The Parish Catechism, Lesson 4: Revelation

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths.” (Psalm 118:105)

37. Can human reason alone discover everything God wants us to know about religion?

Human reason alone cannot discover everything God wants us to know about religion.

Example: From reason alone we can learn there is a God, but we cannot discover from reason alone the existence of the three Persons in God.

38. What is revelation?

Revelation is God’s uncovering or telling to men truths He wants man to know.

God has directly revealed truths to Adam and Eve, the Patriarchs and Prophets, and through His Son, Jesus Christ, He has revealed many more truths to us. All these truths make up what we call God’s revelation.

39. Why should you believe in God’s revelation?

You should believe in God’s revelation because God demands belief; because Jesus Christ and Christ’s Church direct you to believe in revelation. You should believe what God has revealed because God is truthful and cannot deceive man.

Through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and through the true Church He founded, the truths of God have been brought to us in the New Law.

40. What are the two sources of revelation?

The two sources of revelation are the Bible and Tradition.

41. What is the Bible?

The Bible is the word of God written down by men under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

“God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days, hath spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

42. Who is the real Author of the Bible?

God is the Author of the Bible. The men who wrote the words might perhaps be compared to secretaries of God.

“All scripture, inspired by God, is profitable” (2 Timothy 3:16)

43. How do we know that God is the Author of the Bible?

We know that God is the Author of the Bible because: Christ used the Bible, the Old Testament, and often quoted from it in His sermons as being God’s own message to men. “Search the scriptures: . . . And the same are they that give testimony of me.” (John 5:39)

The apostles taught that the Bible has God for its Author.

“For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:21)

Christ’s true Church has always taught that God is the Author of the Bible.

“For, by supernatural power, He [God] so moved and impelled them [the human writers] to write. He was so present to them that the things which He ordered, and those only, they first rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth.” (Pope Leo XIII—Nov. 18, 1893)

44. Is God the Author of the entire Bible?

God is the Author of the entire Bible. You cannot, therefore, reject things in the Bible that do not please you , for example, the laws of marriage.

45. Are there any errors in the Bible?

There cannot be any errors in the Bible because God is the Author of the Bible.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Luke 21:33)

46. What is the Catholic Bible?

The Catholic Bible is the original and complete Bible. It is important to have the original Bible as given to us by God. If the Bible has the bishop’s signature with the word “Imprimatur”, this means that the Catholic Church has examined that Bible and declares it to be the original and complete Bible.

47. Are Non-Catholic Bibles incomplete?

Unfortunately, the ordinary so-called Protestant Bible leaves out seven whole books of the original Bible.

The missing books are: Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, First and Second Machabees, also parts of Esther and Daniel. The King James Bible used by most Protestants in the United States is an incomplete Bible.

48. Is it possible to misread and misunderstand the Bible?

Yes, many people do misread and misunderstand the Bible.

There is nothing incorrect in the Bible. A book, however, cannot protect itself from the misinterpretation or misuse of misguided men.

49. Doesn’t God protect Bible readers from error?

Neither God nor the Bible makes such a guarantee. The Bible even warns us against people who wrestle with it to their own destruction.

“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16)

50. How can you get the correct meaning of the Bible?

You can get the correct meaning of the Bible from God’s official teacher and guardian of the Bible—God’s only true Church. You do not learn astronomy or calculus from a book alone without a teacher.

51. Are Catholics permitted to read the Bible?

The Catholic Church wants everyone to read the Bible, and she gives Catholics spiritual favors for so doing.

“For what things soever were written were written for our learning: that, through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might haive hope. (Romans 15:4)

52. Does the Bible contain all that God has revealed?

The Bible itself tells us that it does not contain all that God has revealed.

“But there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.” (John 21:25)

53. What other source of God’s revelation do we have?

Tradition, which is the teachings of God not in the Bible. Some of Gods teachings have been handed down by word of mouth from Christ and the apostles to the Church. These teachings are just as true and authoritative as the teachings of the Bible. A good example of a truth accepted by almost all Christians is the substitution of Sunday for Saturday as the Lord’s Day. This truth you cannot find in the Bible; it comes from Tradition.

54. Where will you find the teachings of Christ as presented in this course of religious instructions?

All the teachings of Christ which will be given to you in this course of instruction will be found either in the Bible or in Tradition.

– from The Parish Catechism, by Father Martin W Farrell, 1954