Day 17: The Canon of Scripture (120-127)
Fr. Mike is so grateful that we are all journeying together
Don’t know if you noticed this, but things are kind of PICKING UP SPEED!!
They’re not going to TAKE OFF and they are not going to GET BEYOND US
It’s closer to the stuff that is ON OUR MINDS
We are going to look at the CANON OF SCRIPTURE
The Old Testament and the New Testament
WE NEED BOTH!!
There were people in the past who said that when Jesus came along, the Old Testament was rendered VOID
It was rendered MOOT
It was COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY
Some people, who we call HERETICS, say we can COMPLETELY DISMISS and NOT EVEN PAY ATTENTION TO the Old Testament because of the New Testament
Some people would even say that there were TWO DIFFERENT GODS
ONE in the Old Testament
ONE in the New Testament
That is REJECTED by the Church
We will see how that is REJECTED today
We also have the New Testament and will learn how the Gospels are the HEART OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
And lastly we will see the THREE STAGES in the formation of the Gospels
First, there is the LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF JESUS (on the ground)
Then there is the ORAL TRADITION
And finally we have the WRITTEN GOSPELS
THIS IS HOW THE GOSPELS WERE FORMED!!
THIS IS HOW THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS FORMED!!
So we will see The Old and New Testament and the Canon of Scripture, and the formation of the Gospels
It’s only 7 paragraphs!
Let's say a prayer, right now.
I think that’d be a good idea.
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in heaven, we thank you. We give you praise. You enter into time with us. You enter into this space that we occupy. And you enter into our lives in a very real, in a very, very true way. Lord God, our lives are messy. And even the way in which we've discovered who you are, you've revealed yourself to us, has been messy. But we trust in you. We trust that you are in the mess. You're in the mess of our lives. You're in the mess of history. You're in the mess of our culture. Because that's where you want to be, where we are, and that's where we live. And so we ask that you please, into the mess, bring clarity; into the brokenness bring healing; into our confusion, bring illumination and bring light, so that we can understand who you are more clearly, who we are more clearly, and that we can love you with all of our hearts. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
We get to meet St. Caesarea the Younger and St. Thérèse of Lisieux today!!
The Gospels have had a MASSIVE ROLE in their own personal understanding of our Lord and God
ALSO IN THEIR PRAYER LIFE!!
Let’s go back to the beginning
We talk about THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE
THE OLD TESTAMENT
THE NEW TESTAMENT
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE GOSPELS
It is important for us to understand that all 73 books of The Bible have been established by THE CHURCH and given to us FROM THE VERY BEGINNING
THE CHURCH IN A REAL AND TRUE WAY PRECEDES THE BIBLE
Of course, The Old Testament existed BEFORE Christianity
The books of the New Testament COME OUT OF THE CHURCH
So the Church precedes the WRITTEN WORD
THE ORAL TRADITION PRECEDES THE WRITTEN TRADITION!!
It’s actually out of the ORAL TRADITION, out of the LIVING TRADITION OF THE CHURCH, that we get to even know WHICH BOOKS ARE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT!!
There wasn’t really a CANON
Canon = list of the books of the Bible
The Church has given us this CANON
ALL 73 BOOKS!!
SACRED TRADITION IS WHAT GIVES US SACRED SCRIPTURE!!
THAT IS SO REMARKABLE!!
For the first couple centuries of Christianity, there was NO OFFICIAL CANON!!
You would come to Church and have these texts PROCLAIMED TO YOU AT MASS!!
THIS IS SO POWERFUL!!
