Most of us don’t have time to study the Bible. We’re busy raising families and keeping our jobs. Even if we did have the time, most of us are not highly inclined to do those things. Its too much like work, boring through that ancient tome and trying to learn and understand its lessons which are not often explicit. Its pretty hard. Right?
But most of the great apologists, whose books we read and disks we listen to, urge us that we “need to know our Bible!” And it certainly is a wonderful thing, if we all did that. Man, if I could remember all those verses and recall them when I needed them, the way Steve Ray does, I’d be awesome! We all want to be great apologists, don’t we? Just like we all want to have great abs. A sixpack! Yeah! I actually achieved that at the grand old age of 54. But then, after I saw them in the mirror, I was satisfied and went back to my beer guzzling ways. I just wanted to know that I could do it. Of course, my wife says I was dreaming. Anyway.
What if I told you that you could be a decent apologist and all you need to do is remember five facts which you probably already know? And you don’t have to study the Bible to know these things. Read on.
When most of us think of apologetics, we think of verbal debates. I avoid those like the plague, though. Why? Because they normally boil down to whose got the best one line zingers. And that’s not conducive to scholarly discussion.
But, even though I avoid verbal debates, I find myself embroiled in them because, well, Protestants think that Catholics are easy marks who don’t know how to defend their faith. Here are a few facts, that I have found to be very effective in making Protestants stop and think about what they are saying. And that’s really the goal that we want to achieve. Because, even the most eloquent argument is not guaranteed to change anyone’s mind. So, if you can make them think, you can actually walk away at that point and let them figure things out for themselves. Or, you can hand them something. A booklet like Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth, from CA is wonderful. Or a disk from Lighthouse Catholic Media.
THE FIVE FACTS
1. Jesus did not write down one word of Scripture. Not a word. Jesus established the Catholic Church and commanded Her to Teach and make disciples of the world. That’s called the Great Commission. But Jesus did not write anything down.
2. If Jesus didn’t write the New Testament, who did? The Catholic Church. Technically, the correct answer is Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Peter, Paul, James and Jude. That is, technically a correct answer. But when engaging in apologetics with Protestants, you need to say that it was the Church. I'll explain later.
3. The saying that “the Bible is inspired” does not mean that the Bible fell from the sky into our hands. It means that men were inspired to preach. Years later, those same men wrote down that which they had been inspired to preach. So, remember, “men were inspired”. And these men were all members of the Catholic Church.
4. The printing press was not invented until the 15th century. In the time of Christ and the Apostles, mass media was unknown. Technology was too primitive to permit volume printings of any books. So, people relied upon word of mouth.
5. There was no Bible until the 3rd century when St. Jerome, acting under the authority of the Catholic Church, put together the Latin Vulgate. Which is still the official, Catholic Bible.
Those FIVE FACTS are the ingredients. But its not a matter of merely reciting them. You do need to understand them and their relationship to one another. You need to know the recipe, so to speak. You don’t want to mindlessly repeat things for which you have no understanding.
1.a. So, why is it important to know that Jesus didn’t write the New Testament? Because, most Protestants have never thought of that little detail. They function under the assumption that Jesus Christ passed out New Testaments. It really stops them in their tracts (pun intended) when you make that point. The only retort I’ve ever heard is, “Well, His Word is in the Bible.” And in turn, you say, “but the Church wrote it down.”
1. b. Why is it important to know that Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church? Aside from the fact that it is pretty easily derived from the Bible, because most Protestants have been taught that it was established by the Roman Emperor Constantine. All you have to do is stick to your guns on this one and tell them to go and study actual history rather than anti-Catholic propaganda.
2. So, why is it important to say that the Catholic Church wrote the New Testament? This is related to 1.b. above. Because, most Protestants pretend that each one of the authors of the New Testament acted independently of the Church. But they didn’t. They were all members of the Catholic Church. But since Protestants believe that the Catholic Church was established by Constantine in the 3rd Century, they will claim that there were no Catholics in Apostolic times. So, again, when they make that claim, tell them to study actual history. All they have to do is crack an actual history book, rather than anti-Catholic propaganda, and they will see the truth.
