discussion with a Roman Catholic before the following statement is made in some form or other: “The Catholic Church gave you your Bible”.
No matter how many times I hear it, it still makes me cringe. Not only is the statement inaccurate, but the arrogance that often permeates that statement makes me fearful for the person saying it. I wonder if any Catholic would dare say such a thing when standing before the judgment seat.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
It will be seen, therefore, that though the inspiration of any writer and the sacred character of his work be antecedent to its recognition by the Church yet we are dependent upon the Church for our knowledge of the existence of this inspiration. She is the appointed witness and guardian of revelation. From her alone we know what books belong to the Bible.
(Church = Roman Catholic Church, not the invisible body of believers)
Actually, that statement is pretty mild compared to what I have heard out of the mouths of laypeople, but misleading nonetheless.
As I have time I will search around for some of the comments I have seen online that have made me shudder…but in the meantime let me just clear up the general confusion. God wrote the Bible, it is HIS book.
“The church came before the bible. The church wrote the bible, then the church decided which books belong based on tradition.” source
“I'm not sure why you laugh when the Catholic Church gave the Bible to the world.” source
“As I and others have often said, the Catholic Church did not come out of the Bible; rather, the Bible came out of the Catholic Church! Jesus didn't leave us an instruction book; He left us a Church as our teacher. The Church produced the Bible and is its only rightful interpreter.” source