It wasn’t until the late 300s AD that the books of the New Testament were codified
There were some challenges
People were offering other books
People were challenging some of the books that were considered to be Scripture
Now keep this in mind…
Even though it wasn’t until the late 300s AD that we have the CANON, we HAD the New Testament
These books were mostly before 100 AD
The LAST book of the New Testament is understood to be the Book of Revelation
St. John had written it before 100 AD
All those texts ALREADY EXISTED
The official LIST wasn’t CODIFIED until the late 300s AD
In 382 AD we had the Council of Rome under Pope Damasus that promulgated the 73 Books of the Bible into Canon
This was reaffirmed in 393 AD at the Council of Hippo and again in 397 AD at the Council of Carthage
It was DEFINITIVELY REAFFIRMED by the Ecumenical Council of Florence in 1442 AD
And of course, at the Council of Trent in 1546 AD (are you loving all these dates? Of course you are!!) the Canon of Scripture was SOLEMNLY DEFINED
The Council of Trent was a RESPONSE to Martin Luther and the first protestant leaders
What was Martin Luther doing?
He was CHALLENGING the 73 book Canon of Scripture
So the Church had to SOLEMNLY DEFINE that same Canon in 1546
That SAME CANON was ALREADY DEFINED by the Council of Rome in 382 AD
THESE BOOKS WERE NOT ADDED LATER!!
These 73 books of the Old and New Testament were ALREADY ACCEPTED by the Church
They were defined in 382 AD at the Council of Rome
And they were DEFINITIVELY AND SOLEMNLY DEFINED IN 1546 AD after someone challenged it
THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS THAT CHURCH COUNCILS EXIST!!
Here is what Christians believe
At some point, it is being challenged
So we have to have a Church Council
“Ok, there’s a challenge out there to what EVERYONE already believes about the living Faith of the Church, the living Tradition of the Church. We have to DEFINE this and DEFEND it against those who challenge it.”
And that is why we get to Paragraphs 121-123 talking about the Old Testament
Paragraph 121 says, “The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture.”
Fr. Mike doesn’t know how many people he has heard over the course of the last couple of years going through the Old Testament in the Bible in a Year, they were wondering WHY DO WE HAVE TO READ THIS??
THIS SEEMS SO FOREIGN!!
THIS SEEMS SO UNNECESSARY!!
The Church has heard that before!!
Paragraph 123 mentions the primary person who began this HERESY called MARCIONISM
His name was Marcion!!
Marcion claimed that with the arrival of the New Covenant, with the arrival of the New Testament, and with the arrival of Jesus, ALL THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT ARE RENDERED USELESS!!
THEY ARE NO LONGER IN EFFECT!!
THEY ARE NULL AND VOID!!
THAT WAS A HERESY!!
Because the Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture.
Paragraph 121 continues, “Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked.”
We talked about DIVINE PEDAGOGY before
What does PEDAGOGY mean?
It means that God takes a RAW PEOPLE
These people DO NOT KNOW WHO HE IS
These people DO NOT KNOW GOODNESS
These people DO NOT KNOW JUSTICE
These people DO NOT KNOW TRUTH
God has to REVEAL that HE IS GOOD
God has to REVEAL that HE IS JUST
God has to REVEAL that HE IS TRUE
God has to REVEAL that HE LOVES THEM
He has to start SOMEWHERE
Dei Verbum states in Paragraph 122, “Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional, the books of the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God’s saving love…”
So The Old Testament had matters both IMPERFECT and PROVISIONAL
What does that mean?
It means that God was teaching at a FIRST GRADE LEVEL who He is
Here is God teaching at a SECOND GRADE LEVEL what Justice is
Here is God teaching at a THIRD GRADE LEVEL…and so on and so forth
These are PROVISIONAL THINGS
For example, the rules regarding Temple purity
Because the Temple was to PREPARE US for TRUE WORSHIP of Jesus Christ in Spirit and in Truth in the NEW COVENANT
So they were PROVISIONAL TEACHINGS
FOR A TIME
FOR A PLACE
FOR A SEASON
TO GET US READY FOR THIS NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT that we celebrate and enter into in the Mass!! 🤯
It does NOT render those things USELESS
It does NOT mean they are NO LONGER DIVINELY INSPIRED
It just means we understand them as PROVISIONAL TEACHINGS
There are OTHER TEACHINGS that are NOT PROVISIONAL IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!!