3. Why is it important to know that the saying, “the Bible is inspired” means that men were inspired? This is related to 1.a. above. Because, again, most Protestants have never thought of this detail either. They seem to function under the impression that God breathed out Bibles and dropped them out of the sky into our hands. They skip the Church’s role in this process, all together.
4. Why is it important to know that the printing press was not invented until the 15th century. Because Protestants have been taught that the Bible was always available to the common man and that the Catholic Church withheld the Bible in order to enforce her devilish agenda. But the fact is, that until the 15th century, technology was too primitive for any volume printings of any books. Up until that time, Universities and Libraries used to chain and cage their books thus making sure they were available for people to read by preventing individuals from removing them and taking them home.
5. Why is it important to know that the Catholic Church authorized St. Jerome to put the Bible together in the 3rd Century? Because until then, a Bible was something unheard of. The Bible is a Catholic invention. That’s right, a Catholic invention. Let me explain further.
a. There is a difference between the Bible and Scripture. Today, Scripture is included in one bound edition which we call, the Bible. But, in the time of Christ and throughout Apostolic times, there was no such thing. Scriptures were scattered willy nilly throughout Israel and later throughout Christendom in separate and disparate volumes.
b. There was no concensus as to what was Scripture and what wasn’t. There were thousands of Old Testament writings which many considered inspired writings but which others considered myths. And New Testament writings were accumulating at an alarming rate. Until there were literally hundreds of books calling themselves gospels which some people regarded as inspired and others regarded as fables.
c. It was the Catholic Church, none other, which sifted through these thousands of writings and selected 73 which they determined were inspired Scriptures. And the Church authorized St. Jerome put them together in one volume which became known as the Bible. The Latin Vulgate Bible, to be exact. And from that time, it is this Bible which was the main one used throughout Christendom.
Did you already know these things?
I think you did. If not, let me know in the comments. But, If you’re anything like me, you did. I knew these things, but for some reason, this knowledge lay dormant in my consciousness. If anyone ever asked, “Who wrote the Bible?” I never said, “Jesus.” I knew better. I would answer, “The Apostles” or “the disciples”. But I never put two and two together. The Apostles were all Catholic. The Apostles make up the Apostolic Church. The Apostolic Church was Catholic. Ipso facto, the Catholic Church wrote the New Testament.
Protestants know that the New Testament was written by men. But because they stress the inspiration of God so much, they tend to forget that God inspired MEN to PREACH. These men, later, wrote down that which God had inspired them to Preach. They stress the inspiration of the Bible so much, that they begin to act as though men weren't involved in the production of the Bible, at all.
Further, Protestants assume that in Apostolic times, everyone was carrying a Bible under their arm. The fact is, the vast majority of people back then didn’t know how to read. And even if they did, there were no Bibles to read. To rely upon the Bible, therefore, to pass on the faith, would have been a consummately bad idea. But they make the anachronistic error of assuming that, like them, all Christians in apostolic times walked aroudn with a Bible under their arms. But that is just not so.
It took years for these facts to surface in my consciousness. When these things finally dawned on me, I feel like my apologetics ramped up a bit. As soon as I began to mention these things, many Protestants would cut the debate short. Some would come back with disoriented replies which could easily be overcome.
It is, at that point, that I also realized that mentioning these facts was making them think outside their comfort zone. These are facts which they had not included in their logical paradigm and which, if they did add to their paradigm, would cause a shift. And once they shift, who knows, the momentum might bring them into the Cathoic Church.
There is really nothing that anyone can say which will turn a man to the truth. All we can hope to do is plant a seed. I believe that if you learn these facts and take the opportunity to mention them in your apologetical discussions, some of them will land on fertile soil. You may never know. But God will know. And Scripture says:
James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.