They are NOT PROVISIONAL!!
They are CONSTANT!!
They are teachings that are TRUE AT ALL TIMES
They are teachings that are TRUE IN ALL PLACES
They are teachings that are TRUE FOR ALL PEOPLE
We venerate the Old Testament as the TRUE WORD OF GOD
Paragraph 123 says, “Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. The Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism).”
Now let’s go onto the New Testament
SO SO POWERFUL!!
The quote from Dei Verbum actually quotes Romans 1:16!!
Paragraph 124 says, “The Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, is set forth and displays its power in a most wonderful way in the writings of the New Testament.”
SO SO POWERFUL!!
First, understand that here is God’s revelation of HIMSELF to US
Paragraph 126 talks about how the New Testament was FORMED
There were three stages in the formation of the Gospels
First is THE LIVE AND TEACHING OF JESUS
WHAT HE DID
WHAT HE TAUGHT
Then we have ORAL TRADITION
People TALKED about this
They were given the light of the Holy Spirit!!
And THEN we have the WRITTEN GOSPELS
So here is Jesus
Then we have the Apostles
TALKING ABOUT THIS
Then we have the written Gospels
THIS IS SO SO POWERFUL!!
The Gospels are at the heart of ALL OF OUR LIVES!!
THEY SHOULD BE!!
Fr. Mike has read about SO MANY SAINTS who would keep a copy of the Gospels on them AT ALL TIMES (I do that thanks to several Catholic apps like Regina Caeli or Laudate!! 😃)
We pull out our phones and flip through whatever
These saints had this little book of the Gospels
In their down time, they pulled out the Gospels and just ALLOWED THE LORD TO SPEAK TO THEM
Through the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
INSPIRED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
There’s something we can learn from that
We might still have our phones
Wouldn’t it be great if on our device we had the Word of God?
We have it in podcast form….THE BIBLE IN A YEAR WITH FR. MIKE SCHMITZ!!😁
But wouldn’t it be great to have an app for the READINGS OF THE DAY (Word Among Us!!😁)
Or an app where we could read the Gospels (Regina Caeli!!!😁)
We could do what those great Saints of the past have done
We can keep the HEART OF THE SCRIPTURES, THE FOUR GOSPELS, BEFORE OUR EYES
IN OUR HEARTS
THIS IS AN INVITATION!!
Fr. Mike is SO SO PROUD OF ALL OF YOU!!
We are going to keep picking up speed
Keep moving forward
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
Scripture References & Reflections
- compiled by Andrew Adamany
Bible Translation - RSVCE
CCC 121 "The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked."
"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
CCC 122 "Indeed, "the economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men…"
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound"
"Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional," the books of the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God's saving love"
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
CCC 123 "Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. The Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism)"
2 Timothy 3:14–15
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
CCC 124 "The Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, is set forth and displays its power in a most wonderful way in the writings of the New Testament" which hand on the ultimate truth of God's Revelation. Their central object is Jesus Christ, God's incarnate Son: his acts, teachings, Passion and glorification, and his Church's beginnings under the Spirit's guidance."
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.”
CCC 126 "We can distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels:
1. The life and teaching of Jesus. The Church holds firmly that the four Gospels, "whose historicity she unhesitatingly affirms, faithfully hand on what Jesus, the Son of God, while he lived among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation, until the day when he was taken up."
"these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name."
"This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true."
2. The oral tradition. "For, after the ascension of the Lord, the apostles handed on to their hearers what he had said and done, but with that fuller understanding which they, instructed by the glorious events of Christ and enlightened by the Spirit of truth, now enjoyed."
"In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
3. The written Gospels. "The sacred authors, in writing the four Gospels, selected certain of the many elements which had been handed on, either orally or already in written form; others they synthesized or explained with an eye to the situation of the churches, the while sustaining the form of preaching, but always in such a fashion that they have told us the honest truth about Jesus."
"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed."
"But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."